I am excited to announce that Penn State Cooperative Extension is partnering with several organizations to launch Pennsylvania MarketMaker, an online tool to connect buyer and sellers within the food industry. The tool provides access to free, in-depth marketing information to help farm and food business owners find markets for their products throughout Pennsylvania and other participating states. It also helps those businesses who wish to buy locally-produced foods to do so. (See the end of this note for a brief description of how MarketMaker relates to AgMap.) Registration and use is completely free of charge. Our registration site is at: http://pa.foodmarketmaker.com. The national MarketMaker system is being promoted to national restaurant, grocery, and other retail/wholesale associations.
Pennsylvania MarketMaker will provide users with a rich source of demographic and business data to help buyers and sellers find each other. Here’s what users will be able to do with Pennsylvania MarketMaker:
· Access demographic profiles of target markets.
· Locate buyers and sellers within a target region in a map-based format.
· Connect with potentially thousands of buyers and sellers quickly through the Buy & Sell Forum.
To better understand MarketMaker’s functionality, you may want to visit one or more state sites. Find them at http://national.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/. For a demo, see: http://ny.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/content/all/tutorials/Mapping_tutorial1.html. Also, we will be scheduling one or more (depending upon demand) web-based trainings to highlight some of its uses.
Before Pennsylvania MarketMaker has the search capabilities you will see on other sites, we must populate the database with agricultural and food producers. While many businesses within the food industry can be obtained through third-party databases (which will be added), we need to populate the database with agricultural producers. We are developing relationships with PDA, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, and other organizations to contact producers, but our mailing lists within Extension are a critical element to this plan. I can help you connect with them by providing content for newsletters, postage and content to send dedicated mailings to your lists, etc. We have a goal of 250 registrants before we go live. With help from you and our partner organizations, we should achieve that quickly.
To learn more about MarketMaker, follow this link to an online survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/mm01. It simply asks if you want to be included on a listserv that I am creating to communicate within Extension. It also allows you to ask a question or provide a comment about Pennsylvania MarketMaker.
About MarketMaker and AgMap
There is some similarity between Pennsylvania MarketMaker and AgMap, developed by Dr. Rick Day in the Department of Crops and Soil Sciences. MarketMaker is not a replacement for AgMap, but rather complements it. AgMap is an excellent resource for facilitating business-to-consumer interactions, while MarketMaker best serves business-to-business connections. A given producer may well want to register on both to reach a broad audience of consumers and businesses. Furthermore, a large portion of AgMap’s database includes support services, such as consultants, attorneys, accountants, etc. for farm managers. This is a real strength of AgMap relative to MarketMaker. Rick and I have agreed to work together to benefit both tools since both benefit Pennsylvania producers.
The Pennsylvania State University
210-B Armsby Building