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USDA Publishes Agricultural Internet Marketing Guide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the release of a new publication designed to assist agricultural producers in marketing their products via the Internet. “How To Direct Market Farm Products on the Internet” provides basic information to farm direct marketers who are interested in selling their products online or using a Web site to publicize their farm or products.

“For agricultural producers, the Internet can help solve problems of time, distance and location in marketing their products,” said A.J. Yates, administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. “We are working to provide the tools to help level the playing field for agriculture and rural communities by providing technological solutions and technological support.”

Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman also today announced that USDA will expand efforts to bring farmers, rural residents and businesses greater access to improved telecommunication technology through the financing of more than $1.4 billion in loan and loan guarantees to rural telecommunications providers.

The number of Internet users shopping online has skyrocketed in recent years. Of the estimated 168 million Internet users 16 years of age and older in the United States, approximately half say they shop online. Because of this rapidly growing trend, many farm direct marketers are turning to online marketing to increase their customer base. The publication addresses issues to be considered before adopting the Web as a marketing tool, as well as tips on how to research the Internet market, set up a Web site, and market products on the Web. References, largely from the Internet itself, are cited to enable producers to undertake additional research.

“How To Direct Market Farm Products on the Internet” is available in print and on the Internet at http://www.ams.usda.gov/tmd/MSB/hawaii_internet.ppt. For more information or to obtain a copy of the publication, contact Errol Bragg, USDA AMS TMP MSB, Room 2646 S, Stop 0269, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250; tel.: (202) 720 8317; fax: (202) 690 0031; or e-mail: mailto:Errol.Bragg@usda.gov.

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