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Jan. 14, 2013
Area residents are invited in coming weeks to a series of focus groups sponsored by the Market Opportunities for Regional Entrepreneurs (MORE) project, an initiative organized by students and faculty from Northwest’s departments of Agricultural Sciences and Business and Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation (NWMEF).
MORE is designed to help agriculturally-related businesses and other small businesses find new ways to add value to existing meat products. The goal is to develop new markets that should increase the profitability of businesses while retaining or creating jobs in the beef industry. This project seeks input from individuals involved in the consumption of meat including producers, processors, retailers, restaurants and consumers.
The collaborative is hosting focus groups in northwest Missouri to identify gaps that may be curbing producers’ ability to deliver their products to consumers. Each focus group will discuss and identify issues that hinder market opportunities for producers, limit the growth of processor businesses, and constrain the adoption of regional meat products by local consumers. MORE also will collect information regarding technical, operational and financial aspects of the small scale beef producers of the region to provide them with a more detailed picture of the region’s strengths and limitations.
The dates and sites for the focus groups are listed below. All meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m., and dinner will be provided. Seats are limited so interested individuals are encouraged to RSVP by sending an email to MORENW@nwmissouri.edu or calling 660.562.1282 and leaving a message.
After analyzing the information collected during the initial focus groups at each location and preparing a final report, the coalition will host a second forum at each location to disseminate their information and share best practices.
The MORE Project also seeks to identify market needs for value-added beef products in the region and help local beef producers and businesses with developing successful production and marketing strategies for those products.
Northwest expects beneficiaries of the project to include small and startup producers who want to market or expand their current offerings for niche opportunities for farm-raised beef; meat processors; consumers such as regional restaurateurs, meat markets, grocery stores and individuals; and Northwest faculty and students and agents of Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation who will establish and nurture connections with community constituents.
Last fall, the USDA awarded $37,340 in support of the project, which is an interdisciplinary effort aimed at supporting regional meat producers interested in making their products more accessible to local consumers. In addition to the grant from the USDA, the MORE Project was made possible by support from KCP&L, the Northwest Missouri State University Agricultural Sciences Department, Northwest Missouri State University, and Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation.
The program was developed under the leadership of Lurinda Gilliland, instructor of agricultural sciences, Dr. Benjamin Blackford, assistant professor of management, and Annette Weeks from Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation, who was actively involved in the organization and development of the focus groups working with several NWMEF board members. The project has also benefitted from the collaboration of Dr. Chi Lo Lim, associate professor of management; Dr. Deb Toomey, assistant professor of marketing; Dr. Callie Walker, assistant professor of agricultural sciences; and Dr. Naveen Musunuru, assistant professor of agricultural sciences.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
email@example.com | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468