Wednesday, January 27, 2010

SC Agriculture Conference

Today was the South Carolina Agriculture Conference in Ridge Spring, SC.  We started the day with a Keynote address titled "Successful Marketing on the Family Farm".  Diane Green from Greentree Naturals in Idaho told us how she and her husband have made a living off 2 acres.

Diane's tips included:
Direct Market to consumers
  • Use talking points about what you are selling
    • How you like the product prepared
    • How to store the product
  • Include recipe cards with farm logo and contact info
  • Educate consumers using brochures, newsletters, articles and more
  • If you sell at a farmer's market take photos of the farm
  • Label everything...product, handouts, cars, tent, yourself
  • Give gifts to repeat customers
  • Sponsor community events to raise farm awareness
Selling to Resturants
  • take a basket of samples when "courting" new establishments
  • have a set time to contact about and/or deliver products
  • be sure to put products in proper places
  • be polite and socialable but don't overstay your welcome
We continued our day with SC examples of Successful family farms
Jason Rodgers, Farm Manager with Titan Farms the largest peach producer east of the Mississippi, shared how a small family farm grew to over 4,000 acres. 

Eric McClam, Farm Manager with City Roots shared how his family began a farm in July 2009 on 3 arces in Columbia, SC.  The vision is to produce clean, healthy, sustainably grown products while enhancing and educating their community about the benefits of locally grown food, composting, vermicomposting and other environmentally friendly farming practices.

Lydia Yon, co-owner of Yon Family Farms shared how they produce seedstock Angus bulls, sweet corn and sell freezer beef.  The farm host two sales each year along with hosting interns.  They have made a name for themselves in the industry by providing high quality products. 

Ansley Rast with SC Department of Ag spoke about all the SC Grown program has to offer during lunch which featured SC Grown products prepared by Juniper Resturant. 

Keely Saye spoke about marketing in 2010 using Social Networking.  You can check out her presentation at here.  She also mentioned a You Tube video called Socionomics

We ended the day with three breakout sessions and a roundtable discussion.   Overall it was a very educational day with a lot of resources.   I encourage all farmers in SC to attend the next conference in 2012 in the Low Country.