The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service will conduct four MarketReady training sessions in February to help farmers across the Commonwealth looking to sell their products at retail in order to boost their profits and stay in farming.
“Many Kentucky farmers are hesitant or unprepared to take advantage of the opportunity to sell local products in local markets,” Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer said. “This training is intended to show them how to manage their own food safety, insurance, product quality and traceability risks.”
“This training really fills a gap that is needed for our Kentucky Proud members,” said Farm to Retail Liaison Roger Snell of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, who speaks at many of the training sessions on behalf of the Department’s Kentucky Proud marketing program.
“The training is good for our new members or members that want to take that next step from farmers’ markets to retail,” Snell said. “For new Kentucky Proud members looking at retail, I make it a prerequisite.”
The training sessions, each beginning at 9 a.m. and concluding at 3 p.m. local time, will be held Friday, Feb. 11 at the Campbell County Extension office in Highland Heights, Ky.; Wednesday, Feb. 16 at the Pulaski County Extension office in Somerset, Ky.; Wednesday, Feb. 23 at Elk Creek Winery in Owenton, Ky.; and Thursday, Feb. 24 at the Warren County Extension office in Bowling Green, Ky.
Training in restaurant sales will be offered from 9-11:30 a.m., followed by a panel discussion of chefs and restaurant buyers from 11:30 to noon. After lunch, training in grocery and wholesale sales will run from 1:00 p.m. until 2:30 p.m., followed by a panel of grocery/wholesale buyers.
Cost is $25, which includes lunch, refreshments and all training materials.
The training is based on best business practices identified by buyers in markets that are actively seeking to engage local suppliers, according to UK. MarketReady will help farm vendors selling dairy, fruits, meats and vegetables design a better business strategy to succeed.
Business functions covered by the training include: communication and relationship building, packaging, labeling, pricing, supply, delivery, storage, invoicing, insurance, quality assurance and temperature control, audits and certifications, satisfaction guarantee, working cooperatively, marketing, and local products for local markets.
For more information about MarketReady, visit www.uky.edu/fsic/marketready/index.php . For directions to the training sessions, visit www.ca.uky.edu/county  for the Extension offices and www.elkcreekvineyards.com  for Elk Creek Winery.