Skip to main content

menu

Archives

Our Small Farms Bi-Monthly Update brings you small farm announcements, events, job and internship opportunities, grant and loan opportunities, other small farm resources. It is intended for farmers and agricultural service providers in New York and the Northeast. If have an item to be included in the update, please contact Violet Stone at vws7@cornell.edu. Sign up here!

2017 Small Farm Updates

Looking for a grant opportunity or resource that appeared a few issues back? To view previous 2017 issues, click on the links below.

Issue 1  Issue 2
December December 1st Issue  December 15th Issue
November November 1st Issue  November 15th Issue
October October 2nd Issue  October 17th Issue
September September 1st Issue  September 15th Issue
August August 2nd Issue August 16th Issue
July June 30th Issue July 17th Issue
June June 1st Issue June 15th Issue
May May 1st Issue May 15th Issue
April April 3rd Issue April 17th Issue
March March 1st Issue March 15th Issue
February February 2nd Issue February 16th Issue
January No Issue January 16th Issue

Ring in the new year with our exciting and educational online courses! Click the links for further information, including registration.

BF 102: Markets and Profits

Have an idea for a farm enterprise but not sure if it’s feasible? This course will help you explore the potential markets and profitability of your ideas, picking up where BF 101: Square One left off. (You do not have to take BF 101 before taking BF 102) 

BF 121: Veggie Farming 2 – From Season-Long Care to Harvest

This course continues where BF 120 ends and covers vegetable production from transplanting to harvest, including information on in-season fertility, integrated pest management, weed control options, harvesting strategies, and tips for marketing your products. Be prepared to create an in-season fertility and pest/weed control plan as part of this course.

Weekly homework will focus on preparing you to make good decisions in the coming growing season. (Note: You do NOT need to take BF 120 to enroll in this course) 

BF 151:Woodland Shiitake Mushroom Cultivation

Mushrooms are an emerging niche crop with many benefits, including improving farmer stewardship of forested lands and the ability to offer a unique and highly desired product. With a bit of practice, mushrooms can be easily grown in the woods on many products that can be the surplus of healthy forest management.

This course trains new and experienced farmers in the background, techniques, and economics of farm scale woodland mushroom production. Students will learn the basic biology of mushrooms, cultivation techniques for shiitake, oyster, lions mane, and stropharia mushrooms, proper conditions for fruiting, management needs, and harvesting and marketing mushrooms.

BF 203: Holistic Financial Planning

If you’ve been struggling to make your farm operation profitable without driving yourself into the ground, this financial planning course is for you. Ultimately, it will help you with the delicate balancing act that all farmers must succeed in:  balancing healthy profits with healthy land and a healthy farm family and personal life.

You will learn how to make financial decisions toward farm & family values and goals, and how to build profit into your plans up front, rather than hoping there is something left once expenses are subtracted from income. If you have been struggling with the financial statements in your business plan, this is a great course to help you focus in on these and get clear on your numbers.

BF 223: Tree Fruit Production

Tree fruit are an important component of the agricultural and homeowner landscape. Planting and management of apple and other tree fruit orchards is a rewarding hobby and business, but important considerations must be met to ensure success.

This course trains beginning tree fruit growers in fundamental concepts in orchard planning and management. Content will include site selection and management, rootstock and cultivar selection, orchard systems, pest management, nutrient management, and harvest considerations for commercial orchards tailored to the northeast U.S.

BF 232: Commercial Sheep Production

Have sheep or thinking about getting a flock? Producers of all experience levels will find something for them in this lively, wide-ranging course. There is no one right way to raise sheep – just a palette of options for you to choose from, to suit your farming objectives and lifestyle.

Taught by experienced sheep producers and Cornell Cooperative Extension educators, this course will cover many of these different options, and strongly encourages active student participation.

We are excited to announce that we will be hosting several program workshops at the 2018 Empire State Producers Expo, January 16-18, in Syracuse, NY. We hope to see you there!

