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Veterans in Ag Summit Registration Open

Are you a veteran farming in New York State, or an organization serving farmer veterans? The Cornell Small Farms Program is pleased to announce an interactive meeting just for you — the NY Veterans in Agriculture Summit will take place on Thursday, November 6th, 2014 from 9:00am – 3:30pm at the NYS State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY…Read More

Sustainable Farm Energy: 2014 Virtual Tours Start April 4th

Are you looking to stabilize rising fuel and energy costs on your farm or homestead?  Are you seeking more sustainable sources of energy?  In this upcoming four-part webinar series, you’ll meet an organic vegetable farmer, grape grower & winemaker, sunflower & biodiesel producer, and pastured livestock farmer who will lead you through a virtual tour … Read More

Rescheduled: NY Small Farms Summit for March 24th

Due to heavy snow and freezing rain forecast across upstate New York, the 2014 NY Small Farms Summit, Beyond Direct Marketing: Exploring New Ways to Sell, is rescheduled for March 24th. If you were previously registered for this event and still plan to attend, please complete a new registration form. Are you currently selling through … Read More

ATTENTION: Small Farms Summit Postponed

This year’s annual Small Farms Summit,  Beyond Direct Marketing: Exploring New Ways to Sell, scheduled for March 12th, 2014 from 9:30am – 3:30pm has been postponed due to potentially hazardous weather conditions. Because a large proportion of our attendees are farmers from rural regions, the “vulcan” snowstorm that is predicted to hit New York will make it … Read More

Last Call! Where do YOU Sell? Survey closes soon

Thank you to the 450 farmers that have taken this survey! Since responses are still pouring in, we have extended the deadline to Wednesday, February 26th to give you a few more days to give input! Are you a Small Farmer? Where do YOU sell? Take this Survey to ID Small Farm Marketing Trends Are …Read More

Register Now for “Beyond Direct Marketing: Exploring New Ways to Sell”

Are you currently selling through a farmers’ market, csa, u-pick, or road-side stand? How well is it working? Direct-marketing can offer the satisfaction of a personal relationship with the customer, but wearing the ‘marketing hat’ has the disadvantage of consuming lots of time and energy. In recent years, a variety of new wholesale markets such … Read More

We’re all hearing the phrase “Farm to Plate” but sometimes marketing isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. Many small and mid-sized growers sell product at farmers markets, through CSA’s or at farmstands, but what about restaurants, grocery stores, food hubs, or online marketplaces? What does it take to sell to these bigger markets and are they right for your farm?

You can find out by tuning in to the webinar series Small Farms: New Markets. Upcoming webinars feature farmers that started small but scaled up and transitioned to one or more wholesale markets. Farmers will reflect on the changes needed in production and marketing to get their products to these bigger markets. Each webinar also features one of the farmer’s ‘wholesale’ buyers who will describe how they establish productive relationships with smaller farms, and outline their business models and buying requirements.

All of the webinars are free and open to the public.   This webinar series is part of a larger training titled “Sparking a Wholesale Revolution: Connecting Small and Mid-sized Farmers to Larger Markets” sponsored by NE SARE (Northeast Sustainable Ag Research and Education) and the Cornell Small Farms Program.  Please send inquiries to Project Manager Violet Stone or visit the project website.

WinklerCancelled: Upstate Livestock Farm Reaches NYC Restaurants

Monday, April 13th. Noon – 1:00pm with Stephen Winkler of Lucky 7 Livestock Company and Seth Mosner of Mosner Family Brands

In 2000, Stephen Winkler and his family were selling their Lucki 7 Livestock Farm products to neighbors and through local farmers markets, grossing a little over $20,000 annually.  In the years that followed, the rising demand for locally produced food enabled Lucki 7 Farms to start selling to white tablecloth distributors and retailers such as Whole Foods and Wegmans.  Today, the farm’s annual sales include 800-1000 hogs, 35 head of beef, 700 meat chickens, and 7000 dozen eggs a year.  In 2013, Stephen started selling heritage hogs and grass fed beef to Mosner Family Brands.  Founded in 1957, Mosner Family Brands is a wholesale meat company based in the Bronx, NY, supplying high quality products to premium food service distributors, distinguished restaurants and high-end retailers. Mosner’s philosophy in partnering with small and mid-sized farmers is to empower them to focus on agriculture and farm management, rather than processing, logistics and other ancillary market-making functions. In doing so, Mosner has helped small family farms scale, become job creators and enhance farm operations through improved and consistent cash flow.  Learn more about how Stephen Winkler and other livestock farmers work with Mosner Family Brands to reach restaurants and retail stores. Due to illness in Stephen Winkler’s family, this webinar has been postponed until further notice.  We are very sorry for the inconvenience and will make an announcement when we are able to reschedule. 

