Cornell Small Farms Program Serving small farmers in NY and the Northeast Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:46:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Farmer-Veteran Documentary Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:46:08 +0000 Ground Operations is a documentary film and social action campaign that champions the growing network of combat veterans who are transitioning into careers as sustainable farmers, ranchers and artisan food producers. Visit their website to learn more and watch the documentary’s trailer:

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Three Juneberry Questions Answered by Jim Ochterski Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:34:42 +0000 Read More]]> Q: Commercial juneberries and saskatoons
are exactly the same fruit. Why two different
A: The term “saskatoon berry” or “saskatoon” is a
predominantly Canadian term for this tasty, dark
berry that has spilled over to Michigan and a few
other communities near the US-Canada border.
Elsewhere, including North Dakota, Minnesota, and
the Northeast US, we are using the term “juneberry”
because of the close relationship with our native
juneberry. From a marketing point of view, the name
“juneberry” conjures it’s ripening season, a favorable
early summer-ness, and offers an easy-to-remember
/ easy-to-say word. There has been some mild
cultural tension with Canadian saskatoon growers, so
we often use both terms now. The Saskatoon Berry
Council of Canada now uses the term “juneberry” in
their marketing to the US.
Above: Juneberries approaching Harvest. Photo: Jim

Q: Can I take juneberries from the woods in
New York and plant them?
A: The wild juneberry (or serviceberry or shadbush)
you would find naturally around woodland edges is a
species known botanically as Amelanchier
canadensis. The species that has been domesticated
for fruit production in Canada and now New York
Amelanchier alnifolia.
For farming, A. alnifolia has a lot of advantages over
A. canadensis. It was cultivated from wild plants on
the Canadian prairies more than 80 years ago, and is
known widely there as the Saskatoon berry. The
variety ‘Smoky’ was selected due to its exceptional
flavor in the 1950s.
Amelanchier canadensis (wild juneberry) is native to
the Eastern United States and has been cultivated
primarily for ornamental and wildlife-attracting uses,
but not necessarily for human food. Some individual
plants may produce full-flavored berries, but currently
yields are often comparatively low, and inconsistent
with flavor compounds.

Q: Now that juneberries are being grown
more commonly in New York, what are the
most common problems most growers are
A: Bird damage. Cedar waxwing, American robin,
and European starling are the main culprit species.
Ripe juneberry plantings require full-force bird
deterrence for a couple weeks: noise makers,
distress calls, scary eye balloons, pop-up figures, and
netting if necessary. Use the same bird deterrence as
any other fruit grown in NY.
In 2014 there was partial crop loss due to cracking
with extra rain in late June. As the damp 2014
summer growing season has lapsed, we are seeing
notable levels of Entomosporium leaf spot (fungal).

This post was taken from the August issue of NY Berry News. You can find the full issue at

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Share Your Student Loan Story to Help Pass Loan Forgiveness for Farmers Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:05:41 +0000 Read More]]> The National Young Farmers Coalition wants loan forgiveness for career farmers, and they need your help to do it. Here’s what they have to say: “Right now, we’re building a campaign to tackle the issue of student debt and we need your help. We are working with Congressional offices to put together legislation that would authorize loan forgiveness for career farmers in the next Higher Education Act and we need stories to illustrate the problem. We have already heard from farmers that have had to defer starting a farm, buying land, or having a family to make student loan payments. But there are still many more stories to tell! If you are struggling with student loan payments while farming, please take this survey and share it widely with your networks. Putting together a bill in Congress is tough and we need your voices.” Here’s the full post:

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UVM Greenhouse Energy Extravaganza Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:06:43 +0000 Read More]]> Come to the UVM Greenhouse Energy Extravaganza! Greenhouse energy conservation is critical to maximize profits and reduce the energy footprint.

What can YOU, a concerned GROWER do about it? You can minimize production costs by making inexpensive improvements to your existing greenhouses. You also can install special energy conserving devices. Sometimes it seems all too complicated!  That is why the University of Vermont is holding an Energy Extravaganza on Thursday, September 4 at Claussen’s Greenhouses in Colchester, VT.

