FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 20, 2019
Grower Cooperative Lightens the Marketing & Research Load for PA Vegetable Farmers
Welcomes Fellow Farmers to Utilize Templates, Graphics and Other Valuable Business Resources
Harrisburg, PA – If you’re a farmer who has hopes for your farm to develop then you know that your to-do list extends far beyond the daily on-farm chores. Marketing research, strategy and execution, and vegetable farming research are vital for growth. Yet actually having time to think about these items, let alone do them, has been a long-standing dilemma for farmers and served as much of the motivation for the establishment of the Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program.
Commonly referred to as the PVMRP, the Program was established in 1988 when the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association felt strongly that an entity should exist where all the growers in the state could cooperatively fund both vegetable research and vegetable promotion. At that time, the program that existed only funded research. From that experience, it became clear that a vital business need like research was actually manageable when tackled collaboratively and it would make sense to apply that same logic to marketing. Since its establishment, this grower-governed and grower-funded program has operated in the best interest of Pennsylvania vegetable growers.
- Acting as a brand ambassador for all vegetable growers by encouraging consumers to support PA-vegetable farmers and purchase PA-grown vegetables, especially during August, which the Program has championed as PA Produce Month.
- Overseeing practical vegetable production research and sharing results.
- Creating and sharing valuable marketing materials, tools, training, and resources for PA vegetable farmers.
- Statewide Campaign – Creation, development and management of the statewide marketing campaign, August is PA Produce Month, as well as corresponding marketing and communications activities to support the annual celebration.
- Marketing Materials – Print marketing materials designed and distributed to targeted public locations i.e. posters, banners, price cards, price stickers, information cards and brochures. Each grower is allowed a credit equal to 50% of their assessment payment for the year up to a maximum credit of $25 in ordering point – of – purchase materials.
- Public Relations – Public relations efforts sustained on behalf of all Pennsylvania produce and farmers via partnerships, special events and press releases throughout the year and especially intensive before and during PA Produce Month (August).
- Social Media – PA Veggies’ Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube managed with custom content and regular re-posts from Pennsylvania vegetable farmers, chefs, markets, locavores, and more. Tag #paveggies to get our attention!
- Graphics – “Blanket” PA vegetable graphics designed for farmers and like-minded vegetable brands to use through various marketing channels (blog, email, flyers, and beyond).
- Marketing Tools – Marketing and communication templates, plans and checklists developed to help guide your business through the season, plan for growth, and drive sales.
- Retail & Wholesale Directory – The development, hosting and ongoing maintenance of two valuable directories that are exclusive to PA vegetables and connect farmers directly to both wholesale and retail consumers.
- Research & Reports – Thorough vegetable growing research and reports are compiled by farmers, for farmers and posted annually.
- Updates – The PVMRP communicates regularly with its farmers so you’ll know when new resources are available and can continuously access valuable information as its released.
How It Works
The benefits mentioned above are available primarily through grower assessments – an annual payment made by PA vegetable farmers. The payment is only $25 for the first five “production units” plus $1.50 per “production unit” above the first five. A “production unit” is an acre of field-grown vegetables (both fresh-market and processing vegetables) or 1,000 sq. ft. of greenhouse or high-tunnel-grown vegetables.
The money and time that each farmer of the collective contributes to the program is far smaller than one would expense individually in exchange for such benefits. State law dictates that all Pennsylvania vegetable growers are required to pay the assessment. However, PA is a big state and many growers are not aware of the law or the benefits available to them.
Farmers, Learn More
The Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program is a statewide marketing order established by a grower referendum, governed by a grower board and funded by grower assessments. The Program’s sole purpose is to serve the vegetable growers of Pennsylvania by promoting Pennsylvania-grown vegetables and funding practical vegetable production research. Consider liking PA Veggies on Facebook (PAVeggies), following along on Instagram (@PAVeggies), subscribing to our YouTube channel, and using #PAVeggies to find and share your homegrown PA happiness experiences.
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