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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Farmers/Ranchers Marketing Resources

  • The ATTRA publications on Marketing, Business, and Risk Management “…can guide agricultural business planning and help farmers manage the amount of risk in their enterprises. In addition, some of these resources offer advice on diversifying, developing new markets and adding value to farm products to increase income.” Most publications are free. Categories include: Organic Marketing and Labeling; Direct Marketing Options; Value-added and Processing; Business Planning and Management; Funding; Risk Management; Other Marketing Topics; and Cooperatives. Their webpage also provides links to other marketing and business information.
  • SARE provides a Comprehensive List of Publications and Resources related to Marketing Strategies for Farmers and Ranchers. Their 230 page publication Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses brings the business planning process alive to help today’s alternative and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs transform farm-grown inspiration into profitable enterprises. Sample worksheets lend a practical perspective and illustrate how real farm families set goals, researched processing alternatives, determined potential markets, and evaluated financing options. Blank worksheets help the reader develop a detailed, lender-ready business plan or map out strategies to take advantage of new opportunities.
  • Local Harvest is a fantastic community website that provides a searchable database of farms, farmers markets, restaurants, grocery stores and co-ops selling local farm products. Get your farm listed to sell direct or promote your CSA. Or use the site to find retail outlets in your area which buy local food.
  • North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association is a trade association dedicated to nurturing the farm direct marketing industry. Its actions are driven by those whose daily lives are dedicated to this way of life. Its members support their family farms by selling millions of dollars worth of farm-grown produce directly to consumers at farm stands, farmers’ markets, pick-your-own farms, consumer-supported agriculture, agritourism venues, and other ever-growing innovations in direct producer-to-consumer agricultural marketing method.dsc00181small
  • Use Twitter to Market your Local Food. Do you sell your produce at multiple farmers markets? Have customers that wait all year for the first strawberries of the season? An innovative way to let customers know where you are, and what you are selling is via TWITTER, a free social networking service that allows you to send text based posts of up to 140 characters. The messages are called “tweets” and those who subscribe to receive your posts are called “followers”. You can restrict your tweets to a group of followers, or you can allow open access. The key to a successful marketing message using Twitter is to be friendly, clear and to the point – you only have 140 characters to get your message across! Once you start using Twitter, you should use it consistently to keep your followers informed, but be careful not to overuse the service – one complaint that users have is that some tweet too frequently about trivial things and undermine the impact of their messages. How will you know if your Tweets are successful? The service lets you monitor how many followers you have – your followers should grow and sales should increase!
  • Food Routes has a number of interesting ideas and information about local marketing
  • The Rainbow Farmer’s Cooperative (RFC) was established by Growing Power in 1993 to support and train small-scale farmers throughout the United States. Our cooperative is a membership driven marketing and information cooperative that establishes market opportunities for producers of conventional and organic produce. The Rainbow Farmer’s Cooperative is a small-scale food producer and sellers cooperative comprised of rural and urban farmers. Our cooperative represents approximately 300 small family farmers from Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, and Illinois in the Midwest and Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Florida in the southeast. Our farmers’ produce greens, herbs, fruits, vegetables, eggs, cheese, grass-fed meats, milk, juice, honey, jam.  The cooperative also sells compost, vermicomposting Videos, and “Milwaukee Black Gold” worm castings.
  • The Lowell Area Farmers’ Market (MI) will begin Thursday, May 11, and is open every Thursday, beginning May 14-Oct 8, 2009 from 3pm-7pm at the Lowell Fairgrounds.
  • The Food  Alliance offers excellent marketing services for farmers who participate in their sustainable certification program.
  • The ROTHBURY Music Festival (MI) features a farmers market every year, coordinated by Sweetwater Local Foods Market of Muskegon. Admittance to the festival is free for organic
    market vendors and their helpers. Camping is free.

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