New in Michigan Organic Ag?
Jan 5 – 16
1. Farmers Can Learn About USDA Grant Programs At Upcoming Workshops.
2. NPR Features Eric Hahn On Sourcing and Selling Local Foods.
3. Selling Strategies for Local Food Producers.
Notice of Position Openings
4. Looking For Intern/Apprentices.
5. Farm to School: Healthy Kids, Thriving Farms, March 12, 2008.
6. Blueberry IPM Scout Training Program Starts Feb. 14.
7. Learn as
You Grow: A Practical Experience in Organic Gardening, TBA.
1. FARMERS CAN LEARN ABOUT USDA GRANT PROGRAMS AT UPCOMING WORKSHOPS
The Value Added Producer Grant Workshop is set for Jan. 24 in
Participants can learn about various USDA grant programs for value-added
production and alternative energy. Presenters from the
Rural business specialists from the USDA’s Rural Development program will discuss eligibility criteria, the application and evaluation process, matching funds and other requirements. They will also discuss resources available to those developing grant proposals.
The USDA Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program is open to independent producers, farmer or rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures to fund one of the following two activities: planning activities needed to establish a viable value-added marketing opportunity for an agricultural product (e.g., conduct a feasibility study, develop a business plan, develop a marketing plan); or acquire working capital to operate a value-added business venture that will allow producers to better compete in domestic and international markets.
For more information about the Value
Added Producer Grant Workshop, contact the
This program is sponsored by the
2. NPR Features Eric Hahn Exclusively On Sourcing and Selling Local Foods
January 4, 2008
Big news from northwest Michigan, where the Michigan Land Use Institute and many fine partners have since 2004 been developing a robust regional network for local farms and food businesses under our Taste the Local Difference campaign (see www.LocalDifference.org).
Today National Public Radio ran a locally produced feature on native son Eric Hahn, who last summer launched the new Cherry Capital Foods Company, which focuses nearly exclusively on sourcing and selling local foods. We've worked with Eric for a few years now and are very happy for his success and what it means for our local food system here. We're also working with Eric to keep this middleman service going in a way that continues to return real value to farms, the land, and our community.
Checklist: Are you ready to sell?
Being prepared to sell is essential. You should have the basics covered before you open for business or make a sales call.
For many farmers, marketing and selling their products are the most challenging parts of the farm enterprise, especially when selling directly to consumers. However, direct markets for fresh and unique food products are among the most rapidly growing farm opportunities. People around the country are looking to buy tasty, healthy food directly from farmers -- farmers with whom they can talk, ask questions and build relationships. However, these new market opportunities, particularly in farmers' markets, community supported agriculture (CSA), roadside stands, restaurants and cooperatives, require expertise in selling as well as marketing, production and financial management.
In any business, marketing and selling go hand in hand. Marketing describes a range of activities that include deciding what to produce and how to price, distribute and promote a product. Selling, on the other hand, describes the techniques used to entice buyers to exchange their cash for the seller's products. Despite the images that many people hold of pushy "salesmen" who won't take no for an answer, or the "natural-born salesman" who gets people to buy products without much effort, developing strong selling skills is critically important to acquiring and keeping customers in a direct marketing enterprise. And, while many farmers may be intimidated by the idea of selling, it is important to remember that selling skills -- just like other skills -- can be learned.
Organic Vegetable and Crop Outreach Specialist
Michigan State University
C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems
303 Natural Resources Bldg.
East Lansing, MI 48824
For information on organic agriculture production please visit: http://www.MichiganOrganic.msu.edu/
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