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The Cornell Small Farms Program’s 2018-2019 season of online courses is well underway, and it’s already time to register for our final block of courses!

Register now to learn about business management, soil health, specialty mushrooms, beekeeping, business plans, high tunnels, and grazing. Courses fill up quickly and registration closes for block four in just one month.

Block Four Courses Start the Week of February 25

Registration closes for block four on Sunday, February 17 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
We strongly encourage you to register early to avoid being shut out of courses.

Taking Care of Business
This course helps aspiring and beginning farmers assess and manage a variety of risks that a farmer will face as they operate their enterprise. Throughout the six-week period, topics essential for operating a viable farm business will be discussed, including insurance coverage, types of business structures, and tax information.


Soil Health
The health and productivity of the soil forms the basis for any farm’s success, profitability, and ecological sustainability. Successful farmers need to develop a holistic approach to preserving and building soil health and fertility. Stewardship of the soil is arguably the most important job of any farmer or gardener.



Indoor Specialty Mushroom Cultivation
Mushrooms are an emerging niche crop with many benefits and offer a unique and highly desired product. This course trains new and experienced farmers in the background, techniques, and economics of farm scale indoor commercial production.



Introduction to Beekeeping
Whether you are currently keeping honey bees, or are considering adding them to your farm, a basic understanding of bee biology, diseases, pests and setting up your colony for success are essential. This course is taught by experienced beekeepers and will give you real-world experiences paired with academic concepts.


Writing a Business Plan
Whether you intend to borrow money or not, heading into a farm venture without a business plan is like setting out on a long-distance journey without a map. Arm yourself with a business plan to aid your farm decision-making and demonstrate to yourself and your family that your ideas are feasible.



Season Extension with High Tunnelshigh tunnel soil
Adding weeks to either end of your growing season can mean attaining a premium for having products available well before (or long after) other local growers. The unheated plastic-covered “high tunnels” can cost a lot of money, and they bring special management considerations that need to be understood in order to be profitable additions to your farm.


Grazing Management
With sound grazing management, you can reduce your workload, keep your animals happier and healthier, and improve the overall productivity and profitability of your farm. Well-managed grazing systems also provide greater environmental benefits and enhance habitat for many wildlife species.



The Small Farms Program offers more than 20 courses to help farmers improve their technical and business skills. Most courses are six weeks long, and each week features an evening webinar with 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.

You can check out the listings on our site for more information on a particular course and the instructors. Course tuition entitles two people from a farm to attend. Learn more about registration, payment, computer requirements, and more on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

If you still have questions, you can contact our online course managers:

Erica Frenay at
Steve Gabriel at

Time is valuable. Time is money. And time is of the essence at the height of the busy season! We know that the ability to manage people effectively is a critical skill for a successful farm business. An efficient crew can make or break the bottom line during harvest. So why not invest in your most valuable resource? Your employees (including yourself!) are essential to your farm’s ultimate success!

Owners, managers, employees and the overall farm business all benefit from professionalism and productive working environments.

Being prepared to hire and manage employees will save you time, money and headaches! Whether you are looking to hire employees for the very first time or adding additional staff, human resource and managerial skill are crucial. With the ultimate goal of minimizing workforce related issues on new farms in New York State, the Cornell Small Farms Program through the Labor Ready Farmer Program has grant funding available through 2020 to offer one-on-one technical assistance to beginning farmers, including next generation farmers on family farms. Funding is available, but not limited to, the following four focus areas for up to 20 eligible farms.

Level 1 assistance is for beginning farmers with very limited experience in hiring or training workers. It is intended to help get a good system going on your farm.

  1. Farmers who have never formally hired or managed employees: If you have relied on family and volunteer workers for your farm, but would like to begin to hire employees for the first time, we can assist you with setting up a process that will help you get off to a great start and minimize problems down the road. We provide help with compliance and paperwork, policy development, training and management resources and connections to agencies and support networks.

Level 2 is intended for beginning farmers who have employees, but who have a more targeted need.

  1. Hiring and Training New Staff: If you have employees already but feel like you could use assistance, we can help in streamlining your hiring and training process for new staff to get them up to speed and working independently more quickly. Areas for assistance could include: help with streamlining paperwork and recordkeeping for new hires, assistance in maintaining good records to reduce compliance issues, developing a schedule and set of new hire trainings for your farm to help get workers up to speed more quickly. We can help you pull together videos, handouts, and hands-on demonstrations, and develop a set of Standard Operating Procedures.
  2. Employee Manuals, Policy Development and Employee Feedback: If you have employees already but would like more focused help, we can work with you to develop employee manuals, offer feedback and assistance with developing farm employee policies and/or help in providing better feedback to employees to help reduce problems. We can provide help with the process, legal guidance and assistance with final product development.
  3. H2A Guidance and Readiness: If you are considering hiring foreign guest workers but are not sure what it would take to get your farm ready, we can provide one on one assistance in assessing costs, housing, paperwork and compliance and managing cultural issues.

