Workshop set for producers interested in farmers markets

Bison Association seeks to strengthen producers’ direct marketing skills

Increasing profitability of farmers market booths, on-farm stores and agritourism enterprises will be the focus of a special training workshop for bison producers and other growers at 2 p.m. on April 13 at the Upland Brewing Co. in Bloomington, Indiana. 

Hosted by the National Bison Association and the Illinois-Indiana Bison Association—in cooperation with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service—the workshop will cover subjects regarding planning, merchandising, marketing, and leveraging a presence at farmers markets. It will also touch on agritourism and other direct marketing opportunities. Participants at the workshop will work through a curriculum developed by a working group of buffalo producers with extensive experience in farmers’ markets. 

Helping to facilitate the workshop will be National Bison Association Executive Director Dave Carter and Hoosier Farmers Market Association Director Christina McDougall.

The workshop and curriculum are targeted to bison producers, but the information can be useful for people marketing other products as well. The session is open to all producers.

Carter noted that most bison producers are small-scale and rely on direct marketing as an important part of their business. "The average Indiana bison producer has fewer than 20 bison, so they must maximize the return on every animal they produce," Carter said. 

"Fortunately, there is a strong upsurge in farmers’ markets, as people across the state-and across the country-seek food that is fresh, natural, local and delicious. Our workshop is intended to increase the ability of producers to connect with those customers," Carter added.

The workshop will run from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Registration is $40 per attendee, but is free to all participants who are registered for the Illinois-Indiana Bison Association conference. All participants will receive a take-home copy of the workshop curriculum. 

More information is available on the National Bison Association website at

The workshop is being funded through the Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) Grant Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, under No. 16FMPPCO0021.