Farm Credit East

Capacity Building Services

Farm Credit East is part of the Farm Credit System, a network of agricultural cooperatives providing credit and affiliated services to those in agriculture and related industries across the United States. Farm Credit East specifically serves the diversity of Northeast agriculture. Whether you’re a small family operation or large agribusiness with diverse markets, Farm Credit East provides financial services and management support that will help you run your ag business smarter and better. Click here to learn more about Farm Credit East.


Benchmarks Program Subsidy

The Farm Credit East Winery Benchmarks program is a unique way to see how your business compares to  industry peers. The program is designed to serve as an annual management report and business improvement process. Peers and consultants together discuss issues related to winery financial performance and strategy to better align with market goals for the future. Along with an in-depth financial and operational analysis of your business, you can interact with other successful winery owners, take part in dialogue to better understand your industry and gain constructive feedback from an experienced Farm Credit consultant.

Based on the feedback from several wineries, FCE has improved their data collection for retail sales, including wine & case club data and tasting information. The reports will have more detail on your retail sales categories to be able to monitor and analyze rising trends in the wine industry. We have also added a Labor Survey, previously only available for the Management Review participants – the Management Review report will no longer be available. 

The 2023 Winery Benchmark team consists of: 

  • Kelsey Neckers, Business Consultant – Co-Director of the Winery Benchmark Program 
  • Austin Weaver, Tax Consultant – Co-Director of the Winery Benchmark Program 
  • Emili Ponte, Business Consultant
  • Keith Dickinson, Business Consultant
  • Gregg McConnell, Regional Financial Services Leader


Program Cost: $1,450 which includes the reports, benchmark meeting, and a 1-on-1 follow-up consultation to review your winery’s data in more detail. We continue to partner with Farm Credit East to provide a $350 subsidy to help offset the cost of the program for you.  They have agreed to reducing the cost to $1,100.

A $350 subsidy of will be provided to Tier 2 and 3 member winery or grower members by NYWGF.

Owners enter the program with lots of questions about improving their businesses and walk away with answers at the end. Questions include:

  • How can I decrease labor expenses?
  • How does my wine pricing and varieties compare with others in my region?
  • How effective is my retail staff?
  • How efficient is my production staff?
  • Am I carrying too much inventory?
  • How does my business measure up to other top wineries?
  • How do I know when it’s time to expand my business?
  • Is my compensation package competitive?


Winery owners use the FCE benchmarking to:

  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of their businesses;
  • Find strategies to capture the full market value of their products;
  • Create marketing that matches the quality of their wine;
  • Find new ways to control costs and gain efficiencies


Note: All Farm Credit East consultants, and the Benchmarks Program, are separate from the credit delivery function at Farm Credit East, and the client business data and other information is kept completely confidential unless the client requests that data be released to the credit department.

Consulting Services

Business consulting is a valuable service to business owners as they can obtain expert opinions, guidance and strategy from experienced business consultants with multiple skill areas. Another way to think about consulting is that a consulting relationship is like having a business and management coach. Someone to discuss business results, proposed strategy and possible outcomes. Consulting can be a formidable process for many small businesses. The consulting fees can be expensive and the process can be vague at first.

NYWGF members have support in this critical process.  To assist members with questions about their business, overall earnings, costs to produce wine, gross profit, profit analysis, cash flow analysis, and more – we are pleased to offer a new consulting benefit with Farm Credit East (FCE).

After completing the consulting intake questionnaire, FCE staff will schedule and conduct a 60-minute virtual meeting with NYWGF Tier 2 or 3 members to further explore the issues, provide immediate recommendations where appropriate, and pursue a formal engagement, if desired by the member.

Consulting may be obtained in: Financial/business planning, General Benchmarking and Business structure/succession and estate planning.