Iowa MarketReady Trains Local Food Producers to Reach Beyond Local Consumers

AMES, Iowa —There is significant opportunity for farmers to build on the demand for local products in local markets. However, 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 value added agriculture program from the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, addresses these issues with education to help food suppliers succeed in today's markets and continue to be profitable, while using a new marketing stream. The training is based around best business practices identified by buyers in these markets who are actively seeking local suppliers. Iowa MarketReady will help farm vendors who sell dairy, fruits, meats and vegetables to design a better business strategy to succeed.

This training will be April 10, from 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach – Dubuque County Office, 14858 West Ridge Lane, Dubuque. The program will start with registration at 7:30 a.m. and includes lunch.

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 hartc@iastate.edu. Please give names of registrants, address, phone number, e-mail address and indicate whether you are a produce or livestock/poultry/egg producer.

Sponsors of the program include ISU Extension and Outreach Value Added Agriculture Program, the Dubuque County Extension Office and the Buy Fresh, Buy Local River Bend Chapter.

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