Sections

Weather Forecast

Close
Advertisement
A customer chooses onions from a vendor's trailer at the 2010 Willmar Farmers Market conducted in the Westside Liquor parking lot. Direct-to-consumer marketing such as at farmers markets is the main method of sales used by small local food producers with gross annual sales of less than $50,000, a new study shows. Tribune file photo by Ron Adams

New USDA study focuses on locally marketed foods

Email Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
Willmar,Minnesota 56201 http://www.wctrib.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/1/1130/20111126082810farmersmarket01.jpg?itok=a9l-qvHI
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
New USDA study focuses on locally marketed foods
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- Despite increased production and consumer interest, locally grown food still accounts for a small segment of U.S. agriculture.

Advertisement
Advertisement

While information regarding U.S. local food producers and their marketing channels remains far from complete, a recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides some insight regarding this nascent segment of U.S. agriculture.

In their study, Sarah Low and Stephen Vogel of USDA's Economic Research Service focused on farmers' use of direct-to-consumer and intermediated marketing channels in selling locally produced foods to consumers.

Their study found that marketing of local foods, via both direct-to-consumer and intermediated channels, grossed $4.8 billion in 2008 -- about four times higher than estimates based solely on direct-to-consumer sales.

Other findings included:

n Small farms -- those with less than $50,000 in gross annual sales -- accounted for 81 percent of all farms reporting local food sales in 2008. They averaged $7,800 in local food sales per farm and were more likely to rely exclusively on direct-to-consumer marketing channels, such as farmers markets and roadside stands.

n Medium-sized farms -- those with gross annual sales between $50,000 and $250,000 -- accounted for 17 percent of all farms reporting local food sales in 2008. They averaged $70,000 in local food sales per farm and were likely to use direct-to-consumer marketing channels alone or a mix of direct-to-consumer and intermediated marketing channels.

n Large farms -- those with gross annual sales of $250,000 or more -- accounted for 5 percent of all farms reporting local food sales in 2008. They averaged $770,000 in local food sales per farm and were equally likely to use direct-to-consumer channels exclusively, intermediated channels exclusively, or a mixture of the two.

n For small and medium-sized farms with local food sales, more operators identified their primary occupation as farming and devoted more time to their farm operation than operators of similarly sized farms without local sales.

n Large farms accounted for 92 percent of the value of local food sales marketed exclusively through intermediated channels.

n The value of locally sold food is highest in metropolitan areas, and is geographically concentrated in the Northeast and on the West Coast.

To view the entire findings of this study, visit USDA's Economic Research Service website at www.ers.usda.gov.

Applications being accepted for 2010 crop disaster program

Farmers who suffered crop production or crop quality losses during the 2010 crop year can now apply for assistance at their local Farm Service Agency office.

The Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program is one of the five permanent disaster programs authorized by the 2008 farm bill. It provides assistance to producers who suffered qualifying crop production or quality losses due to adverse weather conditions that occurred on or before Sept. 30.

As the name implies, the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program assists producers in managing revenue losses by reducing the threats of lower-than-expected yields and prices by providing a revenue guarantee for a producer's farming operation.

If disaster-related conditions result in a producer's total farm revenue being less than the farm's total revenue guarantee, the producer is paid 60 percent of the difference.

For program purposes, a farm is defined as all crop acreage that is planted and intended to be planted for commercial sale or on-farm livestock feeding purposes. The farm definition includes all crops, produced from all land, and in all counties.

There are several eligibility requirements that producers must meet to qualify for the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program.

One requirement is that the producer must suffer at least a 10 percent production loss on at least one crop of economic significance. A significant crop is defined as a crop that contributes at least 5 percent of a farm's expected revenue.

Another requirement is that the producer must have an interest in a crop that was produced in either a county, or a county contiguous to a county, that received a natural disaster declaration for crop production losses.

The only Minnesota county to receive a disaster designation in 2010 was Freeborn. Also receiving disaster designations were several counties in far eastern North Dakota and South Dakota, including some counties that border Minnesota.

Because of the disaster designation, producers that had a 2010 farming interest in a crop produced in Freeborn County, or any county contiguous to a declared county, may qualify for assistance. Contiguous counties in Minnesota would include Clay, Dodge, Faribault, Kittson, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Marshall, Mower, Norman, Polk, Steele, Traverse, Waseca, Wilkin, Winona and Yellow Medicine.

Producers who did not have a 2010 farming interest in Freeborn County, or any of the named contiguous counties, may still qualify for assistance. However, they would need to verify that their farming operation suffered at least a 50 percent overall reduction in production.