ShibmuifarmsMushrooms to Dining Rooms: Meet the People Behind the Food Chain

Monday, April 20th. Noon – 1:00pm with  Alan Kaufman of Shibumi Farm, Jennifer Goggin of FarmersWeb, and Anthony Fassio of the Natural Gourmet Institute

Alan Kaufman began growing exotic mushrooms as a hobby in his home basement in 2003.    Today he produces as much as 5000 pounds of mushrooms a week, supplying unusual varieties to highly regarded chefs in New York and New Jersey from his Shibumi Farm in Princeton, NJ. Kaufman’s 35 unique strains of mushrooms are all cultivated indoors in a temperature and humidity controlled fruiting chamber. With ecological health in mind, Kaufman’s growing medium is locally sourced and sustainably harvested wherever possible and he avoids synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Last year, Alan started using FarmersWeb online business management software for farms, food hubs, and local food artisans. FarmersWeb has helped Shibumi farm manage its wholesale business with new and old customers alike. With more time for growing, Shibumi has expanded its wholesale business to include more restaurants, corporate kitchens, and purchasers such as the Natural Gourmet Institute.  CEO Anthony Fassio will speak to how the NGI connects with small farmers like Alan and purchases regional farm products for use in their chef training programs.    Register Here.


Past Webinars

ShannonMason_ChildTurning Milk to Gold (Butter)

Monday, April 6th. Noon – 1:00pm with Shannon Mason of Cowbella and Sonia Janiszewski & Richard Giles of Lucky Dog Food Hub

In 2010, Shannon Mason started turning the fresh Jersey milk from her family’s historic Catskill dairy farm into cheese and butter.  She marketed the new product line, Cowbella, through farmers’ markets, on-farm retail and specialty grocery stores. Today, Cowbella products can be found in 35 locations across NY, including 7 Price Choppers, 6 Tops Markets, and 4 Shop-Rites. Mason’s most recent wholesale market is Lucky Dog Local Food Hub based in Hamden, NY.  Lucky Dog started as an organic vegetable farm in 2000, but owner Richard Giles saw an opportunity to create a ‘hub’ when he had extra space on the refrigerated truck he used to transport his vegetables to New York City markets.  The extra space in the truck is available to other regional small farms who need help transporting and delivering product to NYC buyers.  Learn more about how Shannon Mason and other upstate farmers work together with Lucky Dog Food Hub to reach larger markets in the NYC metropolitan region.   Watch the recording:  https://cornell.webex.com/cornell/lsr.php?RCID=11fdfaa1995454627a8f86b306a82ac7 

Webinar Series Illuminates how Farmers and Buyers Connect

In recent years, a variety of new wholesale opportunities have opened to small and mid-sized farmers.  Whether its a brick and mortar venue such as a food hub, distributor or grocery store, or a virtual venue such as an online marketplace, these new avenues provide countless new ways to get your product out to bigger customers. But how do you decide which wholesale market is the right one to pursue?

You can find out by tuning in to Small Farms: New Markets, an upcoming three-part webinar series.  The webinars feature a dairy, livestock and mushroom farmer that have all transitioned successfully to one or more new wholesale markets.  Farmers will reflect on their decision making process, benefits and challenges, costs, and infrastructure needed to get their products to bigger markets. Each webinar also features one of the farmer’s ‘wholesale’ buyers who will describe how they establish productive relationships with smaller farms, and outline their business models and buying requirements.

All of the webinars are free and open to the public.   Registration is required.  Upon registering, you’ll receive an email providing a link and instructions for you to access the webinar(s) you signed up for. This webinar series is part of a larger training titled Sparking a Wholesale Revolution: Connecting Small and Mid-sized Farmers to Larger Markets sponsored by NE SARE (Northeast Sustainable Ag Research and Education) and the Cornell Small Farms Program.  Please send inquiries to Project Manager Violet Stone or visit the project website.