Emerging Markets: Profitable Log-Grown Shiitake Mushrooms
hands, mushroom The Cornell Small Farms Program will present a workshop on how woodland-cultivated shiitake mushrooms have come to be a leader in profitable agroforestry crops.  This workshop is led by Don Gasiewicz of CCE Wyoming along with Mariann Garrison-Johnston of Wintonbury Farm and Ron Delaney of Tiny House Farm. Attend this workshop to learn about the potential for profitable mushroom cultivation, with a focus on outdoor wood-grown methods. Cornell has been doing research and extension work in this crop for over 10 years. Participants will hear from extension educators and two active growers who have been participating in a business development network to get their enterprises off the ground. Expect to learn the basic methods and requirements for growing, along with information on pricing, markets, and regulations around selling mushrooms.
2018 Empire State Producers Expo: January 16, 2018, 2:00-3:15pm

Demystifying Equipment Purchases
tractorThis two-part session at the Expo will review factors for making equipment purchases and will be paired with a tailored tour of trade show to address participant’s questions. The session will provide an overview to help participants evaluate the many factors to consider when buying equipment, including the trade-offs of purchasing new or used, maintenance needs, and potential challenges. During the second section of the track, presenter Shane LaBrake for a tour of the trade show floor to review key considerations for picking a tractor and scaling-up equipment, tailored to the interests of session participants. This Expo session was organized by Anu Rangarajan and Kat McCarthy of the Cornell Small Farms Program.
2018 Empire State Producers Expo: 
January 18, 2018, 9:00-10:15am (Part A) & 10:45am-12:00pm (Part B)

Getting the Most from Your Labor
During this session, Elizabeth Higgins, of the Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern NY Commercial Hort Program will share techniques for develop clear job descriptions, including information about hiring staff, and offering just in time feedback andperformance appraisal to both correct problems and motivate employees. Presenter Kat McCarthy, Cornell Small Farms Program, will next explain how to develop components of an employee handbook, and how these materials can help with employee recruitment and retention. The session will be concluded with a presentation by Mary Jo Dudley of the Cornell Farmworker Program, who will describe how to establish and run effective training programs. Participants will leave this session with an outline of text/concepts they could include in the development of their own employee handbook, as well as a check-list for developing job descriptions and training programs on their own farm.
2018 Empire State Producers Expo: January 18, 2018, 2:00-4:00pm

Novel Cover Cropping and Strip Tillage Practices for Vegetables
Attend this workshop to learn how you can integrate cover cropping and reduced tillage practices while overcoming the residue and weed management challenges.field row cropHear 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 Small Farms Program, 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.
2018 Empire State Producers Expo: January 18, 2018, 9:00-10:15am

NESARE Farmer Grants are for commercial producers who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, marketing initiative, or other technique. A technical advisor–often an extension agent, crop consultant, or other service professional–must also be involved. Projects should seek results other farmers can use, and all projects must have the potential to add to our knowledge about effective sustainable practices.  To apply, you must be a commercial farmer in the Northeast SARE region. You need not be farming full time, but your operation should have an established crop or animal product that you sell on a regular basis. Browse the NESARE Farmer Grants website here for more information on the application process, previous farmer grants, and more. Applications are due December 5th, 2017.

Join one of our upcoming online farming courses: Veggie Farming, Berry Production, Introduction to Maple Syrup, and more!

The Cornell Small Farms Program offers over twenty courses to help farmers improve their technical and business skills. Students connect with other farmers, work on farm plans, and gain practical tips without leaving their home. Course content can be accessed anywhere with a high-speed internet connection.

Most courses are six weeks long. Each week features an evening webinar and follow-up readings, videos, and activities. Students and their instructors connect through online forums and live chat. If you aren’t able to attend the webinars in real-time, they are always recorded for later viewing.

Classes starting the Week of November 6 include:

BF 120: Veggie Farming 1 – From Planning to Planting

This course helps new and aspiring vegetable producers answer basic questions about site selection, crop rotation, seeding and transplanting, and financial aspects of veggie production. Topics including variety selection, pre-plant preparation, and cultivation will be covered.

BF130: Poultry Production (BF 130)

Many new farmers get started with poultry, because it’s a relatively low-investment enterprise with a fairly quick turnaround time from investment to revenue. The margins can be slim though, and farmers need to develop the necessary skillset in order to produce a product that is both safe and profitable. This course will help you get started with all the basic information to build a successful poultry enterprise.


​BF 122: Berry Production 

If you’re exploring the idea of adding berries and bramble fruits to your farm, this course will help you consider all the aspects of this decision, from varieties and site selection all the way through profit potential and marketing.

