Marketing Plans for Farms Catering to Niche Markets

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2004: $4,580.88
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Region: Northeast
State: New Hampshire
Project Leader:
Seth Wilner
UNH Cooperative Extension


  • Agronomic: potatoes, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Fruits: apples, berries (other), melons
  • Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, cucurbits, eggplant, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes, brussel sprouts
  • Additional Plants: herbs, ornamentals, trees
  • Animals: bovine, poultry, goats, sheep, swine
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, agricultural finance, market study, whole farm planning
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, social psychological indicators

    Proposal abstract:

    This project is part of a larger effort to help develop markets for farmers throughout the northeast region. Organizations such as Vital Communities, Beginner Farmers, NOFA-NH, Farm Bureau, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), and others are teaming up with State Departments of Agriculture to help develop markets for regional farm products and services, reduce barriers to direct farm sales, and educate consumers about the benefits of purchasing locally produced goods and supporting local agriculture.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The outcomes of this project include 10 farmers on four farms receiving training in niche marketing skills through the development and implementation of four marketing plans. Data will be collected on the impact of these marketing plans. This information will include the time involved to develop and implement a marketing plan, the resources invested, the return on these resources, the survey tools used, and the farmers’ experiences. The partnering farmers and I will share the information and experiences at workshops, at organization meetings, and through one-on-one assistance to other growers.

    Needs assessments within sustainable agriculture communities in my region identify that farmers desire assistance with marketing skills. Effective assistance with marketing is difficult to provide because expertise is housed in the private sector and the costs for this assistance are prohibitive.

    Our approach to provide this marketing assistance is simple and practical. This project utilizes the train the trainer model by hiring a marketing specialist to work with four visible, successful farms that practice a variety of sustainable production practices and who sell directly to local markets. The project then shifts to a farmer to farmer model by having these farmers, as well as myself, work with other farmers and agricultural organizations to disseminate the information we collect.

    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.