Farm Viability: Designed for Results, Built to Last

In August 2017, I was honored to be elected as the chair of New York Farm Viability’s board of directors. Farm Viability continues as a strong, vibrant organization and is playing an increasingly important role in advancing New York agriculture.

This leter was originally published in the 2017 NYFVI Annual Report

I would like to thank our prior chair, Jim Bittner, and all the past board members for ensuring an organization that was built to last for New York’s farmers. We’ve asked Jim to provide some final thoughts about Farm Viability and you’ll find those here.

Our current board, is fully committed to the Farm Viability organization and its mission to improve the economic viability of New York’s farmers through the creation and sharing of knowledge.

2017 was a strong year for NYFVI. We funded 16 projects through our competitive grant cycle, 4 projects as focus grants, and one partnership project for a total investment of just over  $1.7 million. 

We’re particularly excited by the project that we are jointly funding with Angry Orchard Hard Cider to develop economically viable cider orchards in New York. This is a two-year investment of $150,000 for work that will be led by Dr. Gregory Peck with the Horticulture program at Cornell University. We hope to be able to use this leveraged funding
model with other partners moving forward

Over the last year, 23 projects completed their work. Farm Viability invested just over $1.5 million in these efforts. Based on the numbers in their final reports, over $26 million was returned to the agricultural community as measured by increased revenue, cost savings and capital investment. These results bring the total documented return to nearly $135 million. That’s almost 8 dollars for every dollar invested.

It’s worth noting that the number only captures impact realized during the life of the grant, and in our business, these increases can be realized year after year.

Just as our projects encourage continual improvement at farm operations, our staff is focused on continually improving the organization’s programs and ensuring that we are meeting stakeholder’s needs.

For example, last year we moved our review process from paper to online, allowing farmer review panel members across the state to directly access, read and score proposals in the online database.

Staff also took the lead on important work to evolve our Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 2018 program. We reached out to more than 50 past and present project leaders to ensure the technical aspects of our program—grant size, duration and reporting requirement—were allowing projects to excel. We also asked this group “What will create the most economic opportunity for New York farmers?” More information about their
responses, and the actions we took as a result, can be found on page 4.

I’m excited about the leadership NYFVI is providing on behalf of New York’s agricultural community and proud to lead the organization as it continues to grow.

Thank you for your support,

 Mike Jordan
Chair, New York Farm Viability Institute
Olde Chautauqua Farm

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