BF 152: Introduction to Maple Syrup Production

Maple syrup production is rapidly growing around the Northeast and offers a sound financial opportunity to utilize woodlots. This course explores the range possibilities of maple sugaring on your land – be it for supplemental income or for your livelihood. Also discussed are “alternative” trees for production, including Birch and Black Walnut.

Course tuition entitles two people from a farm to attend. Discounts for early sign up and multiple course sign ups are available.

Check out the listings at http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/online-courses/ for more information on a particular course and the instructors.

Questions?
Contact Erica Frenay, ejf5@cornell.edu or Steve Gabriel, sfg53@cornell.edu
or call 607 – 255 – 2142

ABOUT
The Small Farms Program helps farmers get expert assistance to facilitate all phases of small farm business development, from initial growth to optimization to maturity.

We are a joint effort of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Consider registering for this informative online course starting November 2nd!

Most people are drawn to the production side of small-scale agriculture and then are “stuck” with the marketing. This course introduces effective techniques to reduce the amount of time and money that marketing activities draw from the farm while guiding management towards income and lifestyle goals.

Target Audience

New farmers with at least 1 season of farm management experience, as well as more seasonedfarmers who have explored the basics of marketing and are ready to develop a formal marketing strategy.  

Course Objectives

  • Develop components of a marketing plan & marketing materials for your farm.
  • Develop a focused marketing strategy to guide decision making and resource investment.
  • Learn to critically analyze markets and new opportunities to select the best performing channels.
  • Learn recordkeeping and basic analytical skills to improve marketing labor efficiency.
  • Optimize marketing labor and marketing channels for your marketing.

Webinars

The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in MOODLE, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters, ask questions, and collaborate with other participants and the instructor to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing. Access details will be posted in MOODLE once you have registered and logged in. 

Instructors

Matt LeRoux is an Ag Marketing Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, NY.

Erica Frenay is the Online Course Manager for the Cornell Small Farms Program and also owns and operates Shelterbelt Farm.

Dates

November 6 – December 11, 2017 with webinars each Monday evening from 6:30-8:00pm Eastern time. Webinars will be recorded for later viewing.  

Click here for the the course outline and cost and registration information.

Join one of our upcoming online farming courses: Veggie Farming, Berry Production, Introduction to Maple Syrup, and more!

The Cornell Small Farms Program offers over twenty courses to help farmers improve their technical and business skills. Students connect with other farmers, work on farm plans, and gain practical tips without leaving their home. Course content can be accessed anywhere with a high-speed internet connection.

Most courses are six weeks long. Each week features an evening webinar and follow-up readings, videos, and activities. Students and their instructors connect through online forums and live chat. If you aren’t able to attend the webinars in real-time, they are always recorded for later viewing.  

Classes starting the Week of November 6 include:

BF 120: Veggie Farming 1 – From Planning to Planting
This course helps new and aspiring vegetable producers answer basic questions about site selection, crop rotation, seeding and transplanting, and financial aspects of veggie production. Topics including variety selection, pre-plant preparation, and cultivation will be covered.

http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/online-courses/course-descriptions/veggie-farming-part-1-bf-120/

BF130: Poultry Production (BF 130)
Many new farmers get started with poultry, because it’s a relatively low-investment enterprise with a fairly quick turnaround time from investment to revenue. The margins can be slim though, and farmers need to develop the necessary skillset in order to produce a product that is both safe and profitable. This course will help you get started with all the basic information to build a successful poultry enterprise.

http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/online-courses/course-descriptions/poultry-production-bf-130/


​BF 122: Berry Production 
If you’re exploring the idea of adding berries and bramble fruits to your farm, this course will help you consider all the aspects of this decision, from varieties and site selection all the way through profit potential and marketing.

http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/online-courses/course-descriptions/berry-production-bf-122/


BF 152: Introduction to Maple Syrup Production
Maple syrup production is rapidly growing around the Northeast and offers a sound financial opportunity to utilize woodlots. This course explores the range possibilities of maple sugaring on your land – be it for supplemental income or for your livelihood. Also discussed are “alternative” trees for production, including Birch and Black Walnut.

http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/online-courses/course-descriptions/introduction-to-maple-syrup-production-bf-152/


Developing and Using an Effective Marketing Plan (BF 205)
Most people are drawn to the production side of small-scale agriculture and then are “stuck” with the marketing. This course introduces effective techniques to reduce the amount of time and money that marketing activities draw from the farm while guiding management towards income and lifestyle goals.

http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/online-courses/course-descriptions/bf-205/

Course tuition entitles two people from a farm to attend. Discounts for early sign up and multiple course sign ups are available.

