Madison County’s AED Program helped to establish the NY Beef Farmers’ Cooperative, Inc, (NYBFC) in early 2009. The Cooperative is currently comprised of six farmer-organizers who provided seed monies to help facilitate the planning and development of a meat processing facility located in Madison County. Once a full business plan is completed, the Cooperative will expand its membership to include more area livestock producers, including beef, dairy, hog, and sheep farmers. The proposed plant will offer Coop members an opportunity to increase the value of their livestock by owning and controlling their branded meat product from processing through to retail sales, thereby realizing the profit from adding value to the commodity meat product.
Member item funding from Assemblyman Bill Magee, obtained in 2008 by the AED Program, enabled Keith DeHaan of Food and Livestock Planning, Inc., to develop a feasibility study for the project. The Cooperative organizers decided to focus on value-added processing, marketing, and distribution. To that end, in 2012 the Cooperative received a USDA Value-Added Producer Grant to assist with the planning of a further-processing plant, with wholesale distribution hub and retail storefront. The Cooperative also received funding through Gov. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative, to assist with the building and staffing of the processing plant and retail storefront.
The Cooperative’s name has been changed to Side Hill Farmers Cooperative, Inc.; all the Cooperative’s meat products will be marketed under the Side Hill Farmers brand. The first step of the project is officially underway, as the Side Hill Farmers meat CSA was officially launched on February 1st, 2012 (www.sidehillfarmers.com). The Side Hill Farmers meat CSA will take orders on-line for its natural, pasture-based meats, and deliver them monthly to consumers in CNY communities.
For more information about Side Hill Farmers Cooperative, please contact Cooperative President, Paul O’Mara, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-447-4693. For information about Side Hill Farmers’ new meat CSA, contact Sue Parker at email@example.com.