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Abstract

This paper reports on initial data collection for the consumer-preference objective in the three-year research project, "An Extended-Season Barry Production and Marketing System to Enhance Viability of Small Appalachian Farms and Rural Communities." This USDA NRI-funded project studies impacts on small farms and rural communities of widespread adoption of a unique full-season system of berry production with sales to high-value markets. Small-acreage farms in Southern Ohio and similar Appalachian regions are looking for alternatives that may approach the per-acre returns of traditional tobacco production. Small fruit crops have similar production requirements (labor and management intensive, small acreage) and can provide a significant income that more closely approaches tobacco than do many other alternatives. The overall project combines research on the required production system, on marketing strategies for high-value berries and berry products produced in this region, and on the impact such production and processing may have on case-study communities. This report relates to work to understand attributes consumers value in the market that may inform producers on marketing strategies.

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