RD92 - Annual Report on the Virginia Farmers Market System 2013 Report and 2014 Plan - January 2014

Executive Summary:
This report complies with § 3.2-3501 B. of the Code of Virginia, which requires the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services to submit a report by February 1of each year to the chairmen of the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance. The report summarizes the market operators’ reports and plans for the farmers markets operating pursuant to a contract between the Commissioner and the market operators during the preceding calendar year.

The Virginia Farmers Market System includes four shipping point farmers markets, each operating under a contract between the Commonwealth of Virginia and a private sector or county government organization:

• The Southwest Virginia Farmers Market (SWVFM), Hillsville, is operated by the County of Carroll.

• The Eastern Shore of Virginia Farmers Market (ESVFM), Melfa, is operated by the Eastern Shore Marketing Cooperative, Inc.

• The Northern Neck of Virginia Farmers Market (NNVFM), Oak Grove, is operated by the Northern Neck Vegetable Growers Association.

• The Southeast Virginia Farmers Market (SEVFM), Courtland, is operated by Farmers Market, L.L.C.

In 2013, the Virginia Farmers Market System recorded $39.8 million in sales. Though the gross value of sales in 2013 was slightly below the $42.3 million achieved in 2012, this reduced sales value reflects extremely wet conditions throughout Virginia during the produce growing season and a subsequent reduction in both quality and quantity of produce sold. Despite the challenging growing season, the number of farmers using the market system and the acreage in 2013 remained essentially the same as in 2012. The numerical breakdown is as follows:

• The markets served 9,280 acres of production in 2013, which was equal to 2012 acreage.

• The system served 30 brokers and 653 major retail stores and institutional buyers, which equaled the number of brokers and buyers in 2012.

• Two hundred eighteen producers marketed product or used market services at the four markets (combined). The established goal was 219 producers for 2013.

• Gross value of products marketed was $39.8 million, representing 3.01 million product units as compared to $42.3 million in 2012, representing 3.07 million product units.