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Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 11:23am

Farmers Embrace Retail Agriculture

Georgia farmers are using retail agriculture to increase profits.

Just last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched the Know Your Farmer Compass campaign to connect people directly to food producers.

But that trend isn’t what attracts dairy farmer Russell Johnston to retail. Johnston seeks price stability:

“The Federal government basically sets the price of the milk. If I were still shipping milk to the co-op on a commodity basis, the milk I sold (on) April 1st, I would not know what I got paid for it until May 17th. And then it could be up, it could be down.”

By selling milk directly to consumers Johnston says he’s able to set his own price, increasing profit margins. Johnston also partners with regional artisan product companies seeking business relationships with local farmers.

The retail market is a trend that’s here to stay says UGA Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development Director Dr. Kent Wolfe:

“I think it’s one of these trends that’s going to kinda stay. It’s growing very rapidly and every day you have more people interested in it. ”

Wolfe says farmers typically earn 16 cents of each dollar consumers spend on food. Selling directly to consumers can increase the farmer’s take per dollar.