Sharing Resources to Help Connect Farmers to Direct Marketing Niches

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2000: $96,578.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2002
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: extension
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, community-supported agriculture, marketing management, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, urban/rural integration


    The overall goal of this multi-state proposal was to enhance the ability of ag and community development professionals to develop successful direct marketing channels and strategies. To achieve this goal we conducted 11 direct marketing workshops during 2002, and 2 workshops in 2003, with a total estimated attendance of 1,733 people. These one or two-day events addressed direct marketing strategies, opportunities, barriers and solutions. Participating states included California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho and Oregon. The main audiences for these workshop was Cooperative Extension and USDA personnel, community organizations and agricultural service providers together with farmers, ranchers and direct marketing organizations (the more traditional audience for such events). The joining together of these two audiences provides unique educational and action opportunities. The workshop content provided “how-to” direct marketing information at the farm operation, individual and institutional level, while also examining the community-level implications of direct marketing strategies. Workshops furnished simple tools that communities and farmer organizations can use to assess the potential for direct marketing in an area. Workshops were planned and coordinated by individuals named as Major Participants on this proposal, working with broad-based planning committees composed of Cooperative Extension educators, USDA personnel, farmers and representatives of community organizations. After all workshops are held, the project leadership team (all major participants listed on this proposal) will meet to share resources, ideas, and experiences and organize a flexible educators’ guide that can be used for organizing other workshops and conferences on direct marketing. A Direct Marketing Resource Guide that highlights existing educational materials on various aspects of direct marketing will also be developed and distributed in print and on the Web.

    Project objectives:

    1. Increase knowledge and use of direct marketing opportunities, barriers and solutions among Cooperative Extension educators, USDA field personnel, food/agricultural support professionals, lenders and community leaders.
    2. Develop the capacity of farmers, ranchers and community organizations to identify, evaluate and implement direct marketing strategies.
    3. Create a flexible curriculum and training framework for six workshops in six states, emphasizing joint participation of Extension, USDA, farmers/ranchers and community organizations in planning, execution and evaluation.

    4. Create a Direct Marketing Resource Guide for each participating state that includes an annotated bibliography of existing direct marketing resources (e.g. fact sheets, bulletins, case studies, web sites, books).

    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.