Increasing Farm Profitability through Value Added Training and Certification

Project Overview

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2011: $14,699.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: food product quality/safety
  • Education and Training: networking, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: marketing management, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: community services

    Proposal abstract:

    The New York Small Scale Food Processors’ Association (NYSSFPA), working in partnership with Adirondack Harvest and Northern NY Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations, will offer a Small Scale Food Processors (SSFP) Institute curriculum. Successful completion of the course materials will culminate with graduation and an “Adirondack Certified” Small Scale Food Processors’ certification from the SSFP Institute. This project can be replicated in other regions of the state or country. Instructors at three sites across the Adirondack-North Country will offer a range of courses, all of which will lead to increasing farmers’ knowledge and understanding of how to add value to their fresh farm products. Having a variety of agricultural products, including value added available for sale increases an agricultural businesses’ profitability, especially during the non-growing season. Increasing farmers’ profitability will in turn help to sustain communities and foster regional identity. After certification, supportive service agencies and one-on-one mentoring will strengthen these new processors’ skills.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Having value-added, shelf stable products available for sale would go far to remove the seasonality of direct marketing raw agricultural products that most direct-to-consumer farmers face. They would have a wider range of products available for not only retail sales, but also could potentially access more mainstream market venues such as grocery stores. A diversity of market channels would help to stabilize their farm income as they would no longer be solely dependent on the sales of short season, fresh agricultural products. We will offer tools for more farmers to add profitability in creative ways.

    We will establish a network of support services with such organizations as Small Business Development Centers, Tourism and Chamber of Commerce organizations, Cornell Cooperative Extension offices, and established processors in the region.

    This project is unique, building upon a core curriculum that leads to a certificate with value. Graduates will be able to produce “Adirondack Certified” value added products and market them through a variety of channels and methods.

    Our first year goal is to have 40 participants in each course site location and a total unique participation of 100. By year two our goal is to see 10 farmers growing their current business, showing a 10% increase in profits from the 2011 season. We will also establish an official network of support services within the region, which will be updated annually, and will be a source of current assistance for these small businesses.

    The network of support organizations will build direct community connections and we predict three outcomes:
    1.These community organizations will become acquainted with the needs of small scale processing businesses.
    2.The organizations will learn how their different strengths can serve producers’ needs and will be in a better position to refer people to the necessary information sources.
    3.The farmer-producers will spend less time going from one organization to another and will be given a resource guide to local support service agencies.

    Marketing these local products in the community and at farmers markets will build on the “Buy Local” movement as more consumers are looking for and wanting to support local food businesses. The producers will enjoy increased profitability resulting from increased sales volume.

    The economic vitality of the communities in which these farmer-producers live will be enhanced by the additional money spent on the products and the additional profits made by the producers.

    The NYSSFPA Adirondack “Taste the Region” specialty gift box, developed in 2010 featuring Adirondack products, will offer a marketing opportunity for new valued added products developed as a result of these courses and resources. Thus, more money will be spent in the region.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.