New online pricing tool can benefit farmers

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The Maine Farmers Market Price Report samples produce prices at farmers markets across the state, helping farmers determine the best financial path to take.

MAINE, USA – The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has released a new resource to help farmers track produce prices.

The Maine Farmers Market Price Report samples prices at 10 different farmers’ markets across the state, from Kittery to Bangor.

This online tool is currently in the pilot stage, keeping the sample size small and reporting only 11 products, including broccoli, eggs, cucumbers, etc.

“It can help people decide if a product can be profitable for them if they decide to go to market in a certain part of the state or if they’re going to retail or wholesale, it’s also incredibly valuable for new or beginning farmers writing their business plans, considering what the market would look like for them if they were to enter the farmers market arena,” said Tori Jackson, Professor of Agriculture and of natural resources and a member of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

The tool’s makers hope it will provide farmers with the information needed to develop business plans, apply for financing and manage day-to-day operations.

“Farming is a very tricky financial business and any way a farmer can reflect what the market can bear, but also cover their costs, is useful information. Not just to set your prices at any given time, but to look ahead and look back through financial planning for your own farm,” said Nicolas Lindholm of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and marketing specialist and organic business.

Price data collection began July 1 and will continue through the first week of September.

After this time, organizers will reevaluate and possibly expand where and what awards they track.

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