Home Volume 1, Issue 4 Acting Collectively To Develop Midscale Food Value Chains


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Acting Collectively To Develop Midscale Food Value Chains

by Larry Leva and G. W. Stevensonb

http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2011.014.014, pp. 119-128



This paper uses case studies of four innovative U.S. midscale food value chains to provide models of how midsized farms and ranches and associated processing, distribution, and retail businesses can prosper by acting collectively to construct a "third tier" in the U.S. agri-food system. Specifically we consider the importance of acting collectively at three distinct levels: horizontally among producers, vertically within food value chains, and horizontally across food value chains. These midscale food value chains represent strategic alliances among midsized farms and other agri-food enterprises that operate at regional levels, handle significant volumes of high-quality, differentiated food products, and distribute profit margins equitably among the strategic partners. From a market perspective, the key advantage of these food value chains is their ability to provide these high-quality, differentiated products that are not available through the mainstream commodity market.


Keywordscommunity of practice, differentiated products, midsized farms, regional, strategic partnerships, supply chains, sustainability, value chains


a Corresponding author: Larry Lev, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-3601 USA; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

b G. W. Stevenson, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706-1215 USA


Banner photos include a Cape Cod cranberry bog; a cranberry “screen house” used to grade fresh cranberries; farmland near Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains; Montmorency cherry trees on the Mission Peninsula of northern Michigan; the historic Round Barn in the South Mountain Apple Belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania; the “Sea of Grapes” district of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, near Erie, Penn; a field of cabbages near Shortsville, NY, home to one of the world’s largest sauerkraut factories. All photos copyright by Duncan Hilchey.


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