!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Farming in Ashfield

Friday, August 08, 2008

Farming in Ashfield

On July 27, many of the farmers in the rural town of Ashfield MA got together to discuss the way their farms have evolved and how they can strengthen their business results. Excerpts of the discussion are shown in the video below.

Western Massachusetts farmers are fortunate in having an organization in place that promotes local agriculture and provides resources farmers can tap to build their business acumen. Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), founded in 1993 and based in South Deerfield MA, defines its basic aims in its mission statement (pdf):
CISA links farmers and communities to strengthen agriculture and enhance the economy, rural character, environmental quality, and social well-being of western Massachusetts and partners with other organizations in its region and around the country to sustain agriculture.
Now that high oil prices are causing broad rethinking of how to supply consumers with goods of all types, the movement to encourage food purchases from local farms is accelerating, and CISA is helping our farmers capitalize on this development.

CISA has produced manuals for farmers — such as Harvesting Support for Local Agriculture and Creating Successful Agritourism Activities for your Farm — and a series of tip sheets:
  • Keys to a Successful Relationship

  • Pricing and Invoicing

  • Creating a Farm Web Site

  • Online Stores

  • Blogs

  • Email Newsletters

  • Customer Service

  • Developing a Marketing Plan for Your Farm

  • Merchandising

  • Using Paid Advertising as Part of a Marketing Plan

  • Working with the Media: Public Relations and Publicity

  • Workshops and Classes as a Marketing Strategy
You can read a brief case study (pdf) of how CISA has helped one local farmer in the 2007 annual report (p. 7).