ShannonMason_ChildMonday, April 6th: Turning Milk to Gold (Butter)
Noon – 1:00pm with Shannon Mason of Cowbella and Sonia Janiszewski & Richard Giles of Lucky Dog Food Hub

In 2010, Shannon Mason started turning the fresh Jersey milk from her family’s historic Catskill dairy farm into cheese and butter.  She marketed the new product line, Cowbella, through farmers’ markets, on-farm retail and specialty grocery stores. Today, Cowbella products can be found in 35 locations across NY, including 7 Price Choppers, 6 Tops Markets, and 4 Shop-Rites. Mason’s most recent wholesale market is Lucky Dog Local Food Hub based in Hamden, NY.  Lucky Dog started as an organic vegetable farm in 2000, but owner Richard Giles saw an opportunity to create a ‘hub’ when he had extra space on the refrigerated truck he used to transport his vegetables to New York City markets.  The extra space in the truck is available to other regional small farms who need help transporting and delivering product to NYC buyers.  Learn more about how Shannon Mason and other upstate farmers work together with Lucky Dog Food Hub to reach larger markets in the NYC metropolitan region.   Watch the Archived Webinar

WinklerMonday, April 13th: Upstate Livestock Farm Reaches NYC Restaurants
Noon – 1:00pm with Stephen Winkler of Lucky 7 Livestock Company and Seth Mosner of Mosner Family Brands

In 2000, Stephen Winkler and his family were selling their Lucki 7 Livestock Farm products to neighbors and through local farmers markets, grossing a little over $20,000 annually.  In the years that followed, the rising demand for locally produced food enabled Lucki 7 Farms to start selling to white tablecloth distributors and retailers such as Whole Foods and Wegmans.  Today, the farm’s annual sales include 800-1000 hogs, 35 head of beef, 700 meat chickens, and 7000 dozen eggs a year.  In 2013, Stephen started selling heritage hogs and grass fed beef to Mosner Family Brands.  Founded in 1957, Mosner Family Brands is a wholesale meat company based in the Bronx, NY, supplying high quality products to premium food service distributors, distinguished restaurants and high-end retailers. Mosner’s philosophy in partnering with small and mid-sized farmers is to empower them to focus on agriculture and farm management, rather than processing, logistics and other ancillary market-making functions. In doing so, Mosner has helped small family farms scale, become job creators and enhance farm operations through improved and consistent cash flow.  Learn more about how Stephen Winkler and other livestock farmers work with Mosner Family Brands to reach restaurants and retail stores. Webinar postponed due to family illness

ShibmuifarmsMonday, April 20th: Mushrooms to Dining Rooms
Noon – 1:00pm with  Alan Kaufman of Shibumi Farm and Jennifer Goggin of FarmersWeb

Alan Kaufman began growing exotic mushrooms as a hobby in his home basement in 2003.    Today he produces as much as 5000 pounds of mushrooms a week, supplying unusual varieties to highly regarded chefs in New York and New Jersey from his Shibumi Farm in Princeton, NJ. Kaufman’s 35 unique strains of mushrooms are all cultivated indoors in a temperature and humidity controlled fruiting chamber. With ecological health in mind, Kaufman’s growing medium is locally sourced and sustainably harvested wherever possible and he avoids synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Last year, Alan started using FarmersWeb online business management software for farms, food hubs, and local food artisans. FarmersWeb has helped Shibumi farm manage its wholesale business with new and old customers alike. With more time for growing, Shibumi has expanded its wholesale business to include more restaurants, corporate kitchens, and purchasers such as the Natural Gourmet Institute.  CEO Anthony Fassio will speak to how the NGI connects with small farmers like Alan and purchases regional farm products for use in their chef training programs.  Watch the Archived Webinar

Click on a Vets in Ag Summit working group to view the summary!
Communication & Outreach | Training for Service Providers | Vets Starting Farms | Vets Employed on Farms


Communication & Outreach Strategies to Reach NY Veterans


Reaching veterans about agricultural opportunities will require several strategies, based upon their age and internet connectivity.  A challenge we will face is actually finding veterans.  The best approach is to build upon existing organizations who work with veterans and foster referrals to web and other print materials about the effort.

General news blasts: For those who have reintegrated into communities and who may not use social media, the best approach is to work closely with existing organizations who are already interfacing with veterans on a regular basis.  Examples include the Veteran’s administration, public libraries, civic organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars or the Elks, and churches.   Key steps would include:

  • Create informational materials about the opportunities in agriculture
  • Share these with the civic organizations who can distribute these to veterans
  • Have structured, consistent strategies to connect with these organizations and their veteran clients
  • Create a feedback loop to stay aware of any veteran needs or interests

A quarterly newsletter could help collect opportunities in agriculture that could be shared through the network.   These quarterly newsletters should be coupled with mass media announcements, using print, radio, bulletin boards, post offices and other general message outlets.  Key organizational leaders include Department of Labor, Farmer Veteran Coalition of NY, and the Division of Veterans Affairs. In one year, the methods should result in at least 20 new inquiries about veterans interested in agriculture.

