Professional Development Program






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Unit 2: Marketing Opportunities and Strategies for Sustainable Farm/Ranch Businesses

Farmers’ Market, Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by Natalie Maynor, CC BY 2.0)
Building on the planning and business development concepts covered in Unit 1, we’re ready to focus on marketing. Marketing is an integral component of any successful farm business. And to stay profitable and competitive, farmers and ranchers are always looking at new products and innovative marketing strategies. Today, these entrepreneurs are increasingly taking on jobs that used to be handled by others in the marketing chain: identifying customer needs and wants, educating consumers, processing, packaging, labeling and advertising.
In this unit you’ll explore basic marketing concepts such as:
  • Marketing plan components
  • Alternative marketing opportunities
  • New distribution strategies
  • Calculation of break-even prices
  • Alternative promotional strategies
  • Market research
  • Marketing resources
As you explore these and other marketing concepts and strategies with your clientele, strive for a process of “shared inquiry” where you step out of your role as a technical expert and explore, investigate and learn with the farmer or rancher (see Course 1 of this series — Sustainable Agriculture: Principles and Concept Overview). This approach is essential in helping farmers and ranchers address the many questions and challenges related to marketing.
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