WSDA Regional Markets Look To Help Producers Succeed

Farming can be challenging. Add to that, the responsibility of marketing and moving those products, it’s enough to make any producer’s head swim. In an effort to help the over 39,000 small farms across the state, the Washington state Department of Agriculture has a Regional Markets team to help navigate some of the complexities.

Laura Raymond, Regional Markets Program Manager, said the assistance they offer varies operation to operation. She noted one of their main goals is to help producers as they try to match their product with markets that are a good fit across the state. Raymond noted between growing those great commodities and getting them ready for sale, many producers already have enough on their plate.

“And then they are also doing sales, and marketing and many times doing distribution and sales themselves, so that’s a lot to do.  And there’s a lot of information that a small farm business like that needs to know to be able to be successful.  And so we really try to help in whatever way we can through that whole process.”

Raymond noted many farmers have some kind of marketing plan, even if it isn’t formalized or on paper. But often operators don’t have the time, or know how to, transition those ideas to an action plan.

“That’s often a difficult distinction for people to make between, you know, my day-to-day life and my farming work and my business planning.  And so we offer workshops and training.”

Raymond noted other ways they can help producers include:

  • Increase small farm access to local markets.
  • Increase the availability of Washington-grown products in schools and institutions.
  • Encourage connections and infrastructure to boost regional food economies. 
  • Provide farms and food buyers with technical assistance.
  • Provide farms with marketing support and guidance.
  • Facilitate farmer-buyer connections.
  • Support and regulatory guidance for good food safety practices.
  • Advocate for small farms at the national and local levels.
  • Create resources and publications to help farms strengthen local market connections.
  • Provide opportunities to grow or strengthen their businesses through state grant programs. 

If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail [email protected]

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