Professional Development Program






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

Market Analysis and Research

Exploring new opportunities and marketing strategies requires thoughtful research – especially if the farmer is looking beyond the traditional farm gate. The further a producer moves up the food chain toward a final product (through processing or differentiation) or the closer they get to the end-customer (through packaging and direct marketing), the more important marketing research becomes.
Many producers interested in value-added or alternative production end up dumping a fair amount of product or giving up on business goals because they failed to spend time up front researching markets, customer preferences, potential sales volume, prices, post-harvest handling, processing alternatives, packaging, legal obligations, transportation, expenses and competition. Farmers and ranchers need to research each of these items carefully, identify risks and develop a clear marketing plan – especially if they are experimenting with a new product idea, investing in processing equipment, or entering a highly competitive market. Without a well-researched marketing plan, producers risk time, money or even the farm.
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