Two workshops slated in April for small-acreage producers

Potential growers will learn how to sell to businesses, farmers markets

WESLACO –  Two workshops will be held this month for small-acreage farmers who want to sell their produce to either retail or wholesale outlets, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Buyers and sellers gather every Saturday at Fireman's Park in McAllen at AgriLife Extension's Growin' Growers Farmers Market in McAllen. Two workshops for small-acreage producers are slated in April. (AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana)

Buyers and sellers gather every Saturday at Fireman’s Park in McAllen at AgriLife Extension’s Growin’ Growers Farmers Market. Two workshops for small-acreage producers are slated in April. (AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana)

“There’s been an explosion in the number of people here in South Texas with small plots of land, anywhere from a part of their backyard to a few acres they might own, who want to grow fruits and vegetables for profit,” said Barbara Storz, an AgriLife Extension horticulturist in Edinburg.

Depending on how they would prefer to sell their produce, potential growers are encouraged to attend one or both of the upcoming workshops to help them in their endeavors, Storz said.

The first, “Market Ready Workshop,” will be from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 8 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 2401 E. Highway 83 in Weslaco.

The second, “Starting an Urban Farm,” will be held from 9-11 a.m. April 12 at the AgriLife Extension office in Hidalgo County, 401 N. 13th Street in Edinburg.

“The Market Ready Workshop on April 8 addresses issues for small-acreage farmers and ranchers who are ready to sell to retail and/or wholesale outlets,” Storz said. “The morning session will focus on selling to restaurants and food service businesses. The afternoon session will cover sales to grocery or wholesale markets.”

Training will be presented by Francisco Abello, an AgriLife Extension marketing specialist in College Station, Storz said. Topics include marketing, relationship building, packaging, labeling, pricing, storage delivery and invoicing. It will also address insurance, meeting production demands, food quality assurance, and the certifications necessary to establish an agricultural business.

“We’ll provide information on how to properly approach and sell to these type businesses,” she said.

The “Starting an Urban Farm” workshop April 12 is designed for those who want to sell produce or farm products at local farmers markets, Storz said. Training will be provided by Dr. Joe Masabni, an AgriLife Extension small farm specialist in College Station.

“Before planning what to grow or even before buying seed or fertilizer, a potential grower has to first of all determine how they will market their crop,” Storz said. “Everything else falls into place after that. For both workshops, experts will join me in answering questions about local marketing avenues and how to plan production schedules to meet specific goals.”

The registration fee for the April 8 workshop is $25 at the door and includes lunch. Registration for the April 12 workshop is free, but space is limited. To preregister for either workshop, call 956-383-1026.

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