The Group will conduct a series of workshops to identify opportunities for direct marketing in the Shire of Moorabool as a means of lifting farm/household income for those participating. The project is being established in response to cost/price pressures on farm income, and the potential opportunity provided by the region’s proximity to Melbourne and Ballarat.

The Group will run for 12 months, after which it may decide to disband, or morph into some other organisation.

Rationale

Specialists working in the area of small farms have identified direct marketing as one strategy that households may use to boost household income. The process operates by the farmer assuming the role(s) occupied by middlemen. It assumes the farmer has the capacity to fulfil these roles immediately, or after some training and investment.

It also assumes that the high cost of moving into a new area of business activity can be shared by farmers cooperating in gaining the required knowledge, analysing the risks and developing appropriate strategies to manage the risks. Finally, investment in Landcare requires that landholders are making a return on their investment.

Strategy

Farmers may undertake direct marketing by;

  1. delivering product by visiting consumers (eg door-to-door sales and/or delivery supported by Internet sales);
  2. having consumers visit them (eg Pick-your-own and farm-door sales)
  3. supply to a new venue ( eg farmers market)

Farmers need to consider whether or not to supply additional services – outside of their normal line of business (eg  farm-stay accommodation, ecotours, new agricultural products)

How the Group can help

“A problem shared is a problem halved” – old English proverb.

The Group will bring in guest speakers from the tourism industry, food marketing , transport and logistics, IT, and those ‘who have gone before’ and established direct marketing businesses.

Members of the Group will also have a say in the topics discussed and who they want to hear from.

What will constitute success?

Members of the Group successfully investing in direct marketing ventures and farmers investing in alternative strategies to boost household income.