“Helping farmers sell their products and increase the economic viability of small farms is the core mission for our Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program,” Newhouse said. “A lot of farm wisdom went into this handbook and we paid special attention to summarizing pertinent rules and regulations in plain language.”
Direct marketing has grown in popularity as consumers voice preference for buying fresh local products and learning more about where their food comes from and how it is produced. The vast majority of Washington’s 39,000 farms are classified as small farms.
Sales at 140 farmers markets exceeded $55 million in 2008, the latest figures available. There also are about 200 Community Supported Agriculture operations where consumers purchase regularly from a local farm and some 500 farm stands that provide the public with additional opportunities to buy locally.
The new handbook builds upon what was formerly called The Green Book, last revised in 2006. The handbook will be a valuable resource not only for farmers, but also county health departments, farmers market managers, agricultural professionals and anyone who wants to know the ins and outs of selling farm products direct to consumers.
“The handbook answers frequently asked questions for information on farm maps for marketing, labor regulations for interns and apprentices, educational opportunities and farm loan programs,” said Patrice Barrentine, direct marketing coordinator, Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program.
The Small Farm & Direct Marketing Handbook was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency. Printed copies may be obtained by e-mailing your address to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Leisa Schumaker at (360) 902-1926.
Small Farm & Direct Marketing Program a resource for farmers
WSDA personnel in the Small Farm & Direct Marketing Program support small farm and food product businesses. Areas of expertise include matters concerning direct marketing, producer grants, farmers markets, merchandising, immigrant farm support, beginning, minority and women farmer outreach, value-added products, small-scale meat processing, infrastructure development, farm business, risk management and other topics.