The Southwest Marketing Network is a four-state (NM, CO, AZ, UT, and Tribal communities) collaborative of farmers, ranchers, and service providers. Through this project we are providing producers several ways to access training and conferences through “distance learning” tools. This project is increasing producer knowledge, awareness, attitudes, and skills by providing connections with other producers and buyers, technical and financial assistance, marketing and business skills, and peer examples to help them increase their profitability. The information is shared through hands-on trainings in the field and conference workshops that are also professionally videoed for producers who cannot participate directly.
Our goal is to positively affect at least 500 producers (see information below) with specific tools over the two-year period that they can and/or will use to increase their production, marketing opportunities, and income. As a result, during the first year more that 150 producers have received information and training and approximately 150 service providers.
Out of our goals we want to create four in-the-field hands-on trainings that are also distance trainings. Of this we have done two trainings and have created one distance learning tool that has been provided to more than 300 producers and service providers out of at least 500 over two years.
We have created an eight-hour distance learning tool with marketing, production, and business management tools that has been disseminated to 247 participants at the SWMN 2005 conference (from the 2004 conference presentations and workshops). Specific learning sessions were video taped as well as keynote presentations and a PowerPoint presentation that is currently being finalized and will be disseminated at the March 2006 SWMN conference to participants and will be made available to anyone who wishes to receive the learning tools.
The Southwest Marketing Network has met and exceeded its intended goals, providing both distance learning tools and on-site workshops and conferences to producers, agricultural service providers and community groups.
Success were accomplished in the following topic areas.
How to Sell to Schools and How to Purchase from Farmers. The film was completed in April. They are accompanied by “how to” handbooks and directories of farmers interested in selling to the schools. The handbook and directory were completed in February. We originally printed 100 and immediately ran out. Due to the demand in the Southwest states, we ordered an additional 400. We printed an additional 1,000 of the directories (not charged to Western SARE). We have circulated 500 handbooks and over 860 directories. Since the beginning of the year we have provided workshops in Colorado and New Mexico on Farm to School and have connected an additional 8 school districts to the program totaling 12. We provided a half-day Southwest workshop and three related sessions at the Southwest Marketing Network Conference in NM in May.
In partnership with the NM Department of Agriculture we provided a two-day Farm to School tour to NM School Food Service Directors July 10-11, 2008. All received the DVD’s and directories and met some of the farmers willing to sell to schools.
Wool and Lamb Marketing. This “distance learning tool” was completed just prior to the Southwest Marketing Network May 2008 Conference. We printed 300 DVD’s of which 88 were disseminated at the conference to livestock producers in several sessions and a livestock marketing workshop. Additional DVD’s were made available at the Sheep is Life Conference June 21-23 in Arizona. Approximately 25 DVD’s have been disseminated since June.
As part of this Western SARE project we completed work on the Lamb and Wool DVD translating it into Navajo and have 200 copies on order to date through NM State University.
All of these products and additional educational information are provided on the Southwest Marketing Network Website. www.southwestmarketingnetwork.org
Currently we have added 47 new marketing tools to the website and will add the Navajo translation of the Wool and Lamb video by early February.
Farm to Table now has information about the products, DVD’s and handbooks, on our website which was completed in June.
NM State University uploaded it on their I-Tunes site, but they were too difficult to find. NMSU is still in the process of making the DVD’s more accessible through their websites as part of this project.
We completed our coldframe DVD in 2007 and have held ongoing coldframe building workshops.
The coldframe DVD’s and workshops have been so successful that we ordered our third set of them in June. We have provided 513 English language and 124 Navajo language DVD’s and VHS tapes to producers, communities and gardeners throughout the Southwest. We ordered an additional 200 coldframe DVD’s and 100 Navajo language DVD’s because of the demand and upcoming workshops.
