RD53 - Annual Report on the Virginia Farmers Market System 2016 Report and 2017 Plan - January 2017

Executive Summary:
This report complies with § 3.2-3501(B) of the Code of Virginia, which requires the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to submit a report by February 1 of 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 two shipping point farmers markets, each operating under a contract between the Commonwealth of Virginia and a private sector or county government organization:(*1)

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

In 2016, the Virginia Farmers Market System recorded $21 million in sales, compared to $56.1 million in 2015. However, the Northern Neck of Virginia Farmers Market, previously owned by VDACS, was sold in 2016, and therefore sales from that market are not included in the 2016 report. Based on a comparison of sales for the two remaining farmers markets, the 2016 sales value was $1.1 million higher than the sales value for those markets in 2015. The numerical breakdown is as follows:

• The two markets served 1,700 acres of production in 2016.
• The system served 24 brokers and 550 major retail stores and institutional buyers.
• One hundred and eight three (183) producers marketed product or used market services at the two markets (combined). The established goal was 182 producers for 2016.
• Gross value of products marketed was $21 million for the two markets, representing over 911,000 product units.
(*1) A third shipping point farmers market in the state system, the Northern Neck of Virginia Farmers Market (NNVFM), Oak Grove, Virginia, was sold to Parker Farms, Inc. in July 2016. The NNVFM was not in the state system as of December 1, 2016; therefore, it is not included in the 2016 State Farmers Market Report.