Text written by SARE
Yarn Into Apparel-The Carver Imperial Stock Ranch
This is the first in a series of “how-to” videos funded by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and produced by Cooking Up A Story. SARE is pleased to be part of this cooperative venture, and to share the rich heritage, knowledge, and individual stories of some of our past farmer grant recipients. As Jeanne Carver notes in the video, SARE’s Farmer Rancher Grants program provided critical assistance for them as they embarked on a new marketing approach.
The Imperial Stock Ranch, which began in 1871, faces a new and serious challenge to its very survival: how to create new markets for its products to compensate for longstanding existing markets that have declined or shifted overseas. Some bold steps were needed to rethink what to do with the wool from the sheep they raise on their 30,000 acre ranch in Eastern Oregon. Their solution? Direct, value-added marketing to yarn retailers and apparel designers.
Jeanne Carver is following in a long tradition of farmers striving to distinguish their product in the marketplace—first and foremost by its quality, but also through processing, product enhancements, packaging, and suggestions for how consumers can use the product. As you watch the video, note the four key areas where producers focus their efforts in order to achieve success.
- Identify your product and its market potential: What do we have and what does it need to become to be able to sell it for a profit?
- Determine what processing is required: How will we convert our raw product into the saleable items that consumers are looking for?
- Create a marketing package: What is it about your product that is of special value to buyers of your product, and what is the best way to get that message across?
- Develop a plan for how to market and sell your product: What steps will be needed to get my product to the marketplace and who can help me make that happen?
The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program’s mission is to advance—to the whole of American agriculture—innovations that improve profitability, stewardship and quality of life by investing in groundbreaking research and education. SARE is proud of its connections to farming communities across the country and encourages those who wish to learn more to visit SARE. SARE is funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.