Iowa MarketReady Workshop Helps Local Food Producers Extend Reach

fruits and vegetablesAMES, Iowa -- While significant opportunity exists to build on the demand for local products in local markets, many farmers are hesitant or unprepared to meet the transactional requirements required by institutional, wholesale and restaurant buyers to manage food safety, insurance, product quality and traceability risks. Iowa MarketReady, a new program from the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Value Added Agriculture Program, addresses these issues and seeks to educate food suppliers to succeed in today's markets and continue to be profitable, while utilizing a new marketing stream.

The training is based around best business practices identified by buyers in these markets that are actively seeking local suppliers. Iowa MarketReady will help farm vendors selling dairy, fruits, meats and vegetables design a better business strategy to succeed.

This two-day training will be  March 25 and March 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days in Room 117 of Tama Hall at Hawkeye Community College, 1501 E. Orange Road, Waterloo, Iowa. Producers need to attend both days of the workshop. The program will start with registration and lunch on both days.

Topics to be covered include communications and relationship building, packaging, labels, supply and delivery, post-harvest handling for produce, grading, insurance, regulatory and marketing.

The workshop costs $55 per person or $90 per couple or two employees from the same farm. Fees include training materials, light lunch and refreshments.

Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, call or email Christa Hartsook at 515-294-4430 or Please give the name of the registrant, address, phone number and e-mail address and indicate whether the register is a produce or livestock/poultry/egg producer.

Sponsors of the program include Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Value Added Agriculture Program and Northern Iowa Food and Farm Partnership.