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Financial Benchmark Metrics and Measurements for Regional Food Hubs

This webinar describes the lessons learned from the 2013 benchmarking study of food hub financial and operational characteristics.


Food Hubs strengthen regional food systems by supplying local foods to schools, hospitals, restaurants and other institutions, as well as directly to consumers.  Their aggregation, sales, and distribution activity increases farm-gate demand for local foods, creating new markets for small producers.

But are food hubs economically sustainable?  Can food hubs do well by doing good?

This webinar describes the lessons learned from the recent benchmarking study of food hub financial and operational characteristics.   The presentation highlights how successful food hubs across the nation have achieved their mission and goals through financial and business metrics. 

Understanding this landmark study will benefit all manner of people interested in regional food systems. For instance, food hub operators will be able to identify performance standards and improvement strategies.  Farmers who watch the webinar will gain a better understanding of their ability to access new markets through food hubs, and researchers and local food advocacy organizations will benefit from this webinar’s business-based analysis of food hub functions and operational issues. Private lenders and public sector funders will gain insight on strategic investment strategies for food hubs that will lead to positive economic and sustainable outcomes.

The National Good Food Network Food Hub Benchmarking Study team includes the Farm Credit Council, Farm Credit East, Morse Marketing Connections, and the Wallace Center at Winrock International.




Presenter Bios

Chad Gerencer

Chad GerencerChad Gerencer is a program associate for Morse Marketing Connections, a principal partner in the EIEIO program. Prior to joining MMC, Chad worked for a Fortune 500 company, where his client base included companies from the energy, technology and automotive sectors. Chad graduated from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in 2008 with a B.A. in Business Administration.

Gary Matteson

Gary MattesonGary Matteson works for the Farm Credit Council in Washington, DC, which is the trade organization of the Farm Credit System.  Farm Credit is a nationwide network of borrower-owned lending institutions, providing credit for the nation’s farmers and ranchers.  

As the Vice President for Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach, Gary seeks to identify and meet the needs of the next generation of farmers and ranchers as a part of Farm Credit’s enduring mission of service to agriculture and rural America.  Farm Credit provided some $7.7 billion to young farmers, $12 billion for beginning farmers, and $14.2 billion in financing for small farmers in 2008. 

Until recently Gary was a small farmer operating a wholesale greenhouse business in New Hampshire, including raising cattle for the local freezer beef market.  He holds bachelor’s degrees in agronomy and biology from the University of Connecticut.

Erin Pirro

Erin Pirro

Erin Pirro is a farm business consultant and vice president for Farm Credit East, the Northeast’s leading financial services cooperative for agriculture. Her work is centered on successfully helping customers analyze their businesses from many angles in order to pinpoint methods for improving their profitability. In addition, Pirro leads First Pioneer’s Agricultural Retail Benchmark, which is a comprehensive program of data analysis and benchmark reporting as well as a customized seminar and consulting meeting for owners of farm markets, garden centers, nurseries, wineries and other ag retail businesses.  

Active in other capacities for the financial cooperative, Pirro has participated in college recruiting and an internship program to introduce college students to Farm Credit careers. She is also a guest speaker at university agricultural and economics seminars and has served on the board of the Connecticut Farm Bureau and is the Chief Financial Officer for the American Society of Agricultural Consultants. In addition, Pirro is chair of the Connecticut Young Farmers and is also involved in Connecticut Agriculture Day at the State Capitol. 

Pirro received her undergraduate degree in resource economics and her master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Connecticut.  She was one of four young farmers nationwide to be selected as a 2010 McCloy Fellow in Agriculture.   Erin and her husband, Jonathan Pirro, make their home in Granby.  Their family farm raises and markets Connecticut Grown Lamb and provides shearing services in southern New England.

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