The outcome of this project was to
enable small, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged producers of
underserved commodities and specialty crops in Arkansas StrikeForce counties,
to understand and respond to marketing risk. Participants acquired the
market analysis skills and understanding of their own operations sufficiently to
develop and implement detailed marketing plans at the enterprise level.
Three sequential workshops (18
hours) supplemented by personal assignments and individualized counseling (60
hours) were delivered to 59 producers via a partnership of subject matter
experts and local educators. Participants developed, for each decision
variable in the Marketing Mix (product, price, place, promotion, people) a
written goal, consistent with consumer preferences for their commodities. For
each goal they delineated three specific actions to reach
those goals, and committed to implement their specified marketing plans.
Educators supported and monitored their progress throughout, recording
the number of actions completed. On average, participants completed 65.3 hours of homework, and 12.7 self-specified tasks.
This innovative, concentrated and
iterative program, with sequential workshops, hands-on activities and
individualized on-farm follow-up, provided participants an opportunity to
succeed. This approach leads to long-term behavioral
change, consistent with the philosophy that behavior changes are more likely
with sustained personal support.