Farmers selected for assistance will work with the Labor Ready Farmer Program to develop a specific scope of work in their selected focus area using with one-on-one guidance and business consulting from agricultural labor specialists. They will also join a cohort of other farmers who are working in the same focus area to share ideas and build a support network.

We anticipate that projects will be completed near the end of 2019 or early 2020. If you are interested in receiving this assistance, please see the application for full details:

  • Smart Farming Team Application (English version)
  • Smart Farming Team Application (Spanish version) Available Soon

If there is an area, related to employee management and training, that is not included in this list that you need help with on your farm please include this information on your application.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:

Nicole M. Waters

Beginning Farmer Project Coordinator

Small Farms Program – Labor Ready Farmer Project | (607) 255-7115

The machine’s inventor, Rose Marie Belforti, holds one of the pressed briquettes just after formation on the press and prior to drying. Image courtesy of Rose Marie Belforti.

A farmer recently completed a USDA Northeast SARE funded project to demonstrate a hydraulic press used to make fuel briquettes from manure and bedding. The machine, dubbed the “Biomass Beast” by its creator, Rose Marie Belforti, was built for $5,766 and produced briquettes at a rate of 90 dry pounds per hour for 3 cents per dry pound. The briquettes were found to have 6,481 BTU/lb (at 10.5% moisture content) which compared favorably to dry cord wood (e.g. 5,649 BTU/lb for sugar maple at 10% moisture). They burned easily and well. All in all, the cost of production and the heating value suggests that these briquettes deliver energy at a cost of about $4.4 per million BTU (roughly the equivalent of $105 per cord of firewood or $0.60 per gallon of fuel oil).

Rose Marie Belforti was interested in finding ways to manage excess livestock manure on her small farm. She learned that manure fuel briquettes have been used on small farms by many cultures around the world for centuries, but typically they have been made by hand and do not have the BTU’s acceptable to meet modern heating needs. Biomass fuel briquette machines currently on the market in the U.S. are designed for large production and are not practical for small farm use. Therefore, Belforti sought to design and test a prototype of an affordable hydraulic press scaled for small farm use that would sufficiently compress a raw manure/bedding mixture into brick form to be used as a heating fuel.

She was able to test the idea out with the support of a Farmer Grant project funded by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE). Belforti received a SARE Farmer Grant last year to design and construct a hydraulic press to form fuel briquettes from livestock manure and to test them.

Belforti worked closely with a local welder and also with a technical advisor Chris Callahan, at UVM Extension to develop the press prototype. She then tested different ratios of fresh manure, bedding (straw and wood shavings), and water to come up with a recipe that would press and dry efficiently and have reasonable density. Briquettes were analyzed for quality and heat value. Compared to cordwood, livestock manure pressed briquettes rated well for BTUs per pound; however, ash content was higher than cord wood or wood pellets.

The press cost $5,766 ($2,103 in materials and $3,662 in fabrication labor) to construct which included all new materials except for tires. The cost could be considerably less if on farm equipment already in hand would have been used. One could also, with welding skills, modify a wood splitter to have a dual purpose machine. A typical briquette size is: 7” high x 9” wide x 9” long. The dry weight is approximately 3 lbs for a briquette that size. Belforti was able to produce 90 lbs of dry briquettes per hour. Drying is done in ambient conditions, protected from rain, using the heat of the sun (e.g. in a greenhouse). The cost of fuel to run the machine is about 3 cents per pound of dry briquette.

The briquettes burn easily and well in a wood stove or fireplace. Image courtesy of Rose Marie Belforti.

The fuel testing demonstrated “dry” moisture content of about 10.5% using simple, passive techniques with some ventilating air flow but and no supplemental heating. The briquette fuel was tested for heating value and was found to have 7,673 BTU/lb (moisture free). This equates to 6,841 BTU/lb (at 10.5% moisture). Ash content was relatively high at 18%.

Combining the cost of production and the heating value suggests that these briquettes deliver energy at a cost of about $4.4 per million BTU (roughly the equivalent of $105 per cord of firewood or $0.60 per gallon of fuel oil). The amortized cost of the machine and labor is not included in these early cost estimates.

