The overall goal of the ASU-MSFAC Marketing Program is to assist producers in understanding the importance of planning for each market and identifying various market outlets to create profitability and sustainability. Marketing is very important to the success of agricultural enterprises but is often neglected in the planning stages of new ventures. Research indicates that the demand for locally grown food and livestock products has grown substantially. Before capital is spent to develop a new enterprise, it is vital to determine if adequate demand exists for the products or services. However, producers lack the time and are deficient in the skills to identify new markets and to successfully negotiate and deliver on marketing opportunities and contracts. When strong demand exists, strategies should be developed to supply products or services to meet that demand. The ability to enter the local market on a small scale and retain higher farm-to-consumer margins provides opportunities for smaller farms, beginning farmers and other agricultural entrepreneurial businesses. Growth in local farming and associated businesses enhances community development through job creation and general economic activity.

The ASU-MSFAC Marketing Program focuses on direct marketing, alternative and niche markets for small scale and limited resource farmers and cooperatives. The marketing program provides information on selling high quality products at the local and regional level to help build food systems. The program offers producers and cooperatives valuable information on identifying wholesale and retail markets, building relationships with buyers, packaging and labeling products properly, negotiating and delivering products to buyers in compliance with the opportunity and marketing contract, market specifications, transportation logistics, securing decent prices, and promotion/advertising.

The program fosters an inter-disciplinary approach by working with various agribusiness and other units at Alcorn State University that include the Extension Program, Family and Consumer Sciences, WPRL 91.7 FM, and Health & Disability Services. For more information contact Dr. Elizabeth Myles at 601-877-3947 or [email protected].

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