Click on the categories below to navigate quickly to a certain section! Direct Marketing | Collaborative Marketing | Organic | Value-Added | Wholesale | Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) | Food Hubs | Agri-tourism
To Market, To Market: A Workbook for Selecting Market Options and Strategies for Agricultural Products
A manual designed to guide new farmers through developing profitable marketing strategies. It is a decision tool to help new farmers decide what to produce; where, how, and in what venues to market; and risk management strategies. Published by Rutgers Cooperative Extension, 2005. The guide can be accessed here: http://aesop.rutgers.edu/~farmmgmt/marketing/tomarket.pdf
Marketing Guide: Where and How to Market Your Products
Whether you’re still deciding where to market your products or you’ve already been selling through various channels, this guide will give you some tools to evaluate the success of these market channels and make sure they’re the best fit and most profitable for your business. The Guide to Marketing Channel Assessment: How to Sell Through Wholesale and Direct Marketing Channels – Matthew LeRoux, Monika Roth, Molly Shaw, and Todd Schmidt. Cornell Cooperative Extension, 2010. http://blogs.cornell.edu/smallfarms/files/2014/07/Guide-to-Marketing-Channel-1ib5phn.pdf
20 Ways Farmers Can Improve their Marketing Chops
Farmers are business people, alchemists, scientists, economists, and stewards of the land. But sometimes they need help with that most basic and necessary of skills: marketing. This article from Cornell’s Smart Marketing series offers a partial list of ways for farmers to craft a story around their products, personalities, and people more effectively, especially at farmers markets. http://agribusiness.dyson.cornell.edu/SmartMarketing/pdfs/Smrt%20Mktg-Dec%202009.pdf
USDA Market News Portal
A database for current price and sales information to assist in marketing and distribution of farm commodities. Generates pricing reports on farm products in specific markets and marketing areas. USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service. http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/marketnews
The Farmers Market Federation of New York and the NY Farm Viability Institute are co-sponsoring Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success, a free online course for farmers. The course materials are also available at no charge for use by educators. The curriculum includes five components: Self-Assessment, Market Assessment, Customer Assessment, Communications Assessment, and Business Assessment. Successful completion of all sessions will earn the participant a Certificate of Achievement. In addition, farmers who complete the course in its entirety will be eligible for borrower training credits through the USDA Farm Service Agency. http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/request-course-materials/
Cornell Smart Marketing Monthly Newsletter
The Smart Marketing series is a marketing newsletter by the Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, and is designed for extension publication in local newsletters and for placement in local media. It reviews elements for successful marketing in the food and agricultural industry. Please cite or acknowledge when using this material. http://agribusiness.dyson.cornell.edu/SmartMarketing/pdfs/EB%202010-16.pdf
New Program Helps Farmers with Media Relations
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has launched FARM (Farm & Agriculture Resources for Media). This project champions the voice of sustainable agriculture by providing media training and tools for farmers. FARM includes a new three-part NSAC toolkit that helps farmers share their personal and authentic story and strengthen their media connections. The toolkit includes: Media & Public Relations Tool Kit for Farmers; Media Training for Farmers Webinar; and listing on the NSAC FARM Database. http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/nsac-announces-the-farm-and-agriculture-resources-for-the-media-farm-project/?utm_source=roundup&utm_medium=email
Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship
The NECFE, located at the NY State Ag Experiment Station, provides information and resources on business development, entrepreneurship training, marketing strategies and tools, product process development, technology transfer, regulatory compliance, labeling, education and outreach, and workshops. Their mission is to provide comprehensive assistance to beginning and established food entrepreneurs in order to promote sustainable economic development in rural communities. https://necfe.foodscience.cals.cornell.edu/
Honeycomb to Consumer – Marketing Small Scale Honey
