DACF Home → Bureaus & Programs → Bureau of Agriculture → Agricultural Resource Development Division → Agricultural Business and Market Development Program → Market Development Assistance
Market Development Assistance
The Division of Agriculture Resource Development helps facilitate market research and market development activities.
Food Hub development has become a buzzword for USDA and others in the Farm to Institution movement. Definition of Food Hub types can be found in a USDA document (The Role of Food Hubs in Local Food Marketing) and in an earlier publication from Cardiff University in 2008 (Food Hubs: The "Missing Middle" of the Local Food Infrastructure?). Both documents stress the need for entrepreneur development in the private sector as the most successful, long-term strategy for Food Hub development, even though public or private foundation funds may help get a fledgling Food Hub started.
Other publications of interest to Food Hub development interests include the following:
- Assessing the Economic impacts of Regional Food Hubs: the Case of Regional Access by Todd M. Schmit of Cornell University, December 2013.
- Developing Consumer Advocates through Proactive Word-of-Mouth Marketing Techniques thereby Creating new Market and Distribution Models for Local Foods by John Harker, Tessa Burpee, Tanya Swain, and Tricia Cook, March, 2012.
- The Agricultural Creative Economy by John Harker
- New England Beef to Institution Marketing Study prepared by Rose Wilson, Charlene Andersen, Louise Calderwood and Kate Rumley, October, 2011.
- Maine Farm to School Network Local Foods Procurement Survey by Jamel Torres, December, 2011.
- Down East Farm and Food Cluster Project, Farm to Cafeteria: New Markets, New Opportunities by Down East Business Alliance and Healthy Acadia/Healthy Maine Partnership, Spring 2008 - Spring 2009.
- A Study of the Use of Maine Produced Foodstuffs In Public Institutions by Kelley Cobourn, April, 2004.
- Dairy Farms For The Future: Diversifying farms to expand direct markets for milk products by Kerri Sands and Russell Libby, December 2004.
Small Scale Food Processing
Staff helps educate small food producers such as home foods manufacturers on what they must do to produce value-added products in their homes. Some of the questions have been: What can I produce if I process in a separate facility from my home?, Do I need to have my product tested?, Does my product need to be labeled?, If so what does the label need to include?, Do I need to obtain a license for my product?, can I wholesale as well as retail my product?, as well as many others. Staff fields questions from small producers and processors on a weekly basis by e-mail, phone, and in person.
The Small Business Administration, through the Small Business Development Centers, provides free technical assistance to help small food processors put together business plans. Cooperative Extension is also involved and provides educational services through their specialists at the University of Maine. Coastal Enterprises also has developed programs to support technical assistance to small food processors. The Department works cooperatively with all these agencies, as well as other non-profits, to support small food processors.