A National Survey Of Publicly Funded Agricultural Marketing Programs

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A National Survey Of Publicly Funded Agricultural Marketing Programs
Muruli, Robert
Wysocki, Allen ( Mentor )
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
University of Florida
Publication Date:


serial ( sobekcm )

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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This research was part of a Food and Resource Economics Department's project titled "Miami-Dade Agricultural

Land Retention Study. This study addressed challenges faced by fruit and vegetable growers who have relocated

due to urban development and environmental concerns. Up until 1975, 6,200 acres of land were cultivated

for vegetable production in the Everglades. This figure saw a gradual decline when the park services and the

South Florida Water Management District started repurchasing land under the Everglades Restoration Program.

Its main objective was to draft workable solutions to enhance the marketability of the region's agriculture given

the current constraints. Programs collected had to be specifically targeted towards domestic consumer markets,

and have proven success. Related mini projects were set up around the South Florida project that

researched possible marketing channels for fruits and vegetables. These were:

1) Marketing gift fruits on the Internet

2) Specialty fruits project

3) Review of State Departments of Agriculture web-sites

Results of these projects have been presented at the 2001 Florida Horticultural Society annual meeting, and the

Food Distribution Research Society annual meeting. The complete version of this paper, entitled "Publicly

Funded Promotional Programs for Fruit and Vegetable Commodities: A National Survey of State Departments

of Agriculture" was published in the 2001 Florida State Horticultural Society Proceedings, (Morgan et. al., 2001).


The project was divided into phases. The first phase involved the collection of marketing activities carried out by

state departments of agriculture. This was followed by the second phase, which involved the implementation of

a telephone survey that questioned department heads about their state's programs.

Phase 1

The first phase involved a thorough search of all 50 state departments of agriculture websites relating

to marketing activities. The search encompassed programs that were outside the marketing

division's focus if they influenced market development. Programs collected were recorded and

a comprehensive list was compiled.

Phase 2

The second phase involved interviewing department heads of the states that maintained active

websites. Initial questions emphasized establishing the amount of funds programs received as well

as the years of existence.

Due to difficulty in getting adequate responses, a change in approach was adopted. New focus

was placed on establishing program efficacy by asking questions that required subjective ratings

on programs and opinions about their success.


In the first phase, programs from State Departments of Agriculture web sites were collected, sorted,

and classified. Marketing programs collected were sorted according to the classical "4-P" marketing

mix of Product, Price, Place and Promotion. This gave structure to the programs by classifying

them according to the marketing mix components. The P's in the marketing mix were applied to

the project in the following way:

* Product-Looked at how departments marketed their commodities, to identify what aspects

were applicable to fruits and vegetables.

* Price-Considering that most agricultural commodities are price takers, "price" looked at the

different pricing strategies adopted by states attempting to create awareness through differentiation.

* Place-Locations that were markets by definition.

* Promotion-Established the actual initiatives (programs) in place to educate, inform, and

alert consumers about agriculture through advertisement and publicity.

The initial objective of the second phase of this marketing study was to determine each program's

costs and efficacy through interviews. Candidates were asked about programs, budgets, years

of existence, and opinions about program effectiveness. Lastly, the interviewer asked respondents

about the challenges programs faced, and suggestions for their improvement.

I 1W I JOUrnal of Under Universityof Florida

Preliminary surveying indicated that a revised survey approach would be needed to complete the

study. This revised approach omitted the question on program cost evaluation, and instead rated

the effectiveness of programs and sought respondent opinions. The interviewer used a Likert rating

scale where a score of 10 was given for the most effective programs.


A search of State Department of Agriculture web sites was implemented using the National Association

of State Departments of Agriculture portal and Yahoo! Search engine. Out of the 50 states searched,

48 had active websites. The two states that did not have an agricultural marketing website

presence were Arkansas and Rhode-Island.

Programs listed on the sites were sorted according to the 4-P classical marketing mix. The three

main places identified were domestic markets, the Internet, and international markets. Domestic

markets were further divided into domestic consumer markets, and domestic trade. Domestic

consumer programs targeted each state's consumers; domestic trade programs were developed for

all businesses in agricultural channels designed to improve marketing knowledge and skills.

