Kathy Kelley, Ph.D.
Connect with Kathy Kelley, Ph.D.
- Ph.D., Simultaneously, Departments of Horticulture & Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, 2000
- M.S., Horticulture, Michigan State University, 1997
- B.S., Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, 1995
Cooperative Extension Educational Focus
As consumer demand changes and as competitive forces increase, it is crucial to inform horticultural stakeholders about strategies they should consider to best appeal to customers. A component of my extension program is to develop business and marketing educational resources (e.g., presentations, fact sheets, blog entries, and webinars) for horticultural crop producers and retailers.
Presentations that I have developed to assist audience members with understanding realistic marketing strategies, consumer research techniques, and better understand what goods and services consumers truly desire include:
- Products: Goods and services offered by horticultural retailers and how they have evolved over time
- Products: Wine, consumption trends, and the tasting room experience
- Establishing prices for horticultural goods
- Promotion: Commonly used activities and adding social media to the mix
- Developing events to appeal to your clientele
- Cause marketing: Showing the community you care while being profitable
- Identifying you clientele and marketing to your target market
- Branding horticultural products
- Creating a customer loyalty program
- Creating a retail shopping experience and designing the retail outlet
- How to conduct marketing and consumer research
- HORT 455. Retail Horticulture Business Management (3 credits). This course is designed to provide students with the tools necessary to operate successful horticultural retail businesses. Topics include: marketing principles, buying an existing business, store design and layout, employee management, customer service, branding concepts, and loyalty programs. Online discussions allow for an open exchange between students and the instructor and provide a venue for directing students to online resources.
- HORT 410W. Issues in Landscape Contracting (3 credits). This course is co-taught with Dr. James Sellmer, associate professor of ornamental horticulture, in the fall of each year. The goal of the course is to provide students with a perspective on business management, regulatory, and environmental issues facing the landscape contracting profession. Landscape contractors, industry representatives, and related are invited to speak with and discuss their experiences, issues they face, and expectations of future employees and business owners.
New Zealand Sabbatical. From February 1 through July 23, 2011, I was on sabbatical in New Zealand to investigate consumer attitudes and behavior with respect to wine preferences and consumption. I completed this objective by conducting research in collaboration with faculty at Lincoln University, Lincoln, New Zealand. New Zealand, a nation distant from large primary markets, has been able to encourage a sizeable grape production and processing industry and to command a respectable international presence, all lessons applicable to the U.S. and state wine industries. New Zealand has been recognized as “one of those countries whose star is rising” in the wine world http://bit.ly/pTUlM , with the country’s Sauvignon Blanc “acclaimed throughout the world as the definitive benchmark style for the varietal” www.nzwine.com/winestyle/blanc.php and aiming for similar standards for its Pinot Noir. Project outcomes will benefit domestic winery and vineyard owners and operators by providing a solid comparative perspective on how another nation’s wine industry is reacting to current global economies and positioning itself for sustainability. This comparative perspective will also allow me to introduce valuable international benchmarks and examples into my teaching and extension programs.
Short Term Study Abroad Courses. On three separate occasions, I have collaborated with horticulture (James Sellmer) and landscape contracting faculty (Martin McGann and Dan Stearns) to develop short-term study abroad experiences for our students. Specifically, I have been involved in developing course outlines, contributing to delivering pre-trip content, organizing and reviewing student projects, helping with travel logistics, and serving as a marketing and consumer research source on the tour.
- Agribusiness Dutch Horticulture Study Tour, 2006
- Landscape Italy Study Abroad Short Course, 2007
- Landscape Contracting and Horticulture: Paris & the French Countryside – Gardens and Landscapes of Distinction, 2009
Management Volunteer Consultant. I have served four times in the capacity of an Agribusiness Management Volunteer Consultant for the Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs (CNFA), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC. During all assignments, I traveled to Eastern Europe for 12 to 18 days to assist small business-owners.
