S.C. MarketMaker Wins Award
South Carolina is the first state to formally develop seafood producer and product profiles into the interactive, Web-based marketing tool called MarketMakerTM, helping agricultural and seafood producers connect with buyers.
Since 2008, 50 South Carolina seafood businesses and fishermen have registered online with S.C. MarketMakerTM and created profiles. Web-based profiles allow producers to describe their business and advertise products—which species they have available, product attributes, hours of operations, any value-added products, and other relevant information.
Consumers can now use the interface to search for seafood products and contact the producers directly to place orders.
“This is a great tool for producers who don’t have the time or ability to create and manage an individual Web site for their seafood business,” said Amber Von Harten, fisheries specialist with the S.C. Sea Grant Extension Program. “The idea is to connect seafood producers with seafood buyers, processors, and consumers.” The sea-food component was developed on a national level for use in all state MarketMakerTM programs.
As a result of this effort, South Carolina’s program, “Helping MarketMakerTM ‘Float’ in U.S. Coastal States and Beyond,” was among one of the first recipients of the 2011 National Food MarketMakerTM Innovation Award.
The award was based on the partnership between Clemson University Extension and the S.C. Sea Grant Extension Program to develop the pilot seafood component which evolved into a national component. This effort diversified product offerings, engaged new producers and consumers, and helped expand MarketMakerTM into several new states.
The 2011 award, sponsored by Farm Credit, was presented at the National Value Added Agriculture Conference in Pittsburgh to South Carolina partners Clemson University and the S.C. Sea Grant Extension Program.
Developed by the University of Illinois, MarketMakerTM is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Ag Marketing Resource Center, the Applied Sustainability Center, and 16 state partners, including South Carolina.
Bringing MarketMakerTM to South Carolina was a cooperative effort among Clemson University, S.C. Sea Grant Extension Program, S.C. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.