International trade market development programs revolve around export expansion. Lastly, using

the Internet to target on-line consumers and producers.

Table 1 is a description of how collected programs were classified. A total of 111 market

development programs were identified and recorded (See Table 2). The most common set of

programs were geared towards the domestic consumer. They accounted for 44 unique

marketing programs. Programs geared towards improving producer knowledge and skills

(categorized under domestic trade) came in second with a total of 34. International trade

marketing activities accounted for 20 programs; and the Internet-focused promotions had 13 programs.

Table 1.
Classification of Marketing Programs

Domestic Internet International Markets

Stats and
Email Lists Trade Missions

Classroom Agricultural Trade Visits


The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stood out in terms of the number of programs

offered. Florida came in first with a total of 38 domestic consumer programs, which is 86% of the programs

offered nationwide (See Table 2). This is followed by the domestic trade market where Florida ranked 2nd with

74% (25 out of 34) of possible programs.

Table 2.
Market Development Programs Utilized by State Departments of Agriculture, U.S. and Florida

U.S. Florida Department of Agnculture
Market Total Total
Pace Programs Programs % of Total U.S. Programs

Consumer 44 38 86

Trade 34 25 74

International 20 7 35

Internet 13 9 69



The initial questionnaire focused on three program effectiveness factors. These were costs, operational duration,

and interviewees' opinions on the success of each program. A redirected approach was taken because

most respondents did not have access to financial information. The revised questionnaire omitted the question

on costs, and added one regarding opinions on program efficacy.

Telephone Survey

Out of the 48 state departments of agriculture contacted, a total of 23 surveys were completed. Attempts were

made to reach the directors of the state's agriculture marketing programs, but in most cases their deputies

or marketing specialists filled in. Out of the 23 respondents for the surveys conducted, eight were

marketing department directors.

Domestic trade initiatives were the leading programs. Most state marketing departments focus efforts

on disseminating information in an attempt to promote producer initiatives. Table 3 shows a list of the top 10

most popular programs incorporated by states. Respondents rated the success of their programs from the

positive feedback producers gave on the efforts of the State Marketing Departments as well as producers'

increased sales. Tables 4 and 5 list the top 10 domestic trade programs, sorting them both by average

efficacy ratings and average number of years in effect.

Table 3.
Trade Market Place Programs as a Percentage of States' Use

Top 10



Statistics /


Trade Shows


New Uses

Standards /
Quality /


Percent of States Using Programs


Domestic consumer initiatives took second place despite having the most programs (See Table 1). Table 4

shows the top 10 domestic consumer programs sorted by average efficacy ratings. A comparison of these ratings

to those in Table 6 shows that majority of domestic consumer programs are perceived as being less effective

than those in domestic trade. Respondents indicated an inability to measure the impact of domestic

consumer programs in order to determine their effectiveness. A second comparison of these marketing places can

be seen in the number of years programs have been in existence. One domestic trade program has been in

existence for over 100 years (Table 5), while those under the domestic consumer initiatives have been in effect for

a maximum of 55 years. (Table 7.)

Table 4.
Top 10 Domestic Trade Programs Sorted by Average Efficacy Ratings

Top 10










Average Efficacy Ratings

10 0 (n=1)

90 (n=1)

90 (n=1)


8 5 (n=2)

8 5 (n=2)

8 1 (n=7)

8 0 (n=1)

8 0 (n=3)

8 0 (n=1)

Table 5.
Top 10 Trade Programs Sorted by Average Years in Effect

Top 10


Laws and

and Facts



Quality, and




Average Years in Effect

100 0 (n=1)

90 0 (n=5)

80 0 (n=4)

75 0 (n=2)

52 3 (n=4)

51 7 (n=3)

37 5 (n=2)

35 0 (n=2)

30 3 (n=7)

