- Crop Production: organic fertilizers
- Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: market study
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
- Soil Management: soil quality/health
In response to and in partnership with producers in the western states, Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) created an online database tool that would expand marketing outreach for organic seed producers. Producer partners had input into the design and functionality of the database. The database allows seed companies and large wholesale purchasers of seeds (larger production farms/companies) to search profiles via a number of categories including but not limited to types of seed crops, forms of certification, region, years of experience. There was no charge for a producer to create a profile or for a firm to search for producers. Purchasers were also required to create a profile so that we could track the users of the tool. Marketing strategies included print advertisements in farm journals, conference presentations, email campaigns to producers and seed companies, and web site promotion, and links. Producers benefited from increased market exposure and new contracts.
The seed sector has struggled to meet demand in an ever increasing market for organics, in part due to a lack of experienced seed producers. The “Organic Seed Producer Database” was a natural outgrowth of a prior Western SARE-funded project “Organic Vegetable Seed Production – A Farmer Education Project” (SW07-609), in that it provided producers who were developing and investing in specialty crop seed skills to begin to reach new high value markets. In addition to being an agricultural marketing opportunity, this project helped bridge a gap that in organic farming systems by improving the overall viability of the organic seed sector.
Literature and web reviews found that there this highly specialized and skilled body of producers had limited marketing tools. The seed companies have created trade associations, but seed growers associations or other marketing bodies do not exist. The seed producers that OSA works with on education and research projects requested that OSA assist them in developing marketing tools, and the Database was prioritized by the producers as the first priority in this process. In the next phase of supporting these producers OSA will be assisting them in the development of seed associations and/or producer coops where appropriate.
1) With producer input, design and create a user friendly database to market seed producer skills and services
2) Market database to seed producers and purchasers (seed companies/larger seed users). Assist producers in creating database profiles.
3) Incorporate producer and purchaser feedback from initial (beta) version of database for improvements
4) Increase producer contacts and contracts with seed purchasers