Direct to Consumer Market Research on Whole Grains, Legumes & Oilseeds

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2021: $9,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2023
Grant Recipient: Beautiful Beard Grain Farm
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Robert Barbeau
Beautiful Beard Grain Farm

This project was not able to be completed due to unforeseen circumstances.

Information Products


  • Agronomic: millet, mustard, rye, sorghum (milo), sorghum (sweet), sunflower, wheat, lentils, dry beans


  • Crop Production: cropping systems, crop rotation, food processing, food product quality/safety, multiple cropping
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, focus group, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study, market study, marketing management, new enterprise development, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis, local and regional food systems, public participation, sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    Small and beginning grain farmers will find it hard to compete on pricing when selling to an elevator or processor. Because farmers tend to be price takers and not price makers, there is little room and a lot of risk for new farmers to enter grain markets. Beautiful Beard Grain Farm seeks to create, test and refine a direct marketing strategy to promote the growth of the local grain economy. Between February 2021 and July 2021, we will be conducting surveys of farmers’ market patrons, as well as putting out a call for focus group participants. We will partner with a local chef to design several recipes for grain, oilseed, and legume crops. Then, we will host three focus groups with survey participants to gain feedback on the chef-developed recipes. With this data, we will develop and execute a marketing strategy for the 2021 growing season. We plan to evaluate project success by comparing profit margins between our direct to consumer marketing methods and commodity based marketing methods. A Marketing Strategy Report will be produced and distributed to other farmers in the North Central Region.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Research marketability of locally grown whole grains selected from Beautiful Beard Grain Farm’s organic cropping plan and their appeal to key early adopter demographics, including farmers market patrons, CSA customers, co-op customers, and other local-minded consumers, by conducting initial surveys. 

    Partner with a chef to create approachable recipes to make the process of direct to consumer grain marketing easier for all grain farmers. 

    Lead three focus groups to gather data on consumer trends. Present prepared recipes to focus group participants and gather feedback.

    Develop strategies for farmers to utilize by producing a Direct to Consumer Grain Marketing Strategy Report. 

    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.