Extension developing marketing group for pastured poultry farmers

October 27, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue Extension is starting a new marketing initiative to promote Indiana's pasture-raised poultry.

The goal is to establish a set of common production, processing and branding standards to ensure consistent levels of quality, said Roy Ballard, Extension educator in Hancock County and one of the project coordinators.

"That's how you build customer loyalty," Ballard said. "We would like to see Indiana's pastured poultry become a product that is widely available, widely recognized and valued by consumers."

In a pastured poultry operation, turkeys, laying chickens and broilers - chickens used for meat - are raised in open fields rather than confined indoor facilities.

Ballard said organizers hope to create a brand that consumers would associate with the highest standards in food safety, quality and value. A label and related marketing materials would reflect those high standards, in much the same way as the Indiana Grown campaign does.

"Creating a brand that is backed up with standards tells consumers that this chicken or turkey is produced by independent Hoosier farmers and will be of a consistently high quality so they'll want to select, purchase and prepare it for their families," he said.

The initiative would work with and support the Indiana Grown brand. Ballard said there would also be collaboration with the Indiana State Poultry Association and Indiana State Egg Board. Members would be required to meet or exceed all current state health and food safety standards.

Participating farmer members will be directly involved in the decision-making processes related to standards development, and the possibility of group purchasing of chicks, transportation, processing and equipment. There would also be marketing and branding support as well as educational and training opportunities.

"We see this as leading folks in the direction of an on-farm enterprise, from sourcing birds and feed to raising the birds and processing them," Ballard said "We are seeking people who want to make this a business."

Producers interested in learning more about the initiative can attend an organizational meeting 7-9 p.m. on Nov. 19 at the Ivy Tech campus, 1 Ivy Tech Drive, in Batesville, Indiana.

"This will be a farmer-driven initiative," Ballard said. "We'll go in the direction they tell us."

For more information, contact Ballard at 317-462-1113, rballard@purdue.edu, or Michael O'Donnell, Extension educator in Delaware County, at 765-747-7732, modonnell@purdue.edu.           

Writer: Darrin Pack, 765-494-8415, dpack@purdue.edu 

Source: Roy Ballard, 317-462-1113, rballard@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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