ILLINOIS AGRICULTURAL GROUPS TO HOLD ‘MEET THE BUYERS’ EVENT FOR FARMERS
From a press release put out by the Illinois Farm Bueau:
Farmers throughout Illinois are invited to attend a Meet the Buyers event to meet local and regional food buyers Feb. 18, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Orland Civic Center in Orland Park, Ill.
“We have great plans for farmers to hear from several buyers and meet with the buyers one-on-one,” said Cynthia Haskins, manager of business development of compliance, Illinois Farm Bureau. “This will be our 14th Meet the Buyers event and we expect it to be one of our largest.”
Additionally, the Orland Civic Center provides a venue that will allow more buyers to participate and more farmers to attend.
“This event will include buyers who are looking for local fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, artisan cheeses, dairy, poultry and value-added products,” said Bob Rohrer, manager, Cook County Farm Bureau.
Plans are underway and buyers such as chefs, retail grocery stores and chains, foodservice distributors and schools have been invited to participate.
“In this industry the difficulty for producers often lies in making the right connections,” said Kendra Buchanan, local foods liaison, Illinois Department of Agriculture. “This event is the perfect setting for the proper people to meet and begin building working relationships.”
University of Illinois-Extension will present introductory information about two programs, MarketReady and Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs). MarketReady is a program designed to teach best commercial business practices between growers and various retail markets. GAPs are a set of recommendations that can help improve the quality and safety of the produce grown.
“This program gives farmers an opportunity to explore a wide variety of new market possibilities,” said Ellen Phillips, local food systems and small foods educator, University of Illinois Extension.
The following organizations are partnering to coordinate the one-day event: Illinois Farm Bureau, Cook County Farm Bureau, University of Illinois-Extension, Illinois Specialty Growers Association, Illinois Department of Agriculture, and several surrounding Farm Bureau offices.
The event is free to farmers. Those wishing to attend should RSVP to the Cook County Farm Bureau at 708-354-3276 by Feb. 14, 2014.