10/10/2017

Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today announced a series of workshops designed to help farmers expand their sales into institutional wholesale markets — a promising area for new business development.

“Pennsylvania schools bought more than $112 million worth of locally-sourced food and milk in 2015,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “That is just a tiny sliver of the market potential for quality, nutritious, local products that are in demand by hospitals, universities and other institutions.

“Diversifying sales can increase farm sustainability during market price downturns for commodities such as milk and produce. This series is just one of many ways our PA Preferred™ program is helping Pennsylvania producers find new, profitable markets for their products.”

The department’s PA Preferred™ program is sponsoring the workshop to examine approaches to eliminating barriers to entry, and provide practical tools to farmers who want to expand into institutional wholesale markets like schools, universities, hospitals, and retirement homes. The event will be the first in a series of practical, hands-on sessions to expand profitable marketing avenues and methods available to Pennsylvania farmers.

Applications for the first workshop, which will be held on December 6 from 9 AM to 4 PM in the Keystone Conference Center at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, are now available. Applications for the workshop are available until November 10, and can be found here.

Those who are interested in the workshop, but have no internet access, should contact Elaine Lemmon, RA-markets@pa.gov or 267.281.3514, for an application. Applicants with a business accounting system in place are best suited for the workshop. PA Preferred™ members will be given priority consideration.

The program held a free, introductory webinar on September 25, to explore the market potential and assess farm readiness for this growing sector. Those who were unable to participate in the webinar can access a recording here. Applicants are strongly encouraged to view the webinar.

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