Why farmers and ranchers should attend MarketPlace 2011

The Center For Rural Affairs will hold the 5th annual MarketPlace event on February 22-23, 2011, at the Ramada Convention Center in Kearney, Nebraska. The event attracts over 500 visitors annually. The Center’s research shows it has had positive, important and measurable results.
Farmers and ranchers who attended MarketPlace are networking, writing business plans and creating economic opportunities for themselves - such as agri-tourism and farmers markets - that add value to their existing operations.  Survey respondents indicated they have increased their farm business income and added jobs since participating in MarketPlace.

Since the inception of MarketPlace in 2007, a total of 342 jobs (full-time, part-time or seasonal) have been created each year with the help of MarketPlace participation (http://files.cfra.org/pdf/MarketPlace-Effects-2010.pdf). That's well over 1,300 jobs in total.

Pat, my friend for the past 20 years, worked hard all his life on and off the farm to keep the dream of rural family farming alive.  He is a fourth generation farmer who farms and raises cattle near Bennet, Nebraska. He says he will attend MarketPlace, "to support the industry and his family farm."

In particular, he's been impressed with the Farmers Markets in Firth and Tecumseh in southeast Nebraska, where farmers sell not only local produce but cakes, jellies and crafts.  He believes that there is room for expansion of these markets around the state.  He gave me a list of his farmer friends whom he would like to see receive an invitation to MarketPlace.

For more information on MarketPlace: http://www.cfra.org/marketplace/home

Angelika T. L. Byorth is a freelance writer and real estate broker who has worked with farmers since 1984.  She can be reached at farmerfriendangie@hotmail.com, or at Home Real Estate, 225 N. Cotner Blvd., Lincoln, NE 68505.

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