Per the NASS survey in 2015 167,009 farms sold $8.7 billion in product directly to consumers, local retailers, institutions and local distributors. Direct to consumer sales totaled $3 billion or 35% of those total sales. Nationwide On-farm stores and farmer markets account for 67% of those direct sales or 2 billion.
Pennsylvania has found a good place in this market landing at fourth in the nation with $439 million in direct sales coming in behind California, Michigan and New York. Fresh food products make up 53% of direct sales with Pennsylvania ranked first in the number of farms selling directly to the consumer.
With the growth of direct to customer sales there still is only about 3% of each food dollar being spent on locally produced food, leaving so much more room for growth in this market!
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It can be hard to track employment laws especially as they change and provisions are made for certain industries, agriculture is no exception. Farmers need to beware how they classify those who work for them and with them.
To help identify employee versus contractor here are some rules of thumb:
Article by Lancaster Farming /The Farmers Choice/Philip Gruber