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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Direct Marketing
Providing easy access to food and agricultural marketing resources

Direct Marketing



Mission statement:

As part of the CFAES at The Ohio State University, The Direct Food and Agricultural Marketing Program aims to assist Ohio’s local food producers increase their sustainability through effective marketing of their products and services. Assisting Ohio’s producer to create meaningful connections with their customers and potential customers will translate to increase profitability and sustainability for their farms. We offer education and information in a variety of formats to best meet the producers where they are.


What is Direct Marketing?

According to the Agriculture Marketing Resource Center:

Direct marketing involves selling products directly to the consumer in order to allow the producer the possibility of receiving a higher price. This usually involves three critical steps:

  • making a direct connection to consumers
  • determining the consumer wants or needs
  • offering products that meet those needs

According to Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education at UC Davis:

Direct marketing is the sale of agricultural goods and products from the farm straight to the consumer, without intervening distributors or retailers.

Direct marketing can benefit farmers by allowing them to earn a greater portion of the consumer food dollar by eliminating intermediary brokers, buyers, and distributors. Examples of direct marketing include community supported agriculture (CSA) ventures, farmers’ markets and farm stands, and direct sale to businesses and institutions, such as restaurants, schools, or hospitals. Direct marketing can contribute toward sustainable agriculture and food systems by increasing farmer profitability, promoting the local economy, and providing consumers with higher quality and healthier products.

The OSU Direct Food & Agricultural Marketing Team provides educations, resources, and information for Ohio’s local food producers to explore and adopt direct marketing for their farms. We offer information in a variety of methods including in-person, online, publications, and the ability to connect with our team members.


The programs we offer:

The Direct Food and Agricultural Marketing Team provides a variety of educational programs to assist Ohio’s local food producers. These include:

MarketReady – Created by Dr. Tim Woods of the University of Kentucky, we have been offering MarketReady piloting the program with Dr. Woods in 2010. The training focuses on assisting producers understand the various business functions required to direct market to consumers, restaurants, institutions, and schools. The Ohio Direct Marketing Team provides research and educational resources to improve marketing knowledge, practices, performance, and connections. MarketReady is designed to help producers:

  • understand how various customers think about and purchase food and agriculture products
  • add value to products through proper selection, development, supply, packaging, and pricing
  • select locations and utilize distribution as a marketing advantage
  • create awareness, engage, and grow a target customer base
  • develop a plan that addresses risks, resources, and a competitive advantage


AgritourismReady – As the number of farms in Ohio that offer on-farm experiences for consumers has increased, the Direct Marketing Team has developed a curriculum focused in seven units, comprised of chapters specific to risk management and addressing potential emergencies. Chapters within each unit strive to educate the farm management team to develop their emergency plan, including the details needed to print a detailed emergency preparedness plan for use in their business. AgritourismReady aims to increase the overall emergency preparedness capacity of agritourism and direct marketing enterprises, which in turn increases the preparedness of the communities in which they exist.

In addition to the curriculum, we hold an annual AgritourismReady conference to allow for peer-to-peer learning, gain updated information from industry experts, and learn about trends happening in agritourism across the country.


DeviceReady - The DeviceReady program helps entrepreneurs learn how they can gain a degree of control with their owned, earned, and paid online presence that accurately reflects their brand and connects with their customers. See how consumers:

  • Find and view your business online
  • Use social media to access your content and special offers, as well as to post comments, photos, videos, reviews, and location-based check-ins
  • Utilize apps and GPS devices to find and navigate to your business
  • Use technology to make is easy to pay you


Farmers Markets Ready – The Farmers Markets Ready program helps market managers learn best practices and resources available to develop a thriving market, assist vendors and producers that direct market their products through farmers markets to create appealing displays, effectively communicate via signage, and allow ease of payment by customers. The program also assists farmers market with acceptance of food assistance benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), Women’s’ Infants and Children Farmers Market Nutrition Program as well as incentives and veggie prescription program benefits.