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Effective Marketing for the Busy Farmer (BF 201)

Bf201MarketingSell Smarter, Not Harder

Most of us go into farming with the thought of making some – or all – of our
livelihood through the sale of what we make or grow. As you grow your operation to provide more of your family’s income, having a carefully planned marketing strategy becomes more critical.

Completion of this online course will enable you to better understand how to price your products, position yourself in the “buy local”, direct sales or wholesale marketplace, and understand low-cost “guerrilla” marketing tactics to get the best bang for your buck and make your farm operation financially sustainable. If you complete the activities in this course, you will possess a marketing plan to guide decisions for which market channels to enter, branding and crisis management plans and pricing guidelines for your farm products.

Target Audience

INTERMEDIATE to ADVANCED – New farmers with 1-3 years of farm management experience any farmers who have explored the basics of marketing and are ready to develop a formal marketing strategy.  

Course Objectives

This course will help you:

  • Link your farm’s mission and vision to your commercial goals and marketing strategy
  • Understand the key elements of a solid marketing plan
  • Define who your target customers are and how to most effectively reach them
  • Develop and implement effective marketing strategies
  • Assign various pricing strategies depending on the product and market
  • Understand what a “brand” is and how to relate it back to your marketing activities
  • Create a marketing plan through weekly input from the course instructors


The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in MOODLE, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters, ask questions, and collaborate with other participants and the instructor to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing. Access details will be posted in MOODLE once you have registered and logged in. 


Laura Biasillo is an Agricultural Economic Development Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, NY.
Marie Anselm is an Agricultural Economic Development Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County, NY.


March 1 – April 5, 2017 with webinars each Wednesday evening from 6:00-7:30pm Eastern time.  

Course Outline

Week 1: Strategic Marketing: Identifying the “best” market channel for your farm 
Topics Covered: Options for marketing farm products, evaluating wholesale versus retail outlets, using the Market Channel Assessment tool..

Week 2: Customer Identification
Topics Covered: Defining current and potential customers, “buy local” customers and what motivates them, identifying trends and taking advantage of them.

Week 3: Marketing Strategy, Part 1: Overview & Customer Communication 
Topics Covered: Defining a marketing strategy, methods of communication with customers, methods to effectively reach customers and increase sales.

Week 4: Expenses, Budgets and Pricing 
Topics Covered: Expenses (real and perceived), costs versus pricing, components of a marketing budget (as part of a larger budget), pricing (what to include and how to allocate costs).

Week 5: Marketing Strategy, Part 2: Branding & Farm Image 
Topics covered: What is branding? Creating and maintaining a farm image, responding to crisis and change.

Week 6: Collaborative/Cooperative Marketing 
Topics covered: What is marketing and isn’t marketing? Differences between collaborative and cooperative marketing, formal versus informal arrangements.

Cost and Registration

Fee for this course is $250. Sign up a month or more in advance of the start date and receive $25 off. Sign up for three or more courses and received $50 off your total.

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