One of the options for increasing farm revenue is to retain more of the value of the final product. If you decide to venture into a value-added product arrangement, David Kohl, professor of agricultural and applied economics at Virginia Tech, offers these suggestions:

1. Join or form a co-op or build strategic alliances.

2. Make sure that at least half of the board of directors or advisers are from outside of agriculture, including some consumers.

3. Overestimate the time you will spend and the cost incurred to initiate the process by 25 percent.

4. Today's niche product is tomorrow's commodity product. Always think three to four products ahead.

5. Have an exit plan if the cooperative or alliance doesn't work out.

6. Seek advice of others who have tried similar ventures and those who have studied the process.