Small-scale farmers and hobbyists are keeping more honeybees than ever in NY. With concerns about adultered foreign honey, local honey is becoming more popular. This new bulletin provides guidelines for small-scale honey producers who are extracting, packing, and marketing honey. It covers New York’s honey rules, proper labeling, packing area sanitation, health claims, and includes a wide range of marketing ideas to inspire newer honey farmers. It was written by Jim Ochterski, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County in collaboration with small-scale beekeepers and the Empire State Honey Producers Association. You can download the guide here: http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/files/2014/06/Honeycomb-to-Consumer-13n5j37.pdf
Farmers Market Coalition Website
A newly upgraded Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) website is now available, strengthening the Coalition’s power to serve as a national hub for the exchange of farmers’ market best practices. Of particular note, the new design of the Farmers Market Resource Library includes a robust assortment of features: users can rate and comment on entries, customize their searches, and submit their own documents, links, and videos to share with fellow market practitioners. FMC invites market managers, state associations, service providers, and producers to take advantage of these usability improvements by submitting resources to share with their peers, inspiring innovation and excellence within the farmers market community. http://farmersmarketcoalition.org/
National Farmers Market Directory
The USDA National Farmers’ Market Directory. Farmers’ markets can be searched by state, county, zip code and participation in federal nutrition assistance programs. http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/
New York Farmers Market Directory
Governor Cuomo has announced that the locations of more than 450 spring and summer farmers’ markets across the state are now available on the NYS open data website. This comprehensive website provides both New York consumers in the market for locally grown products and New York producers looking for a place to sell their products with a user-friendly avenue to find them quickly in their area. “Buying locally grown products is an easy way to support area farmers and businesses, and through our open data website it is easier than ever for New Yorkers to find farmers’ markets and greenhouses in their area,” Governor Cuomo says. “The Empire State is home to some of the most nutritious, highest quality home-grown products in the world, and I encourage all New Yorkers to check out the website this summer and explore all that our State’s agricultural sector has to offer.” https://data.ny.gov/Economic-Development/Farmers-Markets-in-New-York-State/qq4h-8p86
Online Legal Guide for Direct Marketing
The Drake Agricultural Law Center developed their online legal resource as a way of making their free publication “The Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing” more accessible, providing regular updates on direct farm marketing law and policy, and allowing readers to ask questions directly to Center staff and law students. The website is available here: http://directmarketersforum.org/.
Direct Marketing of Specialty Food Products Online Course
The Direct Marketing of Specialty Food Products online curriculum will help farmers learn strategies to direct market food and sell online, evaluate the role of technology in their businesses in regards to direct online marketing, examine strategies necessary to deal with technology and weigh some cost/benefit measures, and more! Access this online course at http://communityvitality.unl.edu/directmarketingfood.
Listyourharvest.com was started spring 2014 to assist local farmers and producers with marketing their products online to their own local community. The website is a central posting board where farmers and producers are able to post, update and control their own advertisements, giving even the smallest producer a presence on the internet and allowing them to reach the largest number of customers possible right in their own community. Customers are able to find what is available in their area, when it is available, and where to find the local products they are seeking.
Local Food Guides for Northern New York Counties
Local food guides for all six Northern New York counties have been assembled by the North Country’s Cornell Cooperative Extension associations in collaboration with GardenShare, based in St. Lawrence County; and Adirondack Harvest, the community-based local foods organization serving 13 northern counties. The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program invites people to discover farm stands, u-pick, farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture, organic growers and stores selling local foods across Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. For a paper copy, contact your local Small Farms Cooperative Extension agent. http://www.nnyagdev.org/index.php/local-foods/.
