Direct to Consumer | Direct Sales | Agritourism | Value-added | Social Media

Direct to Consumers

CSA’s , Farmers Markets, U- Pick

Key Resources

Direct Marketing (ATTRA, 1999, PDF)
This publication on direct marketing alternatives—with emphasis on niche, specialty and value-added crops—features many farm case studies, as well as information on enterprise budgets and promotion/publicity. A new section discusses implications of internet marketing and e-commerce for agriculture.

The Art & Science of Farmers’ Market Display (University of Vermont, 2009, PDF)
This publication reviews some basic tips for arranging your space, display strategies that work, and a few other marketing tactics that will signal customers you are open for business.

New Farmers Guide: Cultivating Success at Farmers Markets (Davis Farmers Market Association, California, 2012, PDF)
This how-to guide shares new perspectives on promoting and growing farmers markets from one of the premier farmers markets in the country.

Direct Marketing Food Specialty Products Online (North Central SARE, 2011, website)
The Direct Marketing of Specialty Food Products Online Curriculum is designed to provide business owners with strategies and tools to help sell directly to consumers online.

Meat Marketing Planner: Strategic Marketing for Farm-to-Table Meat Enterprises (University of Maryland Extension, 2013, PDF)
The guide addresses marketing beef, pork, lamb, and goat, but not poultry since poultry processing falls under differing USDA, FSIS, and state regulations.

Supplemental Resources

Merchandising Considerations for Direct Farm Marketers (University of Tennessee Extension, 2010, PDF)
Making the most of the market utilizing visual merchandising to increase sales, farmers must be able to effectively merchandise products by maintaining product quality, enticing customers with attractive displays and providing excellent customer service.

Selling Strategies for Local Food Producers (University of Missouri Extension, 2007, PDF)
Selling techniques: information in this guide is for anyone interested to sell their products directly to consumers.

How to Direct Market you Beef (SARE, 2005, website)
Portray of how a family ranch launched a profitable, grass-based beef operation focused on direct market sales. From slaughtering to packaging, through labeling and advertising, Jan and Will Holder transform their real-life experiences to a compelling narrative rich with practical tips.

Tips for Selling through CSA’s- Community Supported Agriculture (ATTRA, 2012, website)

Tips for Selling on the Internet (ATTRA, 2012, website)
The Internet is a communication and marketing tool that can provide exposure to a large number of potential customers. This tip sheet highlights the advantages, considerations, useful tips, and key questions you should ask yourself when considering selling your products via the Internet.

Marketing at Roadside Stands (Univ. of Kentucky Extension, 2010, PDF)
This fact sheet offers overview of marketing considerations for producers considering a roadside stand.

Tracking your Sales (University of Vermont Extension, 2007, PDF)
If you want to maximize your profits by monitoring your customers’ needs, wants and wishes. This publication offers a few easy, inexpensive methods you can use to monitor how your customers really feel about your product.

Ag Marketing Service (USDA Ag Marketing Service, 2014, website)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service administers programs that facilitate the efficient, fair marketing of U.S. agricultural products, including food, fiber, and specialty crops

Farm Business and Market Place (Univ. of California Extension, 2014, website)
A website resource to access research based information to assist with business and marketing decisions and success.

Direct Sales

Restaurants, Farm-to-School, Local Grocers, Market Co-ops

Key Resources

West Virginia Local Food Resources (WV HUB, 2012, PDF)
The directory includes local food aggregators, Co-packers, community kitchens, distributors (particularly those interested in local food), and meat processors that we identified in West Virginia as of September

Tips for Selling to Aggregators/Grower Marketing Co-ops (ATTRA, 2012, website)
Aggregators are agricultural businesses or cooperatives of growers that consolidate and distribute agricultural products. This tip sheet highlights the advantages, considerations, and key questions you should ask yourself when considering selling to an aggregator/grower marketing co-op.

Innovative Marketing Opportunities for Small Farmers: Local Schools as Customers (USDA, 2000, PDF)
This case study looks at a group of small farmers in the Florida Panhandle organized into the New North Florida Cooperative.

Selling to Restaurants (ATTRA, 2004, website)
Upscale restaurants serving locally-grown produce are in the headlines nationwide. Growing for this market is both lucrative and demanding. Profiles of growers from around the country illustrate successful strategies and points to remember when working with chefs.