Based on results of the project, Belforti concluded that livestock manure briquettes can be a feasible fuel source for the small farm, particularly those with surplus livestock manure. Photos of the press and construction information as well as fuel analyses are available on FarmHack and are included in the final project report, available on the SARE website.

Letter from the Director

It has been quite a year for the Cornell Small Farm Program. We have grown to ten amazing, committed staff who actively work to support the viability of small farms through education, outreach and research. Each works closely with many partners, especially Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators, toward our mission of helping farmers get expert assistance to facilitate all phases of small farm business development, from initial growth to optimization to maturity.

This work will continue into the new year as we consider what are the emerging needs of small-scale farmers. Stay tuned for the next NY Small Farm Summit in 2019 where we invite you to help set the direction of our future efforts.

Thank you for your support and best wishes for a joyful new year.

Anu Rangarajan

Baskets to Pallets

The Baskets to Pallets project opened the year with a farmer training held in the fire-lit dining room of Tug Hill Vineyards in Lowville, NY. Forty-five farmers traveled from many parts of New York to join us for a two-day exploration into how to enter direct-wholesale markets such as food hubs, grocery stores, restaurants and cooperatives. With some farmers experiencing burnout from multiple direct-marketing channels, this training is for all enterprises and covers topics relevant to intermediary markets such as: communicating with buyers, grading and labeling, uniformity and consistency, and more.

As winter gave way to spring, we launched a new professional development Cohort consisting of 15 educators and farmers. Over the next two years, members of the Baskets to Pallets Educator Cohort will come together to pool knowledge and skills, network with buyers, design and teach new curriculum, and provide one-on-one support to farmers. You’ll see many of the Cohort educators debuting new activities at one of our upcoming 2019 trainings.

Beginning Farmer Learning Network

As of 2018, this network of farm service providers throughout the Northeast has been meeting for 10 years, providing an open venue for educators, technical service providers, loan officers and others to discuss the challenges with helping farmers in their first 10 years. Our next meeting is Feb 9, 2019 in Lancaster, PA as part of the annual PASA conference.

Farm OPS: Veteran in Agriculture

The Farm OPS project team partners with veteran service providers, agricultural educators and agencies to support military veterans pursuing careers in agriculture. Now in our fourth year, the project’s network has expanded to include over 1200 participants in our listserv and over 500 followers of the NY Farmer Veteran Coalition Facebook page. Leading up to Veterans Day, we were featured in the Cornell Chronicle, which led to at least eight other news and radio outlets reporting on our work and helped increase community awareness of several of our farmer veterans who are pursuing agricultural careers.

Our partners at Jefferson County CCE maintained a regular presence on Fort Drum for career days to educate transitioning soldiers about agricultural careers, and the hosted several farm tours that introduced active duty soldiers and area veterans about farming and farm life. Over a dozen individual trainings occurred from the Hudson Valley, to Watertown, to the Southern Tier. We also held a hands-on high tunnel raising that helped a beginning farmer veteran construct their first sheltered growing space for their farm. We’ve provided scholarships to agricultural entrepreneurs to cover general farm business trainings, or specific farm enterprise workshops.

Labor Ready Farmer

The Labor Ready Farmer project team, with partners located across the state, has met regularly to discuss progress, challenges, and next steps. It became clear that labor readiness — being prepared to hire, manage and retain skilled employees — is crucial for new farmers to mature their skills, scale up and thrive in business. Work to address the needs of the project’s two new farmer groups (advanced beginning farmers operating between 3-10 years, and hispanic farm managers and employees) is now well underway. In addition to numerous articles and project announcements, a broad education campaign highlighting the importance of managerial skills across New York State was launched as the Good to Great’s project, a 20 minute manager webinar series. Additionally, a series of four Labor Ready Farmer videos were released, sharing the stories and advice from four Hispanic individuals who have climbed the ladder from laborer to management to farm ownership in New York State.

As 2019 approaches, LRF curriculum development is in full swing. Driven by evaluation and survey data, one project goal is the creation of professional development and management trainings specific to the NYS agricultural industry. Thanks to strong collaboration between LRF staff and project partners, a pilot program combining professional development with advanced English language learning was launched in late Fall. Similarly, a complete professional development and agriculture workforce training lineup aimed at all of New York State’s agricultural managers and employees, including multi-day workshops, can be expected throughout 2019.

