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September 7 2004, 14:50 Agrarian Marketing Project

Training Tour of Agricultural Marketing Projects Specialists to the USA

AMP Association/Cooperative Development Specialist Raisa Volik came back from the USA (Mississippi State) where she and a group of farmers from Odesa oblast participated in training tour organized by the Project "Harmony".

Mississippi State is one of southern-eastern USA states where farms are producing commodities on total sum of USD $ 2,6 billions that is 2% of gross state income. There are about 39,000 farms in Mississippi. They produce soy, cotton, rice, wheat, corn, sweet potato, and pecan. Mississippi is the leading state in breeding speciality - catfish. Here dozens of farmer bureau, associations, cooperatives, credit unions are situated. Each farmer is proud of his participation in several public organizations.

The trainings were organized on a high level: well-planned theoretical lectures and practical work. That is why at the end of study course farmers rather easy completed practical assignment - to create action plan of farm activity for a couple of next years. Major part of Odesa farmers decided to put efforts to support public associations of agricultural producers in their rayons in order to protect interests and to develop farmer movement in the region.

When study course had been finished Raisa Volik joined Land O'Lakes Reporting meeting. Land O'Lakes is one of the most successful farmer cooperatives in America. The meeting took place in Minneanapolis, Minnesota State. This cooperative implements more than 40 Projects in 33 countries of the world, including Ukraine - Agricultural Marketing Project (AMP). The management of the cooperative reported to the members about work conducted during a reporting year and shared plans for the next year. The turnover of the cooperative in 2003 exceeded $ USD 6,3 billiards, the activity remained profit-making. It was interesting to mention that cooperative Land O'Lakes, which was often perceived as pure "milk" cooperative, really is a much more diversified corporation. Besides having leading positions on cheese and butter on USA market, the cooperative also is a leading supplier of animal feedstuff in the country, one of the greatest producers of chicken eggs and seeds of agriculture crops. The cooperative also owns several widely known brands. Independent study showed that nearly 98% of American households buy regularly Land O'Lakes company commodities.

Raisa Volik jointly with Mr. Robert Lee, Director, and Mr. Andriy Yarmak, Deputy Director of Agricultural Marketing Project, took an active part in the work of International Development Department that was created as a non-profitable division of Land O'Lakes for implementation Technical Assistance Projects in different countries of the world. AMP presentation had aroused vivid interest among the representatives of other Projects around the world, who gladly received AMP experience concerning marketing and market information system development.

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