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MarketReady Workshops presented to help growers sell wholesale

Provides information on selling products to wholesale markets; includes panel of area buyers

AMES ― Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host three MarketReady workshops in February and March. The training is designed to provide producers with the skills and knowledge needed to make sound decisions about diversifying operations into wholesale, retail, and institutional market outlets.

The workshops will be held on the following dates:

Feb. 19 – Citizens State Bank Youth Development Center, 800 N. Maple St., Monticello. To register, call Nanci at Jones County Extension and Outreach at 319-465-3224 by 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15.

Feb. 26 – Cass County Community Center, 805 West 10th Street, Atlantic. To register, call Kate at Cass County Extension and Outreach at 712-243-1132 by 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22.

March 4 – Wapello County Extension Office, 13011 120th Avenue, Ottumwa. To register, call Sue at Wapello County Extension and Outreach at 641-682-5491 by 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28. (Postponed from Jan. 29.)

This training will focus on best marketing practices when dealing with these market outlets, including communications and relationship building, regulations, packaging and labeling, grading, pricing, logistics, and more.

The workshop will also include a buyer panel. The intent of this part of the program is for buyers to meet farmers and producers, and for both sides of the sales transaction to understand what the other needs in order to supply and buy local food. Panelists will include chefs, grocers, and institutional buyers such as those working for school districts and hospitals.

“We decided to bring this program back to Iowa because many farmers expressed interest in diversifying their operations to include wholesale markets,” said Emily Coll, program assistant for the ISU Extension and Outreach Local Foods Program. “We offer them help understanding these markets and deciding whether the return on investment would be acceptable.”

A past attendee from northeast Iowa said, “By attending the MarketReady training, I was able to decide whether or not I should start selling my vegetables to wholesale markets.”

Cost for the workshop is $20 per person or $35 per couple (or two employees from the same farm). The fee includes training materials, a light lunch, and refreshments.

For more information about the workshop, contact Emily Coll, program assistant with ISU Extension and Outreach Local Foods and Value Added Agriculture Programs, at ecoll@iastate.edu or 515-296-0586. More details are available at www.extension.iastate.edu/localfoods/marketready-workshops.

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