Livestock Research

We released the NYS Livestock Report in November 2018, which is a summary and analysis of the feedback gathered from over 600 livestock producers and other industry professionals at the 2017 NYS Livestock Summit. We have also been working on updating the Direct Marketing Guide to Livestock and Poultry, which was last updated in 2011. We are nearly done and expect to release the new version in early 2019.

Local & Regional Food Systems

Recently the Local & Regional Food Systems (LRFS) initiative launched a Program Work Team dedicated to the Farm to School (F2S) movement. This was born from connections made with the growing number of F2S professionals around the state. When we held our first LRFS networking session in March, we were astonished by the interest in F2S. We also held a data tool webinar on the ins and outs of the USDA’s Food Atlas, which was very well attended, and we helped organize a fantastic two-day local food systems IMPLAN training. We have gained traction in our research on creating/developing an ag and food systems impact assessment tool, specifically in relation to Food Hubs.

Ongoing and each month we take some time to get to know our LRFS network better, to help catalyze collaboration and strengthen our impact. Since April 2017, we have interviewed more than 50 of the many dedicated people who work in local and regional food systems. You can explore the growing network on our website.

Online Courses

Our 20 online courses in 2018 have reached more than 600 students and ranged in topic from mushroom production to business planning, and grazing management to using high tunnels. We also launched a new course in November 2018, Getting Started with Pastured Pigs (BF 138), taught by Jason Detzel from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County. Across the whole spectrum of topics, there is one common denominator in all of our courses: supporting farmers in improving their profitability and quality of life, so that they can sustain their farms into the future.

Reduced Tillage

The Reduced Tillage project continues to evaluate novel tools and practices to help vegetable farmers reduce their tillage and build better soils. Our research includes combining reduced tillage with complementary practices that add organic matter, keep the soil covered, and create biologically active soils. What we’re learning from research trials and farmer experience will help us find scale-appropriate strategies for organic vegetables.

This year we talked tarps, mulching, cover crops and zone tillage with over 300 farmers and educators at workshops and field day demonstrations across the state and the Northeast. We finished three years of cover crop research in zone tillage to better understand the biology and management tools, and started sharing lessons from the field. Tarps are covering more and more beds, and now we’re learning more about the science. We’ve worked with growers and continued doing systems-based research to share reduced tillage tarping practices that combine tarps with permanent beds, organic mulch, and cover crops. In the year ahead, we’ll continue to dig deep into how these practices can impact weeds, labor, yields and soils and help to identify the best strategies to be successful with less tillage.

Speciality Mushrooms

Our specialty mushroom project continues to encourage small farms to consider this high value niche crop. In 2018, we continued offering workshops around the state highlighting the viability of outdoor log-grown shiitake mushrooms for farms with underutilized woodlands. Eight workshops were attended by 269 existing and prospective famers, with 24 serious growers continuing on to participate in one-on-one support as they developed a plan for their business. Workshop content focused on post-harvest considerations and marketing has been converted into a series of short lessons, available online.

We are also releasing a new guidebook in early 2019, titled “From Harvest to Market: Developing a viable Specialty Mushroom Enterprise” and a new series of videos about indoor cultivation methods for oyster and other mushroom species. Our program is further diversifying our offerings, moving into growing considerations for urban agriculture. We hosted two workshops in New York City in 2018 and are planning more activities for the coming year.  

In episode two of this season’s Cornell Cooperative Extension’s podcast, “Extension Out Loud,” tree fruit specialists weigh in on the 2018 apple harvest and share observations from orchards around New York state. R.J. Anderson / Cornell Cooperative Extension

New York farmers experienced a wet, then dry, then wet 2018 growing season that brought a number of challenges. How did those conditions affect the quantity, look and taste of apples, grapes, vegetables and other locally sourced products on grocery shelves and dinner tables?

Answering that and other questions is the focus of the “Extension Out Loud” podcast from Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE). Featuring the voices of CCE agriculture specialists across the state, the Harvest Highlights season of the podcast examines output, quality and consumer impacts from this year’s vegetable, tree fruit, grapes and field crops harvests.

Exploring the role and impact of Cornell and its land-grant engagement across New York state, the podcast previously explored potential impacts of the upcoming Farm Bill legislation on food systems, nutrition education, the environment and the livelihoods of New York farmers.

Read more about the “Extension Out Loud” episodes in the Cornell Chronicle.

NNY maple tapping research provides insight for maple producers statewide. Michele Ledoux / CCE Lewis County

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted a research update with data to help maple and birch syrup producers respond to variable climate conditions.

