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Jan. 31, 2014
By Rachel Sielaff, media relations assistant
Members of the Market Opportunities for Regional Entrepreneurs (MORE) project, an initiative organized by students and faculty from Northwest Missouri State University’s departments of Agricultural Sciences and Business, have published their final report.
MORE was an interdisciplinary effort launched in 2012 aimed at supporting regional meat producers interested in making their products more accessible to local consumers. The goal of the project was to gather information that could be used to increase the profitability of businesses while retaining or creating jobs in all phases of the meat supply chain.
“The project was successful,” said Dr. Ben Blackford, assistant professor of management and co-director of the project. “We gathered a lot of information from a wide variety of viewpoints. In general, we found that there is interest in local meat on behalf of producers and consumers. There were several interesting findings, some of which could potentially serve as a basis for future projects.”
The findings included how consumers characterize local, organic and all natural meat products. Survey results of more than 600 people showed the majority of respondents do not buy local meat because they do not know where they can purchase it. However, results also showed the majority of people surveyed are interested in buying local meat and they are willing to pay a premium for it.
In addition to Blackford, MORE was developed under the leadership of Lurinda Gilliland, former instructor of agricultural sciences at Northwest; and Annette Weeks of Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation (NWMEF), who was actively involved in the organization and development of the focus groups working with several NWMEF board members.
Information was gathered through focus groups and surveys involving meat producers and consumers throughout northwest Missouri and southwest Iowa. Information gathered from both sources suggests that producer and consumer interest in local meat is high.
In 2012, the USDA awarded $37,340 in support of the project. In addition to the grant, the MORE project was made possible by support from KCP&L, Northwest, the University’s agricultural sciences department and NWMEF.
The project 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.
Individuals interested in obtaining a copy of the report may contact Blackford at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, Feb. 21.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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