- Additional Plants: ornamentals
- Animals: poultry
- Miscellaneous: mushrooms
- Farm Business Management: feasibility study
- Production Systems: transitioning to organic
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities
Our objective was to organize a team and develop preliminary information required to develop future grant proposals designed to examine the technical and economic feasibility of converting poultry and swine production structures into greenhouses and mushroom houses and develop marketing cooperatives. These activities would help farmers previously involved in contract poultry and swine production find other means of agricultural production in which to become involved. This would aid farmers in diversifying and improving income. We conducted a survey of existing structures with potential for conversion and assessed the general condition of structures with an emphasis on the attributes of the structures that would be important in their conversion. This information was critical in designing a full proposal, because we did not know the types or condition of structures potentially available for conversion. We conducted focus groups with farmers, financial institutions and retailers. The objectives of these focus groups were to determine the receptiveness of farmers to alternative businesses and define the information that would be needed for them to convert facilities. We also conducted focus groups with financial institutions to determine the type of information that a farmer would need to present in order to obtain financing to conduct such conversions. These focus groups allowed us to determine the types of questions that we would need to address in future proposals.
The following objectives were identified for this planning project:
1.Develop an appropriate team of researchers and a framework for producer input to conduct the study.
2.Identify the range in condition and types of production facilities that could be converted to greenhouse/mushroom production facilities.
3.Identify issues and constraints perceived by producers that will affect their interest and success of conversion to greenhouse/mushroom production.
4.Identify issues and concerns of financial institutions that would potentially finance conversions.
5.Identify issues and concerns of greenhouse/mushroom retailers regarding market channel penetration and coordination.
6.Develop a full research proposal to study the technical and economic feasibility of conversion of poultry/swine facilities to greenhouse/mushroom facilities and successful market organization.