AMES, Iowa – Locating businesses and markets for agricultural products can be a challenge for producers. However, a new Web site offers an interactive mapping tool to assist producers in finding target market areas for products.
Iowa Market Maker is an interactive Web site designed to connect food producers, distributors, buyers and sellers. This innovative and unique Web tool integrates the power of U.S. Census Data, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes and Global Satellite Imagery (GSI). By overlaying this data and technology, buyers and sellers now have the ability to truly “target” market their sales and purchases. Market Maker is a project originated by the University of Illinois Extension Initiative for the Development of Entrepreneurs in Agriculture (IDEA) program.
Funding for the Iowa project was provided by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Marketing and Food Systems Initiative, Altria, the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC) and Iowa State University Extension Value Added Agriculture Program. The Iowa Market Maker Web site is www.marketmakeriowa.com.
“The Iowa MarketMaker Web site is rich with demographic and business data that the user can query,” said Ray Hansen of AgMRC. “Details can be summarized on a map to show concentrations of consumer markets and strategic business partners. Providing this kind of information in a map-based format makes much more sense than business lists and statistical tables.”
For example, a user can request lists of federally-inspected packing plants along with a map that shows their locations. If you are a grocery store manager looking for the closest producer of organic vegetables, you can query the Web site to find names and contact information.
Census data is also a feature of the site. For example, a producer wanting to sell meat to consumers with various ethnic backgrounds can request a map showing the greatest concentration of income levels in households and then request a complete demographic profile of those locations.
The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center at Iowa State University has partnered with Market Maker to increase the national visibility of the project and bring additional state information online. This would allow producers to expand their search beyond Iowa’s borders. This program also in Illinois.
For more information about Market Maker or the ISU Extension Value Added Agriculture Program, contact (515) 294-0588, firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.iavaap.org. The Iowa Market Maker site is http://www.marketmakeriowa.com.