Historic National Direct Marketing Agricultural Summit Co-Chaired by Ron Rainey

Ron Rainey, Arthur Neal, and Bumpers College Dean Deacue Fields attending the 2018 National Direct Marketing Agricultural Summit. Rainey was a co-organizer for the conference and Neal was one of the speakers.
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Ron Rainey, Arthur Neal, and Bumpers College Dean Deacue Fields attending the 2018 National Direct Marketing Agricultural Summit. Rainey was a co-organizer for the conference and Neal was one of the speakers.

The University of Arkansas provided leadership to host the National Direct Agricultural Marketing Summit, which represented the first national conference focused on providing technical assistance to direct marketing practitioners and stakeholders. Ron Rainey, an economics professor and director of the U of A Division of Agriculture's Southern Regional Risk Management Education Center, served as co-chair of this historic event. The summit, which attracted 400 attendees from 43 states, was held Sept. 15-18 in Arlington, Virginia.  

Rainey led the planning for the summit through a cooperative agreement with USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service. The summit conveners included USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, Farm Credit, Farmers Market Coalition, National Value-Added Agriculture Conference and the Food Distribution Research Society. 

According to Rainey, the summit provided a rare engagement opportunity for direct marketing farmers, managers of farmers markets and those who provide technical assistance to local food systems on the national level. The innovative training tools and resources featured throughout the three-day summit offered cutting-edge resources and strategies to enhance direct marketing efforts across the country. 

Also in attendance was Arthur Neal, an alumnus of the U of A agricultural economics and agribusiness master's program and the current deputy administrator for the transportation and marketing program of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Neal said, "The summit provided an invaluable opportunity for business networking, partnering, and peer-to-peer learning. Attendees addressed training gaps and identified ways that direct-to-consumer agricultural marketing enterprises can improve the effectiveness of their day-to-day operations."

To learn more about the resources and discussions shared at the summit, visit the summit's webpage, localfoodeconomics.com/agsummit. The website includes presentations, an archive of summit photos and a collection of direct marketing success stories from across the country.

Contacts

Ryan P. Ruiz, communications manager
Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness
479-575-7374, ryanruiz@uark.edu

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