Click here for individual profit team farm profiles!
At the core of each Profit Team is a beginning farmer in New York who has been managing their own operation for 3-9 years and is engaged in the production and sale of any food, fiber, or ornamental agricultural crop. Farmers at this stage are often faced with critical decisions that determine the long-term viability of their operation. In some cases a farm needs decision support to improve profitability of the farm business, scale up, or make other major changes to achieve long-term viability.
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.
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 $2,000 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 do participants have the personalized guidance of their selected advisors, but we also want to help develop new skills to grow leadership capacity. Participants in this project attend an intensive 2-3-day leadership training designed to grow a network of skilled farmers and help them transfer their skills to new farmers just entering the field.
Accepted applicants begin with a one-on-one meeting with project staff to review current and past financial records, identify potential barriers to long-term success, discuss goals, and get a sense of what kind of assistance will be most beneficial. If needed, participants are then provided support in selecting an advisor, with whom they will share detailed information about the farm’s operations. Profit team farms are expected to actively participate in the process for at least 18 months, be open to recommendations from advisors, attend the annual training program, mentor one or more beginning farmers after the first year, and provide a final report documenting farm-level impacts of the project.
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).
Interested in Participating?
Participation in this program is now closed, although we may seek funding to carry this on in the future. Stay Tuned!
This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2015-70017-22882; as well as funding from The New York Farm Viability Institute and the Local Economies Project.