Increasing Hudson Valley Farm Viability Through Cooperative Bulk Purchasing

Project Overview

FNE20-953
Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2020: $14,466.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2022
Grant Recipient: Letterbox Farm
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Faith Gilbert
Letterbox Farm

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, budgets/cost and returns, cooperatives, feasibility study, labor/employment
  • Sustainable Communities: quality of life, values-based supply chains

    Proposal summary:

    In a region with exceptionally high costs of production, Hudson Valley farmers need a coordinated effort to source supplies and inputs at a lower cost.  Our proposal seeks to research, develop and pilot a bulk supply purchase program, in which area farmers can source needed inputs at negotiated bulk prices and/or reduced shipping costs.  After reviewing similar programs elsewhere in the country and collecting information from potential participants and potential suppliers, our farm team will organize a bulk order from multiple suppliers for a projected 40 participants.  We anticipate immediate time and money savings for participating farmers, a solid foundation and feasibility assessment for a continued bulk purchase program, and in addition, will support the replication of our efforts through a clear and accessible summary of research outcomes and lessons learned. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project seeks to research, develop, and pilot a bulk supply order program for farms in the Hudson Valley.  We aim to coordinate orders for 40 participants at a minimum of two drop off locations. 

     

    Our primary aim is to save area farms significant costs by reducing the cost of shipping and of goods themselves, and eliminating the need for individual farms to make out-of-state supply trips.  Based on our understanding of neighboring farms purchase patterns, we anticipate providing $16,000 in cost savings between our goal of 40 participants (for calculations, see attached feasibility budgeting spreadsheet).  

     

    Simultaneously, we aim to lay the foundation for a viable, ongoing bulk order program that will continue on past this grant.  By leveraging grant funds to perform initial research and organizing work, as well as collecting financial and operational lessons, we will work toward a streamlined, low-cost program that can fund itself through a percentage of supply cost savings.

     

    Lastly, we will provide accessible information for other farming communities to replicate a buying club in their region.  As noted in our outreach plan, we aim to reach 50 farmer groups and service providers outside the Northeast with our materials and lessons learned.

    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.