Chenango County Meat and Livestock Producers Guide
This Guide links consumers with meat producers in Chenango County, NY. Many of the producers can arrange to sell freezer beef in bulk, such as quarters, halves, and whole animals to consumers; some can provide individual cuts. Other types of meat are mentioned specifically. A typical method of purchasing, but not the only method, is to pay the producer a given price per pound hanging carcass weight, and then to pay the processor separately for butchering, cutting, and wrapping. Cornell Cooperative Extension does not endorse any given producer, but is merely sharing information given to us by the farmers/producers. Arrangements for sale of meat products are strictly between the consumer and producers. You can access the guide here: http://ccechenango99.squarespace.com/storage/ag/MeatProducersGuideWebVersion.pdf
Collaborative Marketing for Small Farms: Selling and Working Together for Profitability
As interest in local food sourcing increases at restaurants, institutions, and schools, small farms often have to combine forces to move enough products to satisfy the larger-scale buyer’s expectations The new bulletin, “Collaborative Marketing for Small Farms” provides guidelines for farm owners who are looking to work jointly with other farms to access these new markets. Collaborative marketing is most beneficial when the farms deal effectively with legal and business considerations from start to finish. This bulletin explains the business structure options and success factors of joint ventures, partnerships, and corporations. It highlights potential obstacles and suggests practical solutions to them. After reading this bulletin, a small farm owner will be much more familiar with the ways a collaborative marketing opportunity can positively or negatively affect their farm’s bottom line. Produced by CCE of Ontario County. Download the Guide here.
Collaborative Marketing and Local & Regional Food Systems Presentation
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County is currently engaged in a project working intensively with direct marketers interested in, or currently pursuing collaborative marketing, to create and test resources to help farmers evaluate on an individual basis proposed or existing collaborative marketing relationship through qualitative and quantitative bases, and create an online and print resource center dedicated to collaborative marketing. The presentation discusses the resources and tools created during the project and how they can be applied across the state and the northeast to all types and scales of direct marketing operations.
New Markets Growth Opportunities with GroupGAP
The AMS’ Specialty Crops Inspection Division, in partnership with the Wallace Center at Winrock International, presents a webinar on GroupGAP, a new certification option for our Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audit program. This program makes GAP certification more accessible to small and medium size producers by allowing multiple growers to work together to obtain a single certification as a group. GroupGAP certification offers growers a cost-effective means to show adherence to GAP requirements. A recording of the webinar is available here.
How to Form a Farm Marketing Cooperative: A Manual
This is a manual written by the founders of Adirondack Grazers, a cooperative that formed in 2012 to assist farmers in Washington County, NY with finding a way to market their beef for a reasonable and sustainable price. This is a how-to-manual highlighting some of their learning as they traveled the road of independent farm producer to potential coop member to committed member receiving value. Read it here.
Additional Collaborative Marketing Resources
New collaborative marketing models are increasingly evolving in local markets, prompting distinct changes in food supply chains. Accessing markets can be particularly problematic for smaller-scale businesses that lack sufficient volumes of products to feasibly attract and retain larger-scale buyers. Economies of scale can often result with producers and agribusinesses working together to address these production and marketing barriers. However, existing infrastructure and logistical arrangements may not be appropriate or feasible for today’s emerging local and regional food systems. Cornell’s 2013 Strategic Marketing Conference addressed these issues. The conference featured speakers from new and emerging food hub organizations, wholesale food distributors, and online marketing agencies working directly with agricultural producers. Videos of the speakers’ presentations can be found here. Another resource on collaborative marketing is the “Collaborative Marketing for Small Farms” written by Agriculture Economic Development Specialist Jim Ochterski, which can be found here.
Organic Trade Association
A national association representing the organic industry in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. Members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmer associations, brokers, consultants, distributors, and retailers working to promote organic products in the marketplace and to protect the integrity of organic standards. http://www.ota.com/
Organic Farming and Marketing: Publications from USDA
USDA offers a wide variety of publications related to organic farming and marketing. Available online and upon request. http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/ofp/ofp.shtml
The Massachusetts Food Processors Resource Manual
A practical guide for specialty food and start-up food processors published by the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture. http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/markets/culinary-tourism/massachusetts-food-processors-resource-manual-generic.html
Value-Added Agriculture Marketing Resource Center
The Marketing Resource Center is intended to provide independent producers and processors with critical information to build successful value-added agricultural enterprises. The Center’s goals include an electronic, web-based library with powerful search capabilities to make value-added market, economic, and business information and other resources available to producers, and much more. http://www.agmrc.org/.
