MarketMaker will boost Louisiana agriculture, seafood industry

Linda Benedict, Bogren, Richard C.  |  11/19/2009 3:18:20 AM

Louisiana’s agriculture and seafood industries will have a new marketing tool in early 2010 when MarketMaker, a national Internet-driven service, is inaugurated in the state.

"Louisiana MarketMaker will serve as a central clearinghouse for any agricultural commodity in the state, including seafood products and specialty crops," said Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and director of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service.

"The service will help producers find a market anywhere in the country for their products," Coreil said. "This raises our agricultural marketing efforts to the next level. This will be a huge boost for our rural economy.

" The service will be possible because of Community Development Block Grant funding from the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA), the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), which have committed $125,000 in startup and operations funding to keep the program going for three years.

In addition, the program will be sustained after the initial three years with support from LDWF, LDAF and the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, Coreil said.

MarketMaker, which was developed and is managed and maintained at the University of Illinois, is already in place in 12 states and the District of the Columbia. The Southern states up and running include Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina. Arkansas and Florida are gearing up to launch the program, like Louisiana.

MarketMaker is more than an Internet-based database. It also has the ability to analyze the market, taking advantage of other databases, including the Census. It will allow Louisiana producers to research customer demographics by location, ethnicity, household characteristics and income.

"Producers have the ability to search out and find the most likely markets for their products," LSU AgCenter economist John Westra said.

Louisiana producers can sign up for the training at any LSU AgCenter office. The training on using Louisiana MarketMaker begins in the spring of 2010.
 
Rick Bogren and Linda Foster Benedict

(This article was published in the fall 2009 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)

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