Advanced Techniques for Sustained Marketing Success of Team Farmers
Constance Karstens of Hutchinson, Minnesota, has a wealth of knowledge about marketing farm products, and with the award of a 2004 SARE grant, she will expand her expertise in providing customers directly with quality farm products. The grant money will benefit farmers and customers who want quality farm products—and want to know exactly where those products come from.
On Karstens’ 180-acre farm, she and her husband raise sheep, cattle, chicken, turkeys, eggs, geese, and ducks. Originally they faced a hurdle finding a market for lamb, she says, and adds, “part of the reason lamb is eaten so seldom is that consumers don’t have access to fairly priced, meal-ready and consistently lean lamb.”
Under a 2001 grant, Karstens created marketing tools, built a web site, and expanded facilities at her on-farm retail store. She now markets her products to restaurants and ethnic markets, and runs on on-farm retail store, USDA processing facility, and a state fair booth. With the current grant, her team of farmers will expand these services, building a mail order service and an accounting system, working to build and nurture relationships with customers, and educating and training project leaders.
“This team will serve as an example for other farmers across the country,” Karstens said, talking about how tour days, speaking presentations, and written information in local, regional, and national agriculture publications have already garnered attention from farmers and others involved in sustainable agriculture. Karstens’ web site at www.ourfarmtoyou provides information and direct-mail resources. Her products can also be found at Elite Steaks ‘N Chops in Shakopee and Mankato.
To enhance an ongoing marketing process, this proposal will address the following marketing gaps, 1) develop a mail order service, 2) update database of customers and improve accounting system, 3) generate consistent product labels, 4)nurture relationships with current customers, 5) education/training of project leaders.