Business Management and Financial Management. For this assignment, I developed and delivered a three-day
training program to four agribusiness dealers and their employees. Attendees learned content that should be included in a
business plan, financial documents that need to be develop, and key business
- Marketing of Fruits, Vegetables and Value-Added Products. I worked with a group of 12 farmers, the Kiev Fruit and Vegetable Farmers, to determine potential markets for fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as opportunities for value-added products. I conducted two training sessions where participants learned basic marketing strategies and viewed examples of products, packaging, and promotions used by small-scale growers in the U.S.
Direct and Wholesale Marketing of Vegetables. I served as an agribusiness volunteer during my third
assignment in Ukraine in Abrikosovo Village on the Crimean Peninsula. During my
assignment, I worked directly with the lead of a group of farmers who were in
the processing of developing a cooperative.
Direct Marketing Strategies for Fruits and
Vegetables. For my fourth agribusiness assignment, I
traveled to Chisinau, Moldova and presented direct marketing information to
growers living in three separate villages in Straseni Rayon. Growers were
informed about how to differentiate their booth space at open-air markets from
their competitors using signage and point-of-purchase materials with recipes
and the grower’s contact information, the importance of packaging produce as
opposed to selling produce loose, and expanding their product mix with addition
varieties and specialty vegetables.
Select Research Projects
End-user consumers ultimately decide the fate of horticultural goods and services. Investigating preferences for edible products through consumer research insures that producers are aware of consumer needs and can fulfill their demands. Data is collected from consumers using a variety of survey methods and information is shared with industry members to help them understand consumer attitudes and behaviors. Primarily research studies have included:
conducted wine marketing research, in collaboration with Jeffrey Hyde, professor of agricultural
economics, to learn what information East
Coast consumers feel should be placed on wine labels, their preferences for bottle
sizes and materials, and participation in events and tasting room visits. In addition, data has been collected pertaining
to attitudes towards East Coast wine compared to other U.S. regions and Old and
New World wines. Other wine marketing research is currently being conducted with researchers from The Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University, Cornell University, and New York University. This project is being funded by the USDA Federal State Marketing Improvement Program.
- Ethnic consumer interest in purchasing of ethnic greens and herbs. This multi-state, multi-discipline research project, funded by the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant and directed by Ramu Govindasamy, Professor, Dept. of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Rutgers University, focuses on how to better market authentic ethnic products to Asian Indian, Chinese, Mexican, and Puerto Rican consumers who reside along the East Coast of the U.S. By conducting online focus group sessions and telephone surveys we have gathered data that will assist producers with determining what crops they could grow and help retailers market the crops to these individuals. Data collected from intermediaries (brokers, wholesalers, and retailers) will allow us to better understand what issues or difficulties they have with sourcing and selling these goods.
- Agricultural businesses have several opportunities to host events and draw consumers to their businesses for them to participate in activities such as hayrides, wine tasting, and school field trips. This research, funded by the USDA Federal State Marketing Improvement Program and directed by Ramu Govindasamy, Professor, Dept. of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Rutgers University, focuses on collecting data from consumers and allow business owners and operators to better understand what events and activities are of greatest interest and how to encourage customers to visit on more than one occasion.
- Mid-Atlantic Specialty Crop Research Initiative. Research conducted along with Dr. Jeffrey Hyde and Amy Chamberlain, former graduate research assistant, and funded by the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant http://www.csrees.usda.gov . For this research project, four Internet surveys were developed and implemented by targeting consumers residing in five metropolitan areas within the Mid-Atlantic region: Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. Survey questions were developed to investigate factors influencing consumer purchasing decisions regarding fresh produce and value-added, processed products. Additional questions examined the role and impact of increasing food prices, rising energy costs, concerns about food safety, quality, availability, affordability, and other economic factors currently affecting produce purchases. For more information about this project, visit www.midatlanticspecialtycrops.com .
Select Refereed Publications
- Chamberlain, A., K.
