Although most livestock in New York is raised on small farms, this industry contributes $893 million in sales to the rural New York economy. Demand far outstrips supply for NY meat and livestock, so there is room for growth, but there are a number of hurdles to livestock farmers’ success.
In March 2017, the Cornell Small Farms Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension hosted one its biennial NY Small Farm Summits, this time focused on the opportunities to grow the New York livestock industry.
“The NY Small Farm Summits are an opportunity to focus on a critical issue or sector that shows promise to support greater viability of our small farms. Together, farmers, educators, and researchers consider options and prioritize actions to grow the small farm sector.” – Anu Rangarajan, Director, Cornell Small Farm Program
The 2017 Summit brought together about 160 farmers and industry participants for a guided discussion meant to uncover needed research, education or infrastructure investments, debate their relative importance and then rank them as priorities for growing the NY livestock sector. To ensure that the Summit was inclusive, an additional 450 NY livestock farmers shared their priorities via an electronic survey.
More than 85% of the farmers participating in the Summit believe the New York livestock sector has potential for growth, and most farms (73%) have seen gross revenue from sales of livestock products increase over the last five years. With this optimism and growth, the farmers also noted specific research and extension investments that would address constraints to scaling up production.
“Livestock production has a huge potential for growth in New York with markets available and hungry local foods consumers. Many farmers and educators have worked to turn a mound of data into this important report. Thanks to the Cornell Small Farms program for help with this undertaking!” – Nancy Glazier, Regional Small Farms Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension
The “Securing the Future of the New York State Livestock Industry” report and executive summary can be viewed online or downloaded as a PDF from the Cornell Small Farms Program website: http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/projects/summit/