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11/13/2019

Agriculture Department Offers Free PA Preferred® Workshop to Expand Market Opportunities for PA Farmers

Harrisburg, PA - Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today invited Pennsylvania farmers to attend the Wholesaling to Institutions Training Series, a workshop designed to help small- to mid-sized farm operations learn how to sell to institutional markets.

“Now more than ever, institutions like schools and hospitals recognize that providing fresh, local foods can their employees, students, and patients,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “This workshop will help farmers meet that demand and increase their own sales in the process.”

The workshop, co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Farm to School Network, is free to PA Preferred® members. It will be held December 16-17, 2019 at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel in Scranton. Participants will learn how to determine if farm-to-school wholesale is a good fit for their businesses, and how to make it a reality.

Attendees will be able to build relationships with potential wholesale buyers and learn from experienced wholesale-to-institution suppliers. The workshop will also help farmers assess their finances and discuss marketing strategies for selling to schools and other institutions.

Heidi Witmer, director of PA Preferred member The LEAF Project, attended the workshop in 2018. “This workshop was really valuable for us, perhaps the most beneficial learning opportunity of all we attended last year,” said Witmer. “Specifically, the framework on how to assess profitability as well as the spreadsheet tools were both instantly useful in our decision-making for this season. As a result, we were able to make some strategic growth and pursue new outlet opportunities with confidence.”

Applications will be accepted online through November 30, 2019. Farmers who have questions about the workshop or need to apply via phone may contact Elaine Lemmon at 717.253.7797 or RA-markets@pa.gov.

PA Preferred is the state branding program to support local farms, build our economy, and help consumers identify products grown, produced or processed in Pennsylvania. Funding for the PA Preferred program was expanded by $2.6 million under the PA Farm Bill, Governor Tom Wolf’s historic $23 million package of investments and initiatives to grow Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. Learn more about Pennsylvania’s investments in supporting Pennsylvania farmers at agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill.

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717.783.2628

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