The American Cheese Society
The American Cheese Society strives to uphold the highest standards of quality in the making of cheese and related fermented milk products; to uphold the traditions and preserve the history of American cheesemaking; to be an educational resource for American cheesemakers and the public through sharing knowledge and experience on cheesemaking as a hobby or as a commercial enterprise with special attention given to Specialty and Farmhouse cheeses made from all types of milk, including cow’s, goat’s, and sheep’s milk; to encourage consumption through better education on the sensory pleasures of cheese and its healthful and nutritional values. http://www.cheesesociety.org/.
NY Small Scale Food Processors Association
The New York Small Scale Food Processors Association (NYSSFPA) supports and informs small-scale food processors through education, mentoring, marketing, and connections to the industry, and provides the resources to manage the challenges faced by processors in establishing and growing their food business. http://www.nyssfpa.com/index.php.
Scaling-Up: Perspectives from Growers and Buyers on Barriers and Benefits to Wholesale Marketing of Local Fruits and Vegetables
Explores the challenges and opportunities to increasing wholesale fruit and vegetable sales through interviews of experienced and beginner Iowa growers as well as wholesale buyers with experience in the local produce wholesale market. Published by Practical Farmers of Iowa, 2012. http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/pubs-and-papers/2012-10-scaling-perspectives-growers-and-buyers-barriers-and-benefits-wholesale-marketing-local-fruits-and-v.pdf
Wholesale Success: A Farmer’s Guide to Food Safety, Selling, Postharvest Handling, and Packing Produce
A training manual with over 300 pages on selling into wholesale markets, topics including: calculating return on investment; cleaning, drying, and curing produce; traceability, packing shed design, and maintaining the cold chain. Produced by FamilyFarmed.org, single copy purchase cost $80. http://www.familyfarmed.org/wholesalesuccess/.
Beyond Direct Marketing: Exploring New Ways to Sell
On March 24th, the Cornell Small Farms Program hosted the 4th NY Small Farms Summit. The full day program, Beyond Direct Marketing: Exploring New Ways to Sell, featured small farmers’ perspectives on the pros and cons of selling wholesale. The summit’s page on the Small Farms website now includes profiles of featured farmer speakers who shared their personal knowledge and experiences with wholesale marketing, video clips of farmer presentations, and video clips of discussions about wholesale marketing between the presenters and summit participants. http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/projects/summit/
Wisconsin Local Food Marketing Guide
This guide covers how to market direct to consumer and sell through intermediate channels such as restaurants, grocery stores, institutions, and distributors. Includes details on pricing, licensing, labeling, regulations, food safety, food liability, and farm insurance. Published by the Wisconsin DATCP, 2011. http://datcp.wi.gov/Business/Buy_Local_Buy_Wisconsin/BLBW_Food_Marketing_Guide/
Farmers Market Federation of NY Webinars
The FMFNY offers a number of webinars, some of which are pertinent to wholesale marketing- particularly “Marketing Channels Assessment” and “Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud! Market Assessment & Analysis.” http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/view-marketing-for-profit-webinars/
Massachusetts Farm to School Project
The Massachusetts Farm to School Project can help you connect with schools or institutional food services that are interested in buying locally grown products. They can provide information about this market sector and help you ask the right questions to determine profitability and viability. Resources include a Food Service Interview Form full of questions to ask when meeting with an institutional customer, a list of institutions in Massachusetts that are already purchasing local foods, a Farmer ID Card to ensure that all boxes of your produce arrive at the school with your farm name clearly identified, and a guide to selling to institutional customers. http://www.massfarmtoschool.org/resources/farmers/
Resources from National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is a biennial event that convenes stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement who are working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. The conference is hosted by the National Farm to School Network, in partnership with a local host organization. Workshops and presentations from the conference are available. http://www.farmtoschool.org/Default.aspx?PageID=11639227&A=SearchResult&SearchID=199183&ObjectID=11639227&ObjectType=1
FarmersWeb: Software for Farms to Manage Working with Wholesale Buyers
FarmersWeb streamlines working with wholesale buyers such as restaurants, schools, corporate kitchens, retails stores, and more. Lessening the administrative work that comes with each order helps producers create a more successful relationship with their buyers and can help them work with more buyers overall. www.farmersweb.com
