; Providing Farmers the Tools to Manage Risk in Value-Added Ventures | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Providing Farmers the Tools to Manage Risk in Value-Added Ventures

Winifred McGee


Agricultural producers’ efforts to diversify their business by offering unique, value-added products are more widespread than ever, as farmers respond to consumers’ growing interest in knowing how and where their food is produced. However, growing food on a farm, and creating consumer-ready products, are two distinctly separate types of ventures. The production of unique food items presents unique risks which require specific management tools and strategies on the part of farmers who add value to their commodities. To meet the training needs of these new food entrepreneurs, Penn State Extension received USDA RME grant support through the project, "Annie’s Project, Women Adding Value," to develop a one-day workshop, entitled "Managing Your Food Business (without Risking Your Future)." The resulting class focuses on five specific tools/strategies for handling food business risks: Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)/ Good Handling Practices, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) planning, adequate liability insurance, inclusion of allergen warnings, and development of a proactive recall protocol. Like the original Annie’s Project, the class sessions are very interactive and conversational in nature; participants explore through hands-on activities, share common concerns, and converse with experienced guest speakers. This conference presentation offers an overview of the "Managing Your Food Business" course and reports the immediate impacts realized by the farmers and local food entrepreneurs who attended pilot Pennsylvania class sessions in February/March 2011. Participants will receive a copy of the post-class workbook, as well as the details to enable them to replicate this innovative class in their state or region.

Presentation Materials