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.”


Support Dairy Farmers in Crisis

 

The ProbleM

Milk pricing is at record lows because changing consumer habits, an oversupply of liquid milk, the market power of larger buyers who are vertically integrating, and a federal pricing structure that does not factor in the basic cost of production or living wages for farmers.  The federal government sets the minimum price processing companies must pay for milk and currently the price is less than the cost of production, so farmers are losing money each day milking cows in order for New Yorkers to have fresh cheese, yogurt and more. Dairy farms in the Northeast and in Central New York are hit particularly hard by these external factors and are selling their herds and filing for bankruptcy at an alarming rate.  Unless something is done to change the current course, we expect to see a snowballing effect of the economic downturn -- jobs will be lost not only at dairy farmers, but in processing, hauling, input manufacturing and in the entire rural economy.

Farms are a major contributor to New York’s rural economy – selling almost $6 billion a year in farm goods and employing thousands of people. Dairy farms are the backbone of rural New York’s agriculture comprising the majority of New York’s farms and generating the most agricultural income of any farm sector. When we invest in dairy farms, rural businesses grow:

  • Every million dollars of dairy farm sales in New York creates an additional 17 jobs in the state, the highest multiplier of any New York industry;

  • Every added job at a NY dairy processing plant creates an additional 4.72 jobs;

  • Each dollar of dairy products sold generates an additional $1.26 for the community.

 

Take Action

1. Demand that Congress enact an emergency $20 per hundredweight price under all milk used to manufacture dairy products, which would immediately end the collapsing of these family farms by paying farmers enough to cover their production costs. Sign and share these petitions today.

2. Use your wallet to support your local dairy farmers.

  • Make fresh dairy products a part of your daily diet! High in calcium and protein, fresh milk, yogurt and cheese should be a part any healthy daily diet! Seek out milk with Plant Code 36 stamped on the carton. That means it was bottled in New York State and most likely uses New York made milk. Fresh dairy products like milk, yogurt, sour cream and cream cheese are often made close to home, so eating more of these means that you are supporting farmers close to you as well. Prioritize local brands over national brands to support processing in New York State which, in turn, translates to stable, long-term markets for New York farmers.
  • Buy local milk from farmers that bottle their own milk (and other dairy products). Everytime you buy local you are putting your money directly in the hands of these farmers at a price they have set. Look for these brands in your local store and ask your local store to carry these products. Click on the links below to find out where you can find these Catskills dairy products today! Contact us at [insert joe’s email address] and let us know about your favorite farmer-made dairy products and where people can get them!

3. Call Governor Cuomo’s office today at 518-474-8390 to ask him to respond to Farm Women United’s letter requesting New York stand with farmers and demand immediate federal assistance, an emergency floor price of $20 per hundredweight and Congressional hearings. Read the initial letter by Farm Women United here.

4. Call your U.S. representative and ask them to support Rep. Marino’s (PA) the WHOLE MILK Act, the bill would allow schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program to serve unflavored whole milk. Learn more about the bill here. Find your U.S. representative here.

5. Educate yourself and your community.  Organize a screening of Forgotten Farms (link to http://forgottenfarms.org/), a documentary that demonstrates the reality of today’s dairy farmers, their decline, their economic importance, and their value in a strong sustainable food system.

6. Learn more:

CADE is committed to responding to the urgent needs of area dairy farmers--who represent the cornerstone of NY’s rural economy--to create conditions for their businesses to thrive in the long term.  CADE is convening an ongoing, regional Dairy Crisis Task Force to increase collaboration amongst farms, service agencies and government so that we use all possible resources and strategies right now to protect our local dairy farmers. For more information about the Dairy Crisis Task Force or to contribute stories and additional ideas for this campaign, contact lauren@cadefarms.org.


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.


Lucky Dog Local Food Hub

WHO

The Lucky Dog Local Food Hub works with farm and food businesses from the Catskills to the Fingerlakes to offer high-quality farm products to a growing number of chefs and retailers in New York City. Hub products include: produce, dairy, eggs, poultry meats, sugars and specialty items such as pastas and baked goods.

WHAT

The Hub offers the following services to small farms looking to expand into the NYC market:

  • Promotion of your products to a growing list of buyers through its weekly catalog
  • On-the-ground matching with buyers committed to purchasing from our small local farms
  • Transportation of your products to these NYC buyers
  • Quarterly workshops focused on preparing small farmers to utilize the Hub
  • NYC buyer tours offering unique opportunities to discuss your farm and products with select restaurant and retail buyers
  • Targeted consulting to prepare your farm to utilize the Hub in the coming months and years (examples include pricing guidance, crowd funding campaign assistance, website creation, etc.)

WHY

Challenged for decades by a lack of access to the NYC market, farmers in the Catskills are now able to send their products to our neighbors to the south.

WHEN

Producers and buyers can get involved any time!

WHERE

The Hub is based in Hamden, at Lucky Dog Organic Farm. All product for transport must be delivered to the Hub.


Value-added Dairy Technical Assistance & Education

 

WHO

CADE is partnering with regional dairy farmers to explore value-added product development with a grant from the Community Foundation of South Central New York.

WHAT

The program offers technical assistance, as well as workshops and other events.

Technical Assistance:  Farmers may apply for no-charge one-on-one consulting to assist in the development or marketing of value-added dairy products. Consulting topics may include business and marketing planning, product development, brand development, sales outreach and more. First-come, first-served.

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.

WHY

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. 

WHEN

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