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Instructor Bios

Allison Chatrchyan (BF 107: Climate Smart Farming)

Dr. Allison Chatrchyan is the Director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions (CICSS), and Senior Research Associate in the Departments of Development Sociology, and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Allison grew up in New York and has over 8 years of experience working with Cooperative Extension, and brings this expertise with her to CICSS and the new Climate Smart Farming online course.

Allyson Angelini (BF 203: Holistic Financial Planning)

 Allyson has a degree in Sustainable Agriculture from UMass Amherst and has worked on dozens of farms in New England and Italy. She owns and operates Full Heart Farm, which she purchased in 2012 at the age of 24. She serves as a mentor for Holistic Management International and is a member of the National Young Farmers Coalition. Allyson was named one of CT Magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2015, as well as eWomen Network’s Emerging Leader of the Year for 2015. In BF 203, Allyson shares the details of how she plans and manages her farm’s finances using Holistic Financial Planning.

Amy Ivy (BF 120 & 121: Vegetable Production I & II)


Amy Ivy works with commercial vegetable and berry growers as a member of the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program. She has worked with gardeners and growers for Extension for 27 years in the northeastern corner of the state, on the east side of the Adirondack Mountains.  Her particular interests are season extension, protected culture including high tunnels, and insects both good and bad.

Anna Wallis (BF 223: Tree Fruit Production)

Anna is the regional fruit specialist in Northeastern NY for Cornell Cooperative Extension, working as part of the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program. She works with apple and grape growers in the cold climate of upstate NY—a great place to grow Honeycrisp and McIntosh apples, and cold climate grapes. She holds a Master’s Degree in Plant Science from the University of Maryland, where she studied tree fruit, among other horticultural topics.

Beth Claypoole (BF 102: Markets and Profits)

Beth Claypoole is the Executive Director and Agriculture Issues Leader for Cornell Cooperative Extension Wayne County. She has been an extension specialist for more than 20 years, with expertise in dairy management and business management. Beth has taught business planning to more than 1000 people across the United States and in Poland. She has worked with the New England Small Farm Institute as a trainer and facilitator for “Exploring the Small Farm Dream”. She has an MS in Animal Science Nutrition and an MBA, with emphasis in Marketing. Her current focus is on new farm start-ups and agriculture economic development.

Betsy Hodge (BF 232: Commercial Sheep Production)

Betsy Hodge

Betsy Hodge has worn many hats in Extension over the years (since 1984!) from Dairy and Livestock “Agent” to County Director. Her current role is Regional Livestock Educator for Northern New York and as a local Extension Educator for St. Lawrence County. Her program focuses mainly on sheep and goats but includes all livestock such as beef, poultry, and swine. Areas covered include nutrition, management, marketing, rotational grazing, handling, parasite management and more. Betsy also acts as the shepherd for the Extension Learning Farm Flock in Canton and has a small flock of her own hair sheep at home.

Brett Chedzoy (BF 231: Grazing Management)

Brett Chedzoy

Brett Chedzoy is a forestry and agriculture educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County. Brett and his family also own and operate Angus Glen Farms, LLC in Watkins Glen, NY – a 300-acre grazing operation raising grass-fed beef.

Bonnie Collins (BF 204: QuickBooks for Farmers)

Bonnie Collins

Bonnie Collins is a resource educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County, with responsibilities in farm business management and the environmental touring teacher program. She has also operated an accounting business for nearly 30 years. She holds an MBA in technology management, a BPS in Accounting, has completed the Cornell Bird Biology seminars, is a Master Gardner, and has won the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Science award for Environmental Education.

Danielle Eiseman (BF 107: Climate Smart Farming)

 Danielle is the Program Manager for the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions (CICSS) team. She has a background in climate change policy, communications and public engagement, as well as experience with social media campaigns and best practices in pro-environmental behavior change. Danielle previously worked in climate change policy and public engagement in Scotland.  Her Ph.D. is in marketing  from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Danielle also holds a Master’s in Carbon Management from the University of Edinburgh, a Master’s in Marketing and Economics from DePaul University, and a Bachelor’s in Chemistry from Miami University.

