Cornell CALS - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

NY Small Farm Summit

Project Lead: Erica Frenay

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NY Small Farm Summits are biannual statewide listening sessions. Attended by farmers, Extension educators, University faculty and other farm service providers, these Summits focus in on high priority topics for small farms and are held in 7-8 linked sites across the state.

Results from Summits are summarized in reports which are then used to garner funding, policy changes, and new collaborations to support positive change for small farmers.

The 2017 NY Small Farm Summit: Livestock

Although most livestock in New York is raised on small farms, this industry contributes $893 million in sales to the rural New York economy. Livestock production continues to grow in the state, boosted by the local food movement. However, demand far outstrips supply for NY meat and livestock. While there is room for growth, there are a number of hurdles to livestock farmers’ success.

In March 2017, Cornell University’s Small Farms Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension partnered to host the Small Farm Summit at eight locations around the state. The focus was on prioritizing research, education and other investments to grow and support this important agriculture sector in NY. The target audience for the Summit was the experienced producer (beef, swine, sheep, goat, poultry, exotics), as well as supporting agencies and industries.

"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 160 Summit participants, along with 450 respondents to a survey preceding the Summit, helped articulate barriers to growth, and priorities for research and extension efforts to support the industry.


Summit Report

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.

Information gathered from the Summit is now available as a full report, "Securing the Future of the New York State Livestock Industry," and as an executive summary.

To view the report online or download the PDF, click here.

To view the executive summary online or download the PDF version, click here.


Agenda & Resources

Summit Agenda — The Summit included discussions about the competitive advantages for NY livestock, as well as the resource needs to help support the industry.

Livestock Priorities — This handout featured the research and extension priorities for each livestock species.

Additional Resources — More information on livestock production can be found on our website.


Previous Small Farm Summits

2014 Summit on Marketing

2012 Summit on Strategic Investments