Whitewater River Valley Agricultural Market Search

David Ferguson
Department of Landscape Architecture
Ball State University


John Vann, Ph.D.
Department of Marketing
Ball State University

The Whitewater River Valley Agricultural Market Search focuses on the identification of regional markets for diversified agricultural products and the local agricultural community's potential to meet these demands. Wayne County, Indiana and portions of surrounding counties make up the survey region for this project.

The project was primarily funded by the Indiana Commissioner's office for Agriculture and Rural Development and is based on earlier work completed through the Center for Energy Research Education and Service at Ball State University.

The primary goal of this project was to determine the potential market for locally grown, diverse food products that are currently imported from outside the study region. The project relied on a survey of food buyers within a forty-two-mile radius of the Richmond/Wayne County, Indiana region. The agricultural market survey was developed with the assistance of RPM Systems of New Haven, Connecticut.

A secondary goal was to determine the willingness of Wayne County farmers to meet some of the demonstrated demand for the diverse food products. Finally, the project was intended to identify both buyers and growers concerns regarding the risks and technical requirements of entering the potentially profitable, locally produced diversified markets.

Equipped with this information, the agricultural community, working with other economic development sectors of the local communities can begin to develop strategies to meet regional demand. The process and tools used for this project are easily transferable to other communities

Report Contents:
     A case for diversified agriculture
     Project description
     Historic precedents for agricultural
     Marketing infrastructure

     Project goals
     Survey development
     Survey procedure


     Greatest local market potential
     Food-buyer response
     Purchasing criteria
     Preferred vendors
     Expected services
     Barriers to purchasing locally
     Grower questionnaire results

     Data review
     Action recommendations


Appendix A - Survey Materials
     Newsletter, spring 1994
     Buyer cover letter and questionnaire
     Newsletter, summer 1994
     Grower cover letter and questionnaire

Appendix B - Comparing Local Purchases
  to Total Purchase for Each Category
     Fresh fruits and nuts
     Fresh poultry, fish and game
     Other fresh meats
     Grains and seeds
     Processed foods

Appendix C - Local Purchases, Total
  Current Purchases, and Untapped Market
  Potential for Each Survey Item


Summary of the data clearly shows potential for local market development of diversified agricultural products. Of the crop categories listed in the survey, grains, fresh meats, vegetables, and processed foods are the products purchased in the highest quantity by buyers who indicated a willingness to purchase the same products locally if available. The total value of all crops and processed items are the survey that are currently imported and that the 62 buyer respondents are willing to purchase local is $2.9 million. This report does not extrapolate the identified market value to a projected state-wide value, but similar results in other communities could be anticipated. A wider range of value-added products would likely increase the total market interest as well.

The summary report concludes with Action Recommendations and contains extensive bar charts showing survey results.

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Author | Last Modification: June, 1998 | Technical comments to the Webmaster

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