A group of University of Illinois Extension local food systems and small farms educators have collaborated with the University of Kentucky’s Center for Crop Diversification to create an Illinois farmers market price report.
The University of Kentucky center has compiled price reports for farmers markets and produce auctions around Kentucky since 2005. In 2013, faculty and extension personnel at the University of Tennessee started reporting prices from farmers markets, with assistance from the Kentucky center. “This year, Illinois became a partner with the center to create our own statewide price report,” said Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, a U of I extension educator.
Price reports are shared to help farmers learn about prices that are charged at farmers markets or produce auctions for common products, Cavanaugh-Grant explained. “Having access to this pricing information allows farmers to better understand how to set prices that support profitability of their farm while remaining fair to consumers and competitive with other producers,” she said. “Price and sales information is helpful to producers selling at farmers markets, produce auctions, and terminal markets.”
Farmers’ market prices are collected weekly and reports are published on the website early the following week. Using these reports, producers can monitor fluctuations in prices and determine which crops are available at different locations or regions within the state. “These reports are also very useful for new producers who are starting to market their products through various channels,” said Bronwyn Aly, a U of I extension educator.
During its first year, U of I extension will collect data at 11 markets throughout Illinois, from Machesney Park to Harrisburg, and from Quincy to Urbana. Each week, extension educators, program assistants, and/or master gardener volunteers will collect information about the vegetable and fruit crops being sold. An average price for each commodity is reported for each of the markets based on information from each of the vendors at each market. Price information from each of the markets is then aggregated into a weekly report. There will also be a one-time report for meat and egg sales.
To access farmers’ market price reports for all three states, go to http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CCD/price.html. For more information, contact Cavanaugh-Grant, email@example.com, or Aly, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on University of Illinois Unit 19 programming and to read more helpful articles, visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccdms/index.html or call 217-345-7034.