Regional experts, including John Bartok, Univ. of Connecticut; Chris Callahan, UVM and specialists in energy curtain assembly will share their energy conservation knowledge!  Attendees will learn tips on how to reduce energy use at minimal cost. These can be implemented before the snow flies this winter. The “cool” VT Bubble Greenhouse prototype will also be showcased. This system uses soap bubbles to improve insulation in double-poly greenhouses. USDA will be on hand to describe what supports for energy conservation they can offer you.

This will be an informal event that will give you an opportunity to ask experts your burning questions about energy conservation.

Who should come? Growers with greenhouses and ones that hope to erect one soon, energy conservation specialists, Extension agents.

For additional information and to register, download the attached PDF file or go to and click on Energy Extravaganza.  If you have any questions, feel free to call Margaret Skinner, 802-656-5440 or email her at

Brought to you by the NE SARE program, UVM Extension and USDA NRCS.

Individuals requesting a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program should contact Margaret Skinner at 802-656-5440 by August 25, 2014.

Univ. of VT Extension and U.S. Dept. of Agric. cooperating offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.

Don’t Delay, SIGN UP TODAY!

Register at 

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Cornell Sheep & Goat Symposium Oct 3-4 Wed, 20 Aug 2014 20:08:33 +0000 Read More]]> The hands-on activities Friday will start with a tour of the Cornell Sheep Farm in Harford NY and an explanation of ongoing research and management.  Dr. Mary Smith, DVM, will conduct a necropsy demonstration covering goat and sheep anatomy and what to look for to determine an animal’s cause of death.  She’ll demonstrate proper tubing techniques on newborns and the results of improper tubing.

Afterward, there will be two hands-on sessions to give goat and sheep owners an opportunity to brush up on their herd management skills. We’ll primarily work with sheep but will have a few goats available to practice on as well. Experienced farmers can opt to spend the first session participating in a hands-on field necropsy workshop with Dr. Mary Smith. Participation in the field necropsy workshop is limited to one member per farm. Advance sign up is required and space is limited.

The Saturday sessions will be in Morrison Hall on the Cornell Campus, Ithaca, NY. Dr. Dave Thomas from the University of Wisconsin, Madison will give the opening talk on sheep dairying in North America. He will also give a later talk on dairy sheep research at the Univ. of Wisconsin.  Much of their research on the effects of day length, different types of supplementation, and increasing percentages of legumes versus grasses on milk production in pastured ewes also has implications for dairy goat and meat goat/sheep production.

More information is available at

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New Orchard Management Video Fri, 15 Aug 2014 19:14:12 +0000 The Small Farms Program has released its first orchard management video! Ian Merwin, professor emeritus in Cornell University’s Dept of Horticulture and owner of Black Diamond Farm, demonstrates the art and science of shaping the form of apple trees in “Black Diamond Farm – Pruning and Training Apple Trees.” Watch here:

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Barn Foundation Problems? Mon, 11 Aug 2014 21:16:18 +0000 Read More]]> Are you the owner of an old empty dairy barn? Have you noticed some deterioration on the hill side of the foundation? When the cows left they took their heat with them, making room for freeze-thaw cycles that can wreak havoc on an old building. Learn what you can do about it with “Barn Foundation Problems?” in the Small Farm Quarterly:

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Landowner Guide to Pollinator-Friendly Practices Released Fri, 08 Aug 2014 18:00:11 +0000 Read More]]> The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy has released Farmer and Landowner Guide to Pollinators and Neonicotinoids in collaboration with Pesticide Action Network. This guide provides current research on causes of pollinator declines and gives landowners and farmers information on ways they can directly help pollinators survive and thrive on their land and beyond. The full guide is available online at

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Save the Cheese! Thu, 07 Aug 2014 20:35:49 +0000 The Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese Co have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help get the business through a very difficult and tight financial spot, all related to an FDA regulatory issue involving the use of wooden shelving which effectively shut them down and froze their assets. If you are interested in knowing more, please visit

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Sustainable Pest Management in Greenhouses and High Tunnels Wed, 06 Aug 2014 13:29:45 +0000 Read More]]> Having trouble with pests in your greenhouses and high tunnels? Interested in learning more about using biological control to manage them? Read SARE’s new fact sheet, Sustainable Pest Management in Greenhouses and High Tunnels, to learn how beneficial insects can protect crops in season-extending structures and enhance the sustainability of your operation. The fact sheet can be found here.

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