Extension on demand for new livestock producers in Sullivan County

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2009: $51,164.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Daniel Shockey
Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County
Patricia Westenbroek
Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County

Annual Reports


  • Animals: bovine, poultry, goats, swine, sheep


  • Animal Production: free-range, grazing management, livestock breeding, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, preventive practices, vaccines
  • Crop Production: food product quality/safety
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, networking, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, farm-to-institution
  • Pest Management: integrated pest management
  • Soil Management: soil analysis, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: social networks

    Proposal abstract:

    Sullivan County is growing in the number of new small livestock farming operations and will be opening a new slaughter house in 2009/2010. With 15 new producers enrolling in new farmer training each year, the producers expressed an interest in basic production classes over the internet and on-farm. Current beef and sheep producers are interested in expanding their operations in preparation for the opening of a new slaughter facility in the county and need additional farm management training. The majority of our livestock producers (65%) work full time off-farm and have access to the internet. Some new livestock producers (10%) are also near or newly retired from New York City and in transition to relocating to their rural property in the county. Our county has a high demand for kosher meats where our livestock producers have limited experience. The producers also expressed a struggle between the need for reducing their commute and time away from their farms while still wanting on-farm classes and “more basic information”. This project will expand access to extension expertise via podcasting providing information and discussion on sustainable livestock operation establishment, logistical and sustainable growth, meat production and quality, and marketing. Podcasting will be live access or archived at the producer convenience. The project will complement the virtual classroom material with on-farm experiences in various locations in the county. The project will also provide networking among producers and the slaughterhouse facility by marketing and product development meetings and a tour of the facility. By the end of two years the project will establish at least 30 livestock producers who will access podcasting events to complement traditional extension activities, and 20 producers will increase livestock sales by at least 5%. The producers will have improved sustainability of their livestock operations, product development, and networked with other producers and the local meat industry. Project will attain additional support through the New York State Agricultural Workforce Development Program, feed, the slaughterhouse, county, and Cornell University Cooperative Extension.

    Performance targets from proposal:


    4 Producers will assist in creation of online course format and test online technology developed by project staff. Date achieved: 7/1/09

    2 Online Courses: Improving Meat Quality and Production Methods for Specific Markets and Marketing Your Livestock will be developed and ready for launch. Date achieved: 10/1/09 and 3/1/10 respectively.

    40 producers will enroll in either Marketing Your Livestock and Improving Meat Quality and Production Methods for Specific Markets courses. 15 producers will create their own marketing plans to use for their farms. Date achieved: 10/1/10

    30 producers will participate in at least one of the eight hands-on farm workshops conducted. At least, 15 livestock producers will learn two new skills in the areas of product development, marketing, animal handling or pasture management. Six producers will be certified for Northeast Beef Quality Assurance for the first time. Ten producers will adopt a new best management practice (BMP) in animal health or nutrition. Five new livestock producers will adopt at least one BMP for raising their livestock. Five dairy producers will participate in Beef Quality Programs and adopt at least one new handling or herd health practice. Twenty-five producers will attend a tour of facilities and marketing meeting at the new slaughterhouse. Date achieved: 11/1/10

    Performance Targets
    As a result of Extension on Demand, 30 livestock producers and meat industry professionals will use podcasting as an educational tool to assess their meat operations and prepare production for the new slaughterhouse facility. 15 of these producers will be new and beginning farmers. This program will increase networking among farmers where farmers will meet at least two farmers new to them. As a result of the networking and educational tools in this project; 20 livestock producers will increase their sales by 5%, for a $92,020 increase, an average of $4,601 per farm. Also, as a result of implementing best management practices for animal husbandry, an estimated 1125 acres will improve environmentally through water quality& soil improvement benefits. Date Achieved: 12/31/10

    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.