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March 1, 2013
Area residents are invited this month to a second 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 of the project is to develop new markets that could increase the profitability of businesses while retaining or creating jobs in the meat industry. The project seeks input from individuals involved in the consumption of meat including producers, processors, retailers, restaurants and consumers.
MORE hosted focus groups earlier this year in northwest Missouri to identify gaps that may be curbing producers’ ability to deliver their products to consumers. A follow-up focus group at each location will include dissemination of the information from the initial focus groups and sharing potential solutions.
The dates and sites of 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.
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 was made possible by support from KCP&L, Northwest Missouri State University and its Department of Agricultural Sciences, and Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation.
The program was developed under the leadership of Lurinda Gilliland, instructor of agricultural business; Dr. Benjamin Blackford, assistant professor of management; and Annette Weeks, of Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation, who, along with several NWMEF board members, was actively involved in the organization and development of the focus groups. The project also has 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 animal science; Rod Barr, instructor of agricultural education; and Dr. Naveen Musunuru, assistant professor of agricultural business.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468