Direct Marketing

Blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. (Copyright IStock.)
Direct-to-consumer marketing includes “marketing arrangement[s] in which producers sell agricultural products directly to the final consumers, such as sales to consumers through farmers’ markets, CSAs or farm stands” (Source: USDA Economic Research Service). Direct marketing can offer new and unique opportunities to build relationships and add value. Selling through direct channels can also add unique challenges. Find resources to explore, evaluate, and implement direct marketing for your operation.

Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC).

AgMRC provides factsheets on getting started in direct marketing, pricing your product, direct marketing approaches, and a companion budgeting tool  Also, links to direct marketing overviews, articles about getting started, and information about regulations and legal issues.

National Center for Appropriate Technology. ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

Discusses direct marketing, marketing plans, promotion and branding, and the benefits and risks of direct marketing. Marketing channels covered include agritourism, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), farmers markets, internet-based marketing, and direct sales to restaurants, institutions, and food hubs. Additional publications about direct marketing are available. 

USDA. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

Highlights farmer success stories for direct marketing ventures, provides tips on selecting alternative marketing channels and links to helpful programs and resources. Marketing options include adding value, agri-tourism, CSA/co-ops, direct marketing, evaluating new enterprises, Internet sales, pick-your-own/farm stands, remote marketing and restaurant sales.

Penn State Extension. The Pennsylvania State University. 

A guide to starting a community-supported agriculture program, including how to calculate share fees, involving members, and creating member contracts.

USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.

Report on a survey of CSA managers. Identifies trends in community-support agriculture businesses and includes six case studies of diverse operations. Case studies include the traditional single farm, multi-farm CSAs, a low-income CSA program, urban CSAs, and a combined CSA.