Check out the listings at http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/online-courses/ for more information on a particular course and the instructors.

Questions?
Contact Erica Frenay, ejf5@cornell.edu or Steve Gabriel, sfg53@cornell.edu
or call 607 – 255 – 2142

Agroforestry in Practice: a 3-day training for Service Providers

October 17, 18, and 19, 2017 in Montour Falls, NY at the Schuyler County Cooperative Extension

Agroforestry is the science and art of combining trees and forests with crop production. It is a topic of great interest to many landowners and farmers and offers many promising enterprises including maple syrup,

log mushroom cultivation, silvopasture (combining trees and livestock) and others.

Research has established agroforestry as one of the most promising approaches to land use that both provides an economic return and supports environmental health.

This three-day course is designed for service providers including extension educators, farm non-profit organizations, public and private foresters, and consultants who routinely work with landowners and farmers to implement best practices.

The workshop is co-sponsored by the Schuyler County Cooperative Extension, Cornell Small Farms Program, with support from NE SARE, Penn State, and the USDA National Agroforestry Center.

Learn more and register here.

Classes starting the Week of September 23 include:

BF 101: Starting at Square One 

Goat People Livestock

This course helps new and aspiring farmers take the first steps toward setting goals, assessing resources available (physical, financial, and personal), and exploring enterprises that are the best fit for you and your land.
Carefully defining what you want to do and how you will do it is a key element of any successful new farm enterprise.

This course is taught by Erica Frenay (Shelterbelt Farm) and Steve Gabriel (Wellspring Forest Farm & School). Both also coordinate online courses for the small farms program.

Woodlots are a common feature of most farms in the eastern US, and are often overlooked for the value they might bring to the landowner and to farm enterprises.
During this course, we will examine the methods to assess forest resources and discuss common woodland activities such as cutting firewood, harvesting logs for mushroom cultivation, and support for wildlife and long-term forest health.This course is taught by Peter Smallidge, who is NYS extension forester and coordinator of the acclaimed ForestConnect webinar series on YouTube.

 

 

vegetable tomato

This course is an introduction to QuickBooks, designed to provide an overview of the QuickBooks Pro software application.
It will cover the basic features, such as sales tax, inventory, invoicing, adjustments, and year-end procedures.
Each student will gain hands-on experience reproducing the exercises presented by the instructor.

Each course is $250, which entitles two people from a farm to attend.

Upon registering, you will receive a receipt with a link you can use to register the second person from your farm.

Check out the listings at http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/ for more information on a particular course and the instructors.

Questions?

Contact Erica Frenay, ejf5@cornell.edu or Steve Gabriel, sfg53@cornell.edu or call 607-255-2142.

What investments will help grow our livestock sector?

Are you faced with challenges in the production of livestock on your farm? Do these affect your ability to grow your business? Or do you work with livestock producers as an educator, researcher, service provider or veterinarian?

The Cornell Small Farms Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension want to understand what you see as the priorities for research and education to increase viability of livestock production in NY and beyond.  There is growing demand for regionally produced meat, milk and fiber. Yet we know our farmers are facing challenges that could constrain their productivity and profitability as they grow their businesses.

We are asking experienced livestock producers at all scales to prioritize research and extension topics that will help grow the livestock sector in NY. This anonymous survey will take about 15 minutes to complete. Your perspective and feedback is essential to shape research and extension support for livestock production in NY!

Gift Card Drawing!  After completing the survey, you will have the opportunity to register for one of three $100 gift card drawings to an agricultural supplier of your choice!

TAKE THE SURVEY

How this survey will be used: This survey information will help us to prioritize research and educational programs and resources to address current or emerging livestock production challenges. We will never share individual farm information with anyone ever; all results will be aggregated and anonymized. We will review preliminary results at our upcoming NY Livestock Summit on March 30, 2017. The findings will be summarized in a report this summer and be shared widely to elevate the needs of the Livestock sector across the region.

LEARN MORE about the 2017 NYS Livestock Summit, to be held on Thurs Mar 30 from 1-4pm at 8 sites around the state. We hope you will join us!

« Previous More »