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Institute for Rural Vitality at SUNY Cobleskill and CADE Accepting Applicants for Second Cohort of Farm and Food Business Accelerator Cohort

The Institute for Rural Vitality at SUNY Cobleskill, in partnership with the Center for Agricultural Development & Entrepreneurship (CADE), is excited to announce the launch of a second cohort of participants in the Farm and Food Business Accelerator, a program made possible by a USDA Agriculture Innovation Center grant to the Institute. This center is one of only three currently funded across the United States by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Farm and Food Business Accelerator (FFBA) assists established agricultural producers in developing value-added products and bringing them to market in the Mohawk Valley. The goal is to accelerate the success of these businesses, measured through increased value-added product development, revenue, and job growth. As small businesses adapt to an ever-changing economy, this accelerator program comes at an ideal time to launch small businesses into their next phase with strategic planning, economies of scale, and collaboration and mentorship.

“For both new and existing business, we connect the dots across the supply chain, giving direct support from production to distribution, and accelerating economic growth to not just these farm and food businesses, but the entire Mohawk Valley region,” said Dr. S. Scott Ferguson, executive director of the Institute for Rural Vitality. “By embracing collaboration among entrepreneurs and institutional resources, we can ensure the health and continued diversity of our state’s agricultural community.”

The first FFBA cohort launched in December 2021, and cohort members have since developed a variety of value-added products, including roast beef, meatballs, creamline whole and chocolate milk, cheese curds, meat sticks, and more. The development of these value-added products has allowed cohort members to diversify their businesses and provided additional streams of revenue, improving the viability of the business.

FFBA cohort members should expect to receive a complete suite of services and resources tailored to their specific needs from the Institute for Rural Vitality and CADE, such as support on new product development from a food science expert, completion of a scheduled process, legal and financial advisory services, and outreach assistance to connect and maintain positive relationships with distributors, retailers, wholesalers, institutions, and restaurants, inside and outside the Mohawk Valley.

Applications to the FFBA program are open October 14. Accepted applicants will begin a 7-month intensive program with full-service support through May 2023. Entrepreneurs interested in applying should visit the Institute for Rural Vitality website, or contact Melissa Struckle at or Rhiannon Wright at



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