Food Classified

TOTAL 111 79

Table 6.
Consumer Programs Sorted by Average Efficacy Ratings

Top 10 Trade


School Meals


Youth Institute

Ag in the

Buyers Guides




Table 7.
Consumer Programs Sorted by Average Years in Effect

Top 10 Trade


School Meals


Statistics and

Youth Institute



Low Income


Average Efficacy Ratings

55 0 (n=2)

45 0 (n=1)

44 1 (n=7)

40 3 (n=4)

29 0 (n=1)

23 0 (n=7)

21 0 (n=1)

21 0 (n=1)

15 0 (n=2)

14 0 (n=3)


The compiled list of programs served as a reference base to tally programs in all 48 states. Comparisons showed

how states differed in the number and type of marketing programs adopted. Several factors determined the

number of marketing programs adopted by a state. States with more commodities produced and sold had a

wider range of activities geared towards the growth of their markets. Their diversified agriculture had programs

that specifically targeted industries within the state. The plant and animal divisions were the two common

ways departments separated their agricultural industries.

Secondly, some states had a limited number of programs because of their agricultural practices. States that

produced bulk commodities like orange juice had big programs with big budgets that specifically catered for

individual commodities. A good example is California, which has marketing boards in charge of single

commodities, and handling of activities from producer assistance to marketing efforts to enhance sales.

Lastly, funds allocated to State Departments of Agriculture determine the amount of programs adapted. States

with adequate funds are able to build and diversify their programs according to need. For example in the year

2000, the Jersey Fresh program received grants of $250,000 that were awarded to 70 agricultural

organizations which used the funds to carve out their own promotional or educational Jersey Fresh niche.

Marketing is a continuous effort aimed at influencing consumers' choices. This process can consume a vast amount

of resources before its effects are noticed. It is one of the biggest variable expenses that organizations consider

when budgeting. Many state department marketing programs are sponsored by their legislatures, which do not

offer a steady flow of funds for project support. Majority of these programs end up performing below

expectations, and get removed from future budget plans. Legislatures that were not able to see the benefits

farmers are reaping from the costs associated with their marketing programs will cut them. From a

business standpoint, "real gains can only be realized by the producer only if returns are equitably distributed

through the production channel (Forker and Ward, 1993)." An example of a state with funding shortages

for marketing programs is Michigan. Their logo programs cover agricultural as well as non-agricultural goods.

The department does not have enough funds to go around for logo program certification for both classifications

of goods, therefore the program is probably not as effective as it could be.

A total of 23 interviews were completed out of the intended 48. Out of this number only 8 of the responses

were received from marketing heads. Most calls were either passed on to marketing head assistants or

general departmental staff in the marketing division. Many general staffers were not conversant with

their department's programs, and had difficulties relating to survey questions. This challenge called for a change

in survey format, which shifted focus from historical information requests to questions that based responses

on personal opinion about programs.


There will be a presentation to the South Florida fruit and vegetable producers regarding the most

effective marketing programs identified as a result of this study. Further presentations were made by

project participant Kim Morgan, at the 2001 Florida Horticultural Society annual meeting (Morgan et. al., 2001).


Average Efficacy Ratings

90 (n=1)

90 (n=1)


8 5 (n=2)

8 3 (n=3)

8 0 (n=2)

77 (n=3)

75 (n=2)

75 (n=2)



Low Interest


Statistics and


Dr Robert L. Degner will also make another presentation for the Agricultural Land use Retention study in Miami-
Dade. Additional papers will include journal articles for the Journal of Undergraduate Research (University of
Florida), and the Journal of Food Distribution Research. Lastly there will be fact sheets developed for
Agricultural Extension Services, and the Florida State Department of Agriculture.


This undergraduate research was a collaborative effort between Robert N. Muruli, Kimberly L. Morgan, Dr. Robert
L. Degner, and Dr Allen F. Wysocki.


Forker, O.D. and R.W. Ward. 1993. Commodity Advertising: The Economics and Measurement of Generic
Programs. New York: Lexington Books.

Morgan, K.L., Robert N. Muruli, Robert L. Degner and Allen F. Wysocki. 2001. "Publicly Funded Promotional
Programs for Fruit and Vegetable Commodities: A National Survey of State Departments of Agriculture."
Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society, Volume 114:11-18.


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