Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York’s first member of the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years, today announced $543,000 in federal funding for Cornell University’s development of a web-based decision making tool and outreach to local New York dairy farmers. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the 2014 Farm Bill and will be used to create an Agricultural Risk Management and Policy Institute to help both local and nationwide dairy farmers navigate new Farm Bill programs. Earlier this month, Senator Gillibrand urged USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack to support Cornell’s application.
“Cornell University has been leading the charge for research and innovation within the farming industry for over a century,” said Senator Gillibrand. “While the 2014 Farm Bill provides many important benefits, it also requires our local farmers to navigate new programs and insurance policies. This investment for Cornell will allow them to provide the assistance necessary so our famers can fully utilize the best programs for their farms.”
“Risk management is increasingly important to farmers and agribusinesses as climate and price fluctuations pose ever greater challenges,” said Chris Barrett, the David J. Nolan Director of the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. “Web-based decision support tools are the next generation of real-time extension to support effective decision-making. Cornell’s experts have a long track record of helping keep New York and US farmers at the global cutting edge in commodity marketing, risk management and other essential business functions. This new suite of state-of-the-art digital tools will help small family farms and large-scale commercial operations equally well as they navigate the complex array of decisions facing 21st century agribusiness and farm managers every day.”
Cornell University will use this federal funding to create a center that is dedicated to educating local farmers. At the center, a suite of web-based tools, designed to deliver user-friendly resources to agricultural producers in the Northeast and throughout the United States, will be created. Farmers will be trained to use decision making tools and to navigate new Farm Bill programs. Researchers at the center will be responsible for outreach to local communities to educate local farmers on what options to consider when purchasing margin insurance for their milk. This new safety net for dairy farmers will ensure that our dairy farms survive downturns in milk pricing. This essential outreach and assistance to be provided by Cornell will help farmers navigate these new programs.
Full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter to Secretary Vilsack is attached.