Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
Farmers markets, on-farm markets, as well as, community supported agriculture (CSAs) comprise an integral part of the urban/farm linkage and have continued to rise in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm. The use of these direct marketing channels has enabled farmers
A farmers market operates multiple times per year and is organized for the purpose of facilitating personal connections that create mutual benefits for local farmers, shoppers and communities. To fulfill that objective, farmers markets define the term local, regularly communicate that definition to the public, and implement rules/guidelines of operation that ensure that the farmers market consists principally of farms selling directly to the public products that the farms have produced.
An on-farm market is an area of a facility affiliated with a farm where transactions between a farm market operator and customers take place. A farm market may operate seasonally or year-round. Farm markets are an important component of direct marketing, adding value by offering customers a visit to the farm and the opportunity to purchase products from the people who grew them.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a another type of food-production and direct marketing relationship between a farmer or farmers and a group of consumers who purchase “shares” of the season's harvest in advance of the growing season. The up-front working capital generated by selling shares reduces the financial risk to the farmer(s). Generally farmers receive better prices for their crops and, reduced marketing costs. Consumers benefit by receiving weekly delivery of fresh locally-grown fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs and other produce. They also benefit from the ability to collectively support the sustainability of local farmers.
Currently, the USDA farmers market survey is conducted every 4 years and collects information concerning farmers market characteristics. The USDA also collects data on an annual basis to update its listing in the web-based National Farmers Market Directory. There was an overlap in the information that is collected through these two efforts. The revised survey, which will be web-based and data-driven, will collect information not only about farmers markets, but also on on-farm markets and CSAs.
This information that the modified survey collects will be used to update the Directory and also to describe the characteristics of farmers markets, CSAs and on-farm markets and to identify trends in their communities.
Modifying the survey to simultaneously collect information for multiple purposes will increase response rates, reduce duplicity in information collected by respondents, and to add convenience to respondents.
Information currently collected as part of USDA annual Directory update will be incorporated as part of the revised farmers market instrument. Additional questions, related to on-farm markets and CSAs, will be added to the survey. The web-based survey will incorporate an advanced GIS mapping capability, the ability to immediately stratify the respondents and direct them to the survey modules relevant to their characteristics.
Topic areas in the survey:
Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.
The information collected is used only by authorized employees of the USDA, AMS.
All responses to this document will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will become a matter of public record.