How to Sell Domestic Foods to the USDA
Each year, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) buys nearly $2 billion and 2 billion pounds of frozen, processed, and fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Otherwise known as “USDA Foods.” These healthy, American grown and processed products help feed millions of school children and are also distributed to food banks, disaster areas, and wherever else they are needed. AMS proudly buys “USDA Foods” from a diverse pool of companies, both large and small. Special emphasis on contracting information for small, socially disadvantaged, women-owned, and service disabled veteran-owned businesses, as well as those in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUB Zones). http://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food
Food Hub Funding Guide from Senator Gillibrand’s Office
The office of U.S. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York has released a 43-page publication titled A Guide to Funding Opportunities and Incentives for Food Hubs and Food Systems. The guidebook details information on grants, loans, and tax credits from numerous federal agencies. Download the guide at http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/download/food-hub-and-food-systems-grant-guide
National Good Agricultural Practices Program (GAPs)
A comprehensive extension and education program for growers and packers with the goal of reducing microbial risks in fruits and vegetables. www.gaps.cornell.edu
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point programs, or HACCP, are required for wholesale sale (not for retail) of seafood, dairy, meat and poultry products, juice and cider processing facilities, while other sectors of the food industry are coming into voluntary compliance. Penn State offers three day HACCP workshops which cover the fundamentals of HACCP and the application in meat and poultry processing operations. It provides the participant with hands-on experience in developing a HACCP plan. The course is certified by the International HACCP Alliance and meets USDA requirements for HACCP training. More information can be found here.
Food Service Toolkit: Increase Local Food Purchasing
Released by Farm to Institution New England, this new toolkit is called Setting the Table for Success: Increasing Local Food Purchasing by Institutional Food Service Management. The toolkit covers the basics of how institutional purchasing works and digs in deep into guidance for using the food service request for proposal and contract process to guide institutions in sharing the responsibility of identifying and sourcing local food with their supply chain partners. It’s set up in an online format so you can skip to sections of interest or download and print key sections.
Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm
Thinking about alternative financing methods for your farm? This University of Vermont New Farmer Project Guide outlines the legal, accounting, environmental, and social effects of alternative funding. The guide includes four farmer case studies. To view the guide visit:http://www.uvm.edu/newfarmer/?Page=business/community-supported-farm-guide.html&SM=business/sub-menu.html.
SARE Handbook on Multi-farm CSAs
Local Harvest: A Multi-Farm CSA Handbook offers straightforward guidance on cooperative marketing for CSA’s, an innovative practice that is helping CSA’s stay strong and viable over the long term. This 130-page manual gives concrete details on strategies for forming and maintaining a multi-farm CSA, including advice on staffing, volunteer boards, distribution, and legal topics. Published by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) and available as a free download at the SARE website: http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Project-Products/Northeast-SARE-Project-Products/Local-Harvest
New Toolkit for CSA Farmers
Just Food has developed a CSA at Work toolkit dedicated to helping both farmers and partner companies in New York City start and manage a workplace CSA. CSA at Work includes guides to understanding, planning, and maintaining a workplace CSA and five video tipsheets for CSA farmers. These videos are available in English and Spanish via their website: http://www.justfood.org/farmer-outreach/online-resource-center. If you would like to receive the CSA at Work toolkit or have any questions, please contact Paula Lukats, Just Food’s Program Director, at 212.645.9880 ext. 233.
Farmigo: CSA Management Software
Farmigo CSA Management Software lets you to manage your CSA, from member sign-ups to delivery. Never miss an opportunity to gain a new member with online sign-up and payment. The mobile-friendly software allows you to manage member accounts, track payments, send emails, and much more on the go! Working with over 300 CSA’s throughout the country, Farmigo has developed streamlined reports to help with harvesting, packing, distribution and accounting. Their team will work with you to bring your CSA business online, streamlining administrative tasks and saving you hours of work. To sign up for a free demo, visit https://calendly.com/farmigo.