“Maple, and now birch, syrup producers are on the front lines of dealing with the effects of climate change and the variations that have increased the unpredictability of when sap will flow,” says Dr. Joseph Orefice, director of the Natural Resources and Forest Program at Yale University. Orefice managed the tapping trials in Northern New York while director of the Uihlein Maple Research Forest in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The project has established baseline data for continuing efforts to determine the optimal time to begin tapping birch trees in conjunction with maple production.

“Birch syrup is a relatively new agricultural product being produced in Northern New York as a way for maple producers to diversify their revenue streams and optimize capital investments in forestland and syrup-producing equipment,” says Orefice.

The report posted under the Maple tab at compares sap and syrup yields based on various tapping times of maple and birch trees at the Uilhein Maple Research Forest in Lake Placid, N.Y., and at the Paul’s Smith College Forest in Paul Smiths, N.Y.

The trials conducted in January through May of 2018 including the tapping of paper and yellow birch trees immediately after finishing the tapping of maple trees, during mid-maple season, and post-maple production season.

Sap collection was impacted by taphole closure, particularly with the maple trees that were tapped early in January, and with birch trees likely due to bacterial buildup in the taphole before birch sap begins to flow.

Orefice allows that using new spouts might mitigate taphole closure in birches, as they do in maple sap production, however, temperatures are higher during March than January and bacterial buildup in birch tapholes during March will occur faster than in maple tapholes during January.

“While much more research is needed to determine ideal weather conditions to predict the start of birch sap flow, we suggest that birch syrup producers wait until around the end of maple season to tap their birch trees. This will assure that they do not have early taphole closure of birch and will also reduce complications in the saphouse related to collecting the two different types of sap,” Orefice concludes.

For maple producers, the report notes that early pre-season tapping of maple trees is competitive with tapping in mid-February.

“Waiting to tap until late February and early March risks missing early-season sap flow events and having less total season production,” Orefice summarizes. “Low sugar contents during January sap flow events were likely a result of sugar not yet being converted from starches within the tree and also not being released into the maple sap.”

For more information, see the complete Comparison of Sap Yields Per Timing of Tapping Schedules for Maple and Birch Syrup Production report on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at

Cornell Cooperative Extension hosted its annual Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Systems In-service Conference on Nov. 13-15. The conference scheduled included four sessions in the Agricultural Community and Economic Development track organized by the Cornell Local & Regional Food Systems (LRFS) Initiative.

Over the course of the four sessions, presenters: highlighted farm to school initiatives in NYS and engaged in the audience in identifying challenges and opportunities that Cornell could help address through research and extension; discussed lessons learned in piloting a new framework for advancing community food systems development; shared research exploring how food hubs evaluate their social, economic, and environmental impacts; and explored a range of legal issues involved in farming and food systems as well as resources available to farmers to help them successfully navigate these issues.  All of the sessions had the two-fold purpose of informing efforts to support and strengthen food systems and providing opportunities for participants to learn from one another.

For more information about topics covered in each session, please see presentation PowerPoints (when used) and resources at the LRFS website.

Shannon Mason of Cowbella will speak about transitioning to Lucky Dog Food Hub

Shannon Mason of Cowbella spoke about transitioning to Lucky Dog Food Hub, Groceries & Other Wholesale Markets

About the 2014 NY Small Farms Summit

On March 24th,  the Cornell Small Farms Program hosted the 4th NY Small Farms Summit.  The full day program, Beyond Direct Marketing: Exploring New Ways to Sell, featured small farmers’ perspectives on the pros and cons of selling wholesale.

Morning presentations included vegetable farmer Darren Maum of Salvere Farm, in Marietta, NY.  Darren described his success with Farmshed, a Central NY company that has enabled him to sell a larger volume of product by handling transportation and relationship building efforts with customers, saving  valuable time and resources.  Shannon Mason of Cowbella in Jefferson, NY, described how a shift to wholesaling through Lucky Dog Local Food Hub enabled her to invest in new production and processing strategies for her value added dairy products.  Stephen Winkler of Lucki7 Livestock Co. in Rodman, NY reflected on how a transition to Wegmans, Whole Foods and a White Tablecloth Distributor has transformed his product mix and marketing strategy.

The afternoon portion of the meeting provided an opportunity for farmers spread out at 7  locations across NY to swap ideas about specific wholesale marketing opportunities ion their region, discuss benefits and challenges to adding a wholesale market(s), and develop an action plan for steps needed to enable easier access to wholesale markets.  

