Direct Market Approach
How do you recommend producers prepare for direct marketing products and livestock off their farm?
"We recommend Missouri producers take into consideration several factors before pursuing direct marketing. First, producers must identify what direct marketing opportunities they are interested in.
Producers should do their homework to determine if direct marketing is right for their operation. This starts with a sound business and financial plan to determine if direct marketing makes sense for their farm operation. Producers can get help developing a business plan from several resources including the University of Missouri Extension, the Small Business Administration and many other resources available on the Web.
In addition, producers must take an assessment of themselves. Direct marketing can require significantly more time and producers must understand the true commitment needed. Producers must also consider if they have the skills required for direct marketing or marketing ideas and techniques."
Of what regulations and regulatory departments do producers need to be aware in this process?
"The products that producers are interested in marketing will determine what regulations and local and state departments that will need to be involved. The best place to get started is the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Web site at mda.mo.gov and your county health department where the products will be sold."
Are there good websites or ways to get the word out about products?
"The Missouri Department of Agriculture's Web site offers consumers a place to find local food and agritourism locations while also providing tools for producers involved. You will find the AgriMissouri Buyers Guide and the Missouri Farmers' Market Directory which can help producers get the word out about their products or location.
Many producers are tackling web skills, developing their own websites and also using social media to reach even more crowds. Social media such as blogging, micro-blogging sites such as Twitter, social networking sites such as Facebook, photo and video sharing sites including Flickr and YouTube are all proving to be useful tools in marketing and gaining loyal customers."
Why is direct marketing becoming a viable option for an added avenue for profits at the farm?
"Direct Marketing is becoming more viable for several reasons. First, direct marketing gives more control to the producer, giving them the ability to determine their own prices in most cases, and to control bottom line. Also, consumer demand is driving much of the direct marketing. People are paying more attention to where their food is coming from, and how it is produced. People are interested in supporting the local economy and local farmers."
Get more answers and link to the Missouri Department of Agriculture's website at www.ozarksfn.com.