LSU AgCenter schedules 8 produce, seafood marketing workshops across state

Richard Bogren  |  3/28/2018 2:34:57 PM

(03/27/18) BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU AgCenter will conduct eight MarketReady producer training workshops for Louisiana farmers and fishers during spring and summer 2018.

The focus of the workshops is to assist local food producers in establishing a business strategy and effectively market to local restaurants and schools as well as grocers and wholesalers.

Many farmers are hesitant or unprepared to meet the requirements that buyers from local restaurants, schools, and grocery, wholesale and retail businesses have for their suppliers, said LSU AgCenter extension associate Alessandro Holzapfel.

Buyers need their suppliers to manage their own food safety, insurance, product quality, traceability risks and much more, he said. MarketReady addresses these issues and seeks to teach local food suppliers about how to succeed in today's market.

“Last year’s training series allowed producers to, on average, gain two new commercial sales contacts and increase sales by $24,320,” Holzapfel said. The training is based on best business practices identified by buyers in these markets who are actively seeking to engage local suppliers.

“Two-thirds of participants stated that they increased or broadened their knowledge, skills and attitude about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies and approaches,” Holzapfel said.

MarketReady trainings provide the perfect opportunity to get useful information on key business functions while networking with industry professionals. The training also includes a buyers’ panel and a lunch from a locally sourcing restaurant.

“This forum is a great opportunity for new producers to make their next step into the market and onto the shelves as well as giving established producers the chance to make additional connections with other buyers,” Holzapfel said. “It is structured to help producers achieve inside access to buyers and the information they share about their markets.”

The one-day workshops will begin with check-in at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 2:30 p.m. Workshops have been scheduled for April 18 in Baton Rouge, May 22 in Oak Grove, May 24 in Shreveport, June 12 in Alexandria, June 13 in Lafayette, June 20 in Lake Charles, June 21 in Hammond and July 10 in New Orleans.

Admission to the MarketReady training is free, but participants are required to register via Eventbrite. More information on locations and registration is available online at www.lsuagcenter.com/louisianamarketready or by contacting Holzapfel at aholzapfel@agcenter.lsu.edu or 225-578-2701.

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