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December 6, 2007

New opportunity for Indiana producers to market their product

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Indiana producers have a new tool that could help them better directly market their products.

"Essentially, Indiana MarketMaker will help link producers to consumers and consumers to producers on a state and regional basis," said Maria Marshall, the Purdue University Extension small business development specialist who is coordinating the project.

MarketMaker is a free, online interactive mapping system that will locate businesses and markets for agricultural products in Indiana. It will allow producers to research customer demographics by income, ethnicity, household characteristics and education.

Not only will producers be able to research demographics, but they also will be able to search for specific business records, contact information to reach specific buyers, find area market contacts and network with restaurants, on farm retailers and specialty processors. Census data also will be available on the site.

Producers should sign up now, before the Indiana MarketMaker Web site becomes active in early 2008.

"We are in the process of collecting data and are encouraging producers that have edible products for sale like meat, meat products, fish, fruits and nuts, vegetables, grains, herbs, dairy, and other specialty products to register," Marshall said.

To register, producers need to visit http://www.inmarketmaker.com  and click on the "producer/farmer registration." The survey can be filled out and submitted online or can be printed off and mailed to Marshall at the Department of Agricultural Economics, 403 W. State St., West Lafayette, IN  47906.

The Indiana MarketMaker Web site will include producers and buyers at all levels of production, from farm to retail, and producers of both fresh and processed foods. Data is also accessible through a number of partner state Web sites that are currently online, including those from Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, Mississippi and Kentucky.

"One of the features of MarketMaker is the buyers and sellers forum," Marshall said.

"For example, if I have three acres of pumpkins and I know I will only sell half of them from my stand. But, what do I do with the other half? Well, I could place them on the buyers and sellers forum and somebody from New York could purchase them."

Indiana MarketMaker is sponsored by the Purdue Extension New Ventures Team, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Cooperative Development Center Inc. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Office in Indiana.

Writer: Julie Douglas, (765) 496-1050, douglajk@purdue.edu

Source: Maria Marshall, (765) 494-4268, mimarsha@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
Agriculture News Page

Note to Journalists: Audio will be available on the Ag Answers Web site at http://www.aganswers.net

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