Date of Award:

2012

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Department:

Management

Advisor/Chair:

Kynda Curtis

Abstract

This study examines fresh produce production sold through local farmers’ markets in the U.S. Rocky Mountain region to determine likelihood and benefits for extending production and marketing of fresh produce. Surveys were conducted with producers and farmers’ market managers to determine the likelihood of season extension, marketing realities, and potential products. Prices for eight commonly found produce items were collected at farmers’ markets in Utah and Colorado to model expected off-season pricing.

Surveys responses show producers have a short marketing season, limited acreage, and receive low revenues, but are experienced and have adopted some season extension techniques. High tunnels, one of the most effective season extension techniques, had limited usage in the survey among participants. Market manager surveys show the need for many markets to move indoors in the off-season and felt that consumers were unlikely to pay premiums in the extended season.

Collected prices were analyzed using ARMA and ARIMA methods to provide a forecast for prices in the extended season. The results show that some produce items are priced higher in the early season, while others are higher in fall, while prices for some items are near constant.

The study concludes that although producers could benefit from market and season extension, additional season extending techniques should be adopted as well as consider diversifying offerings. Profitability in an extended season is likely to be constrained by market availability and market manager responses, despite increasing consumer demand for local foods.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on June 4, 2012.

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