David Lane (BF 107: Climate Smart Farming)

 David Lane is a Postdoctoral Social Scientist at the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions (CICSS), and his research helps us understand farmer views and decisions around extreme weather and climate change in the Northeast. He has four degrees, including a Master of Education (Ed.M.) in Adult Education, from Oregon State University, and taught Environmental Education, Spanish, and English courses there for 17 years. David’s Ph.D. research in Environmental Sciences uses applied linguistics to examine the importance of how we frame environmental problems. He wrote a book based on this research entitled Reframing Environmental Problems (2012). His passion is cultivating and manifesting a new vision of farming which is climate smart and resilient.

Elizabeth Marks (BF 110: Soil Health)

Elizabeth Marks is a certified educator with Holistic Management International. She serves as a biologist for the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) in the Hudson Valley (New York) where she works with landowners to improve soil health and biological diversity on their farm or forest. In addition she is an instructor for NY’s Beginning Women Farmer Program and has taught workshops on HM principles. Elizabeth received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Mount Holyoke College. She lives in Chatham in a net-zero, energy efficient home she designed herself.

Erica Frenay (BF 101: Starting at Square One, BF 110: Soil Health)


Erica Frenay is the Online Course Manager and livestock specialist for the Cornell Small Farms Program, and also teaches whole farm planning and holistic decision-making to beginning farmers. She is a certified educator of Holistic Management. She and her husband also own and operate Shelterbelt Farm, a diversified ecological farm near Ithaca, NY, producing grass-fed lamb and beef, duck eggs, tree fruits, berries, raw honey, tomatoes, and baby ginger.

Ethan Grundberg (BF 120 & 121: Vegetable Production I & II)

 Ethan Grundberg grew up in eastern Iowa. After graduating from college he spent a year working in the northern coffee-growing region of Nicaragua where he honed his Spanish. He then moved to NYC to provide horticultural support to a community garden network. Ethan returned to academia to pursue his Master’s degree at the University of California, Davis specializing in agroecology and vegetable production. While there, he managed some of the university’s certified organic research land. Upon graduation, Ethan returned east to work for the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project. Most recently, he worked as the farm manager at Allandale Farm, a 40 acre diversified vegetable farm in eastern Massachusetts. He joined the Eastern NY Commercial Hort Team of Cornell Cooperative Extension in 2016.

Jason Detzel (BF 130: Poultry Production)

Jason is social worker turned farmer and owner of Diamond Hills Farm, a pasture based cow/ calf operation in Hudson, New York. When he is not grazing, watering, or calving he is the Livestock Educator for the Ulster County Cooperative Extension Office. He gets up early, tries to stay up late, and likes looking at his collection of unread books. He enjoys talking farm and has an opinion and possibly advice on most anything relating to livestock. He is happiest at that time of year when you can smell the soil but not the cold.

Jim O’Connell (BF 122: Berry Production)

Jim O’Connell is a Resource Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Ulster County, NY, with responsibilities in berries and grapes. His interest in agriculture started at the Univ. of NH, where he worked as a research assis­tant in both veg­etable and fruit crops. From there Jim’s love and knowl­edge of agri­cul­ture grew, even­tu­ally tak­ing him to Mass­a­chu­setts where he worked as a research tech­ni­cian with cran­ber­ries for nine years. Jim made the move to New York and started work­ing for Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion in June 2012.

Joe Orefice (BF 152: Intro to Maple Syrup Production)

 Joe Orefice holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of New Hampshire, Master of Forestry from Yale University, and a B.S. in Forestry from the University of Maine. He also serves as the Director of Cornell University’s Uihlein Maple Research Forest. In addition, he manages North Branch Farm, a 76-acre farm in the Adirondacks specializing in family heirloom figs, grass-fed beef, and full-flavor vegetables.

Jud Reid (BF 220: Season Extension with High Tunnels)

Judson Reid is a Senior Extension Associate with the Cornell Vegetable Program and Program Leader with Harvest New York. He manages a series of research and education projects throughout New York State for greenhouse, high tunnel and field production of fresh market vegetables. An extensive network of private farm cooperators help Judson examine new production technologies such as grafting, biological insect control, multi-story cropping as well as variety evaluations. His relationships with many types of farm operations enables Harvest New York to respond rapidly to emerging market demands.

