The National Ag Statistic Service (NASS) has determined that Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of farms that sell direct-to-consumer. Now, PA Farm Markets has given us a clearer picture of what some of those direct-to-consumer markets look like. PA Farm Markets has just released its first ever maps of markets in Pennsylvania. The three maps identify farmers markets, retail farm markets and public markets throughout the Commonwealth.
PA Farm Markets promotes the vitality and growth of Pennsylvania's Retail Farm Markets, Farmers Markets, and Public Markets and shares resources and best practices as well as provide education, promotion, and cooperation.
Farmers markets are usually open-air markets that are held once a week with multiple farm and food vendors. Retail farm markets are markets that are a building or roadside stand that are open multiple days typically owned by a farm and public markets are made up of many types of vendors usually in a building.
According to PA Farm Markets, Pennsylvania has 685 retail farm markets, 337 farmers markets, and 56 public markets reflecting Pennsylvania’s great agricultural heritage and diverse farms with the oldest open air market in the country in the city of Easton established in 1752 as well as the oldest, continuously running public market can be found in Lancaster city, the Lancaster Central Market founded in 1730.
On the maps, markets are identified by dots which can be clicked on to see the market information which includes the market name, website and contact information. You can zoom in on any county to see that county’s markets and their location.
To see the maps, go to www.pafarm.com. The three maps are in the “resources” link on the home page.
If you have a market and don’t see it on any of the maps and would like it listed, you can contact PA Farm Markets through their website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agritourism Rules Top Farm Groups’ Concerns
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Reducing the regulatory burden on agritourism will be a top lobbying priority for Pennsylvania’s agriculture organizations this year.
“Diversity is the best insurance policy,” said Hannah Smith-Brubaker, executive director of Pasa Sustainable Agriculture.
Leaders from five ag groups spoke at a House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee hearing at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
With prices soft for many ag commodities, farmers continue to look for ways to diversify their operations.
But regulatory changes are needed to reduce the cost of starting these businesses.
Legislators have already introduced several bills to help.
Rick Ebert, president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, and Heidi Secord, president of the state Farmers Union, both praised Rep. Barbara Gleim’s bill to limit the liability of agritourism venues when neither party is at fault for injury or damages.
Assessing the Barriers to Increasing Customer Participation and Farm Sales at Farmers Markets
The number of FMs nearly doubled in the past decade (i.e., 4,385 to 8,687), but more recently growth has slowed considerably; e.g., between 2016 and 2017 the number of FMs increased by only 0.2% (AMS 2018). Further, based on recent Agricultural Census data, Low et al. (2015) found flattening trends of both farm participation and farm sales in direct-to-consumer (DTC) markets. They noted that between 2002 and 2007, the number of farms participating in DTC markets was up 17% and farm sales through those markets up 32%; but over the next five years, growth levels declined to only 6% and 8%, respectively. By 2017, the number of farms with DTC sales actually decreased by 10% from the 2012 level (NASS 2019).1 On the customer side, farmers and FM managers are attesting to a marked decline in customer participation and sales at FMs, creating uncertainty regarding the viability of FMs to sustain farming operations in the long term (Eggert 2018).
So what’s happening? Several hypotheses exist. First, farmers may be shifting to other channels (direct and/or wholesale) with relatively higher financial returns. While shifts to other DTC channels are accounted for in the DTC census statistics above, expanded wholesale opportunities are surfacing through restaurants, groceries, and institutions. Schmit & LeRoux (2014) demonstrated that on over 30 diversified vegetable farms, FMs were the worst performing channel in terms of sales per hour of marketing labor; specifically, FMs averaged $32, while wholesale channels were $51. If marketing channel reallocationaway from FMs is occurring for this reason, financial impacts at the farm level may be ameliorated or improved.
Digital and Social Media Marketing Webinar Series will cover several key issues for success in digital and social media marketing for farm and agribusiness owners. The series will include an update on current trends and an opportunity to hear from fellow farm and agribusiness owners on how they utilize social media.