About Us & Frequently Asked Questions

What is the MarketReady Producer Training? 

During the MarketReady Training Program, we work our way through the key business functions, as we discuss the differing needs of restaurants, school, and grocery/wholesale/retail businesses. The MarketReady Training program addresses the market development risks and relationships small farmers and ranchers must manage as they seek to develop relationships with restaurants, grocery, wholesale and foodservice buyers. MarketReady will provide you with a professional marketing education to improve sales relationships with institutions. The MarketReady training program addresses issues of food safety, insurance, product quality, and traceability risks and will prepare producers for these business transactions selling dairy, fruits, meats and vegetables. 

MarketReady seeks to educate and help our fabulous food suppliers succeed in today's markets and continue to be profitable. The training is based around best business practices identified by buyers in these markets that are actively seeking to engage local suppliers. MarketReady will help farm vendors selling dairy, fruits, meats and vegetables design a better business strategy to succeed.

 

What is the training day schedule?

During our day-long program, we typically have a guest speaker panel from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with buyers from restaurants, schools, and/or grocery/wholesale/retail businesses. We also have representatives from state organizations, such as the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD), the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA), and the Kentucky Horticulture Council (KHC), present on the panel to inform farmers of helpful state resources and programs. Following the panel, we try to provide a truly local lunch, with as much local food as possible. For the remainder of our time we cover the rest of the key business functions. When we were able to hold this program in-person, we asked for a $25 registration fee to cover lunch, refreshments, and all the training materials. Our training materials included a binder with our presentation materials, sample documents, resources for each of the business functions, helpful publications from the Center for Crop Diversification, and our Best Practices Checklists. These training materials have been virtually adapted to be shared via e-mail for our virtual program. Extension Agents receive in-service credit for attending MarketReady Trainings. 

During our virtual program, we cover the key business functions in a shortened, 90 minute session. Representatives from KCARDKDA, and KHC are still in attendance to speak about their programs. Our virtual trainings are free to attend, but requires registration in advance. Please keep an eye out on our Upcoming Events Page for future training dates.

 

What happens after the training? Is there follow-up training?

We hope you will leave with new ideas and a positive outlook to move your business forward. The materials provided include an ever-growing list of resources that you will use to find the answers and help that you are looking for. However, we do have a Meet the Buyer Forum and Advanced Topic Webinars for continued education.

MarketReady’s Meet the Buyer Forum was generated to assist graduates of the MarketReady Training Program in finding potential buyers for their products. The Forum was introduced in March of 2014 in hopes to facilitate strong market connections between localized small scale producers and the buyers from around the area. Producers come prepared to present their products in an informal format while receiving maximum exposure to buyers in a minimal amount of time. The forum is a great opportunity for new producers to make their final step into the market and onto the shelves of buyer as well as giving veteran producers the chance to make additional connections with other buyers. It is structured to help producers achieve inside access to buyers and the information they share about their markets. 

Typically the forum will have opening remarks from Dr. Woods or a sponsoring spokesperson about how the forum works, goals of the forum, and general information about individual buyers and vendors. Panels of buyers are assembled to conduct short factual presentations to their market and give buyers the time to ask questions about topics from legislation to personal experiences. 

Our Advanced Topic Webinars are the newest addition to the MarketReady Program. They are designed to give MarketReady Graduates, Extension Agents, and Service Providers an in depth look at the specific business functions discussed in the trainings with the help of industry professionals. The webinars are approximately 90 minutes in length and discuss the topics in a conversational format allowing participants to interact with the presenters. 

 

Who should attend?

Producers and processors who are interested in selling to restaurants or food service institutions have a unique opportunity to explore the ways to improve and expand a food business. MarketReady training is useful to producers who are considering or developing a new food business, and can certainly be helpful to those who are currently selling product to a few local retailers or restaurants.

*Extension agents are will receive continuing education hours.*

 

What does it cost? 

Registering for a MarketReady Producer Training is $25. This fee covers all materials necessary for the class including binders, additional resources and guest speakers, in addition to lunch and refreshments during the training. Registration is handled on a per event basis. Details for registration will be listed in each events' flyer. 

Registration for our virtual MarketReady Producer Training is free of charge. 

 

Who do I contact?

For more information or to register for a training, please contact:

Savannah Columbia, savannah.columbia@uky.edu, 859-218-4383
407 C.E. Barnhart Building, Lexington KY 40546