To qualify for assistance, all 2010 crops of economic significance must have been insured under a federal crop insurance policy, or coverage through USDA's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

Wes Nelson is the executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Kandiyohi County.

WILLMAR -- Despite increased production and consumer interest, locally grown food still accounts for a small segment of U.S. agriculture.

While information regarding U.S. local food producers and their marketing channels remains far from complete, a recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides some insight regarding this nascent segment of U.S. agriculture.

In their study, Sarah Low and Stephen Vogel of USDA's Economic Research Service focused on farmers' use of direct-to-consumer and intermediated marketing channels in selling locally produced foods to consumers.

Their study found that marketing of local foods, via both direct-to-consumer and intermediated channels, grossed $4.8 billion in 2008 -- about four times higher than estimates based solely on direct-to-consumer sales.

Other findings included:

- Small farms -- those with less than $50,000 in gross annual sales -- accounted for 81 percent of all farms reporting local food sales in 2008. They averaged $7,800 in local food sales per farm and were more likely to rely exclusively on direct-to-consumer marketing channels, such as farmers markets and roadside stands.

- Medium-sized farms -- those with gross annual sales between $50,000 and $250,000 -- accounted for 17 percent of all farms reporting local food sales in 2008. They averaged $70,000 in local food sales per farm and were likely to use direct-to-consumer marketing channels alone or a mix of direct-to-consumer and intermediated marketing channels.

- Large farms -- those with gross annual sales of $250,000 or more -- accounted for 5 percent of all farms reporting local food sales in 2008. They averaged $770,000 in local food sales per farm and were equally likely to use direct-to-consumer channels exclusively, intermediated channels exclusively, or a mixture of the two.

- For small and medium-sized farms with local food sales, more operators identified their primary occupation as farming and devoted more time to their farm operation than operators of similarly sized farms without local sales.

- Large farms accounted for 92 percent of the value of local food sales marketed exclusively through intermediated channels.

- The value of locally sold food is highest in metropolitan areas, and is geographically concentrated in the Northeast and on the West Coast.

To view the entire findings of this study, visit USDA's Economic Research Service website at www.ers.usda.gov.

Applications being accepted for 2010 crop disaster program

Farmers who suffered crop production or crop quality losses during the 2010 crop year can now apply for assistance at their local Farm Service Agency office.

The Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program is one of the five permanent disaster programs authorized by the 2008 farm bill. It provides assistance to producers who suffered qualifying crop production or quality losses due to adverse weather conditions that occurred on or before Sept. 30.

As the name implies, the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program assists producers in managing revenue losses by reducing the threats of lower-than-expected yields and prices by providing a revenue guarantee for a producer's farming operation.

If disaster-related conditions result in a producer's total farm revenue being less than the farm's total revenue guarantee, the producer is paid 60 percent of the difference.

For program purposes, a farm is defined as all crop acreage that is planted and intended to be planted for commercial sale or on-farm livestock feeding purposes. The farm definition includes all crops, produced from all land, and in all counties.

There are several eligibility requirements that producers must meet to qualify for the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program.

One requirement is that the producer must suffer at least a 10 percent production loss on at least one crop of economic significance. A significant crop is defined as a crop that contributes at least 5 percent of a farm's expected revenue.

Another requirement is that the producer must have an interest in a crop that was produced in either a county, or a county contiguous to a county, that received a natural disaster declaration for crop production losses.

The only Minnesota county to receive a disaster designation in 2010 was Freeborn. Also receiving disaster designations were several counties in far eastern North Dakota and South Dakota, including some counties that border Minnesota.

Because of the disaster designation, producers that had a 2010 farming interest in a crop produced in Freeborn County, or any county contiguous to a declared county, may qualify for assistance. Contiguous counties in Minnesota would include Clay, Dodge, Faribault, Kittson, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Marshall, Mower, Norman, Polk, Steele, Traverse, Waseca, Wilkin, Winona and Yellow Medicine.

Producers who did not have a 2010 farming interest in Freeborn County, or any of the named contiguous counties, may still qualify for assistance. However, they would need to verify that their farming operation suffered at least a 50 percent overall reduction in production.

To qualify for assistance, all 2010 crops of economic significance must have been insured under a federal crop insurance policy, or coverage through USDA's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

Wes Nelson is the executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Kandiyohi County.

Advertisement
news@wctrib.com
Advertisement
Advertisement