Evaluating and Addressing the Transportation Challenges of Small-Scale Farmers and Ranchers in Regional Food Systems

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2019: $299,311.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2022
Grant Recipient: The University of Texas at Arlington
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Principal Investigator:
Caroline Krejci
The University of Texas at Arlington
Abstract During the last 20 years, there has been a significant increase in US consumers’ interest in local food. At the same time, there is substantial potential demand for crops produced by local small and mid-size farmers and ranchers whose market channels are short distance distributions Although there is a variety of definitions for local food, it often refers to direct-to-customer market channels for farmers and ranchers, including farmers’ markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), as well as distribution through local businesses like restaurants, grocery stores, as well as local institutions such as hospitals and schools. However, small and mid-size farmers and ranchers that make up regional food systems (RFSs) are facing particular challenges with regard to transporting their products to their customers. Typically, these farmers and ranchers are geographically located far from the urban customers. The majority of small and mid-size farmers and ranchers lack an appropriate logistics infrastructure which further limits their access to urban markets. Therefore, this study attempts to shed light on potential solutions for addressing farmers' and ranchers’ transportation challenges. The long-standing sustainability and resilience of RFSs can be enhanced by employing some transportation best practices making food systems more efficient. Moreover, Businesses’ logistics have been revolutionized with the help of ICT, through which the collaboration of goods and sharing of information to the right place at the right time are facilitated. Digital technology is actually introducing a reshaped market relationship by prohibiting the centralized intermediaries and offering a decentralized producer-focused strategy to create new bridges between producers and consumers. This dissertation seeks to understand small and mid-size farmers' and ranchers’ transportation-related challenges and explore, evaluate, and propose a scale-appropriate transportation platform to facilitate solving small and mid-size farmers' and ranchers’ transportation-related challenges. As such, a comprehensive study was conducted on a systematic qualitative data analysis method for conducting a focus group study for the small and mid-size farmers and ranchers. In addition, a comprehensive study then is performed on exploring and evaluating the existing delivery platforms to see whether the existing platforms are suitable for small and mid-size farmers and ranchers.
Narjes Sadeghiamirshahidi, The University of Texas at Arlington
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This product is associated with the project "Regional Food Transportation for Texas Farmers"
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.