Finding the right mix of markets for your farm business is just as important as deciding on what to produce. In fact, these decisions need to be made together because each one influences the other. Just as there are a huge number of products that can be raised on a farm, there are also a significant number of methods and channels for marketing those products.
In this course, we will focus on the following marketing channels that are widely used by sustainable market farmers:
- Farmers markets
- Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
- On-farm markets including farm stands and stores, U-pick and agro-tourism
- Online marketing through the Internet
- Direct sales to restaurants and grocery stores
Each of these marketing channels offers certain benefits and challenges to farmers. They also have a set of basic requirements needed to use them successfully. We list benefits, challenges, required resources and useful tips from experienced market farmers for each marketing channel.
“The best marketing channel is one where there is a good match ofyour farm’s key factors with the benefits, challenges and requiredresources.”
Each farm also has a unique set of factors that makes it more suited to certain marketing methods. We provide a list of key factors that you should consider when evaluating marketing channels for your farm.
The best marketing channel is one where there is a good match of your farm’s key factors with the benefits, challenges and required resources needed. It’s a messy process, so take some time to find the best match. Go through the information in this course, do some further research, make a plan, experiment with some markets, and come back and re-evaluate from time to time.
Once you have the information you need, make a plan, with some possible back-ups. Take the steps to prepare for the market you are going to use. Then do it!
Remember to evaluate periodically to see if it is working for you, after giving your markets enough time to prove themselves.
Adapted from a presentation by Lynn Pugh for Southern SAWG.
Continue to Farmers Markets.
Click below to hear an audio tip on setting goals from experienced farmer and marketer Jon Taggert.