10 articles tagged "Marketing".

Produce display with FoodLink

Would you buy something if you didn’t understand how it worked or what to do with it? Likely not… Imagine a customer of yours who doesn’t know how to select, prepare or store the fresh healthful produce that you are growing and offering for sale. How likely is it that they will buy that product? Or buy it twice? What are we doing at the point of sale to encourage that purchase? Your produce may be cosmetically perfect and 100% healthful but is it able to communicate to the customer anything about its selection, use or how much their family will enjoy it if prepared properly? Most every packaged, ready to eat, value added product in the grocery store is designed to convey these messages in a loud and clear format…Have you seen the breakfast cereal aisle in the grocery store lately? Those products are conveying an undeniable “BUY ME” message and they are directly competing for customer dollars with your silent but beautiful (and healthful) produce every day. There[Read More…]

The VAPG program helps agricultural producers enter into value added activities related to the processing and marketing of bio-based, value-added products. Independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer- or rancher-cooperatives and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures are eligible to apply for the program. Beginning farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as family farm receive priority. The total program funding is $44 million, 50% matching funds are required. Grant and matching funds can be used for planning activities or for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural produce. Application deadline is July 1, 2016 (paper application) and June 24, 2016 (electronic application). More information about the grants can be found at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/value-added-producer-grants.

​Recently the USDA announced the addition of a new third-party auditing service that will be available through the Ag Marketing Service (AMS). The service, called “GroupGAP”, will be available in the spring of 2016. The expansion of the service follows multi-year piloting and testing of the program. Under the GroupGAP program, independent farms may organize under a central entity, such as a food hub or grower cooperative, to create a food safety system. Participating farms are responsible for collectively developing food safety practices and collecting required documentation. Entities will also be responsible for providing their own internal auditing services. They will also participate in an external audit by USDA-AMS Specialty Crops Inspection Service. Growers marketing through food hubs, cooperatives, produce auctions, or other collective entities may benefit from this program. The full press release and details from USDA may be found at http://blogs.usda.gov/2015/10/22/groupgap-program-brings-new-market-opportunities-for-farmers/.

​Consumers have many choices in today’s marketplace. Whether they are shopping in the your farm market, roadside stand, community farmers’ market or the local grocery store it makes no difference…busy shoppers can choose to buy fresh fruits and vegetables or any number of frozen or otherwise preprocessed (value added) foods. FoodLink, a FREE tool developed by a team within Purdue Extension with funding from a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, will provide today’s shopper with immediate and free access to unbiased information that may influence the food choices they are making while still at the point of purchase. Our goal is to help them choose YOUR high quality fresh Indiana products over lesser choices that take their dollars away from the farm and perhaps out of state and may have less nutritional quality than your fresh farm products. FoodLink provides vendors access to sales materials that include Quick Response (QR)[Read More…]

Kale varieties growing in test plot.

​If you grow kale you may be interested in the ‘You Heart Kale’ effort promoted by Indiana’s Farm to School program for this year’s Food Day. The “Kale Toolkit”  provided by the Indiana Dept. of Education encourages schools to buy kale from local farmers, plant kale in the school garden, let students taste-test kale recipes, and serve kale in the school cafeteria to celebrate Food Day. Food Day is October 24, but schools can pick any day in October to have their official celebration. The toolkit also includes kale recipes that might be of interest to direct marketers. Learn more about Farm to School in Indiana at www.doe.in.gov/nutrition/farm-school.

​The Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s (ISDA) Indiana Grown Program is an all-inclusive collaborative initiative to promote Indiana produced agricultural products to Indiana residents, restaurants, grocery stores, farmer’s markets, wholesalers, processors and other retail businesses. In addition, through the Indiana Grown program, the ISDA is establishing a marketing strategy to promote Indiana agriculture nationally as well as internationally. The Indiana Grown program is seeking Indiana producers to attend the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit Conference located in Atlanta, Georgia from October 22-25. The PMA Fresh Summit conference is a great opportunity for producers to market their product to potential buyers. The Summit is where produce and floral industry leaders from around the world converge to share ideas, breakthroughs and inspiration. No other single conference in the produce industry helps one create global connections, cultivate industry talent, find practical solutions to complex science and technology issues. PMA’s connections reach across the[Read More…]

​The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) at USDA publishes information about prices, supplies, movement, and quality of vegetables every business day. On Thursday, July 16, 2015, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, AMS will offer a webinar about the Fruit & Vegetable Market News, what information on organic crops is available, and how to use the Market News Portal. There is no cost, but participants should register in advance at http://bit.ly/FVWebinarMN071615. The market news reports have a wealth of information; I would encourage any grower not already aware of what is available to take a look at the Market News Portal https://www.marketnews.usda.gov/mnp/fv-home even if it is not possible to attend the webinar.

​The Indiana State Department of Agriculture is officially launching the Indiana Grown Initiative on July 7, 2015. This free marketing program will enable all Indiana agricultural and food products to be labeled and marketed with an Indiana brand. It is a very comprehensive program that will include many market channels and farm products. This program has immense potential to create new local and regional market channels for Indiana agricultural and food businesses through three initiatives: 1) Educate consumers on the importance of buying Indiana Grown products; 2) Increase networking and sales opportunities for Indiana farmers; and 3) Expand support for Indiana processors in their effort to process more Indiana Grown products. There are four categories for the program: 100% Indiana – Must be grown and/or all ingredients from Indiana Prepared in Indiana – Ingredients can be sourced elsewhere, but 100% of production is in Indiana Partner – Company or institution[Read More…]

​In March 2015 the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture appointed Dr. Petrus Langenhoven as Horticulture and Hydroponics Crop Specialist. During the past 18 years Dr. Petrus Langenhoven has dedicated his career to the development of the horticulture sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. His career started off at the Agricultural Research Council in Stellenbosch, South Africa. He completed his M.S in Agronomy at Stellenbosch University while working at the Agricultural Research Council. He completed his PhD in Agronomy specializing in vegetable production in high tunnels at Stellenbosch University, South Africa in 2004. He advanced his career at a non-governmental organization, Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products (ASNAPP). As operations director and senior agronomist he led ASNAPP’s greenhouse crop production and specialty fresh market vegetable and herb crop research and technology transfer programs. He specialized in the analysis and development of horticulture supply chains. He has extensive experience in applied on-farm[Read More…]

​Purdue Extension is starting the Indiana Food Hub Network this year. So what’s a food hub? The USDA working definition is “a centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products.”   Extension educator Roy Ballard, who is workkng with Local Food Coordinator Jodee Ellett to develop Indiana’s network, says, “Food hubs come in all shapes and sizes, and are finding great success nationwide. They can enable small- to mid-sized growers to enter a larger, wholesale-style local food marketplace with other growers by co-marketing products and services such as communication and distribution. But hubs are scale-neutral; they are providing a means for all sizes of farms and food entrepreneurs to expand their local food markets.”  If you want to learn more, or might be interested in forming a food hub, consider joining the new email list Indiana Food Hubs[Read More…]

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