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Cornell Small Farms Program Update Winter 2018

Winter workshops on novel cover cropping and strip tillage practices for vegetables

Attend the 2018 Empire State Producers Expo (Jan. 18 in Syracuse, NY) or the NOFA-NY Winter Conference (Jan. 19 in Saratoga Springs, NY) to learn how you can integrate cover cropping and reduced tillage practices while overcoming the residue and weed management challenges. Hear Janaki Fisher-Merritt from the Food Farm (Wrenshall, MN) discuss how they have worked to incorporate cover crops in a diverse rotation with cover crop fallows, interseeding, and cut-and-carry mulching. Ryan Maher, from the Cornell SFP, will share research results from the latest trials on strip tillage in winter hardy cover crops and adaptations for organic cropping systems. Come to think through the approaches and tools that will work to reduce inputs and improve productivity on your farm.

Baskets to Pallets Training offered in NNY

Are you looking to diversify sales beyond the farmers market, CSA and farm stand?    Food hubs, grocery stores, restaurants and cooperatives are looking for your products to meet growing consumer demand for local and sustainably-grown food.  Yet, doing successful business with wholesale buyers requires planning and preparation.  Ensure your success by joining us for ‘Baskets to Pallets’, a comprehensive two day introduction to selling wholesale.  The course will take place on Monday, January 29th and Tuesday, January 30th from 10:00am – 4:00pm at Tug Hill Vineyards in Lowville, NY. The ‘Baskets to Pallets’ course is designed for farmers of all enterprises and will cover building relationships with buyers, customer management and record keeping, pricing, grading and packaging, uniformity and consistency, and food safety, among many other topics!  This fun course includes plenty of hands-on activities and opportunities for peer learning and small group discussion. Cost is $35.00. To register, contact Violet Stone at 607-255-9227 or email

At the 2017 NY Veterans in Agriculture Conference on November 29, 125 individuals gathered to celebrate the efforts of veterans in agriculture and the launch of the New York Farmer Veteran Coalition (NYFVC). New York is the eighth state to form its own chapter of this national organization that supports veterans who have answered the call to serve our country by growing food. Michael O’Gorman, the organization’s founder, joined the celebration and led a panel discussion of farmer veterans, including NYFVC board president John Lemondes (Elly’s Acres), Justin Tucker (Tucker’s Black Angus Ranch), and Kristi Mangine (Fruit of the Fungi). Those interested in learning more can visit the chapter’s new Facebook page,

The conference, hosted by the Cornell Small Farms Program and the Farmer Veteran Coalition, showcased some of the many resources that are available to veterans in agriculture. Be on the lookout for educational workshops from FarmOps partners at CCE of Jefferson County, CCE of Allegany County, CCE of Broome County, Heroic Foods, and Equicenter. Other initiatives include On the Job Training opportunities, a veterans in agriculture listerv, and networking activities. Resources and information about these efforts are available on the FarmOps website,

Funding for these initiatives is provided though support from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2015-70017-22882, and by the Local Economies Project of the New World Foundation.

Log-Grown Shiitake: Economics and Management for a Profitable Crop

The Cornell Small Farms Program is offering a one-day workshop this winter in eight locations around New York State about the marketing and business aspects of growing and selling log-grown shiitake mushrooms.

Anyone who a resident of New York State or who farms in New York  and is growing commercially, starting a new enterprise, or considering commercial production is welcome to attend. The workshop content will cover aspects of production important to selling mushrooms in New York, including safety, sanitation, marketing, and regulations.

Those who attend one of the workshops or the online livestream are eligible to participate in an advanced training group and receive one-on-one support for the 2018 growing season. Details of this opportunity will be provided at the workshop.


Friday, January 19 at the Wyoming County Extension, 36 Center St. Suite B, Warsaw, NY 14569

Saturday, January 20 at the Schuyler County Extension, 323 Owego St, Montour Falls, New York 14865

Friday, January 26 at Clearpool Model Forest, 33 Clearpool Rd, Carmel Hamlet, NY 10512

Saturday, January 27 at Project Farmhouse, 76 East 13th Street, New York, NY 10003

Friday, February 2 at NYS Fairgrounds, 581 State Fair Blvd; Syracuse, New York 13209

Saturday, February 3 at Jefferson County Cooperative Extension, 203 N Hamilton St, Watertown, NY 13601

Friday, February 16 at the Agroforestry Resource Center, 6055 NY-23, Acra, NY 12405

Saturday, February 17 at the Whallonsburg Grange Hall, 1610 NY-22, Essex, NY 12936

LIVE WEBINAR TRAINING: Friday, March 2nd online (access anywhere with a high-speed connection)

See a Map of the locations: Workshops run from 9am to 4pm, with a catered lunch included. To Register: visit Cost: $30/person includes lunch and handouts (online livestream 3/2 is $20). No person will be turned away for lack of funds- contact for info.

Funding for this project is provided by the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant and administered through the New York Farm Viability Institute.


The Cornell Small Farms Program offers over 20 online courses each year on a wide range of topics. You can learn more about each course at:

Week of Jan 15 – Feb 23

Week of Feb 26 – April 6

Cornell Small Farms Receives BFRDP funding to support farm labor

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced awards made to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). The BFRDP program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, aims to help address issues associated with the rising age and decrease in the number of U.S. farmers and ranchers.

Based upon our collective experience and findings from past BFRDP projects, we are convinced that labor readiness – being prepared to manage and hire skilled employees – is crucial for beginning farmers (BFs) to mature their skills, scale up their businesses, and reach the milestone of 10 years in business.

Our team will create new “Labor Ready Farmer” curriculum, on-line courses and videos, plain language guides and visual resources, community-based training programs and new networks to address the emerging needs of two underserved BF groups: (1) Latino agriculture employees wanting to climb the ladder from labor to management to ownership and (2) advanced beginners who have been farming for 3-10 years and need to improve their labor planning and management to scale up their businesses.

Collaborators on the project currently include: Cornell Small Farms Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension, GrowNYC’s FARMroots, Cornell Farmworker Program, Kitchen Table Consultants, Farm Credit East, Caracol Interpreters Cooperative, and Bent Creative. Additional funding and technical support for this project comes from, the USDA, the NYS Office of New Americans, and the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets, and the Local Economies Project. Workshops are already underway. Learn more at : For more information, contact Kat McCarthy at 607-255-9911 or



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