Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural Economics (MS)

Degree Level



Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness


Michael Popp

Committee Member

Trey Malone

Second Committee Member

Jennie S Popp


Market outlet;Outlet choice;Producer's profile;Small-scale fruit and vegetable producers


This thesis comprises two studies investigating the market outlet choices of small-scale fruit and vegetable producers in Arkansas. By examining the marketing decisions of producers in the region, the objective was to profile producers based on their utilization of different available outlets and identify the factors influencing their decisions regarding where to sell their products. Data from a survey conducted in the Ozark Mountain Region (comprising Arkansas, Southern Missouri and Eastern Oklahoma) during Fall of 2022 were analyzed using k-means clustering to classify producers based on their characteristics, thus establishing distinct producer profiles. Multinomial logit regression was employed to determine the impact of selected factors on producers' likelihood of choosing one outlet over another. The findings of this research reveal three distinct types of producers in Arkansas. Firstly, there are the farmer's market lovers, predominantly female, who prioritize selling at farmers' markets due to their preference for connecting with consumers rather than seeking additional outlets. Secondly, there are The Trial-and-error producers, whose small-scale fruit and vegetable production appears to be a hobby. Per their name they are trying out different outlets to sell their products as they also had the least sales. Lastly, there are The Experienced wholesalers, who predominantly grow for resellers. This group, mainly comprising men and individuals of white ethnicity, prefers selling to wholesalers and restaurants. Notably, this group attains the highest revenues and demonstrates a stronger focus on organic production practices. Also, they grew a large variety of crops which was considered counterintuitive given that wholesaling typically requires large minimum order quantities. A hypothesized reason for crop diversification is pest, disease, and weed management necessary with organic production. Local governments and organizations can employ targeted strategies based on these findings. For instance, women should be the primary focus when providing market information and promoting organic production practices, given their significant representation among farmer's market lovers. Conversely, when introducing new services such as food hubs and delivery options, men should be the target audience, as experienced wholesalers are predominantly male. The second analysis highlights several factors that influence producers' choice of outlets. These factors include proximity to the market, production practices, market entry requirements, license/fee/registration/certification, and crop diversification. Since greater distance to market is costly in terms of fuel and labor, produce pickup by wholesalers is envisioned as a means to enhance a producer’s choice to sell to wholesalers, in turn making produce available to consumers at grocery outlets. The limitations of this research include potential self-reporting bias and the exclusive focus on fruit and vegetable producers, limiting the generalizability of the findings. Additionally, certain relevant variables could not be considered due to incomplete information provided by respondents given the length of the survey.

Available for download on Friday, August 30, 2024