Specific outreach through key partners:  The Department of Labor, Division of Veterans Affairs, Department of Corrections, Farmer Veteran Coalition of NY, Clear Path and some offices of Cornell Cooperative Extension all work directly with veterans and have means to track veteran interests and aspirations to work in agriculture.   The above efforts to reach veterans can be also shared through these partners.

Social media:  Given the change in the communications culture with social media, a website and social media (Facebook, twitter, list-serves, etc) outreach plan should be built that complements the above general approaches.   Compelling stories about veterans farming should be highlighted through these outlets.  This will help illustrate the ways in which veterans can find meaningful work in agriculture.

Regional gatherings:  Organize social events and regional gatherings to allow face-to-face connections among veterans, NGOs, farm supporter and other partners to share information about agriculture opportunities.  This will help foster word-of-mouth outreach to other veterans in an area who may have interest.  This approach will also address a major concern of disenfranchisement; this occurs when a veteran tries to connect to resources/support by phone, but end up in a string of referrals. Veterans will fall back to isolation and working alone very quickly.  When/if there are opportunities for veterans to have experiences on farms, these could be highlighted via these gatherings. Meeting on a veteran owned farm would be a highlight.  Partners in these regional gatherings should include CCE, Farm Bureau, American Legion, Division of Veterans Affairs, and other members from this Summit.


Training Needs for Service Providers to Support Farmer Veterans


1)      Service providers need to meet the needs of veterans seeking hands-on farmer training. They need to be able to connect aspiring farmers with apprenticeship programs and other vocational training opportunities. Both veteran and agricultural service providers should have relationships with or the ability to connect veterans to the institutions (i.e. community colleges) or organizations (incubators and non-profits) that offer on-the-ground farmer training. They should have working knowledge of the online resources for finding apprenticeships/internships/vocational programs and identify farmer veteran mentors or other established growers that would like to have veterans work within their operation.

2)      Agriculture service providers need to learn the existing VA networks and programs available for returning veterans to be able to connect with veterans before they are out of active service. They need to identify the “separation/transition” centers or offices in their region and make resources available within these existing career services programs. Examples include, the Transition Assistance Program (TAP; Navy) and the Career Alumni Program (CAP; Army). A package of materials should be developed to help these service providers lay out a framework for the opportunities and startup resources/programs that are available to support beginning farmers in NY State.

3)      Agricultural service providers need to coordinate and develop the capacity to offer intensive business planning training for farmer veterans. This could be a “boot camp” training, where expert farmers, consultants, and cooperative extension develop a multi-day business plan assistance program. This training should foster teams and veteran-veteran working groups. Partnerships should also be developed between business plan consultants and veteran service centers to work within the existing veteran support network.

4)      A formal program should be developed to train service providers as “Navigators” in supporting veterans seeking to enter farming or agricultural business. This program should be curriculum based, foster leadership in farmer-veteran services, and provide a sustained network. It should recruit farmers, agricultural and veteran service providers for an extended training on veteran services, agricultural programs and services, and cultural sensitivities. Alumni of the program will have the capacity to be a point of contact for returning veterans seeking agricultural opportunities at the local/regional level.


Prioritize Training Strategies for new Veteran Farm Start-Ups


Much of what was discussed in both sessions on this topic was applicable to any new farmer, not specific to veterans. Typical suggestions included ensuring that newbies get hands-on experience before launching their own farm, providing them with good mentors, and developing a clearinghouse of information on starting a farm.

Veteran-specific suggestions that came up repeatedly were:

1)      Building trust and streamlining services – these two strategies go hand-in-hand. Veterans may resist asking for help and be slower than other new farmer audiences to trust service providers. If organizations bounce them around with too many disconnected referrals, they will not persist with reaching out and instead will pull back and figure it out themselves. It would be most helpful if there was a single point person to provide full-service farm start-up counseling, from getting the land and experience to writing the business plan, securing funding, and starting up.

2)      Making necessary structural changes to allow more “certificate”/non-accredited programs to be approved for use of GI Bill funds, and also enable veterans to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors with support from GI benefits

3)      Similarly, approval for select farms as official On-the-Job Training (OJT) sites, allowing veterans to get that important hands-on experience with financial support from their GI benefits.

4)      Networks and opportunities to learn from other veterans: sharing veteran farmer success stories, intensive entrepreneurial boot camps, and networking opportunities were all supported as valuable elements to veteran farmer training.


Prioritize Strategies to help Veterans find Agriculture Jobs


This break-out group discussed four key challenges and corresponding opportunities to connect veterans to jobs in agriculture.

