AgMap: Promoting America's Agriculture


Nov 8, 2003

FIND DISTINCTIVE THANKSGIVING BOUNTY ON PENN STATE WEB SITE

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA -- As Thanksgiving approaches, those looking for fresh fruits and vegetables can find the best of the fall harvest by surfing the Internet, thanks to a new feature on a Web site run by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

AgMap, Pennsylvania's online agricultural directory, now lists more than 250 farmers' markets in every county on its interactive Web site. AgMap founder Rick Day, an associate professor in the department of crop and soil sciences, says rather than take a long country drive to find roadside stands, shoppers now can find the nearest farmers' markets with the click of a mouse.

"You can ask AgMap to pull up all the farmers' markets in Pennsylvania, or to find the closest farm market within a 25 or 50-mile radius of your home," Day says. "You can even search for specific fruits and vegetables, or find the nearest pick-your-own sites. You can ask for a particular crop or a non-food agricultural product like hay or flowers, and the site will list all the farms or farmers' markets that have it."

This year's unusual growing season delayed harvests of several crops, Day says, making AgMap a valuable resource for consumers hoping to catch fruit and produce at the peak of ripeness. The site provides simple roadmaps for finding the farms, and lists special features such as organic produce certification, subscription services and links to farm Web sites.

The service allows consumers to sign up for occasional updates from specific businesses. You can also search for similar businesses or products It also can help farmer-to-farmer communication.

"The farmer can link to other farmers who might have a pest or drought problem, and what solutions others have tried," he says. "It's a great communication tool. Addresses, phone numbers and e-mail are all listed on the website, so they have easy opportunity to link with other farmers."

Day says AgMap also helps producers with agricultural market analysis to locate competitors or identify voids in services where new businesses might be successful.

"Pennsylvania is a national leader in agricultural production, yet many Pennsylvanians don't even realize what's being grown within a few miles of their homes," he says. "Local producers may not know that the resources they need are available in the next county. And area businesses like supermarkets or restaurants might not know that what they need is available locally."

New enhancements recently added to AgMap provide free classified ad postings for any enrolled business. Classified ad categories include "Help Wanted" job postings, "For Sale," and "Wanted to Buy." In the near future, AgMap will provide links to Penn State's educational materials about agricultural products. Potential applicants will be provided contact information and can search the job opportunity database based on job characteristics. AgMap offers free enrollment, a secure log-in to add, edit, and update business information, on-line mapping of the business's location and worldwide visibility for member's products and services.

Penn State's Land Analysis Lab and its Cooperative Extension Geospatial Technology program maintain the Web-enabled database, which is linked to a geographic information system, letting users easily search information maintained and updated by registered users. Penn State Cooperative Extension and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture provide financial support for the marketing and promotion of AgMap.


EDITORS: Contact Rick Day at (814) 865-2279 or by e-mail at agmapsupport@psu.edu.


Writer-Editor: Gary Abdullah
office (814) 863-2708 #245
home (814) 237-1023
e-mail gxa2@psu.edu
For more news from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, visit http://aginfo.psu.edu.

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