Local Farmers Lose Advertising

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

Local farmers may be seeing a healthy amount of business this summer at seasonal markets, but it could slow down.

Years of funding for a popular program has been cut, leaving some farmers questioning next year's profits.

Peas, potatoes and tomatoes have been selling well at local farmers markets.

Farmers credit the sales to the program, Buy Fresh Buy Local.

This fiscal year, the six-year program lost more than 50 percent of its funding.

Aplin Farms, Farmer John Aplin said, “This year the state has cut the budget in such that we had to cut all of the advertising out this year.”

Aplin says through the years’, signs and billboards have brought in more crowds and resulted in growing sales.

"Over the last several years we began the Buy Fresh Buy Local promotion. We went from six or seven markets in the state to 120 markets in the state. I think that speaks for itself,” he explained.

The director of the state Farm Market Authority Board says in the past five years, the campaigning has generated more than $35 million dollars in revenue for farmers in the state.

That momentum could be lost if funding isn't brought back.

“Eventually, if we don 't get our money back in the budget to advertise, to advertise and promote our produce, immediately there won't be a big effect, but eventually over the year or so people will forget because they don't see those reminders," Aplin continued.

Helon Cutler may not need a sign to remind her about stopping at a farmers market.

However, she knows the importance of keeping advertising alive.

"There would be some people that come through Dothan that would not even know about this or even through Geneva off 84," she said.

Making it that much more important, farmers say, to find funding to keep a healthy program alive.

Officials with the state Farm Market Authority Board hope to regain that lost funding at the start of next year.


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