Integrating Farmer-driven, Value-added Enterprises Into Sustainable Agricultural Systems

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1998: $120,590.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $19,019.00
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Principal Investigator:
Keith Richards
Southern SAWG

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: technical assistance, farmer to farmer, mentoring, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, cooperatives, marketing management, feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study, risk management, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, employment opportunities


    We developed and tested a model for providing information and training to sustainable family farmers who would like to create farm-based, value-added enterprises. In support of this service, we completed a report on the keys to creating successful enterprises and established an information bank of resources supportive of these enterprises. Among our findings, we discovered that assistance is best when provided to farmers in a whole systems way, yet facilitated individually. We also discovered that farmer-to-farmer networking is critical to the success of value-added enterprises, and organizational networking is critical in building a service support infrastructure.

    Project objectives:

    1.) Lay a foundation of information and support that will help accelerate farmer-driven, value-added enterprise development for sustainably produced farm products in the Southern region.

    2.) Gather base-line information on the systems and concepts that are keys to the successful development and marketing of farmer-driven, value-added agricultural products. Disseminate this information to farmers, agricultural information providers, researchers and educators in the region.

    3.) Establish an information bank of programs, services, facilities, and other business and entrepreneurial resources supportive of farmer-driven, value-added enterprises. Make the information accessible to farmers, agricultural information providers, researchers and educators in the region.

    4.) Develop and test a model incubator service designed to provide information and training to sustainable farmers and farm-based entrepreneurs about business and marketing in a one-stop setting when and where they need it. Provide information about this model to farmers, agricultural information providers, researchers and educators in the region.

    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.