Farmers' Marketing
January 30, 2012 7:30 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a primer on the business-side of the small-scale produce production.

Let's say I've got the horticulture down to a science, but I'm still awfully green when it comes to regulations, insurance, markets, etc.

I'm especially interested in the marketing nuances here. Perhaps "market analysis" is a more fitting way to describe the sort of data/analyses that might best inform the tricky business decisions—like, say, farmers' markets versus CSAs versus co-ops versus restaurant supplies?—that are inevitable.

I'm sure I'll find useful any and all recommended blogs, extension publications, periodicals, trade groups, or anything else you might come up with. Thanks for your help.
posted by glibhamdreck to Work & Money (3 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Growing for Market is your friend! Any book they sell is going to be good, but The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook looks like what you're looking for.

We're in WA, so I don't know the WI equivalent, but we attend the conference every year. The MOSES Organic conference looks promising, but I can't find a list of the sessions. At the conference, you can meet the extension/land grant folks whose job it is to answer questions like this as well as other farmers, noobies, and interns who are asking the same questions as you. In Washington, the WSDA hangs out and hands out the "green book" with all of the regulations and standards in it.

Well, I'm speculating about who's going to be there, but the list of sponsors is very promising.

These conferences are expensive, but it's the fastest way to get dumped into the world of organic farming. And, as you figured out, the reason it's not gardening is that it's a business so *everyone* there is either trying to figure things out, has them figured out and is willing to share, or is a professional helper-of-people-who-need-to-figure-these-things-out.

And getting to know other people in the same line of work is a relief. Related to that are The Greenhorns and the National Young Farmers Coalition. This is my local.

You know about Extension.org, right? At the moment, there's an article on the front page about hobby-to-business transitions.
posted by stet at 12:36 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I second Growing for Market...when we were in the Farmer's Market / CSA route, it was pretty invaluable

Depending on where you're at, local extension is really important. Also look around for local small farmer's conferences, farmer's market associations, and grower's groups. (The links are all Oregon-related, because that's what I know). Just having other folks to compare notes with is invaluable.

As an aside, my wife did her Master's on the economics of Farmer's Markets...I really need to get that online...

Good luck!
posted by mossbackfarm at 2:00 PM on January 30, 2012


Probably less relevant to you b/c it's Canadian data, and it's older, but there's some info on greenhouse veggie cost of production here (Alberta Agriculture data). I also ordered the Agdex document referenced at the bottom of the page and found it useful; it's more cost of production data in more detail.
posted by bluebelle at 2:04 PM on January 30, 2012


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