Integrating Farmer-driven, Value-added Enterprises Into Sustainable Agricultural Systems
We will develop and test a model incubator service designed to provide information and training to sustainable family farmers and farm-based entrepreneurs about business and marketing in a one-stop setting when and where they need it. In the first phase of this project we have completed a report on the keys to successful farmer-driven, value-added enterprises. In the second phase we have established an information bank of programs, services, facilities, and other business and entrepreneurial resources supportive of farmer-driven, value-added enterprises.
The objectives of this project are as follows:
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.
After identifying and compiling demographic information on nearly 60 farm-based enterprises in the Southern region that are adding value to sustainable agricultural products, we completed in-depth phone interviews with a representative sample of farm owners.
Using information from this survey, we completed a report entitled: “Keys to Success in Value-Added Agriculture.” The report contains sections on: a) “Sustainable profits” that stresses the economics of adding value to raw products and creating a unique market, b) “Translating uniqueness into a sustainable competitive advantage” that discusses how to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace, c) examples of farmers’ experiences with adding value, d) keys to success in both the short run and long run with many examples in farmer’s own words, and e) a list of resources. This report is available free from ATTRA both in print and electronically.
We have completed an inventory of programs, services, facilities, and other business and entrepreneurial resources useful for farmer-driven, value-added enterprises. We have made numerous resource providers aware of our project, and engaged some in conversations about how to communicate and collaborate more. The resource list is being edited and will be made available free from ATTRA in both print and electronic form by Spring 2002.
During the remainder of this project we expect to: 1) make the resource list available to the public and publicize it, 2) establish further relationships with the organizations and agencies providing value-added business and marketing incubator services, 3) discuss the project at the 2002 SSAWG annual conference and showcase resources, 4) identify five clients to apply and test the incubator service, 5) evaluate and make recommendations for continuing service, as well as missing services needed, 6) disseminate reports and recommendations, and 7) identify funding for further testing and continuing service, if needed.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
We expect this project to increase the expertise about farmer-driven, value-added enterprise development in our region, and increase the success of such enterprises. As more enterprises are created, economic activity on family farms will increase and the quality of life will be enhanced for farm residents. Perhaps as importantly, this project will begin laying the foundation for programs and research that substantially enhance one of the tenets of sustainable agriculture — economic viability. By giving farmers and rural community leaders the business tools and resources for adding value to agricultural products, innovative entrepreneurial activities can be more easily incorporated into whole sustainable farming systems.
This project, along with other on-going efforts by Southern SAWG, has already helped to heighten the awareness of the need for more resources and successful strategies focused on helping family farmers add value to their raw products and market them effectively.
Mississippi Association of Cooperatives
PO Box 22786
Jackson, MS 39225
Office Phone: 6013542750
PO Box 4672
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Office Phone: 9199297099
Assistant Professor / Marketing Specialist
Florida A & M University
201 Perry-Paige Bldg South
Tallahassee, FL 32307-4100
Office Phone: 8505993546
PO Box 10433
Jackson, MS 39289
Office Phone: 6013521400
3806 Union Rd
Marianna, FL 32446
Office Phone: 8503522400
3806 Union Rd
Marianna, FL 32446
Office Phone: 8503522400
Alabama Forestry Commission
5887 Bridal Path Ln
Montgomery, AL 36116
Office Phone: 3342409320
Elwood Stock Farm
3636 Paris Rd
Georgetown, KY 40324
Office Phone: 5028630086
Florida Organic Growers and Consumers
PO Box 12311
Gainesville, FL 32604
Office Phone: 3523776345