Are you a beginning farmer in New York state who has been farming for at least three years? Is the farm business you manage at a crossroads, needing to improve efficiency, scale up, or make other major changes to achieve long-term viability? Do you need some decision support to improve profitability of the farm business after 3-9 years of running it? Farmers at this stage are often faced with critical decisions that determine the long-term viability of their operation.
You don’t need to face these decisions alone. You may be eligible to receive support for a New Farmer Profit Team. This initiative seeks to improve the long-term success of advanced beginning farmers by providing selected farmers with customized, one-on-one guidance from farm professionals (financial, production, legal, marketing, etc.) over an 18-mo to 2-year period. These New Farmer Profit Teams are modeled on Dairy Profit Teams, which have a track record of improving productivity, profitability, and efficiency of the participating farms.
How does it work?
You can choose who you’d like to advise you, or seek assistance in selecting appropriate professionals. In practice, each profit team could consist of just one person acting as a mentor or coach, or a team of professionals representing different areas of expertise, working together to advise a farmer. The project has up to $2000 available per farm to pay these advisors and requires a 20% match from the farmer.
While improving farm profitability is one critical measure of the success of this project, other desired impacts include:
- Improved income-generating capacity of farm (due to infrastructure or labor investment)
- Improved crop or herd health
- Improved management of farm natural and human resources
- Refined marketing strategies
- Reduced stress of farm staff
- Enhanced well-being of farmer
Not only will you have the personalized guidance of your selected advisors, but we also want to help you develop new skills to grow your capacity as a leader. Participants in this project will attend an annual intensive 2-3-day leadership training designed to grow the network of skilled farmers and help them transfer their skills to new farmers just entering the field.
If this sounds like it would be helpful, please click here for a full program description and to apply. The application deadline is September 15, and in this second round, only about 12 farms will be chosen. A second round of applicants will be accepted in Spring 2016.
This project is a collaboration of the Cornell Small Farms Program, NY Farm Viability Institute, and NY FarmNet, made possible with funding from NYFVI and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP).