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Cervids, such as deer, elk, and moose, are a $3 billion industry in the United States. There are many opportunities for farms to raise deer, but proper care and health management is critical.

Recently the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) hosted Dr. Douglas Wagner of Newport Labs to discuss the topic with NYSDAM veterinarians. The recording was made available to provide a resource for farmers and veterinarians.

During this presentation, Dr. Wagner introduces and provides an overview of the “captive cervid industry” in the U.S., including husbandry, handling, reproduction, stocking density and biosecurity. He also discusses the most economically important diseases and parasites of captive cervids, and a system for producers and veterinarians to use when determining herd specific vaccination and deworming protocols, with good husbandry standards and biosecurity as the cornerstone.

Are you ready to build your knowledge about permaculture and ecological design? Permaculture gardens, farms, and backyards balance the provision of human needs with improvement of local ecosystem health.

The School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University has opened registration to the online course Permaculture: Fundamentals of Ecological Design, from Nov. 5 to Dec. 20, 2018. The course will be offered through the University’s Horticulture distance learning program.

This 6.5-week-long course provides an opportunity for you to build your knowledge about permaculture and ecological design. Participants will explore the content through videos, readings, and activities and complete portions of a design for a site of their choosing. While the course is online, the format is designed for consistent interaction between instructors and students through forums and review of assignments. Readings and presentations will be directly applied through hands-on activities students will engage with at home.

Space is limited to 20 participants, and registration will close when the limit is reached. The registration fee is $675, to be paid via credit card at registration.

The distance learning program has two additional permaculture design courses. Completion of a single class gives students a certificate of completion, while completion of all three courses gives students the portfolio necessary to apply for an internationally recognized certification in Permaculture Design though the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute. The additional courses include:

  • Permaculture Design: Ecosystem Mimicry (Jan. 7 to Feb. 21, 2019) fee: $675
  • Permaculture Design: Design Practicum (March 4 to April 4, 2019) fee: $325
    • Note: the prerequisite for this course is one or both of the other Cornell permaculture courses

Registration opens about six weeks before courses begin. For more information on the Horticulture distance learning program, visit their FAQ page.

Did you know that the Cornell Small Farms Program has been offering specialty mushroom resources and extension education for 10 years? This has occurred through our website, online courses, and in-person workshops. Now we need your help to continue this important work.

To all extension/university or non-profit educators, government agency employees, and private consultants — please complete this short survey to help us gauge the interest and needs for mushroom producers from your perspective.

We’ve personally seen the interest in this crop increase dramatically during that time, but want to gauge your experience and the demands you receive on the topic as an agricultural service provider. We have been invited by NE-SARE to submit a full Professional Development Grant Proposal to expand the number of ag service providers able to confidently offer growers support to develop mushroom production enterprises.

The survey will take less than 10 minutes, and offer us insight into our collective needs as farm educators of various sorts.

Thank you for your time!

Are you a part of the solar farming community? Help inform researchers by taking this survey on vegetation maintenance practices for solar arrays.

In collaboration between the Cornell University Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and the American Solar Grazing Association (ASGA), a team of farmers and researchers are working toward a roadmap for viable collaborations among solar site operators, landscapers, and grazers. Through your survey responses, they hope to gain a better understanding of the challenges, economically and agriculturally, that you are facing with the land stewardship of the solar sites you are managing.

The submitted surveys are anonymized, and at no point in the survey is information requested from you that could identify you or your business. Please submit your survey by October 8, 2018.

All survey participants will be given the opportunity to learn from the results, which the team anticipates releasing in mid-October. The results will also be announced as part of the Cornell Sheep and Goat Symposium on Saturday, October 13, 2018.

If you have any questions, contact Niko Kochendoerfer at

For veterans and military families interested in learning about a variety of farming techniques and farm business management, tours of working farms can offer important insight and inspiration.

On September 19, 2018, a farm tour was held at Wind Swept Meadows Farm in Watertown, NY. The tour was hosted by the Small Farms Program (SFP) Farm Ops partners at the Jefferson County Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE).

This month, a group of about 30 people — including active duty military personnel stationed at Fort Drum, as well as retired military service members — were welcomed to Wind Swept Meadows, a 465-acre farm owned and operated by Delta and Tom Keeney.

The Keeney’s run a popular roadside stand with a wide variety of fruit, flowers, vegetables, baked goods and crafts for sale. In addition, they have USDA inspected beef available for sale year round, raise chickens, ducks and turkey, coordinate a large CSA, and offer a small therapeutic agriculture program.

One highlight of the day was a homemade lunch featuring ingredients all sourced from the farm. The meal brought the entire group together for warm meal under the barn roof.

“I thought the tour had a great turn out and one of the most diverse group of attendees I’ve seen yet,” said Alyssa Couse, agriculture outreach educator at Jefferson County CCE. “From active duty soldiers, to military wives, to young children and several female veterans, the farm tour offered something for everyone.”

As the day’s events came to a close, several people asked when the next farm tour would be… Stay tuned!

For more information about the Small Farms Program’s Farm Ops project, visit the project site.

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