First, veterans are interested in agriculture jobs and trainings, but don’t know how to find them.  To address this need, participants suggested creating an ‘Agriculture Jobs Online Exchange’ modeled after Craigslist and combining elements of LinkIn. This online bulletin board would offer space to farmers or members of the agricultural industry to post jobs available or skill sets needed.  Similarly, veterans could post jobs they are seeking.  The Online Exchange could also include directories of land for sale or lease, upcoming trainings and educational opportunities, or networking events.

Second, agriculture related careers are currently not represented at discharge trainings, job fairs, trade shows or community events targeted toward veterans.  To address this need, participants suggested that organizers of these events invite a broad range of farmers, agriculture educators, and agriculture industry members to introduce veterans to the full spectrum of jobs and educational opportunities available.

Third, veterans need access to both academic and practical, hands-on training in farming and agriculture, but often don’t have the funds to pay tuition and fees.  To address this need, participants suggested that educational organizations, farmers and ag businesses work with Education Liasons at the Department of Veterans Affairs to become accredited ‘On the Job Training Programs’ .  Once ‘OJT’ status has been acquired by an employer or institution, veterans can use GI Bill benefits to cover the cost/tuition for the training.

Finally, veterans need opportunities to develop practical skills in farming prior to launching farm businesses.  To address this need, participants suggested designing a certificate program with a ‘Skills Checklist’ that could be adapted by farmers.  Veterans that complete this ‘portable’ curriculum under the guidance of the farmer mentor would then receive certification to advance to future trainings or management positions.   ​

planting a tomato seedlingThe Cornell Small Farms Program is excited to announce that we have been awarded a 3-year grant from the USDA’s Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program (BFRDP) that will enable us to provide new support services for military veterans seeking to farm, and for “advanced beginning” farmers who have 3-9 years of farming experience. Matching funds are provided by our collaborators at the NY Farm Viability Institute and the Local Economies Project.

Since 2009 we have operated the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project, a vibrant educational and social network that delivers mentoring, information resources, and training to beginning farmers and service providers who support new farm viability. Our long-term goal is to ensure access to resources, education and supportive networks to all who are interested in farming in the Northeast.

With these new funds we will create training programs and farmer-to-farmer networks to address the needs of two under-served farmer groups: military/veteran farmers and individuals who have been farming for 3-9 years. Our team of collaborators includes: Cornell Cooperative Extension, National Center for Appropriate Technology, NY Farm Viability Institute, Farmer Veteran Coalition, NY FarmNet, NY Dept of Veterans Affairs, Local Economies Project, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, and Heroic Food Farm School.

Together we will:

  • Offer annual 5-day intensive entrepreneurial “boot camps” to military veterans seeking to farm
  • Develop approved on-the-job training opportunities on farms, allowing military vets to use GI benefits to get hands-on farm experience
  • Create regional farmer veteran networking groups
  • Provide 40 advanced beginning farmers with intensive support from a “New Farmer Profit Team” of advisers
  • Develop 8 new online courses geared toward advanced beginners seeking to diversify with new enterprises
  • Design intensive trainings on scaling up, including wholesale marketing and equipment decision-making

If you’re a veteran interested in upcoming programs, click here to fill out our short interest form.

The Cornell Small Farms Program and Northeast Beginning Farmers Project are hiring a full-time Project Coordinator for some new beginning farmer initiatives. Please share this news far and wide so we can recruit a great pool of applicants! Click here to see more details and to apply.

Here are a few details:

This is a 3-year grant-funded full-time position based in Ithaca, NY. The Project Coordinator will oversee all aspects of a USDA project designed to 1) facilitate military veterans entering into farming as a career, and 2) improve long-term viability of”advanced” beginning farmers (defined as farmers operating 3-10 years).

Duties include: Facilitating the development and implementation of project work plans by collaborators for each component of the project, coordinating timelines, managing relationships, synthesizing evaluation data into reports, leading the outreach for the overall project, publicizing events and impacts of the project and collaborating with the SFP outreach staff to achieve these goals.

For requirements and application details, visit the job description page on the Cornell Human Resources site.

Applications are due Jan. 26, so don’t delay!

CoverPicsMeeting Presentation

Download the Meeting Presentation (PDF)

Meeting Notes

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Agenda

10:00am Welcome and Introductions

10:05am What is Working?  What Isn’t?  What could improve SFQ?

