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AMS’ Wholesale Market Design Architectural Services Help USDA Provide Full Service to Agricultural Marketers

Posted by Arthur Neal, Deputy Administrator, Transportation and Marketing Program in Food and Nutrition
Apr 04, 2018
Architect Ron Batcher drawing plans for a downtown market
Architect Ron Batcher draws plans for a downtown market in Henderson, NC to include a farmer’s market, retail, visitor center, and amphitheater.

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture says it’s here to help with all aspects of agriculture, it includes no-cost architectural services for stakeholders across the country. These services consist of initial design and plan evaluation for the construction or remodeling of wholesale markets, farmers markets, public markets and food hubs. An architect with the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Transportation and Marketing Program provides the services.

AMS’ current architect, Ron Batcher, serves as USDA’s technical source for food markets and hubs. He provides guidance that covers all phases of development from the initial concept through the construction process. He provides technical assistance to enhance or create structures that are functional, safe and efficient and meet the needs of stakeholders and customers; and provides expertise to ensure that building codes comply with zoning laws, fire regulations, and local and state ordinances. He also provides environmental issue reviews, site selection, initial design concepts, building cost studies, coordination with local design professionals and third party design reviews.

The former owner of his own design-build company, Batcher joined USDA in 2017 after more than 20 years’ experience in residential and commercial architecture, and the construction industry. He has completed projects ranging in cost from a few thousand dollars to more than $60 million.

AMS’ recent architectural design services for USDA customers include:

  • Food Hub Facility in Warrenton, North Carolina. AMS is providing schematic and design drawings for the renovation of the produce processing facility, including food-grade finishes and equipment layout, and an addition that will allow temperature-controlled cold production, storage and distribution activities.
  • Rehabilitation of the Paradise Inn in Martinsville, Virginia. AMS provided architectural assistance to the city for its plans to rehabilitate the historic landmark to house a “farm-to-table” restaurant, a community kitchen, and meeting spaces for classes and events promoting healthy living. Part of AMS’s assistance included drawing floor plans for the existing structure -- which are now the only plans available for the building as it is -- and creating proposed floor plans for the rehabilitation.
  • The Sanctuary at Albuquerque for the University of New Mexico Hospital. AMS provided architectural floor plans and 3-D renderings for a rooftop garden made up of numerous growing towers, planting beds, and an aquaponics tank for fresh produce and fish cultivation to feed patients and staff.
  • The FARE Center in Appleton City, Missouri. AMS provided drawings to illustrate possible layout options for the center’s roadway, sidewalks, street furniture, trees and open spaces. They followed up with floor plans and 3-D renderings to help meet the city’s vision that the center will be used as a business incubator, community kitchen, and food hub.
  • The Farmers Market at Ripley’s Flea Market, Ripley, Mississippi. AMS provided the preliminary design for a new market pavilion and event space located on the grounds of the existing flea market intended to bring together farmers, ranchers, artisans, artists, and customers in a safe, family-oriented, and inexpensive venue.

Interested in seeing how you can make your market facilities more efficient or better able to prepare for best practices in food safety for your suppliers, vendors and customers? Contact Ronald Batcher at (202) 690-1309 or

More information about the design and consulting resources are available on the Wholesale Markets and Facility Design page on the AMS website.

Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition