Direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing -where producers engage with consumers face-to-face at roadside stands, farmers' markets, pick-your-own farms, onfarm stores, and community-supported agricultural arrangements (CSAs)-brings benefits for consumers as well as the farm businesses.
According to Census of Agriculture data, farmers who market food directly to consumers had a greater chance of remaining in business than those who market through traditional channels.
Sixty-one percent of farms with DTC sales in 2007 were in business under the same operator in 2012, compared with 55.7 percent of all U.S. farms.
Based on a comparison of farms across four size categories (defined by annual sales), farmers with DTC sales had a higher survival rate (measured as the share of farmers who reported positive sales in 2007 and 2012) in each category.
The differences in survival rates were substantial-ranging from 10 percentage points for the smallest farms to about 6 percentage points for the largest.
This chart is found in the March 2016 Amber Waves feature, "Local Foods and Farm Business Survival and Growth."