A New Generation Takes On The Land Industry

Think about how much has changed from 2017 to 2018. Prince Harry got married. Elon Musk sent his sports car blasting into space. Peace talks between North and South Korea are in the works. It’s incredible how much can change in a mere twelve months.

Now think about how much can change in a generation.

The new generation of landowners and farmers are facing an entirely new world. The global market offers new clients, but also new competition. The internet and social media have created endless opportunities for marketing and networking. Solar energy and legal marijuana are new crops bringing in millions of dollars. These are just a few of the many things new farmers and landowners will face as they start their legacies in the land industry.

New Tech

The biggest difference for new farmers and landowners is the rapid increase of technology. Long gone are the days of typewriters and rotary phones. Now, drones, virtual reality, social media, and incredibly advanced farm technology are the name of the game.

In a recent Land.com article courtesy of RLI Member, Luke Worrell, ALC, talks about how technology has changed the land industry for both clients and land experts. “Now, we communicate with our clients in a variety of ways including email, text, video conferencing, and social media to name a few–we don’t simply have to rely on phone and mail marketing. We have learned the unique way each client wants to communicate and are therefore more relevant to them because we are speaking their language.”

How are new landowners and farmers adjusting to the onslaught of new technology? The answer is by applying old-fashioned rules to new platforms. Land experts are already known for their people skills. Social media lets this generation of land experts take these skills online to reach a wider audience than ever thought possible at a lower cost than possible for previous generations. Social media and online networking require a sort of fearlessness to promote yourself and reach out to new people. We can’t think of a single land professional who doesn’t already do that in real life!

The Future Leaders Committee at RLI is dedicated to finding the very best of the latest technologies, services, and trends in the industry for RLI members – just check out their new Member Technology and Resource Center. Keep an eye on them to learn about the latest in the industry!

New Clients

As the world around us changes, so do the clients we serve and their needs. Thanks to technology, clients have more access to information than ever before.

“The internet has played a huge role in redefining the ways in which land-seekers and land-sellers can connect with one another,” says Worrell. “This has created a shift in the characteristics of land buyers. Buyers are now more sophisticated because they have access to so much information! Modern technology allows buyers from all over the nation, and even the world, to learn about land for sale thousands of miles away without leaving their screen.”

Clients aren’t always within driving distance anymore. Although most clients like to visit a property before taking out their checkbook, in-person trips aren’t a must-have anymore with things like virtual reality for showing land properties. The Information Age of buyers can now find all the data they need to know from their living room.

New Crops

If you told farmers twenty years ago that marijuana would be one of the most profitable crops, they might think you’d helped yourself to a little bit of that crop yourself. While marijuana is still federally illegal, farmers in states like California and Colorado are pioneering the new legal industry.

Even more traditional crops are getting an upgrade. Pork, an American staple that has been around forever, has become more cost-effective. Vitamin-rich feed has created bigger, and therefore more profitable, pigs.

All In The Family

The good news for young farmers is that statistically, they’ve got generations of land wisdom behind them. Unlike many other industries, the land industry is one where the passion is often passed down through generations. This inter-generational business allows millennials to teach new technology to older generations, who in turn can pass on the tricks of the trade.

What Doesn’t Change

While lots of things are changing in the land industry, there are just as many that stay the same. Good people skills and a strong work ethic never go out of style.

It still comes down to the people and earning their trust,” says Allan Worrell, ALC. “Be honest. Don’t backstab. Your clients have to believe in you as a person before they would ever want to do business with you. Don’t give them a reason to question your integrity. I’m reminded of the wisdom contained within John Wooden’s famous quote, ‘There’s no pillow as soft as a clear conscience.’ If you can go to bed at night knowing that your principles were not compromised in your land dealings that day, it will serve you well in this business.”

The elder Worrell also points out the importance of getting involved with groups like the REALTORS® Land Institute. “Get involved in professional organizations within your local communities and those that go well beyond your sales territory. Organizations such as the REALTORS® Land Institute provide the education, tools, advice, and networking opportunities that are the foundation for all land professionals to become the best in the business.”

The newest generation of land experts is facing a brand-new world of technology, clients from around the world, and ever-improving crops. While new farmers and landowners will face new hurdles, they have the wisdom and support from previous generations to help them and vice-versa.

Laura Barker is a Marketing Assistant Intern for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.