AgMap: Promoting America's Agriculture


AgMap Helps Create Web Network

Donna Zang - Butler Eagle
April 22, 2002

Marketing techniques for agriculture are continually evolving and as everyone knows, the Internet has become a new tool for reaching consumers.

AgMap is a recently developed agricultural network for Pennsylvania producers and consumers and participation in the network is growing.

Pennsylvania is a national leader in agricultural production. Products ranging from apples to wood are sent across the world, yet many Pennsylvanains don't even realize what is being grown within a few miles of their homes.

Local farmers may not be aware tht the resources they need are available in the next county. And businesses that use agricultural products might not know that what they need is available locally.

That's where AgMap can help.

It provides access to a database that allows consumers, farmers, and businesses to search for agricultural services based on location, products, and service types.

By searching the AgMap database, you can find: products grown or made near your home, farm or business; complete descriptions of these products and how to contact the growers and producers directly.

To access AgMap, all you need is a browser with Internet access and Internet Explorer software, version 4.0 or higher. Behind the scenes, Penn State's Land Analysis Laboratory maintains a Web-enabled database that is also linked to a geographic information system, which lets you easily search for farms and farm products based on how close they are to you.

How do farmers use AgMap? The information included in AgMap about products and farms comes directly from the farmers themselves. To enter information about their businesses, farmers can follow a series of simple steps that locates their farm and provides information for buyers of their products.

Information is provided on a voluntary basis and only the farmer can change the information once it has been entered. There is no fee for participation in the program.

For consumers, AgMap lets you search for agricultural services based on location, products, and service types. For example, if you were looking for a farm where you could pick your own strawberries, you would visit the AgMap Web site, enter your home location, and ask for a search of all strawberry growers within a 20-mile radius. AgMap will return a list of all farms that meet your criteria as well as a map showing how to get there.

In addition to helping farmers and consumers find each other, AgMap provides a communications network among agricultural businesses in Pennsylvania. The network allows producers to identify and contact other producers who offer similar products and services, which offers several benefits, including market analysis and improved industry communication.

Sound interesting? For additional information, contact the Butler County Extension Office at 724-287-4761 for an informational brochure or visit the Website at http://agmap.psu.edu.

This material is submitted by Donna Zang, Extension director, and the staff of the Penn State Extension office at the Sunnyview Home complex.

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