UACES Facebook Arkansas MarketMaker Team takes second place at Farm Credit Innovation Awards
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Arkansas MarketMaker Team takes second place at Farm Credit Innovation Awards

By the U of A System Division of Agriculture
Dec. 1, 2017 

Fast facts:

  • Illinois Farmers Market Association takes top Innovation Award honors at NVAA
  • Arkansas MarketMaker, Bryan Dailey earn first-, and second runner-up 

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas MarketMaker Team, with its Strategic Partnerships Promoting Arkansas Agriculture project, was first runner-up in the 2017 Farm Credit Innovation Awards, given at the 19th annual National Value Added Agriculture Conference. 

Arkansas first runner up

The Illinois Farmers Market Association earned first place at the conference, which was hosted by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.  

Arkansas MarketMaker connects growers with outlets such as restaurants, retailers and schools. In the last five years, Arkansas MarketMaker: 

  • Worked with Hmong National Development in a project that resulted in a DVD that presents training on the MarketMaker registration process and features in the Hmong language.
  • Held grower field days supporting Farm to School programs.
  • Promoted Arkansas’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and its use and acceptance at farmers’ markets.  

Ron Rainey, Professor of Economics for the Division of Agriculture, said MarketMaker’s efforts have clearly been shown to benefit Arkansas producers. 

“Training and engagement activities resulted in enhanced Arkansas grower marketing opportunities,” said Rainey, who also oversees the state’s MarketMaker program. “Many of our efforts have focused on promoting farm-to-school, SNAP programs and reaching underserved grower audiences.” 

“We’re pleased to have Farm Credit again serve as a partner for these awards recognizing fresh thinking and action to help our nation’s food systems move forward,” said Dar Knipe, co-founder of the MarketMaker program and managing partner of the Global Food and Ag Network. 

The Illinois Farmers Market Association (ILFMA) was founded in 2010 to connect the growing number of Illinois farmers’ markets, market managers, producers and consumers. The association also strives to provide coordinated resources, advocacy, technical services and training to ensure the continued vibrancy and sustainability of Illinois farmers’ markets. 


All finalists will receive a $750 travel scholarship to help cover travel and registration for the NVAA conference. The honor comes with a cash awards as well: ILFMA earns $6,000 for its first-place finish; Arkansas MarketMaker Team earned $4,000 and Dailey received $3,000. 

All the winners took part in a panel discussion during the conference to give a brief presentation on their projects. 

The award is sponsored by Farm Credit. The Farm Credit System is a nationwide network of borrower-owned lending institutions and specialized service organizations. 

For more information about the conference, visit

To learn more about the Arkansas MarketMaker Program, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit


About the National Value Added Conference

The 2017 National Value Added Agriculture Conference featured current issues that impact the value added of food and agricultural systems, food security and rural development. Topics featured at the conference included branding, regional food systems, financing, food waste, functional foods, technology and big data are topics to be featured during the upcoming conference. 

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.  

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.   

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.    

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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