In April and June we worked in partnership with the Navajo Technical Institute and Dine College to provide a coldframe building workshop and planting workshop at the Navajo Technical Institute in Crownpoint, NM. Twenty-four people attended the coldframe workshop as well as the planting workshop. Recent snow load damaged the coldframe, but it will be fixed for spring planting. The June workshop had 34 youth attendees.
Of the “distance learning tools” developed the following have been disseminated to farmers, ranchers, and service providers in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Tribal communities in the Southwest. Hands-on workshops have also been provided as well as workshops and sessions at the annual Southwest Marketing Network Conference in May 2008.
As a result of the conference workshops, hands-on “season extension” workshop, and distance learning tools provided the following has been accomplished and individuals served:
- Since the beginning of the year three “season extension” coldframe building hands-on workshops were hosted, two on the Navajo Nation and one in Colorado with an average of 30 participants at each, totaling 190. The “Coldframe Building DVD that was filmed in the first year in partnership with the Alcalde Agriculture Science Center and the NM State University video crew is a step-by-step video of how to build a 20×30 food coldframe. The video has been extremely popular. The video has been made available in both VHS and DVD. To date we have disseminated 513 in English and 100 in Navajo.
Farm to School “How To” DVD: We completed the Farm to School DVD in April of this year. Since the beginning of the year we have provided workshops in Colorado and New Mexico on Farm to School and have connected an additional 8 school districts to the program and to farmers. We provided a half-day Southwest workshop and three related sessions to over 40 farmers and school food service directors from WY, NM, CO, AZ, UT, and the Navajo Nation at the Southwest Marketing Network Conference in NM in May. We participated in a two-day Farm to School Field Trip in partnership with the NM Department of Agriculture linking school food service directors to farmers. This increased NM’s school districts from six to 10 using local produce. Colorado has two schools purchasing including the sales of meat. Due to the demand in the Southwest states, we ordered an additional 400 DVD’s and continue to provide them to schools and farmers. We printed an additional 1,000 of the directories (not charged to Western SARE). We have already circulated 500 handbooks and over 860 directories.
Lamb and Wool Marketing DVD: 88 livestock producers have received the DVD’s to date as part of a livestock marketing workshop and several related business planning and marketing workshops hosted at the May 2008 Southwest Marketing Network Conference. We ordered an additional 200 DVD’s of which about 40 were used at the Sheep is Life Conference June 21-23 in Arizona. We have completed the translation of the Wool and Lamb Marketing DVD in Navajo and have 200 on order from NM State University.
As a result of the SW Marketing Network Conference workshops in 2005, 2006 and 2007 providing 113 production and marketing workshops, eleven hands-on “season extension” workshops, and distance learning tools provided the following impacts and outcomes have been observed:
1,196 producers and service providers (of which close to 635 were producers) have actively participated in hands-on trainings, presentations and conference workshops in a three year period of this grant.
During the hands-on trainings over the three-year period more than 250 participants learned at least two successful and innovative marketing approaches employed by farmers in the region. These included varieties of plants that can be grown in coldframe/season extension greenhouses and where to sell them – local farmers’ markets, schools, stores, restaurants, and community supported agriculture projects.
All 1,196 of the producers and service providers learned how to access at least four new resources within the region to help them reinforce and practice what they have learned. All participants received videos (coldframe building, farm to School, Lamb abd Wool Marketing, and/or SWMN conference videos) as well as a farm direct marketing book from the University of Arizona, specific information provided by the Alcalde Agriculture Science Center during hands-on trainings, Farm to School handbooks and directories, eleven SWMN newsletters (including information about drought, marketing best practices, farm to cafeteria, livestock production and marketing, and more) and website information.
220 service providers – non-profit organizations, Cooperative Extension and Department of agriculture agents, and other government and non-government service providers are now active in the SWMN (goal was 10).
All of these distance learning tools will be advertised in the quarterly newsletters, through the swmarketingnetwork.org website, on the www.farmtotablenm.org website and at specific workshops and conferences in the Southwest.