Kelley, and J. Hyde. 2013. Mid-Atlantic
Consumer Purchasing Behavior and Knowledge of Locally Grown and Seasonal
Produce. Journal of Extension 51(2). http://www.joe.org/joe/2013april/rb4.php
- Chamberlain, A., K. Kelley, and J. Hyde. 2013. Comparing Consumer Preferences for Locally Grown and Certified Organic Produce in the Mid-Atlantic Region. HortTechnology 23(1):74-81.
- Kelley, K., R. Govindasamy, and J.
On-line Bulletin Boards to Gather Preliminary Information. Journal of Extension
- Cornelisse, S., J. Hyde, C. Raines, K. Kelley, D. Ollendyke, and J. Remcheck. Entrepreneurial extension conducted via social media. Journal of Extension 49(6): http://www.joe.org/joe/2011december/tt1.php .
- Kelley, K.M., J.C. Sellmer, and R.H. Robert. 2010. Survey responses identify community member interest in visiting public gardens and arboreta. HortTechnology. 20(6):1001-1009.
- Kelley, K., J. Hyde, J. Travis, and R. Crassweller. 2010. Assessing consumer preferences for scab-resistant apples: A sensory evaluation. HortTechnology. 20(5):885-891.
- Kelley, K.M., J.C. Sellmer, and R.H. Robert. 2010. Developing strategies to increase visits to public gardens and arboreta by surveying community residents. HortTechnology. 20(5):902-914.
- McCoy, M.S., K.M. Kelley, and D.T. Stearns. 2008. Factors influencing consumers’ selection of a landscaping service provider. HortTechnology 18(1):148-153.
- Phillips, J., E.J. Holcomb, and K.M. Kelley. 2007. Determining interest in value-added planters: Consumer preference and current grower and retailer supply. HortTechnology 17(2):238-246.
- Wehry, R.H., K.M. Kelley, R.D. Berghage, and J.C. Sellmer. 2007. Developing a state plant promotion program based on consumer gardening interests, experiences, and preferences for brand attributes, presentation, and retail price. HortScience 42(3):547-580.
- Kelley, K.M. and R.M. Bates. 2006. Containerized table-top Christmas trees: Interest among Pennsylvania consumers and attitudes concerning care and handling. Journal of Extension 45(1): http://www.joe.org/joe/2007february/rb7.shtml .
- Montri, D.N., K.M. Kelley, and E.S. Sánchez. 2006. Consumer interest in fresh, In shell edamame and acceptance of edamame-based patties. HortScience 41(7):1616-1622.
- Montri, D.N., K.M. Kelley, and E.S. Sánchez. 2006. Direct marketing edamame (Glycine max [L.] Merrill) to professional chefs. Journal of Extension 44(1): http://www.joe.org/joe/2006february/rb4.shtml .
- Kelley, K.M., J. Stumpf, J.C. Sellmer, and R.M. Bates. 2006. Invasive Plant Species: Results of a consumer awareness, knowledge, and expectations survey conducted in Pennsylvania. J. Environ. Hort. 24(1):53-58.
- Kelley, K.M. and R.H. Wehry. 2006. Consumer interest in gardening topics and Journal of Extension 44(2): http://www.joe.org/joe/2006april/rb7.shtml
Select Published Proceedings
- Demchak, K., K. Kelley, and E. Hanson. 2013. High tunnel berries: Results of a grower survey. 2013 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conversion Proceedings, pgs. 188-190.
- Kelley, K., J. Hyde, and A.
Chamberlain. 2012. The consumer and the farmers’ market: What research shows
us. 2012 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and
Vegetable Convention Proceedings, pgs. 224-225.
Kelley, K. 2012. My wine marketing sabbatical experiences in New Zealand: overview and impressions. Pennsylvania Fruit News 92(2):18.
- Govindasamy, R., K. Kelley, and V. Puduri. 2011. Using Internet Bulletin Board Focus Group Sessions to Elicit Consumer Preferences for Ethnic Greens and Herbs. Journal of Food Distribution Research, 63(1).