Choose from 7 meeting locations across NYS

Farmers met in 7 meeting locations across NYS

Beyond Direct Marketing: Agenda, Farmer Profiles & Resources

Summit Agenda
Profiles of featured farmer speakers who shared their personal knowledge and experiences with wholesale  marketing:

Cornell Small Farms Program Marketing Resources – view The Guide to Marketing Channel Assessment, download market selection workbooks, connect to online distributor sites, and much more!

Additional Marketing Resources – additional information for assessing your market channels as well as information and funding for food hubs.

Where do YOU sell?  Nation-wide Survey helps better understand Small Farm Marketing trends

Prior to Summit, we conducted a survey of NY farmers to understand their current and future possible market channels. We asked each to tell us about their farm size, years of experience, income and primary enterprises as well as their levels of satisfaction with different channels. Click the link below to view the summary of responses from across the state.

2014 NY Small Farm Statewide Survey Results

Video Clips

Welcome & Introductions (17 min) – Anu Rangarajan, Director Cornell Small Farms Program
Farmer Presentations (1 hr, 24 min) – Darren Maum and Shannon Mason share their farm stories and personal experiences with wholesale marketing.
Farmer Presentations Continued & Discussion (1 hr, 13 min)  – Stephen Winkler presents and Summit participants engage the presenters in a discussion about wholesale marketing.

Although most livestock in New York is raised on small farms, this industry contributes $893 million in sales to the rural New York economy. Demand far outstrips supply for NY meat and livestock, so there is room for growth, but there are a number of hurdles to livestock farmers’ success.

In March 2017, the Cornell Small Farms Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension hosted one its biennial NY Small Farm Summits, this time focused on the opportunities to grow the New York livestock industry.

“The NY Small Farm Summits are an opportunity to focus on a critical issue or sector that shows promise to support greater viability of our small farms. Together, farmers, educators, and researchers consider options and prioritize actions to grow the small farm sector.” – Anu Rangarajan, Director, Cornell Small Farm Program

The 2017 Summit brought together about 160 farmers and industry participants for a guided discussion meant to uncover needed research, education or infrastructure investments, debate their relative importance and then rank them as priorities for growing the NY livestock sector. To ensure that the Summit was inclusive, an additional 450 NY livestock farmers shared their priorities via an electronic survey.

More than 85% of the farmers participating in the Summit believe the New York livestock sector has potential for growth, and most farms (73%) have seen gross revenue from sales of livestock products increase over the last five years. With this optimism and growth, the farmers also noted specific research and extension investments that would address constraints to scaling up production.

Information gathered from the Summit is now available as a full report, “Securing the Future of the New York State Livestock Industry,” and as an executive summary.

“Livestock production has a huge potential for growth in New York with markets available and hungry local foods consumers. Many farmers and educators have worked to turn a mound of data into this important report. Thanks to the Cornell Small Farms program for help with this undertaking!” – Nancy Glazier, Regional Small Farms Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension

The “Securing the Future of the New York State Livestock Industry” report and executive summary can be viewed online or downloaded as a PDF from the Cornell Small Farms Program website:

Rich Taber and Steve Childs, a maple producer, talk after finishing the video for his video.

New York farmers are completing business plans for their woodlots, with the assistance of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chenango County and a grant from the New York Farm Viability Institute. Woodlot owners can use forest enterprises and products to supplement their income, and thanks to this grant CCE Chenango has been able to reach more woodlot owners about these possibilities. Part of this reach has been accomplished through a video series constructed by Ashley Russell and Rich Taber called, “Profit from Your Forest.”

Over the last year, Taber and Russell have videoed nine different woodlot businesses. The videos in this series have featured the forest owners and their enterprises, including a sawmill, local maple syrup businesses, and a forest lease contract. These business owners share with their viewers the advantages of their forest enterprises, their successes, and their struggles. Two of the videos feature Steve Childs, of the Cornell Maple Program, speaking about the important characteristics of a woodlot that create a successful maple syrup operation. In these videos, Childs walks through a woodlot pointing out the positives and negatives that he recognizes, demonstrating how a viewer could do the same in their own woodlot.

Right now the series features aspects of maple and sawmill businesses, and can be viewed on Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chenango County’s Facebook page or YouTube Channel. Over the final year of this grant, CCE Chenango plans to continue to help woodlot owners complete forest business plans. They also plan to add to this video series with mushroom and firewood business opportunities.

To find out more about this project, or to complete a forest business plan contact CCE Chenango at (607) 334-5841, or visit their Facebook page.

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