2020 FVI Projects Announced

The New York Farm Viability Institute is deeply appreciative of the support provided by Governor Cuomo, and Assemblywoman Lupardo, Senator Metzger and their respective agriculture committees. Without their confidence in our program we would not be able to identify and support work that creates and shares knowledge to improve the economic viability of New York’s farmers.

Since 2005, the New York Farm Viability Institute has run a program that, by design, connects farmer input to agricultural research and education. Proposals are evaluated and discussed by farmers from across the State, as well as the farmer board of directors.  The scoring criteria also reflects the importance of producer involvement in the work.

“My experience as a reviewer on the dairy panel is what drove my interest in serving on the board. I strongly believe that farmers need to be involved in the evaluation process of the grant proposals. This helps prioritize the work that is selected for funding and makes it more likely that the ideas will be adopted on the ground” said Rob Noble, Chair NYFVI and co-owner Noblehurst Farms.

In the fall of 2019, Farm Viability released a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking ideas to “Help Farmers Know What Works”. We sought proposals that had clear relevance to New York’s agriculture community, demonstrated producer support, and the ability to deliver farm-level economic impact over time. The research and education community delivered, with 56 proposals from 25 organizations received.

Following the farmer review process, 12 projects from 11 different programs at 4 organizations were selected for funding and several are currently underway. Three of the 12 are slated to begin in early 2021 presuming anticipated funds become available. Farm Viability would like to thank the nine project leaders that offered voluntary reductions to their budgets, for a total of $75,042 to allow the FVI program to fund additional work. A total of $1,124,000 has been committed to the 12 projects.

While some of the ideas selected for funding are still in early stages, several projects will help New York farmers actively implement new practices in their operation. One project, led by Matthias Wieland at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell, will evaluate the costs and benefits of a labor-saving technology used in the milking process. The technology, which stimulates milk letdown prior to milking, is currently in use in other parts of the world.

Another project, focused on helping farmers adopt new practices, will be led by the American Farmland Trust. It seeks to accelerate the use of cover crops and regenerative soil health practices by corn and soybean growers.

The board was particularly pleased to see that three proposals, benefiting multiple commodities, were well received by the farmer review panels. Exciting work to evaluate a nonchemical approach to weed management, biological control of corn and cabbage maggots, and a DIY laser light scarecrow to keep birds out of valuable crops will help fruit, vegetable, and field crop farmers.

“Birds, weeds and insects are common problems across commodities. It was smart for the project leaders to look at alternative management practices for more than one commodity at a time.  It is an efficient use of limited resources and will accelerate the adoption of these new tools” said Emmaline Long, NYFVI Board member and staff agronomist at CY Farms.

Following is a complete list of the projects that were funded.

CommodityProjectOrganizationProject Leader
DairyMyCow$: a novel tool to improve dairy farm business decision-making through real time estimation of dairy cow profitabilityCornell/CALS
Animal Science
Julio Giordano
DairyImplementation of automated premilking stimulation on NYS dairy farmsCornell/CVMMatthias Wieland
Field CropsAccelerating Adoption of Cover Crops and Advanced Soil Regenerative PracticesAmerican Farmland TrustAaron Ristow
Fruit/AppleEvaluating New Fungicide Options for Control of Colletotrichum Fungi Causing Apple Fruit Bitter RotCornell/CALS
Srdjan Acimovic
Fruit/AppleUnderstanding Apple Fruit Growth Dynamics and Water Stress to Manage Irrigation to Maximize Fruit Size and Crop ValueCornell/CALS
Terence Robinson
Fruit/Wine GrapesDetermining the Efficacy of Cuticle-Enhancing Products to Reduce Cluster Rots and Fruit Fly Damage in NY VineyardsCornell/CCEHans Walter-Peterson
GreenIntroduction and trialing of newly developed impatiens plants that are resistant to Impatiens Downy MildewCornell/CALS
Mark Bridgen
LivestockProducer Driven Parasite Control for New York  Small Ruminant ProducersCCE Ulster CountyJason Detzel
Multi Crop:
Field Crops, Vegetables
Managing Herbicide-Resistant and Other Difficult-to-Control Weeds in Field and Vegetable Crops Using Electrical Discharge SystemsCornell/CALS
Lynn Sosnoskie
Multi Crop:
Field Crops, Vegetables
Biological Control of Seed Corn Maggot and Cabbage Maggot with Persistent Biocontrol NematodesCornell/CALS
Elson Shields
Multi Crop:
Fruit, Vegetables
Laser Technology Aided Agricultural Wildlife Damage ManagementCornell/CCEAli Mirzakhani Nafchi
VegetablesPhase 2 Squash Dragon: Optimizing UV-treatment for reducing downy mildew, powdery mildew and angular leaf spot disease on cucurbits with leaf agitationRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteMark Rea