In June 2017, New York’s Clean Energy for Agriculture Task Force (CEATF) published a strategic plan outlining the clean energy priorities for the New York State agricultural community. ERS was called upon to help with all phases of developing this strategic plan, including leading working groups for each of the seven focus areas to identify and prioritize initiatives for inclusion in this plan.
The CEATF was formed by Governor Andrew Cuomo at the 2014 New York State Yogurt Summit to bring key leaders throughout New York agriculture together to influence policy. It is co-managed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) and is composed of leading agricultural organizations, farmers, universities, and individuals. Participating organizations include the New York Farm Bureau and the United States Department of Agriculture.
With approximately 36,000 farms on a combined 7 million acres, New York’s agricultural sector is a major economic driver. Dairy farms, which make up the biggest percentage of the state’s farms, can especially benefit from energy efficiency measures, since energy is required for livestock well-being; the pumping, chilling, and storage of milk; and sanitization of the associated equipment.
ERS worked with NYSERDA and NYSDAM to complete the following tasks for this project:
- Meeting coordination and facilitation – ERS facilitated monthly steering group meetings with the entire CEATF, as well as regular meetings with each of the seven working groups to help develop initiatives for the strategic plan. This included recruiting working group members, scheduling meetings, developing materials, and following up on identified action items from each meeting.
- Stakeholder engagement – ERS sought feedback from stakeholders throughout the agricultural sector to ensure that the strategic plan reflected a broad perspective. ERS prepared and distributed the prioritization exercises and surveys used, allowing these agricultural market actors to help shape the plan effectively.
- Market research – ERS’s market research leveraged the USDA Census of Agriculture and other New York–specific resources to provide context for the strategic plan.
- Plan development and review – ERS developed several versions of the strategic plan, using content from each working group and managing comment and review periods such that the CEATF participants could provide their perspectives on the initiatives developed for the plan.