Monday, June 22, 2009

USDA Releases Survey of Farmers Markets

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2009 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the publication of the USDA National Farmers Market Survey, 2006. This report of a survey conducted by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in 2006, in partnership with Michigan State University, draws a comprehensive picture of farmers markets in the United States in 2005, the year surveyed.

The report presents data from seven U.S. regions. It looks at such information as the number of vendors, the number of customers, the age of the market, the types of goods sold, and the way those goods were labeled, and analyzes the factors that contributed to the success of the markets. The survey also questioned market managers about the assistance they need; the most common request was for help with advertising and publicity.

Average sales at farmers markets in 2005 totaled about $245,000; average annual sales per vendor totaled $7,108. Marketing opportunities at farmers markets were sufficiently favorable in 2005 that, on average, 25 percent of vendors from surveyed farmers markets relied on these markets as their sole source of farm-based income.

With the help of such USDA programs as the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, farmers markets also provide low-income people with increased access to fresh foods. Fifty-nine percent of surveyed managers indicate their market accepted WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers, amounting to $17,696 in annual revenue in 2005. Forty-four percent of surveyed managers report their market accepted Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers, amounting to an additional $15,654 in average annual revenue in 2005.

The USDA National Farmers Market Survey 2006 is available online at or in print form on request from Shannon Ford, Marketing Services Division, Transportation and Marketing Programs, AMS, Room 2646-South, STOP 0269, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. 20250; by phone at 202/720-8317; fax at 202/690-0031; or e-mail to

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