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 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

National Agri-Marketing Association Team Finds Success in San Diego

Farm Business Management Update, June/July 2003

By Dixie Watts Reaves

The Virginia Tech student National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) team recently placed third in competition in San Diego, California, among 35 teams from the United States and Canada. The NAMA competition includes both a written and oral marketing plan, completed for an agricultural product or service of the team's choice. The Virginia Tech team began working last October to create a plan for the marketing of live tilapia, a warm freshwater fish, in emerging upscale grocery stores in the Washington, DC, metro area. In consultation with aquaculture specialist, Dr. Dan Kauffman, the six-member student team conducted primary and secondary market research, including on-site customer surveys in two DC area stores and a tour of tilapia production facilities; developed goals and objectives for a three-year roll-out; set pricing and promotional strategies; estimated three-year financial projections; and determined a strategy for monitoring and measuring the success of the plan.

While in San Diego, the Virginia Tech team had the opportunity to present its plan three times. The team was one of two to advance from its initial heat of six teams to the semi-final round of twelve competitors. Virginia Tech was then the one school from its heat in the semifinal round to advance to the Final Four. They were announced as the third place team, finishing behind the University of Guelph and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to placing third in the continent in the NAMA competition, the team also won the Innovative Fundraising Award.

Team members were John Dillard, Amelia, Va.; Julia Gardner, Bridgewater, Va.; Thomas Henley, Walkerton, Va.; Austin Lineberry, Fries, Va.; Carrie Rodgers, Slippery Rock, Pa.; and Lance Stenzel, Forest, Va. The team was advised by Dr. Dixie Watts Reaves.

Past years' teams have conducted marketing plans for Blue Ridge Premium Beef, Graves Mountain Jams and Jellies, and Ruby Rainbow Trout. Any business that would like for the NAMA team to consider its product or service for next year's competition should contact Dixie Reaves at

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