NPR Checks In On Wal-Mart's Plan to Buy More From Local Farmers

Speaking of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, NPR today checks in on the world's largest retailer's plan, announced in 2010, to double its sales of local product by 2015.

Wal-Mart says it's meeting that goal, but some local farmers aren't impressed, or even necessarily feeling the benefits:

Wal-Mart claims its emphasis on local has saved customers over $1 billion while helping farmers. But Wyatt Fraas, of the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyon, Neb., would like to see those benefits and cost savings broken down.

"Unfortunately, there's so little definition and transparency about how that happens that we don't really know if that happens or how that happens," he said.

Of the eight farms highlighted on Wal-Mart's locally grown web site, five are very large farms by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's definition, with annual sales in the millions of dollars.

And then there's the question of volume. The University of Missouri Extension's Jennifer Schutter, who helps farmers sell produce to retailers, says many small farmers in Missouri simply can't grow enough.

What sounded like a great idea on paper is proving trickier in real-world application. The complete NPR story here.