Texas growers look ahead to another year of volume-building promotional activities. The statewide Go Texan project has become a truly win-win experience for the state and for the program participants.
Leave it to Texas to do something in a big way. As the Texas Department of Agriculture puts it: “Go Texan takes Texas bragging rights to new heights, stamping products from the Lone Star State with bona fide Texas pride.”
The “stamping” referred to is the placing of the Go Texan logo on the program’s products, labels and fact tags or on promotion materials, such as signs or printed pieces. The range of goods embraced by the Go Texan program include wine, beef, fiber and most any horticultural product. A producer is eligible if the product is grown in Texas, it is processed there or value is added in the state.
Richard De Los Santos heads up this program at the Texas Department of Agriculture. In late January, he said the Go Texan program membership count stood at just under 1,500. To sign on as a member, there is an annual cost of $25. De Los Santos explains what the member benefits are and what promotional efforts growers may undertake.
“Grower members are using the Go Texan logo, participating in any marketing program and interacting at the retail level,” he says. “We offer to include them on our Web site. If anything comes up that we feel might benefit them, we contact them to advise what is taking place and how they might become involved.”
One benefit highly sought after by grower members is the funding plan for marketing activities called the Go Texan Partnership Program. “The funds can be sought directly through our office or through the Texas State Florists Association,” De Los Santos says. “They applied for the funds to help all the growers in their organization market their products.”
The Go Texan Partnership Program offers grants for marketing activities. Go Texan members are encouraged to submit proposals listing and detailing projects they would like to accomplish, if they had the capital to do so.
The projects can encompass a variety of marketing efforts and activities including participating in trade shows, putting up billboards or placing and creating advertisements for radio, television, newspapers or magazines. Funds can also be used for Web site design or to produce catalogs and brochures.
“The company or marketing group would submit a proposal and come before a board here,” De Los Santos says. “Upon approval, let’s say the project is going to cost $20,000, Go Texan would put in $10,000 and the member would put $10,000 into it, and together we would get the project completed. We would put everything through here or we could let them take advantage of lower printing costs with a contractor who we were able to negotiate with. That is basically how the program works.”
Past recipients in the Texas greenhouse and nursery industry include:
Weston Garden In Blooms in Ft. Worth — $29,260 to raise awareness of its landscape products and nursery during the spring season with billboards and television commercials in Ft. Worth and Arlington.
Chamblee’s Rose Nursery in Tyler — $20,075 to attend three trade shows, place print advertisements and to print a catalog promoting its locally grown David Austin English Roses.
Smith’s Greenhouses Inc./Smith’s Gardentown Farms in Wichita Falls — $17,521 for newspaper advertising and new product brochures to promote Smith’s “Texoma-tested” bedding plants and its nursery operation.
Texas Nursery & Landscape Association in Austin — $6,000 to promote the Texas Superstar ‘Knockout’ rose through a product flyer distributed to nurseries and other businesses participating in the ‘Knockout’ rose promotional campaign.
“It’s important to note that we do our promotions at different levels,” De Los Santos adds. “We have our wholesale producers that sell to retailers. We also do promotions to those retailers, asking them to buy Go Texan products. And we do promotions at the retail level — directly to the consumer — asking them to buy the Go Texan products at retail.”
The program is fully funded through September 2007, when it will be funded again for two years. For more information on the Go Texan program, visit www.gotexan.org.