Editors’ and Writers’ critical review of:

  • submission process
  • support from Cornell Small Farms Program office
  • magazine’s visibility, content and success

10:20am Editors & Writers Roundtable.   How do you find writers or topics?  How do you know what is timely and relevant?  (i.e. Listserves, Surveys, Conference Brochures, Published Research, Social Media​)

10:40am  Content Review

What does Small Farm Quarterly publish?  What does Small Farm Quarterly reject?  We’ll look at some real-life examples of articles and talk through elements that make a stellar article versus one that gets sent back.

10:55am SFQ Online

Did you know SFQ articles are read online long after their publish date?  We’ll look at some examples of articles that have generated comments from all over the country and the world.

11:10am SFQ Reader Stats: Who are SFQ readers and what are they interested in?

  • Subscriber break-down
  • Ad Trends
  • Reader Analytics​​

11:25am Recognition for Service.  How can we improve upon bringing SFQ contributors and the organizations they represent greater visibility and recognition?

 

 

Earth cooled passive solar straw bale barn with attached greenhouse at Four Winds Farm

No till beds with earth cooled barn and passive solar greenhouse at Four Winds Farm

Are you looking to stabilize rising fuel and energy costs on your farm or homestead?  Are you seeking more sustainable sources of energy?  In this upcoming four-part webinar series, you’ll meet an organic vegetable farmer, grape grower & winemaker, sunflower & biodiesel producer, and pastured livestock farmer who will lead you through a virtual tour of their sustainable farm energy systems and ecological production techniques.

This lunchtime webinar series will run from noon-1:00pm every Friday from April 4th through April 25th.  All of the webinars are free and open to the public.   Registration is required.  Upon registering, you’ll receive an email providing a link and instructions for you to access the series.

This webinar series is sponsored by NE SARE (Northeast Sustainable Ag Research and Education) and the Cornell Small Farms Program.  Please send inquiries tosmallfarmsprogram@cornell.edu. To learn about funding opportunities available from NE SARE, visit www.nesare.org. To learn more about small farm resources and support, visit www.smallfarms.cornell.edu.

April 4th: Organic Vegetable Farm Cools with the Earth: Warms with the Sun
Noon – 1:00pm with Jay Armour of Four Winds Farm, Gardiner, NY
Is it possible to operate a 24 acre diversified vegetable farm with minimal energy use?  Yes!  Jay Armour will take us on a virtual tour of his passive-solar heated and earth-cooled straw-bale vegetable barn with attached greenhouse. At one end of the barn are two root cellars built into a hillside that store root crops throughout the winter with minimal energy use.  A 14-kw grid-intertied PV electric system is situated on the barn roof, which is being financed by a combination of a NYSERDA grant and a low-interest loan. A permanent raised bed system in the vegetable garden requires very little tractor time and hence very minimal fuel use. The Armours also transport vegetables to market in a diesel van converted to run on waste vegetable oil (WVO).  The farm raises produce, heirloom seedlings, grass-fed beef, pasture raised turkeys, and intermittently pasture-raised pork.   PDF Slideshow | Stream Recording |Download Recording

April 11th: Family Vineyard Shrinks Carbon Footprint by 40%
Noon – 1:00pm with Art Hunt of Hunt Country Vineyards, Branchport, NY
Since 2007, Hunt Country Vineyards has reduced total energy costs on their vineyard by 30% and their carbon footprint by more than 40%.  How have they gone about it?  Art Hunt will lead us on a virtual tour of their energy efficient winery, newly insulated warehouse, geothermal heating and cooling system, and vertical wind turbine.  In 2012 the Hunts launched a Locavore Room which celebrates the bounty of local foods and beverages in the Finger Lakes.  The Hunts are proud to say that all food & beverage items (other than wine) they offer for sale on the farm travel an average Distance-from-Source (DfS) of just 162 miles.  Art will also share a variety of ecological production techniques. For example, in 2005, the Hunt family began mixing grape pomace with animal manure and then composting the mix before applying it to the vineyard.  The compost adds vital minerals and nutrients to the soil that help produce outstanding grapes for winemaking and reduce the use of other fertilizers. PDF Slideshow | Stream Recording | Download Recording

April 18th: Sunflowers & Canola to Fuel: Dairy Becomes Biodiesel Production Facility
Noon – 1:00pm with Roger Rainville of Borderview Farm, Alburgh, Vermont
Interested in making biodiesel on your farm or in cooperation with other farmers?  Roger Rainville will take us on a virtual tour of his former dairy-turned-energy farm in Alburgh, Vermont.  In 2008, when diesel prices rose from $4 to $5 per gallon, Roger began planting sunflowers and canola on a portion of his 214 acres and installing biodiesel processing equipment. He harvests the oilseed with a combine, and uses a seed cleaner and grain dryer to prepare the seed for storage in a 60-ton grain bin prior to processing.  He’ll show us how he presses the seed to get two products: oil for biodiesel and pelletized meal for feed or to burn in a pellet stove.  He then sends the oil through a BioPro 190 automated biodiesel processor which can process 100 gallons of oil to fuel per day.  Learn more about his equipment and the seed to fuel process by tuning in to this video. Cosponsored by the Vermont Bioenergy Initiative.  PDF Slideshow | Stream Recording | Download Recording 

