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Conference Name Business Planning and Online Marketing Education for Tennessee Farmers

Megan Bruch


The Business Planning and Online Marketing Education for Tennessee Farmers project provided educational opportunities to help participants manage financial and marketing risk by developing business plans and implementing cost-effective online marketing strategies. Tennessee farmers involved in value-added, direct marketing and agritourism enterprises were the intended audience. The program included:

an 8-session seminar series, Building a Sustainable Business Workshop Series
3 sessions on business planning in 2019 Memphis New Farm Academy
2, day-long DeviceReady Workshops designed to help producers manage their overall online presence
4, day-long, hands-on Facebook 101 Workshops
12 month Online Marketing Webinar Series covering topics such as social media trends, e-mail marketing and effective use of social media platforms
4 Farmers Market Vendor Boot Camp Workshops including sessions on business planning basics and digital marketing trends
A total of 516 people participated in the educational programs offered. A total of 235 participants reported their knowledge of marketing fundamentals, tools and/or techniques. Of these, 229 reported developing written goals for implementing new or improved marketing strategies, and 51 reported implementing strategies learned to improve the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Eighty-five participants reported increasing their knowledge of business planning to evaluate on-farm investment decisions, and four developed a business plan.

Success Story 1

A producer completed a business plan for her value-added agritourism and goat business. “Though all event sales were lost in 2020 due to COVID restrictions, I was able to realize some of the goals in my business plan by expanding my product line with soaps and luffas… I increased our social media presence and with more folks shopping from home, online sales increased almost 300%. The number of cabin stays increased by 15% as more travelers felt safer in a farm-stay than a hotel room. This resulted in more foot traffic in my new on-farm soap shop and my total gross revenue increased 30% over the prior year.”

Success Story 2

From September 2019: "I have used Facebook for both our winery and our wedding venue. Through these workshops, I learned how to boost event advertisements and how to target the groups of potential guests. Since using these methods our business has grown substantially. Our wedding venue has hosted a wedding nearly every weekend from May with bookings through November and now into 2020. Our winery promotions have also targeted a 50 mile radius of our location and we have had at least a 25% increase in visitors from areas outside of our local community."

From February 2021: “The year 2020 found most of our weddings that had been scheduled cancelled due to the pandemic. We were very afraid of economic disaster as we had invested so much in the vineyard wedding venue for the upcoming year with almost every weekend rented for weddings. We blasted social media with specials in our winery and were able to offset any loss, in fact, we actually saw a gain in sales of over 10%. I do not believe that this would have been possible without the workshops that I attended.”