While significant opportunity exists to build on the demand for local products in farmers markets, many food producers are hesitant or unprepared to meet additional requirements of institutional, wholesale and restaurant buyers to manage food safety, insurance, product quality and traceability risks. Iowa MarketReady, a new program from Iowa State University Extension's Value Added Agriculture Program, offers farmers the support and education to succeed in both local retail and wholesale markets.
"We want farm vendors to continue to be profitable while using a different or new marketing stream to sell their dairy, fruits, meats and vegetables," says Linda Naeve, value added ag specialist with ISU. The training is based around best business practices identified by food buyers in these markets that are actively seeking local suppliers. "Our goal," Naeve says, "is to help them design a better business strategy to succeed."
The Iowa MarketReady day-long training is March 3 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Room 115 of the Northeast Iowa Community College Dairy Center in Calmar, Iowa. It's located south of Calmar at 1527 Highway 150 South. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Program topics include communications and relationship building, packaging, labels, supply and delivery, post-harvest handling for produce, grading, insurance, regulatory and marketing.
The registration fee is $55 per person or $90 per couple or two employees attending from the same farm. The fee includes training materials, a light lunch and refreshments.
Pre-registration is required for this training
For more information or to register, contact Linda Naeve at 515-294-8946 or [email protected]. Please give names of registrants, address, phone number, email address and indicate whether the registrant is a produce or livestock/poultry/egg producer. Sponsors of the program include Iowa State University Extension's Value Added Agriculture Program and the Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Coalition.