Sustainable Food Policy: Antibiotic Stewardship

CADE seeks to advance sustainable food policies at the nexus of agriculture, public health, and the environment. 

CADE is working with public school food purchasers to adopt a beef procurement specification to support enhanced on-farm "antibiotics stewardship" aimed at combating antibiotics resistance. Overuse of antibiotics in animals and people is causing the emergence of antibiotic resistant 'superbugs'. These bacteria have created a growing public health crisis of infections in people where antibiotics are no longer effective.

Learn more by downloading "A Guide for Public School District Food Purchasers on adopting a Beef Procurement Specification to Help Combat Antibiotics Resistance".

While the USDA and FDA already regulate and test meat to ensure food does not contain antibiotic residue in beef sold on the market, the practice of blanket treatment of groups of cattle to prevent infection is increasing the occurrence of bacteria that are resistant to previously effective antibiotics.

Livestock receive 65% of the total amount of antibiotics administered to humans and animals in the U.S. Cattle receive 41% of livestock portion, which amounts to 25% of all antibiotics used in the U.S. in people and livestock.

The New York State Department of Health established the NYS Antimicrobial Resistance Prevention and Control Task Force, which developed Stop Antibiotic Resistance Roadmap (STARR) to combat the growing threat of antibiotic resistance. One of its recommendations is reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics in livestock.

Using the market as a tool to incentivize farmers to advance enhanced antibiotic stewardship, CADE piloted a first-ever beef procurement specification for public school districts in partnership with the CCE Tompkins County Farm-to-School Project.* In April 2019, food purchasers of four Tompkins County School Districts (Dryden, Groton, Ithaca and Trumansburg) in New York’s Southern Tier region took the unprecedented step of requiring vendors that bid on their beef contracts to meet new specifications that reduce on-farm use of antibiotics while promoting animal welfare.

Building on the success of the pilot, CADE seeks to replicate and scale the antibiotic stewardship procurement standard among K-12 schools across New York State. The standard aligns public school purchasing with New York State's public health policy and helps protect communities against antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause infection and illness.

School food purchasers interested in replicating the standard in their procurement bids can download "A Guide for Public School District Food Purchasers on adopting a Beef Procurement Specification to Help Combat Antibiotics Resistance".

*CADE worked with the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) at the George Washington University to refine the beef specification. ARAC manages the first standard certified by USDA that allows for minimal use of medically important antibiotics in poultry production—the Certified Responsible Antibiotic Use (CRAU) program. CADE’s new beef bid specification incorporates many principles in the CRAU standard.

The Farm & Food Business Incubator

The Farm & Food Business Incubator provides business training and value-added product development for new and developing farm and food entrepreneurs.

“The perfect storm is upon us,” explained CADE’s Executive Director, Rebecca Morgan. “With increased market maturation in regional foods, continued drought in the West and Southeast, and new distribution models to connect producers to northeast consumers, this is the right time to grow our regional farm businesses. The Incubator will help farmers with marketing, finance and growth, and connect them to Cobleskill’s processing facilities to command higher prices through value-added production.”

Fiscal Sponsorship Program

CADE has launched a Fiscal Sponsorship Program to develop and support food or farm business enterprises in New York State.

Fiscal Sponsorship allows your project to apply for funding from organizations that require non-profit status. Non-profit tax-exempt status is required by many foundations, corporations and government agencies in order to be eligible for funding since many do not accept application proposals from individuals. Additionally, 501(c)(3) status allows you to receive charitable deductible contributions from individuals—a major incentive for individuals considering making a donation to your project.

Please click through to find out the fees, requirements and see a list of FAQ’s that will help you identify if fiscal sponsorship with CADE is right for your organization.

Dairy Farm Support (DFS)

CADE seeks to increase the profitability and long term viability of dairy farms in our region--including in Otsego, Schoharie, Delaware, Montgomery, Herkimer, and Chenango Counties--transitioning them from producing liquid milk to value-added dairy product lines. In doing so, we support the economic development of our region--increasing jobs, sales, exports and more.

Through this program, CADE will support:

1)    local dairy farms to establish a new regional brand through a regional cooperative--or an aggregated business model--in which they pool their milk to create regional value-added products at the SUNY-Cobleskill Dairy Plant, transitioning them away from dependency on exceedingly low liquid milk market prices, and increasing their profitability; and

2)    the Bovina Creamery to increase their branding and marketing capacity for regional brand product lines.

If you are interested in learning more about the Dairy Farm Support (DFS) program, please contact Lauren Melodia at

Market Access Services

Are you interested in finding more markets for your farm products but don't know where or how? CADE is embarking on some intensive marketing and sales work on behalf of Catskills farmers and is here to help you! In order to receive these free services, please fill out this quick survey to tell us a little more about your farm. After we've reviewed your survey, we will follow-up to schedule a meeting to develop a marketing and sales strategy customized for you and your farm.

Workshops and Events

CADE will offer workshops and events for area dairy farmers interested in starting or expanding their value-added production. Such events may include tours of on-farm micro-creameries, presentations by industry experts, and educational seminars to improve business practices.


Over the past couple of years, CADE has been working with hundreds of dairy farmers in Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie and Sullivan counties; all local commercial and on-farm dairy processing plants; over one hundred potential New York City buyers; and our regional farm service organizations and schools. Through educational workshops and meetings to introduce farmers to new market opportunities, CADE has been building the capacity of dairy farmers and receiving constant feedback from them and new obstacles they face in securing sustainable milk prices. In 2014, at the request of the dairy farmers we serve, CADE published an extensive market feasibility study The Cream of the Crop from Barn to Shop: Value Added Dairy Accessing NYC Markets. The study itself synthesizes national and local market data, a survey of regional assets, and interviews with New York City buyers and national experts on farmer-driven and industry-driven dairy product development. These activities are the result of this study. 


Farmers are invited to request technical assistance at any time. Educational opportunities will be announced as details are finalized.