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We propose to develop a suite of data collection, analysis, and producer feedback tools supported by applied research and extension education programming activities to serve small- and medium-scale livestock farms. The project's deliverables will support and improve farm profitability by improving farm manager decision making associated with market channel selection, meat pricing, and product marketing. Therein, the long-term goal of this project is to equip livestock producers with the knowledge and tools to improve farm profitability and to invigorate the overall capacity for meat production for value-added channels. Producers who experience success because of project participation will increase production and product margins. To accomplish our long-term goal, three supporting objectives will be addressed:Improve decision making and net farm returns related to product pricing through producer education and technical assistance. Informed by significant primary data collection efforts provided by participating producers, we will improve and expand on the Cornell Meat Price & Yield Calculator (MPC) tool to aid producers with developing pricing for meat cuts and carcasses. With strong interest in expanding meat marketing through direct-to-consumer (DTC) channels, the MPC will be most heavily applicable to individual meat cut pricing. Significant extension and educational efforts will expose a large number of producers to the MPC. Producer utilization of the MPC also supports access to the data submitted (across farms) for follow on research activities and reporting.Increase livestock farm sales at farmers markets through POS data collection and analysis. Online point-of-sales (POS) software is a relatively simple tool that can be used by livestock farms to track detailed sales data, customer spending patterns, preferred cuts, and product inventories. While still not widely adopted by these farms to date, we will provide training and technical assistance on free POS software (Square) to collect and analyze customer transaction data from farmers markets to improve decision making and sales performance. The results of supplemental analyses by the research team using all POS data (across farms, markets, and time) will be provided to participating farms related to the primary determinants of increasing daily sales and customer transaction size. Importantly, the POS data collected provides a gauge of market pricing parameters (by the cut) for producers to consider when using the MPC.Inform marketing channel selection to a broader set of livestock farms through a comprehensive online price reporting platform (PRP). The MPC and POS online software automatically collect data from participating farms that will be downloaded and used by the project team for research purposes. As part of these efforts, we will develop an online Price Reporting Platform (PRP) to report prices for meat cuts and carcasses across regions, species, and time. This pricing information, in conjunction with USDA AMS Market News livestock auction prices, will allow us to report prices across channels and products. As our platform is developed, we will present it to USDA AMS to gauge its suitability and interest for their own price reporting efforts.While this project has an empirical focus in New York State (NYS), project outcomes and deliverables have national applicability and will inform research, practice, and policy in other areas of the country. Indeed, it is our hope that a successful NYS approach will encourage adoption of similar programs and practices of data collection, research, and extension education in other areas of the country to broaden the geographical footprint of these activities and to identify differences in results and pricing across regions based on varying agricultural, socioeconomic, demographic, and market conditions. In fact, current versions of the MPC and related MeatSuite web resources are already in use by North Carolina State University Extension through their NC Choices program and are being explored by Colorado State University and the Practical Farmers of Iowa for use there as well. Expanding and improving these versions will better serve producers and colleagues across the country.

Schmit, T.
Cornell University
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