NYFVI Awards $80,000 for Saratoga County Equine Industry Project

Edited press release

The New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI) awarded $80,000 to Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Saratoga County for a pilot project that could evolve into a statewide or national resource for the horse industry.

The project, a collaborative effort with the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce and Saratoga County Farm Bureau, will increase the profitability and number of horse-related businesses in Saratoga County, for an estimated $317 million regional impact.

The project involves a survey of farm and equine business owners to identify needs and opportunities. A resource educator will help farm owners develop business plans with Cornell University's NY FarmNet program.

Project coordinator Jennifer Conte said existing farms that implement the business plans will see at least a 5% increase in profitability. Less established operations can plan for at least a 10% increase.

Anne McMahon, who operates McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, a local family-owned horse breeding and training business, said the Saratoga CCE Equine project will help new investors.

"This is a much-needed program," McMahon said. "Individuals who seek help will find it, thereby keeping their equine-related agricultural endeavors profitable. This program will attract horse people and will maintain confidence that there are professionals here to support the myriad needs of the horse industry."

Chris Neilson of Neilson's Windy Acres, a horse boarding facility, said the developing website at www.ccequine.org will act as a vital clearinghouse of information on the regional horse industry.

"Right now there is no way for new people to learn where the horse facilities are except by word of mouth and advertising in the local paper," Neilson said.

The CCE Equine project is the first horse industry proposal submitted to and funded by NYFVI.

"The Institute strives to address the challenges to all sectors of the agricultural industry," said NYFVI board member Steve Griffen. "The CCE Equine project is a great example of people coming together to design a comprehensive plan for addressing the needs of an industry."