As interest in locally-sourced and more naturally-raised foods continues to rise, an initiative in its early stages may help serve as a bridge between Hoosier poultry farmers and consumers. The Indiana Pastured Poultry Branding Initiative, organized by Purdue Extension, is aiming to create a set of quality standards for nutrition, processing, safety and marketing for producers. Leaders say it could also help standardize methods, business practices and collaboration in the industry.
Purdue extension is releasing surveys to producers and consumers that will help shape the future of the initiative. The input from the farmers covers size, purpose and methods of operations and the consumer feedback involves buying habits and preferences.
Roy Ballard, an extension educator in Hancock County and co-leader of the initiative, said in an interview with Inside INdiana Business "we expect that it’ll be very important that these products are economically sustainable. These products will have to meet the customer’s expectations, but the customer also has to be willing to pay what it takes to produce these products in the real world and that will be an interesting give-and-take."
He says the goal is to create a brand that represents the highest standards in food safety and value, which for producers means chicken, duck and turkey that have "access to good environmental conditions, access to a healthful environment, processed in a humane way and with all that being very transparent and with the producer being known to the consumer." He adds "once we find out what we think the consumer wants, our goal then as Purdue Extension staff, is to go back to the farmers and say ‘are you willing to produce this kind of a product and what’s your price point?’" And ultimately, Ballard says, creating a bridge between the producer and the consumer.
Participating farmers will have access to expertise from Purdue and Ivy Tech Community College. You can read more about the initiative by clicking here.
Roy Ballard, an extension educator in Hancock County and co-leader of the initiative, says a new survey will help shape the direction of the program.