PIKETON, Ohio – Ohio State University Extension continues to excel with its in-state partnerships and multi-state collaborations to offer farmers more opportunities to maintain profitability while providing consumers with access to fresh, local foods.
OSU Extension and the MarketMaker partners received the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Partnership Award in the category of multi-state efforts for the National Food MarketMaker project. OSU Extension shares the recognition with other academic institutions, which have their own statewide MarketMarker program.
Ohio MarketMaker is a free Web-based resource for all businesses in the food supply chain. The program is part of a national network of state websites that connects farmers with food retailers, grocery stores, processors, caterers, chefs, and other food supply chain contacts.
"With projects like MarketMaker we pull together resources more effectively than we could do on our own, especially in times of limited budgets," said Julie Fox, direct marketing specialist at the OSU South Centers. "This award recognizes the academic institutions involved in each of the MarketMaker states, but we couldn't excel without collaborating with agencies and organizations that share the same goals of helping farmers improve profitability and communities improve their economy."
Ohio MarketMaker is supported through the collaboration of OSU Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the Ohio Department of Agriculture/Ohio Proud, the Ohio Farm Bureau/Our Ohio, the Center for Innovative Food Technology and the Ohio Grape Industries Committee.
"Farms and other food businesses operating in Ohio benefit from the strength of the partners within Ohio, as well as from the multi-state national efforts," said Fox. "The collaborative MarketMaker program is one of the many innovative research and Extension initiatives in Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences."
MarketMaker boasts one of the most extensive collections of searchable food industry-related data in the country—categorized by buyers, sellers, location and other demographic information. The concept to converge a variety of related databases into one website and to summarize the information by using clickable maps originally came from collaboration between University of Illinois Extension and its state partners.
In addition to Ohio, other states supporting MarketMaker include: Colorado, Nebraska, Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, New York, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, and the District of Columbia.