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New online pricing tool can benefit Maine farmers at local markets

The Maine Farmers Market Price Report samples product prices at farmer's markets across the state, helping farmers figure out the best financial path to take.

MAINE, USA — The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has released a new resource to help famers keep track of product pricing.

The Maine Farmers Market Price Report samples prices at 10 different farmer's markets across the state from Kittery to Bangor.

This online tool is currently in the pilot stage, keeping the sample size small and reporting on only 11 products including broccoli, eggs, cucumbers, and the like.

“It can help people decide if a product can be profitable for them if they decide to go to market in a certain part of the state or if they are going to retail versus wholesale, it’s also incredibly valuable for new or beginning farmers who are writing up their business plans, looking at what the market might look like for them if they were to enter into the farmers market arena,” Tori Jackson, a professor of agriculture and natural resources and member of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, said.

Those behind the tool hope it will provide farmers with the necessary information to make business plans, apply for financing, and manage day-to-day operations.

“Farming is a very delicate financial business and any way that a farmer can reflect what the market can bare, but what also meets their costs, is useful information. Not just to set your prices at a given moment, but to look forward and look back through financial planning for your own farm,” Nicolas Lindholm with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and organic marketing and business specialist, said.

The collection of the pricing data began on July 1 and will continue until the first week of September.

After that time, organizers will reassess and potentially expand where and what prices they track.

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