N.C. MarketReady, a program of N.C. Cooperative Extension and N.C. State University, was awarded $200,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program. The grant will fund N.C. MarketReady’s efforts in 2010 to assist North Carolina agricultural producer groups with organizational structure development.
With the RCDG funding, N.C. MarketReady will offer producer groups technical assistance with feasibility studies and business and marketing plans. The program also seeks to create business opportunities for producers through fresh produce safety education, horticultural skills development and its work with local food groups such as farmers markets.
“We serve as a catalyst to identify and secure critical resources for agricultural business development and growth in North Carolina,” said Rod Gurganus, N.C. MarketReady director. “With the RCDG grant, N.C. MarketReady is able to help producer groups better prepare for long-term sustainability and success.”
Based at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis, the N.C. MarketReady team partners with N.C. Cooperative Extension personnel and departments across N.C. State University to deliver multidisciplinary resources in innovative and effective packages to producers. The program’s efforts are targeted primarily, but not exclusively, toward fruit and vegetable growers in North Carolina.
“The work that N.C. MarketReady is doing to assist producer groups supports the ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food’ USDA initiative,” explained Randall Gore, USDA Rural Development state director. “USDA Rural Development is pleased to provide the $200,000 grant funding to assist with the program’s cooperative and business development efforts.”
This is the second year N.C. MarketReady, formerly the Program for Value-Added & Alternative Agriculture, has been awarded RCDG funding.