April 25th: Thirsty Livestock?  Use Sun or Wind to Power a Remote Watering System
Noon – 1:00pm with Jonathan Barter of Barter Farm, Branchport NY
Are you getting tired of hauling water to livestock in remote pastures?   Jonathan Barter will show us the renewable energy powered watering system on his 210 acre livestock farm (40 Angus cattle and 130 Cheviot and Dorset sheep). In 2010, Jonathan installed a combination wind and solar pumping system which supplies water to 58 acres of pasture. The pumping system consists of a 350 watt turbine, 400 watt solar panels, back up batteries and a deep well pump. Partial funding for this project was provided by USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Conservation Innovative Grants program.  Description  | PDF Slideshow | Stream Recording | Download Recording

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

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

Statewide meeting March 24th features farmers’ perspectives on food hubs, grocery stores, restaurants & more….

The practice of direct-marketing — selling products face-to-face via farmers markets, CSA’s or farm stands — has traditionally been attractive to small farmers because it cuts out the ‘middle man’, leaving all the revenue in the farmers’ pocket.  It can also offer the satisfaction of a personal relationship with the customer and the fulfillment of feeding the local community. But wearing the ‘marketing hat’ has the disadvantage of consuming significant amounts of time and energy.

Recently, a flurry of new marketing avenues that combine advantages of both direct-marketing and wholesaling have come available.  Options such as food hubs, grocery stores, online marketplaces, or restaurants invite the farmer to hand marketing responsibilities over to a third party, but still sell food to their community or region and in some cases, retain their unique marketing identity.

Are these emerging market avenues right for you?  Trying a new marketing strategy requires investment of time, money, and infrastructure, so you want to make an informed choice.  But with each new marketing option offering something different, what decision aids do you need to choose with confidence?

You can find out at the upcoming Small Farms Summit on March 24th, 2014 from 9:30am – 3:30pm. The full day program, Beyond Direct Marketing: Exploring New Ways to Sell, features small farmers’ perspectives on the pros and cons of selling wholesale.

In the morning, we’ll hear from vegetable farmer Darren Maum of Salvere Farm, inMarietta, NY.  Darren has recently joined Farmshed, a Central NY company that has enabled Darren to sell a larger volume of product by handling transportation and relationship building efforts with customers, saving Darren valuable time and resources.  Next, Shannon Mason of Cowbella in Jefferson, NY, will describe how a shift to wholesaling through Lucky Dog Local Food Hub has enabled her to invest in new production and processing strategies for her value added dairy products.  Finally, Stephen Winkler of Lucki7 Livestock Co. in Rodman, NY will reflect on how a transition to Wegmans, Whole Foods and a White Tablecloth Distributor has transformed his product mix and marketing strategy.

All speakers will address their decision making process in switching to a new wholesale market, benefits and challenges, costs, and infrastructure needed.  Farmer speakers will also address how well the new market meets their goals, values or other lifestyle preferences.

After sharing lunch, you’ll have the opportunity to join fellow farmers from your region to swap ideas about specific wholesale marketing opportunities in your area. This interactive ‘wholesale market mapping’ activity will result in generating regional needs for projects that the Cornell Small Farms Program may fund over the next few years.

To register for the 2014 Small Farms Summit, Beyond Direct Marketing: Exploring New Ways to Sell, select the nearest meeting location from the list below and then register online. If you prefer, you may also register via phone. The meeting is free to attend and lunch will be provided.  An agenda is available here.  General questions about the Summit should be directed to smallfarmsprogram@cornell.edu.


