The New York Organic Dairy Program (NYODP) has partnered with the New York Farm Viability Institute to make grant funding available for organic dairy producers. The funding allows farmers to participate in the Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary (DFBS) program and select a project for immediate attention through a modified Dairy Profit Team approach.
Farms currently participating in the program and those that have not completed a DFBS before are both eligible for funding. Priority for grants will be given to certified organic dairies, however, farms in transition to become organic are encouraged to apply.
Farmers may first apply for funds to:
• Work with a qualified farm business consultant to upload the operating and financial information for the individual farm into the Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary; or
• If the farmer has completed a 2016 Summary, to work with the consultant to review the data to select a short-term project that will benefit the farm. Varying levels of funding are available for this initial step.
Funding is also available for farmers to work with a consultant on a project that will help the business better meet its goals. Applicants for a project grant must first complete a 2016 DFBS.
Farmers requesting project funds will be required to work with NYODP to document their desired goal and projects must be achievable within 18 months of the formation of the consultant team. Examples of projects include, but are not limited to, developing a business plan, enhancing transitioning practices, and constructing facilities. NYODP will provide up to $1,500 for the consultant and team to complete its project work.
The Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary is a confidential program that collects operating and financial information from an individual farm. The summary is used to identify areas where the farm is doing well and areas that need improvement. The summary also helps farmers analyze if the farm is meeting the financial and long-term goals of the business. If enough similar farms participate, the Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary will create benchmarks against which the owners of farms of similar size can measure their performance.
NYODP Manager Fay Benson will assist farmers in identifying a qualified farm business consultant for each of the two levels of funding. Consultants who have already agreed to work with this modified Organic Dairy Profit Team approach are:
• Klaas Martens, co-founder of New York Organic Certified, Penn Yan. He is a pioneer in organic field crop production and an advisor on general organic dairy management;
• Tom Kilcer, Advanced Ag Systems, Kinderhook; with a specialty in crop rotations specifically fit to an individual farm to provide the best possible forage for dairy animals and livestock;
• Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting, Enosburg Falls, Vt., working with grazers to improve the performance of farm pastures and livestock production; and
• Consultants in the existing Dairy Farm Business Summary network.
Guidelines and application form for the NYODP consultant and project grants are posted at http://blogs.cornell.edu/organicdairyinitiative/. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis until funding is spent.
For more information, contact Fay Benson at (607) 391-2669 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This grant opportunity is funded by the New York Farm Viability Institute through its Dairy Profit Team program.