- Kelley, K., A. Chamberlain, and J. Hyde. 2010. Consumer attitudes and purchasing intent: A Project Update of the Mid-Atlantic Specialty Crop Research Initiative. 2010 New Jersey Vegetable Growers Convention.
- Kelley, K.M. 2010. Basics of marketing: How will you distribute your product? 2010 Mid- Fruit and Vegetable Convention.
- Kelley, K.M. 2009. Consumer Behavior and Preference for Locally-Grown and Certified-Organic Produce and Value-Added Products. 2009 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention.
- Kelley, K.M. 2009. Using trends, tips, and techniques to encourage sales in your retail outlet. 2009 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, pgs. 54-55.
- Kelley, K.M. 2008. Implementing a customer loyalty program. 2008 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, pgs. 54-55.
- Kelley, K.M. 2007. Promotional strategies for your horticultural business. 2007 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, pgs. 55-56.
- Kelley, K.M. 2007. Population trends: Does this change your consumer outlook? 52nd New Jersey Annual Vegetable Meeting, pgs. 26-27.
- Kelley, K.M. 2006. Population trends: Does this change your consumer outlook? 2006 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, pgs. 50-51.
- Kelley, K.M. 2006. Pricing strategies for horticultural products. 2006 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, pgs. 61-62.
Select Non-Refereed Publications
- Kelley, K.M. 2012. Social media strategies for horticultural businesses. Ohio Florists’ Association, OFA Bulletin 936:10-12.
- Kelley, K.M. and J. Hyde. 2012. Focus
on consumers. GrowingProduce.com. 11
July 2012 online edition. http://www.growingproduce.com/article/29079/focus-on-consumers
- Kelley, K.M. 2011. Cross promotion: Partnering with other businesses to better serve your customers. Ohio Florists’ Association, OFA Bulletin 930:1, 9, 10.
- Kelley, K.M. 2008. Layout and design for retail horticulture businesses. Ohio Florists’ Association, OFA Bulletin 910:4-5.
- Kelley, K.M. 2007. Implementing a customer loyalty program. Ohio Florists’ Association, OFA Bulletin 905:1, 12-14.
- Phillips, J., J. Holcomb, and K. Kelley. 2006. A traditional product with a twist: Consumer preference for value-added poinsettia planters. A Growing Interest, The Pennsylvania Floral Industry Association’s Newseltter. Fall 2006: 12-13.
- Kelley, K.M., J.R. Conklin, J.C. Sellmer, and R.M. Bates. 2006. Invasive plant species: Consumer awareness, knowledge, and expectations. Perennial Plants, Quarterly Journal of the Perennial Plant Association 2:6-12, 14, 16.
Value-Added Marketing Fact Sheets
Fact Sheets range in length of one to four pages and are intended to give producers, wholesalers, and retailers a brief understanding of marketing and business management topics. Fact sheets are housed on the Farm Management web site: http://farmbusiness.psu.edu/ValueAdd.cfm
Agricultural Entrepreneurship Blog
Blog entries are written to provide information that is both timely and that complements other written and electronic publications and materials. Blog entries can be found at: http://farmbusiness.blogspot.com
Mid-Atlantic Specialty Crops Newsletters
Biweekly articles were written in conjunction with Amy Chamberlain, former graduate research assistant, Dana Ollendyke, extension assistant, and Jeffrey Hyde, associate professor of agricultural economics, pertaining to the 2008 fruit and vegetable strategic planning workshop hosted by Penn State and research funded by the USDA SCRI. Articles were reposted on the Penn State Agricultural Entrepreneurship blog at http://farmbusiness.blogspot.com
Agricultural Business Management Social Media Webinars
A series of webinars were developed by Agricultural Entrepreneurship extension members. In conjunction with Jeffrey Hyde, associate professor of agricultural economics, I developed and delivered a webinar informing clientele about the benefits of using YouTube, features, and examples. The webinar can be found at: http://extension.psu.edu/farm-business/webinars/webinars
Consumer Horticulture Fact Sheets