The hosts of the event include Farm Bureaus from Sangamon and
surrounding counties, the University of Illinois Extension, Illinois
Farm Bureau, Illinois Department of Agriculture and Illinois
Specialty Growers Association. Buyer participants will include
grocery retailers, food service distributors, direct-to-consumer
distributors and restaurant chef buyers.
"The Meet the Buyer
events have proven to be popular venues for farmers who want to make
contact with the decision-makers of grocery stores, food service
distributors, restaurants and other types of market channels," said
Cynthia Haskins, manager of business development and compliance for
Illinois Farm Bureau.
Buyers will be in attendance to provide an overview of their
organization and their procurement needs. Farmers will have the
opportunity to meet with buyers one-on-one.
"In this industry, the difficulty for producers often lies in
making the right connections," said Kendra Buchanan, local foods
liaison for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. "These events
are the perfect setting for the proper people to meet and begin
building working relationships."
The event not only serves to connect producers with buyers, but
also helps to promote locally grown foods by making them available
to consumers in local grocery stores and retail outlets.
"As we see the expansion of local food demand, it seems only
natural that we would look for direct interaction with food
distributors and retailers to showcase and make available the
products of central Illinois," said Jim Birge, manager of the
Sangamon County Farm Bureau.
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Speakers at the event include University of Illinois Extension
specialist Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, who serves as an educator on
local food systems and small farms in Logan, Menard and Sangamon
counties. She will present information about the Market Ready
program and conduct Good Agriculture Practices, or GAP, training
The event will begin at 9 a.m. and is open to farmers from
throughout Illinois. Farmers may attend at no cost but need to
register by Sept. 24. To register, call the Sangamon County Farm
Bureau at 217-753-5200.
The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau
Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded
in 1916, IFB is a nonprofit membership organization controlled by
farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total
membership of 412,177, a voting membership of 82,550 and represents
2 out of 3 Illinois farmers.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Farm Bureau]