Increasing freezer-trade sales for livestock producers

2012 Annual Report for ONE12-153

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2012: $14,631.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:

Increasing freezer-trade sales for livestock producers

Summary

Forty two producers returned the survey aimed at determining their buying and selling preferences and barriers for selling meat. Over 200 households were interviewed for the consumer survey to determine their buying preferences and barriers to purchasing local meats. Data from both surveys has been compiled and summarized. A beta version of the Meat Suite Website has been developed and is currently under review. CCE educators are working with our farmer collaborators to develop the “farmer intake form” for the website. Two “How to buy local meats” classes have been given to the public to date, with more scheduled for early 2013. An article on how to buy local meats was written by Kerri Bartlett and published in the Corning Leader Newspaper (13,585 readership) in October 2012.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The consumer survey to determine the primary barriers to buying local meats was completed by 200 households. The results are as follows:

• The primary barrier to buying meat in bulk is the fact that most people just don’t feel they need that much meat. They live alone, have small families, don’t want to eat so much meat, etc.
• However, closely following the demand issue is lack of freezer space. About 1 in 4 people cited this as a reason they don’t buy meat in bulk.
• Almost 70% of people believe local meat is more expensive than grocery store meat, and about the same percentage would consider buying in bulk if it were more affordable. Interestingly, the number one reason people like buying in bulk is price.

The producer survey was completed by 42 farmers in a six county region. The results are:

• Primary barrier/challenge for current and additional sales is finding customers
• Close second is consumer preference/consumers lack of knowledge
• Time cited by many for limiting additional sales

This information as well as a summary of the project and the beta website was presented at the 2012 Cornell Cooperative Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources In-Service. Approximately 25 educators from across NY State heard the presentation and were very interested in seeing this project go statewide in the future.

A beta version of the Meat Suite website has been developed. The Project leaders and website developer have met to review and make modifications. Currently project leaders are developing the farmer intake form, to be used to add producers to the website. The intake form is being tested on our farm cooperators to insure the form is easy to understand and use, and collects all the important details for each individual farm listing on the website. (Beta version of website: http://ccext.net/MeatSuite/)

Two “How to buy local meats” classes have been conducted. Three other classes were scheduled but cancelled due to low registration. As a result, Kerri Bartlett, Project Leader, wrote an article for consumers on how to buy local meats. The article was published in the Corning Leader Newspaper, which has a readership of 13,585. Kerri Bartlett and Matt LeRoux are revisiting how to disseminate the “How to buy local meat” class information; they are considering additional press releases to the media, and having an informational booth at the Corning and Ithaca winter farmers’ markets, and at the Finger Lakes Locally Grown Foods Festival in February 2013.

Accomplishments/Milestones

April 2012 – June 2012
Cornell Cooperative Extension Staff will conduct 200 consumer preference surveys and 40 producer marketing surveys.
Surveys completed on time, with stated number of participants.

July 2012 – August 2012
Survey data will be compiled and analyzed to identify the following:
• Consumer buying preference trends (as it relates to local meats).
• Consumer identified barriers to buying local meats.
• Producers’ marketing channel preference.
• Producer identified barriers to selling via freezer trade.

Survey Data summarized, presented to other CCE-educators Nov. 2012

September 2012 – December 2012
Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators will develop educational materials for consumers and producers based on the survey results. These materials will include website content, fact sheets and power point presentations on how to buy local meats.

Project leaders LeRoux and Bartlett completely reworked/modified the “How to buy local meats” presentation. Beta version of website was developed, currently under review/modification.

January 2013 – March 2013
“How to buy local meats” presentations will be given in four locations (Corning, Bath, Ithaca, and Watkins Glen) by Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators Matt LeRoux and Kerri Bartlett.
Recruitment of local livestock producers to participate in Meat Suite website. This will include gathering farm, product, and price information from each individual farmer. We expect to have at least 25 participating producers at site launch. Meat Suite website development and design. The website will be designed by Pat Haggerty, a Cornell Cooperative Extension web developer. Mr. Haggerty is familiar with the mission of Cornell Cooperative Extension and created several database-driven websites for different programs at Extension.

Five “How to buy local meats” classes were scheduled. Two were held, three were cancelled due to low registration. Project leaders were surprised with the lack of registration. They have agreed to modify they method of delivering educational material. As a result an article was written for consumers and published in one of the areas newspapers with a large circulation. This was done in an effort to reach consumers who might not attend a traditional extension type of meeting. In addition the project leaders have agreed to develop and educational display on How to buy local meats to be used at two winter farmers’ markets and at a regional local food festival. The goal is to introduce more consumers to the ability and methods of purchasing local meats in an informal manor. Additional classes will be scheduled and the project leaders will “try again”.

The website developer has created a beta-version. Project leaders have reviewed and make suggestions. Matt LeRoux is developing the farmer intake form and currently “testing” it out on our farmer cooperators. (Beta version of website: http://ccext.net/MeatSuite/)

Project leaders are ahead of schedule at this time. We expect to launch the website in January 2013.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Project leaders were somewhat surprised at the survey results. They had not considered changing family dynamics/size and consumers’ choice to eat less meat as a primary barrier to local meat sales. May factor into producer education, encouraging them to offer more “bundles/packages” versus quarters and halves. In addition producers need to recognize many consumers are not familiar with all the cuts of meat they will receive when buying in bulk. Producers need to be prepared to educate their consumers.

Collaborators:

Mathew LeRoux

mnl28@cornell.edu
Extension Educator
CCE-Tompkins
615 Willow Ave
Ithaca, NY 14850
Office Phone: 6072722292