Choose from 7 meeting locations across NYS

Choose from 7 meeting locations across NYS

Small Farms Summit Regional Host Sites

Fingerlakes Region: Wayne County,  Cornell Cooperative Extension office

Address:  1581 Rte 88N, Newark, NY 14513
Contact:  Elizabeth Claypoole at wayne@cornell.edu  or 315-331-8415

Central NY: Mann Library, Agriculture Quad, Cornell University Campus
Address: Tower Road, Ithaca, NY 14853
Contact: Violet Stone at vws7@cornell.edu or 607-255-9227

Eastern NY: Albany County, Cornell Cooperative Extension office
Address:  24 Martin Road, Voorheesville, NY 12186
Contact: Gale Kohler at gek4@cornell.edu or 518-765-3500

Hudson Valley: Ulster County, Cornell Cooperative Extension office
Address:  232 Plaza Road, Kingston NY 12401
Contact: Carrie Anne Doyle at cad266@cornell.edu or 845-340-3990

Northern NY: St. Lawrence County, Cornell Cooperative Extension office
Address: Extension Learning Farm Classroom at 2043 SH 68, Canton, NY  13617
Contact: Brent Buchanan at bab22@cornell.edu or 315-379-9192 Ext 231

Western NY: Cattaraugus County, Cornell Cooperative Extension Office
Address: 28 Parkside Drive, Ellicottville, NY 14731
Contact: Lynn Bliven at lao3@cornell.edu or 585-268-7644

Long Island: Suffolk County, Cornell Cooperative Extension Office
Address:  423 Griffing Ave, Riverhead, NY 11901
Contact:  Sandy Menasha at srm45@cornell.edu or 631-727-7850

 

Due to heavy snow and freezing rain forecast across upstate New York, the 2014 NY Small Farms Summit, Beyond Direct Marketing: Exploring New Ways to Sell, is rescheduled for March 24th. If you were previously registered for this event and still plan to attend, please complete a new registration form.

Are you currently selling through a farmers’ market, csa, u-pick, or road-side stand? How well is it working? Direct-marketing can offer the satisfaction of a personal relationship with the customer, but wearing the ‘marketing hat’ has the disadvantage of consuming lots of time and energy.

In recent years, a variety of new wholesale markets such as food hubs, online marketplaces, restaurants, and grocery stores have begun recruiting regional products from small to mid-sized farms.  Could these emerging wholesale markets be right for you?

You can find out at the upcoming Small Farms Summit on March 24th, 2014 from 9:30am – 3:30pm. The program, Beyond Direct Marketing: Exploring New Ways to Sell, features small farmers’ perspectives on the pros and cons of selling wholesale.  Farmers that have made a successful switch to a new wholesale market will reflect on their decision making process, benefits and challenges, costs, and infrastructure needed.  Farmer speakers will also address how well the new market meets their goals, values or other lifestyle preferences. Click to download a copy of the 2014 Summit Agenda.

After sharing lunch, you’ll have the opportunity to join fellow farmers from your region to swap ideas about specific wholesale marketing opportunities in your area. This interactive ‘wholesale market mapping’ activity will result in generating regional needs for projects that the Cornell Small Farms Program may fund over the next few years.

To register for the Small Farms Summit, Beyond Direct Marketing: Exploring New Ways to Sell, locate your nearest host location from the list below and then  register online. If you prefer, you may also register via phone. The meeting is free to attend and lunch will be provided.  General questions about the Summit should be directed to smallfarmsprogram@cornell.edu.

Small Farms Summit Regional Host SitesNewYorkMapWithSites

Fingerlakes Region: Wayne County,  Cornell Cooperative Extension office
Address:  
1581 Rte 88N, Newark, NY 14513
Contact:  
Elizabeth Claypoole at wayne@cornell.edu  or 315-331-8415

Central NY: Mann Library, Agriculture Quad, Cornell University Campus
Address: Tower Road, Ithaca, NY 14853
Contact: Violet Stone at vws7@cornell.edu or 607-255-9227

Eastern NY: Albany County, Cornell Cooperative Extension office
Address:  24 Martin Road, Voorheesville, NY 12186
Contact: Gale Kohler at gek4@cornell.edu or 518-765-3500

Hudson Valley: Ulster County, Cornell Cooperative Extension office
Address:  232 Plaza Road, Kingston NY 12401
Contact: Carrie Anne Doyle at cad266@cornell.edu or 845-340-3990

Northern NY: St. Lawrence County, Cornell Cooperative Extension office
Address: Extension Learning Farm Classroom at 2043 SH 68, Canton, NY  13617
Contact: Brent Buchanan at bab22@cornell.edu or 315-379-9192 Ext 231

Western NY: Cattaraugus County, Cornell Cooperative Extension Office
Address: 28 Parkside Drive, Ellicottville, NY 14731
Contact: Lynn Bliven at lao3@cornell.edu or 585-268-7644

Long Island: Suffolk County, Cornell Cooperative Extension Office
Address:  423 Griffing Ave, Riverhead, NY 11901
Contact:  Sandy Menasha at srm45@cornell.edu or 631-727-7850

Register Online  

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