USDA Guide to Running a Food Hub – Volume 2
The USDA recently released the second of a multi-volume report series which provides in-depth guidance on starting and running a food hub enterprise. The report’s main focus is on the operational issues faced by food hubs, including choosing an organizational structure, choosing a location, deciding on infrastructure and equipment, logistics and transportation, human resources, and risks. The report is available online as a PDF.
National Good Food Network
The National Good Food Network brings together people from all parts of the rapidly emerging good food system- producers, buyers, distributors, advocates, investors and funders– to create a community dedicated to scaling up good food sourcing and access. The website includes a series of food hub resources, as well as a National Good Food Network Database with farm, funding, and retailer listings. the website can be accessed here: http://ngfn.org/resources/food-hubs/food-hubs
Food Hubs: Solving Local
This resource guide, published by the Wallace Center at Winrock International, contains a series of case studies on small farmers who have utilized food hubs and other resources in expanding their marketing channels. http://www.ngfn.org/resources/ngfn-database/knowledge/Food%20Hubs%20-%20Solving%20Local.pdf
USDA Food Hub Resources
The USDA offers a comprehensive list of publications and links focused on food hubs and their potential to expand market opportunities and strengthen local and regional food systems. It includes a list of Food Hubs in NY and the rest of the US, Food Hubs in the News, and the Regional Food Hub Resource Guide, published by the USDA Ag Marketing Service, 2012. https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/local-regional/food-hubs
Alternative Enterprise and Agritourism Resource Evaluation Guide
This guide is an on-line tool developed to help farmers evaluate their resources when considering alternative enterprises or agritourism potential for their farms. It is a database driven application that allows users to collect and store the information for each farmer and rancher’s assessment of their natural, family, and community resources. The guide is based on the NRCS publication Taking the First Step: Farm and Ranch Alternative Enterprise and Agritourism Resource Evaluation Guide dated January 2004 on the NRCS website at ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/Economics/AltEnterprise/FirstSteps.pdf. Data entry forms for each worksheet, an editable database of alternative enterprise and agritourism ideas, and an editable database of links are provided. The tool provides ease of access to related information and tools such as the Web Soil Survey, local contacts, and technical and financial assistance programs. http://resourcesfirstfoundation.org/aea/.
The National Children’s Center offers resources for agritourism operators. The Policies and Procedures Guide and the Worksite Guide include a 10-page checklist for use by agritourism owners and managers, as well as farm owners who host children and groups. The guides are useful in reviewing health and safety considerations already implemented on agritourism operations, and can assist in identifying deficiencies so that remedial action can be taken. These guides can be downloaded at http://marshfieldclinic.org/agritourism.
Agritourism Training Program
Northeast SARE and Rutgers University have convened a multistate team to develop and deliver educational programming to agricultural educators and service providers working with Northeast farmers interested in agritourism development. The training program is multi-tiered, comprising workshops, webinars, and web-based resources focused on minimizing farm safety risks, managing liability, mitigating financial risk through enterprise budgeting, and improving marketing strategies. http://agritourism.rutgers.edu/training/.
The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture has produced a manual on Farmstays. Farmstays are well-suited to meet the needs of travelers looking for unique and genuine experiences. They offer people a way to reconnect with their agrarian roots—or to form new roots. While research has not been conducted in Minnesota on travelers’ interest in farmstays, the success of existing farmstays, as well as natural food co-ops, farmers’ markets, and “buy-local” campaigns indicate that the opportunity is there. Many people are hungry to establish a relationship with the land on which their food is grown and with the farmers who grow it. This manual is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather a first stop for those considering a farmstay in Minnesota. http://www.misa.umn.edu/Publications/FarmstayManual/index.htm.