Comprehensive Training in Direct Marketing of Meat and Meat Products for Coopertative Extension Agents and Agricultural Professionals
The goal of this project is to enhance the ability of agricultural educators and professionals to effectively assist farmers in capturing value-added opportunities through direct marketing of meat and meat products (beef, pork, lamb) to consumers. Consistent with national and southern regional trends, Virginia has experienced rapid growth in consumer demand for locally-produced food, including meat products. This demand has escalated the interest by and opportunity for livestock farmers to add value to their agricultural enterprises through direct marketing to consumers. Profitable and sustainable direct marketing ventures for farmers are dependent on comprehensive, synergistic strategies and enterprise models which encompass diverse issues related to animal production, product processing, and effective marketing. Enhanced capacity of Cooperative Extension agents and other educators to assist farmers and facilitate cooperation is key to bolstering the availability, quality, and sustainability of locally-grown food (meat) produced in a responsible fashion. Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Virginia Farm Bureau will collaborate to provide key personnel within each organization the training and resources to provide farmers with solutions to enhance and expand direct marketing of meat products. Specific project objectives include enhanced interest in and attainment of a comprehensive “skill set” for direct marketing among Cooperative Extension and VDACS educators along with successful translation of information and best practices to farmers. These objectives will be accomplished through a needs assessment and implementation of a training program by following a logic model that includes program evaluation to determine program quality and impacts.
Objective 1: This objective will provide the framework to build customized educational training for Cooperative Extension agents and other key educators. Through formalized needs assessment, a logic model for the execution of Objectives 2 and 3 will be constructed.
Objective 2: Outcomes of Objective 1 will be used to develop and deliver a comprehensive training curriculum for Cooperative Extension agents and other key educators. The goal will be to provide educators with advanced knowledge and skills on the direct marketing of meat and meat products to extend to farmers.
Objective 3: The final objective of the project is to evaluate the effectiveness of the training model through measured changes in knowledge and behaviors of educators as well as their correlated impact on farmers.
Objective 1: Needs assessment survey has been completed. As anticipated, there is growing interest in the direct marketing of animal products, and a need for more information and education on the various components of the system from farm to fork.
Objective 2: Design and delivery of the educational curriculum for agents and other key educators is underway. Relevant topics to the subject have been incorporated into formally structured trainings on an ongoing basis. A set of resources has been assembled, which includes publications, websites, and slide sets. These resources will be formally organized so that these materials can be utilized in the future and updated as warranted. The focus of the educational program is to empower educators with information so that they can be of assistance to farmers interested in direct marketing of livestock. To date, the training component has focused on modules pertaining to animals production, regulatory issues, and marketing issues. Additional phases of the educational component will bring these items together and concentrate on economics of the system.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
- Understanding of specific needs of educators relative to the production, processing and direct marketing of meat and meat products
- Challenges to the educational process have been identified
- Resource needs have been established, including form of such resources• Best management practices for direct marketing of meat products have been established• A more thorough understanding of factors impacting meat processing and products• Increased capacity of educators to assist farmers for direct marketing of meat products
- • Increased ability of educators to facilitate cooperation among parties involved in the system
- • Understanding of marketing components integral to direct marketing of meat
- Increased awareness and understanding among educators regarding regulatory issues
- • A more thorough understanding and appreciation among educators for direct marketing systems has been developed
Litton Reaves hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Office Phone: 5402319153
Sr. Assistant Director
Virginia Farm Bureau
P.O. Box 27552
Richmond, VA 23261
Office Phone: 8042901153
2425 Litton Reaves
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Office Phone: 5402316331
Virginia Dept. Ag. & Consumer Services
4832 Tyreeanna Road
Lynchburg, VA 24504
Office Phone: 4342009975