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January 11, 2012   Email to Friend 


Melissa Martin
(334) 612-5448
January 11, 2012

Farmers interested in learning how to use the Alabama MarketMaker website will have an opportunity to receive tips and techniques during a training session Jan. 18 at the Mobile County Extension Office. MarketMaker, which began in Alabama in October, is a free online marketplace and interactive mapping system that locates businesses and markets of agricultural products in 17 states.

Dar Knipe and Gina Backes of the National MarketMaker office will lead the training session. Attendees will receive information on how to create a business profile, utilize market research and the buy/sell forum, and navigate through other features of the program.

There is no cost for the training session, and all Extension and Outreach agents, farmers and producers are encouraged to attend. To register for the MarketMaker training session, contact Bethany Walton, Alabama MarketMaker’s outreach coordinator at (251)438-5690 or baw0023@auburn.edu. For directions to the Mobile County Extension Office, visit http://www.aces.edu/mobile.

Alabama Farmers Federation's Horticulture Division Director Mac Higginbotham said he hopes farmers in the state will utilize Alabama's MarketMaker tool, which has become an important link between producers and consumers.

“We encourage farmers to get their profile set up so they can start connecting with customers and others in the industry as soon as possible,” said Higginbotham. “This is an easy, free opportunity for farmers to reach consumers and suppliers directly.”

MarketMaker was originally developed as an online marketing resource to give Illinois farmers greater access to regional markets by linking them with processors, retailers, consumers and other food supply chain participants.

Since its inception, MarketMaker has expanded to become one of the most extensive collections of searchable food industry data in the country, containing nearly 500,000 profiles of farmers and other food-related enterprises in 17 states.

“People in other states are really happy with it,” said Walton. “You’re getting a free marketing tool in addition to help from Extension agents and other resources. It’s created a lot of new partnerships for people, not only business-to-consumer, but also business-to-business.”

Walton said she expects not only farmers, processors and consumers to register at the site, but also restaurants, grocery stores and chambers of commerce.

"It's beneficial to the entire agribusiness sector," added Walton.

MarketMaker also provides helpful information to consumers, such as what foods are in season, upcoming agricultural events and other information about Alabama agriculture.

Alabama MarketMaker is a free online service sponsored by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, Auburn University, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grants and the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

To register a business on the Alabama MarketMaker site, visit http://al.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/. For updates, 'like' Alabama MarketMaker on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Click Below to Download the MarketMaker Training Session Agenda.

MarketMaker Training Session Agenda

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