Business Assessment: Are restaurants a good market choice? (Univ. of Vermont Extension, undated, PDF)

Tips for Selling to Grocery Stores (ATTRA, 2012, website)
Grocery stores are becoming increasingly interested in selling products grown by local farmers. This tip sheet highlights the advantages, considerations, useful tips, and key questions you should ask yourself when considering grocery stores as a market for your farm products.

Tips for Selling to Institutional Markets (ATTRA, 2012, website)
Institutional markets—such as cafeterias in state and local government buildings, schools, universities, prisons, hospitals, or similar organizations—are becoming more interested in buying local food, which provides a new marketing opportunity for a medium to large-scale farm. This tip sheet highlights the advantages, considerations, useful tips, and key questions you should ask yourself when considering institutions as a market for your farm products.

Supplemental Resources

New Markets for your Crops (ATTRA, 2008, website)
This graphic publication introduces produce growers to some of the key ideas involved in selling fruits and vegetables to institutions such as schools and hospitals. It has a large resource list of organizations in many states and nationally that can help growers market their products to institutions.

West Virginia Grown, WV Dept. of Agriculture Marketing & Development Division (WV Dept.of Ag, 2002, website)
The Marketing & Development Division is a multi-disciplinary division within the Department of Agriculture which is responsible for the promotion of West Virginia agricultural products and commodities, economic development and the operation of state owned farms.

Local and Regional Food Systems (ATTRA, 2012, website)
This website offers resources and tools for understanding the place of local food in the global food system, how producers can participate in this movement, and examples of successful local food systems that secure fresh foods for their communities.


Key Resources

Tips for Selling with Agritourism and Pick-Your-Own (ATTRA, 2012, website)
Agritourism combines agricultural sales with on-farm entertainment or activities that involve the customers. “Pick-your-own” or “you-pick” operations allow customers to wander out into the fields or orchards to pick their own apples, berries, pumpkins, or other crops. This tip sheet highlights the advantages, considerations, useful tips, and key questions you should ask yourself when considering these endeavors.

Entertainment Farming and Agri-Tourism (ATTRA, 2004, website)
This publication discusses agri-entertainment—a highly consumer-focused type of agriculture, which may offer additional options for diversification and add stability to farm incomes. Farmers have invented a wide variety of ‘entertainment farming’ options. This publication divides them by category as Things to See, Things to Do and Things to Buy, and also discusses considerations of liability and accessibility.

Agritourism, Your Way: A How-To-Guide for Successful Agritourism Enterprises (North Carolina State University, undated, PDF)
A How to Guide developed for University of Georgia and NCSU- A SARE funded project.

Agritourism Best Management Practices and Plan of Operation (LSU Extension, 2013, website)
Best management practices are suggested practices that an agritourism professional can use to minimize risks in an agirtourism enterprise. These best management practices can be used in the plan of operation under “suggestions to minimize risks.”


Value-Added Marketing Series (Penn State Extension, website)
Online resource guide for small and medium scale producers for adding value to your production: information on food processing, direct marketing, and other post production ventures.

Keys to Success in Value-added Agriculture (ATTRA, 2001, website)
Fourteen farmers in the Southern U.S. were interviewed for a project funded, in part, by the USDA’s Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) Program. This publication presents, largely in the farmers’ own words, important lessons they learned in adding value to their farm products and marketing directly to consumers. The keys to their success in value-added agriculture include high quality, good record-keeping, planning and evaluation, perseverance, focus, and building long-term relationships with customers.

Small-Scale Egg Handling (ATTRA, 2009, website)
Many small-scale egg producers sell specialty eggs, such as free-range or organic eggs, to the public at farmers’ markets and other venues and need to wash the eggs or prepare the eggs for market. Immersing or soaking the eggs in water is not recommended, but small- and medium-scale egg washers that use brushes and sprayers are very expensive. Small producers often use low-tech methods to clean eggs, including dry cleaning, dipping and spraying or pouring. Small producers should also candle and grade eggs to ensure high quality.

Value-added Dairy Options (ATTRA, 2001, website)
Dairy farmers can add value to their milk by processing and marketing their own products, such as cheeses, yogurt, butter, ice cream, and farm-bottled milk. This publication discusses regulations and organic milk certification and offers resources for further information.

Social Media

Social Media for Agriculture Businesses:Facebook (Penn State Extension, 2014, website)
Creating a Facebook account and using it to market your business.

Social Media for Agriculture Business: Blogs (Penn State Extension, 2014, website)
Learn how to create a blog and using it to market your business.

Social Media for Agriculture Businesses: Twitter (Penn State Extension, 2014, website)
How to create a Twitter account and using it to market your business

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