Proposed by: Sandra Buxton

Presenter: Buxton, S., Association Resource Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Hudson Falls,, NY 12839

Often with many micro and small scale farms, there are a number of barriers holding back their ability to expand their operations. In these under $150,000 budget operations, the farmer does not view cooling as one of their critical on-farm operations. However, as our applications clearly demonstrated, adding or expanding cooling space was one of the largest hurdles many faced when trying to improve their product quality, increase production or reduce losses.
A $230,000 economic development grant was obtained to assist these farms statewide by providing about 60 mini-grants of upto $3000 to provide a 50% cost-share match and some technical assistance. After vetting 124 applications, the approved farms, encompassing vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy and alternative crops, enacted their projected plans. With half the businesses reporting, the project has already provided 5.5 FTEs with a projection of 16.2 FTEs for 2014. More than $235,000 of planned construction has occurred and the farmers have documented an immediate increase in product value, sales or reduced losses in excess of $396,000. With some of the larger projects being completed in the later part of the project, the economic impact will exceed the original projection of a 10-25% increase in income. As the expansion was implemented cooperative extension staff provided expertise and education about harvest, building and implementing cooling sheds.

All Accepted Proposals