Saturday, December 20, 2008

Podcast #10: FFA Specialty Crop Program

I hear from many growers across the state, whether I’m traveling to visit a market, at a conference or even making a farm visit. One common theme is the need for younger growers in the specialty crop industry, and I agree. But how do we literally “grow, growers?”

We at the Missouri Dept. of Agriculture are working on just that through the Missouri FFA Specialty Crops Grant Program, funded through U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Marketing Service program to enhance the competitiveness of Missouri specialty crops and to teach FFA youth the importance of specialty crops as a value-added opportunity. The program is a pilot project in the Lexington and surrounding area of the state.

It is imperative that we train and motivate the next generation of Missouri farmers. Through this grant, students will learn from specialists and leaders in the produce and horticulture industry how to grow, sell and market specialty crops. These FFA students are given a great opportunity to become involved in entrepreneurial skills including direct marketing and advertising local specialty crops and have hands-on experience of selling produce and horticultural crops, flowers and value-added products at their community markets. Currently, there are almost 20 students participating in the grant program.

Brownfield’s Julie Harker recently spoke to Danni Heimsoth, who is the Santa Fe FFA President and is growing and selling at farmers’ markets in the Kansas City area.

Listen Here!
Farmers' Market Podcast #10

(PHOTO: Missouri State Fair Farmers' Market 2008.)

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