Entrepreneurial Sustainable Agriculture: Alternatives for Processing, Packing, Labeling and Marketing in Internet/Retail Environments
A region-wide survey of agricultural extension educators conducted by Western SARE in 2004 showed that 47% of these educators felt they had very limited knowledge of alternative direct marketing approaches (e.g., direct marketing, niche marketing). 57% felt that information about these same approaches would be helpful to them in their work. The challenges facing sustainable agricultural producers included access to retail sectors and technology to identify current and new markets, including eCommerce.
Despite these challenges, the opportunity for producers to link to small retailers is very real and timely within the current retail market. In order to be prepared to respond to the opportunity, producers and service providers need additional information and training.
This project was developed to bring these how-to tools to the extension educators and agricultural producers.
We will target extension faculty, USDA Rural Development, NRCS, and other USDA agency personnel, non-profit organizations, grocer associations, banking institutions and other federal, state, and private agricultural professionals. In addition, the DVD training video will be available for extension personnel and faculty, USDA Rural Development, NRCS, and other USDA agency personnel, non-profit organizations, grocer associations, banking institutions and other federal, state and private agricultural professionals.
To date the project team has developed the training outline and materials, including PowerPoints and resource directories, for the Entrepreneurial Sustainable Agriculture Training conducted on May 29, 2007, in Logan, Utah. The training was held in conjunction with Senator Bob Bennett’s 6th Annual Rural Business Conference. Twenty-four participants attended the training which was videotaped for use in producing the DVD. A pre-survey of training participants was conducted and summarized (see Appendix for summary). Additionally, a promotional flyer and website (see Appendix) were designed to inform people about the training and forthcoming DVD training video. Details pertaining to this project were also included in the WRDC’s annual report (see Appendix).
Performance targets still to be completed include the DVD training video which is now in the final editing/authoring stages and will be ready for replication and distribution in January 2008. The post-survey of participants will be conducted and summarized in January 2008.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Four service provider outcomes are expected:
Enhanced awareness of innovative marketing opportunities for retail and Internet sales;
Increased knowledge of market assessment, consumer preferences, processing alternatives, packaging, labeling, entry into retail and Internet markets;
Increased capacity to competently deliver future mentoring workshops;
Increased awareness of, and access to, sustainable agriculture entrepreneur information, resources, and networks.
Potential agriculture entrepreneur outcomes include:
Increased knowledge of accessing retail and Internet markets and market assessment;
Face-to-face time with service providers in their sub-region;
Increased awareness of available networks and resources.