Is your farm or food business market ready for 2018, or do you need help getting locally produced food products to market?
If you could use some assistance to expand your marketing channels, the MarketReady™ Producer Training is for you. MarketReady™ is an education program for farmers and individuals interested in starting or expanding a food business. Increasing demand for locally produced food provides an opportunity for local producers to sell their farm fresh products direct to restaurants, grocers, wholesalers and institutions. The program began as a University of Kentucky initiative, led by Dr. Tim Woods.
“[There is] tons and tons of opportunity in terms of a demand for local foods, but the challenge is just getting our producers up to speed to be able to bring the quality, consistency, and volume of product that these buyers are looking for,” Woods said in an interview with WalletHub.
MarketReady™ teaches farmers professional marketing skills. The curriculum covers market evaluation, packaging, pricing, relationship building, logistics, quality assurance and other key business functions.
MarketReady™ teaches farmers how to label and package products in a way that appeals to customers.
“I’m a farmer, not a marketer,” a local producer confessed. He underestimated the importance of product packaging when he started selling to grocers.
“Large corporations have entire teams dedicated to branding; my product packaging has to compete.”
Pricing products appropriately for various market channels is a challenge. On one hand, farmers need to price products at a rate that buyers are willing to pay; On the other hand, farmers must price products to support their business’s viability over the long-term. MarketReady™ helps producers develop a pricing strategy that meets buyers needs as well as their own.
Reaching larger markets
A small farm may have trouble producing a sufficient volume to access large markets. MarketReady™ explains how multiple small farms can pool product to supply larger markets such as schools, wholesale or retail. Training shares the benefits of cooperation and steps to starting a cooperative.
Dealing with regulations
The legal aspects of selling food direct are vast and overwhelming. To complicate matters, state and federal regulations governing food production are ever-evolving. Brokers and retailers often require producers obtain food safety certifications such as Good Agricultural Practices and/or Good Handling Practices (GAP/GHP) in order to conduct business. New legislation, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), affects growers, farmers and ranchers, as well as the people who pack and distribute their products.
MarketReady™ helps producers navigate the regulatory environment. Curriculum clarifies areas of concern, and links farmers to food safety resources to keep within compliance. The training also addresses risk management and insurance solutions for selling food and food products through various market channels.
MarketReady™ helps farmers and food producers market their products effectively from production to payment. Producers gain a better understanding of various marketing channels and how to successfully serve their channel(s) of choice.
MarketReady™ Producer Training will be held October 20, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is only $25. The upcoming training is at the Ohio State University Extension Office — Cuyahoga County, in Cleveland, Ohio. Contact Gardner.firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-289-2071 ext 132 to register.
Garner, R. “Q&A: Discussing Local Farming Initiatives with Agricultural Economics Professor Tim Woods”, (Feb 4, 2013). WalletHub. Retrieved October 1, 2017, from https://wallethub.com/edu/local-farming-initiatives-agricultural-economics-professor-tim-woods/25730/
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