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By Tom Fleischman
  • Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
  • Agriculture
  • Animals
  • Applied Economics
Todd Schmit, M.S. ’94, Ph.D. ’03, associate professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and Dyson extension associate Matt LeRoux, M.P.S. ’09, will use a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture on research to help improve the marketing returns for small- and medium-sized livestock farms in New York state.

The goal of the three-year, $500,000 grant is to develop and deploy data, analysis and feedback tools that give farm managers the ability to make better decisions as they select local markets, price meat and market their products – all with an eye toward improving farm profitability and invigorating the state’s overall capacity for meat production.

“With the advent of tablets, smartphones and point-of-sale software,” LeRoux said, “farms that are direct-marketing have an opportunity to capture detailed data easily and use it to improve their sales performance.”

The project has three objectives supporting the overall goal of increased profitability:

  • Improve decision-making and net farm returns related to product pricing through producer education and technical assistance. The project will create a new, user-friendly Meat Pricing Calculator Tool to aid producers with developing pricing for meat cuts and carcasses;
  • Increase livestock farm sales at farmers markets through point-of-sale data collection and analysis. Schmit’s team will provide training and technical assistance on point-of-sale software (such as Square) to collect and analyze customer transaction data from farmers markets; and
  • Inform marketing to a broader set of livestock farms through development of a comprehensive online price reporting platform for meat cuts and carcasses across regions, species and time.

The team is accepting applications to participate from New York farms that sell meat-by-the-cut in direct-to-consumer channels. Participating farms record their sales at farmers markets, farm stores and online using point-of-sale software and, in turn, receive sales data and price analysis as well as one-on-one consultation and technical assistance with marketing and pricing.

Farms can apply online to participate in the project.

“By pairing our new Meat Pricing Calculator with sales data from the farm,” LeRoux said, “we have the opportunity to fine tune meat cut prices based on customer demand and increase daily sales for farms.”

LeRoux will present the project to interested New York state livestock farmers in a webinar, April 22 at 7 p.m.

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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