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Food Hub Benchmarking Study 2014

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


Food Hubs are delivering on their promise of enabling identity-preserved, primarily local and regional food to enter the wholesale market, enabling small and mid-sized farms access to buyers that would otherwise be unattainable.

But aggregation and distribution of food is a very thin-margin business, and hubs take on additional expense working with smaller farmers, providing technical assistance, and other grower and community services. Are food hubs able to support themselves with their operations? What are industry-standard financial and operational benchmarks for food hub businesses?

The NGFN Food Hub Collaboration, through our partners at Farm Credit East, Farm Credit Council and Morse Marketing Connections, has collected and analyzed financial and operational data from dozens of hubs across the country, creating the second food hub benchmarking study. The pilot 2013 study showed good promise for our methodology, and this year's study has several times the number of participants, giving us a much better picture of how food hubs operate.

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 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 attend 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.





Presenter Bios

Gary Matteson

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Gary 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.  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.               

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Chad Gerencer

Chad Gerencer is a program associate for Morse Marketing Connections, a partner in the NGFN Food Hub Collaboration. 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.

Erin Pirro

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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, Erin 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.  Erin received her undergraduate degree in resource economics and her master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Connecticut.  Erin’s family farm raises and markets Connecticut Grown Lamb and provides shearing services in southern New England.

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