Linda Benedict, Clark, Beth, Landreneau, Dwight | 1/4/2011 1:12:27 AM
News Release Distributed 06/25/10
NEW ORLEANS – The LSU AgCenter has launched a new online service to help agriculture businesses market their products.
Called Market Maker, the service is offered via a website so anyone in the world 24 hours a day can search for items to purchase.
“This will be a boon for our seafood industry,” LSU AgCenter Chancellor Bill Richardson told an audience today at the 88th annual Louisiana Farm Bureau Convention here, where he made the announcement of the new service. “This will provide another way for them to promote their products and get the word out that Louisiana seafood is safe to eat despite the oil spill.”
Anybody in Louisiana with a product to sell – seafood, pecans, crawfish, strawberries, etc. – can establish an account on Market Maker for free.
“It’s like a matchmaker service bringing together buyers and sellers,” said Dwight Landreneau, LSU AgCenter associate vice chancellor.
Market Maker originates out of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and 17 states including Louisiana are members.
Louisiana joined the national effort last fall with a federal grant of $125,000 provided through the Louisiana Recovery Authority, Landreneau said. The fund covers the initial startup of the Louisiana Market Maker website and its maintenance for the first three years.
Ben Clark, the LSU AgCenter extension associate who has been assigned to manage Market Maker, has begun adding farmers’ markets and roadside stands to the system. The individuals in charge of these operations can go into the system, change the passwords and update the sites.
“It’s easy to register,” Clark said. “And if people have any questions, they can e-mail us.” The e-mail address is MarketMaker@agcenter.lsu.edu.
Individuals who want to register are to go to LA.FoodMarketMaker.com and follow the instructions, which include a series of drop-down menus. If they want, they can add images of their business and a link to their website, if they have one. They can add a narrative with more details about their business.
Louisiana Market Maker is not restricted to food products, but the business has to be agriculture-related, Landreneau said.
“People with an agritourism business could benefit from this service, for example,” Landreneau said. “This is all about economic development for Louisiana.”
Consumers don’t have to register to find products on the national Market Maker. They can go to http://national.marketmaker.uiuc.edu and find products in the 14 states online so far. The Louisiana Market Maker should be searchable by Aug. 15, Clark said.
“Right now the site is only open for registration,” Clark said.
Supporters of Louisiana Market Maker include the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Farm Bureau.