Perhaps local food is trendy in the urban centers. Considering the economic potential for Texas farmers, the "eat local" trend can enhance the prosperity of rural areas and help connect Texans with the culture of agriculture in our state.
Farmers’ markets have been on the rise in the U.S., but are starting to plateau and even lose market share to other local food outlets. Promoting cooperation among farmers for processing, marketing, and distribution can ensure farmers stay viable in the changing marketplace.
Texas products are the best in the world and we should capitalize on our brand – from beef, fiber, citrus, dairy, wine, and grains. Buying local products can enhance communities, decrease input costs, revitalize small farmers, and improve health of Texas families. A refocus on both domestic and international markets that support the GO TEXAS branded campaign can greatly enhance the Texas agriculture economy.
American family spending on food reached a median level of $130 each week per household in 2017, with an average bag of groceries costing about $75. For each dollar spent on food, most of it goes to transportation, processing, and marketing but only a fraction (17% on average) goes to farmers. Increasing the farmer’s share of the food dollar can be achieved with more localized marketing, including direct-to-consumer sales as well as intermediated markets such as local or regional retailers, restaurants, and institutions. Consider the “economic multiplier effect” for local and regional food expenditures that may range from 1.3 to 1.9 — that is, every dollar spent on food in a regional system can generate up to about $0.66 in additional economic impact in that region. Therefore, increasing local and regional sales results in higher income for farmers and positively impacts the whole economy for everyone.
The economic impact of the agricultural sector in Texas is $100 billion annually, and accounts for 1 out of every 7 jobs in the state. As noted above, the average household spends about $130 on food each week, and with over 9 million households in Texas, the result in over a billion dollars spent weekly on food in the state. On top of that direct value is the multiplier effect (up to 1.9 times) as those dollars continue to circulate in our state economy. Of course, these are rough estimates, but this description of economic impact helps underscore why Texas agriculture is important to all Texans.
In addition to the economic benefits, Texans concerned with the environmental impact of their food choices will appreciate that food produced closer to home can reduce reliance on fossil fuels for transportation and refrigeration. We also know that connecting consumers with producers in their areas helps preserve our food and farm traditions. Because local foods spend less time in transit, they can be harvested closer to full ripeness, flavor, and nutritional value.
The Texas Department of Agriculture can serve both urban and rural communities by supporting local and regional marketing outlets. TDA will assist farmers, ranchers, and other food-based businesses in accessing current state and federal resources, and will address some of the barriers through new and strengthened initiatives.
We pay an average of $75 for a bag of groceries. But of that $75, only $5 dollars goes to the farmer. The rest goes to transportation, processing, and marketing expenditures.
The GO TEXAN brand is intended to express the value of Texas-grown or Texas-made food or fiber products. It’s an identifiable symbol of our state’s agricultural heritage that generates loyalty among native Texans, recent arrivals, and even those unfortunate enough to live outside the Lone Star State. The hard work, heritage, pride, and dedication to quality that the GO TEXAN symbol represents deserves the full attention and investment of our state agriculture department. This symbol is an important tool in the effort to sustain and grow the $106 billion agriculture industry in Texas but serves other purposes outside of agriculture, too.
The branding and promotions campaign benefits farmers and ranchers as an identifiable label of locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, poultry, and dairy. GO TEXAN is also used to highlight other products like Texas wines, Gulf shrimp, timber, fiber, and value-added food products like salsas and sauces, jams and jellies, baked goods, jerky, and countless other items produced in our state. GO TEXAN has a strong presence in Texas, but can also be used to drive purchasing and product loyalty outside our boundaries, in other states, and internationally.
Maintaining consistent standards that strengthen the meaning of GO TEXAN and supporting members with market research, promotions, and partnerships will ensure the value of the brand for members and will ensure that a wider range of consumers who choose it can appreciate the value of GO TEXAN, as well.
To take full advantage of the opportunities that the GO TEXAN program provides, we must stay current with marketing data and strategies, and use research and best-practices to reach a broad audience with a focused and meaningful message. As folks in and outside of Texas begin to recognize the value of the brand, our local producers will more fully benefit from sharing their hard work, heritage, pride, and quality.
Jan 3, 2018 - Kim Olson, discusses Organic Opportunity in Texas and marketplace programs like the GO TEXAN program that promotes Texas agriculture. Read Kim's article about her approach for capitalizing on "Organic Opportunity in Texas."