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Ginger S. Myers
Extension Marketing Specialist and
Director , Maryland Rural Enterprise
Development Center
University of Maryland Extension
310-432-2767 [email protected]
Defining Marketing Options
1.What will it realistically take to
achieve your goals from a resources
2. How long will it take?
Starting Places
• Wholesale or contract
• Hybrid- contract, group sales,
some differentiation
• Direct markets-primary
Develop a Marketing Mix
• What is direct marketing?
• Driving forces underlying growth
in DM.
• Benefits to producers and
• Prospects for your future.
What exactly is direct marketing?
Direct marketing involves selling
agricultural products directly to
the consumer (e.g. PYO,
roadside stands, farmers
markets, ecommerce, etc.)
Driving Forces Behind
Direct Marketing
• Dissatisfaction with low farm gate prices.
• Retail buyer consolidation.
• Urban sprawl.
• Consumer interest in food safety &
• Increased emphasis on convenience and
value added (less volume purchasing).
Farmer’s Share of the Food Dollar
Benefits of Direct Marketing to
CAN PROVIDE Alternative income streams.
• Helps to preserve small farms.
• Outlet for organic/specialty niches.
• Capture greater share of consumer dollar.
• Able to be their own boss/do their own thing –
less dependent on wholesale.
Direct Markets
• Pick-Your-Own
• Can work for seasonal produce like berries.
– Have a phone with an answering machine
that gives prices and operating hours.
– Provide an educational setting for small
– Display clear signs with rules and prices
Direct Markets
Inviting the public onto the farm.
Agritourism can take many forms including retail sales, hay
rides, corn mazes, pick-your-own operations, and use of
woodlands on farms for hunting, hiking, horseback riding, and
other activities. There may be educational components including
programs for schoolchildren and elderhostel tours, as well as
exhibits and demonstrations tailored to specific visitor groups.
Farms may combine retail sales and tours with accommodations
such as bed and breakfasts and farm-stays.
Direct Markets
• Farm Stands and Roadside
• Location is everything.
– Successful when it features one or two high-demand items
(watermelon,sweet corn).
Direct Markets
Farmers’ Markets
There were 76 Farmers’ Markets in Maryland
in 2008. Markets are in every county and the
City of Baltimore.
Instant feedback on your products.
Opportunity for on-the-job training.
Direct Markets
Community Supported Agriculture
CSA- Involves a single farmer, sometimes a
group, selling “shares” or “subscription” at
the beginning of the season and then
delivering (or providing for pick-up) baskets
of whatever is produced.
Direct Markets
Specialty Markets
• Ethnic produce.
– Have a commitment from potential buyers before
growing the product.
– Must be able to consistently supply product.
Sales to Restaurants
– Talk to chefs and specialty buyers before growing
the crop.
– Pre-processed produce may be required.
Do I Need a Website?
• Not having a website is like not having a
• Use to tell your story.
• Map, hours of operation, directions.
• Sign-up, newsletters
• Internet sales?
Getting Started
• Think outside the box- Just because you don’t grow
something now doesn’t mean you can’t grow it in the
• Go to local farmers’ markets and see what’s there( and
what’s not there).
• Talk to contacts and see if local chefs are buying local
• Consider tourism outlets.
• Talk to other producers to hear what has worked and
what hasn’t.
• Contact Extension, NRCS, etc regarding the prohibitive
potential of your property.
SWOT Analysis
• Strengths and Weaknesses- usually
internal factors that you can control.
• Opportunities and Threats- Usually
external factors you can’t control
• Understanding trends, customer buying
“hot buttons” and industry issues is your
best “Risk Management” tool for dealing
with EXTERNAL Factors.
Keys to Direct Marketing Success
•Focus on values and set your prices
•Know what customers in your area want.
•Seek unique varieties of stand crops or
unique experiences for agritourism.
•Develop a marketing plan and revise as
•Communication is critical.
Learn from others.
More Getting Started
• Think about what you grow or produce well
(quality is critical for direct marketing)
• Decide which market(s) work best for you (have
a plan).
• Check out any regulatory requirements for
marketing your product(s).
• Think about your story. What makes your
product unique?.
 Niche/cache
marketing is not a panacea
for production agriculture’s problems.
 Less capital intensive is not the same as
less management intensive.
 Land-use regulations may limit added value
enterprises and entertainment, yet
these activities may be necessary to justify
 Higher land-related costs.