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Conference Name Retail Farm Marketing Benchmarks

John Berry


Skills used for marketing of the Mid Atlantic’s abundant agricultural production continue to increase in economic importance. Producers marketing directly to consumers are capturing a larger percent of consumer disposable income.

Typically, the margin for agricultural products marketed directly to consumers is twice the margin of bulk or wholesale-marketed products. This follows from the direct linkage to consumers that farm markets provide. Not only does this expand the margin, but it also takes the farm products out of commodity markets and into retail markets that allow for product differentiation. This differentiation provides opportunities for better prices as well as for more stable prices than might be accessible in commodity markets.

As the pressures from increased land competition, labor demand, consumer expectations and farm family requirements continue to escalate, the opportunities available from using a more fully developed marketing channel offer increasing possibilities. These possibilities will serve to enhance the viability of Mid Atlantic Agriculture by expanding the scope of farm enterprises, and to directly link farm products to consumer retail markets.

Detailed planning and analysis are required for business start up, management and growth. Market managers often ask how they can measure their business in terms of potential for growth or expansion. There is very limited information available that gives some direction to these critical business management decisions. To start addressing these needs this research project has begun that will identify and then summarize the retail farm market benchmarks for our area. Direct-to-consumer market channels of raodside stands, farmers´ markets, community supported agriculture and we sales are included in this innovative research project.