In addition to producing quality products, farmers must ensure they have profitable sales outlets. Farms of all sizes benefit from increased access to aggregators, and processors that add value to their products.  And, for farms that sell directly to consumers, they must understand the most effective way to market their product.  This group of projects work to build market share by increased route to market opportunities, and improve profits by improving marketing expertise.  The risk level for these projects is moderate, and they should be delivering a return on investment in their first two years.

Practical Tools to Help Small Scale Livestock Producers Make a Profitable Connection to Local Customers. It can be difficult for direct market livestock producers to understand if they are pricing their product appropriately.  Oftentimes the labor involved to market and sell the product is underestimated, leading to lower-than-expected returns in seemingly profitable markets.  Matt LeRoux of Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County has developed a tool to help producers identify their most profitable market channel and better price their product. NYFVI has awarded LeRoux $99,923 to improve and promote this tool, educating farmers across the state about pricing and profit while compiling important data about marketing costs and decisions. The funds will also assist in expanding the Meat Suite project, which connects livestock producers to “freezer trade” customers.

Marketing Plans to Help NYC Greenmarket Farmers Build Sales. Research estimated that 360,000 people walked through the Union Square Greenmarket (one of 62 farmers’ markets in the NYC farmers’ market system) on a Friday last fall.  Yet only 8% of them stopped to make a purchase.  Christopher Wayne of GrowNYC has been awarded $69,465 to increase the number of purchasers by helping NY farmers improve their marketing. Building on a 2014 NYFVI grant, the 2015 program will use a marketing team approach with expertise in merchandising, online development, graphic design and record keeping to assist participating farmers in developing and executing marketing plans. Based on the prior project’s success, it is estimated that participating farms will see their gross sales grow by 7% in the first year of executing their new marketing plan. The project will use lessons learned to create a direct marketing guide available to farmers across the state.