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Calling all independent plant breeders | New World Seeds & Tubers

I suspect that Tom Wagner is himself a “rare breed” not to mention a “Zebra of a different Stripe”. I don’t think there are many independent plant-breeders left.

So far I’ve met in person exactly two, and not for lack of trying.

Well, fancy that: it’s hard to make a living as an independent plant breeder. There are reasons for division of labor. Systems of production work best when each “unit” within the system can concentrate on part of a more complex process, instead of trying to do the whole thing by themselves.

Why? Because if one person tries to do everything, he goes broke buying tools and other resources that sit idle most of the time while he’s working on a stage of the process that doesn’t require that particular tool. It results in high capital overhead and inefficient allocation of tools.

We’re chronically short on “seed money” (no pun intended) too. We can’t just buy our way out of the production bottlenecks we’re constantly in.

What would make more sense is for us to expand our business by partnering with OTHER independent plant breeders who themselves need income. We provide the sales and marketing overhead that we’ve already invested a lot of time in, and someone else supplies the seeds.

The interesting thing about commerce is that one person’s by-product is someone else’s valuable commodity. For example, Tom was producing lots of seed as a by-product of his breeding work, most of which either got eaten or composted (he doesn’t seed every tomato from every plant). He had tried to run his own seed business, but that’s too much overhead for a one-man operation.

There are probably more professional and amateur plant breeders out there, and in a few cases, growers, who have a surplus of something sufficiently interesting, unique, or useful, to be marketable. Having us sell it could bring someone some needed income. In this economy, I suggest not turning up a nose to small but fairly effortless income streams.

I’ll post a semi-permanent link on this page to solicit offers. Wish us luck; it could be a win-win-win situation for our future partners, our customers, and us too.

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