Laura Biasillo (BF 160: Intro to Beekeeping)


Laura Biasillo is an Agricultural Economic Development Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension-Broome County, in Binghamton NY. Laura focuses on increasing marketing channels for producers, creating education programs to help farmers develop new skills and technologies, and facilitating farmland protection within the county. She and her husband own ~5 acres, have 3 kids, and raise chickens and a garden.

Laura McDermott (BF 122: Berry Production)


Laura McDermott works with commercial vegetable and berry growers as part of the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Capital District Vegetable and Small Fruit Program. Laura is the primary resource for berry crop production information and also handles season extension topics along with farm labor issues. Laura has worked with eastern NY growers and gardeners for over 20 years.

Lynn Bliven (BF 103: Taking Care of Business, BF 232: Commercial Sheep Production)


Lynn Bliven is the Agriculture & Natural Resource Issue Leader for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Allegany County, NY. She began her career in 4-H and currently works in Agricultural Economic Development, specializing in beginning farmer outreach, local food systems and livestock production. Lynn and husband Shawn operate a 52 acre farm in Rushford, NY raising grass-fed beef, lamb and poultry.

Matt LeRoux (BF 205: Developing and Using a Marketing Plan)

 Matt LeRoux is the Ag Marketing Specialist for the South Central NY Ag team of Cornell Cooperative Extension, though his work has helped farmers throughout the Northeast. Matt has brought his education in cultural anthropology and agricultural economics to the local foods movement to develop innovative marketing strategies. Matt works with a diverse mix of produce and livestock farmers on marketing and business development.

Michael Basedow (BF 223: Tree Fruit Production)

 As Tree Fruit Specialist for the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Team, Michael Basedow covers the Lake Champlain and Upper Hudson Valley regions and is housed in the CCE Clinton office. Michael has a B.S. in Plant Sciences/Horticulture from Cornell and a M.S. in Horticulture from Penn State University. Michael comes to CCE from PSU Extension, where he served as a tree fruit extension educator developing and delivering fruit extension programs, including specialized programs for beginning and young farmer audiences. Michael also has extensive tree fruit field and applied research experience with apple growers, including a stint at the Hudson Valley Lab as an undergraduate at Cornell.

Michelle Lipari (BF 130: Poultry Production)

 Michelle Lipari has been the agriculture educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County since 2013. She received her bachelor’s degree in large animal science from Delaware Valley College. Michelle is also the market manager of the Rock Hill Farmers Market and has assisted in managing a small farm that raised poultry, sheep and pigs.

Peter Smallidge (BF 150: Farm Woodlot Management)

Peter is the NYS Extension Forester and the Director of the Cornell University Arnot Teaching and Research Forest. He coordinates ForestConnect, Cornell’s Forest Resources Extension Program, by providing leadership for education to enhance the sustainability and stewardship of private forest lands in New York. His applied research addresses sugarbush management, forest production, and vegetation management of native and invasive plant species. Peter has a B.S. in Forestry from Purdue University (1986) and a M.S. (1989) and Ph.D. (1993) in forest ecology from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse.

Phil Metzger (BF 203: Holistic Financial Planning)

Phil Metzger is a farm & natural resources development consultant, retired from a 32-year career as a resource conservationist with the US Department of Agriculture. Phil instructs on various topics including: farm, personal & business financial planning, goal setting, improved decision making, business & land planning, grazing planning, biological monitoring, and reading the land. He is a certified educator in Holistic Management and has practiced HM, including holistic financial planning, for 15 years.

Rachel Moody (BF 130: Poultry Production)

Rebecca Schuelke Staehr (BF 202: Farm Business Planning)

Rebecca Schuelke Staehr operates Cayuga Pumpkin Barn, a seasonal vegetable farm in Springport, Cayuga County, NY. She has worked for Cornell Cooperative Extension and the NY Farm Viability Institute. She is a past chair of CADE, the Center for Agricultural Development & Entrepreneurship. Rebecca serves on the board of the Cayuga County Farm Bureau. She has taught classes in time management for beginning farmers, starting a farmstead cheese operation, and more.

Sandy Buxton (BF 102: Markets and Profits)

Sandy Buxton is a Cornell Cooperative Extension educator with the Capital Area Agriculture and Horticulture Program specializing in Farm Business Management. She has a strong background in dairy business analysis but works with farms of all sizes, start-up to large. Her goal is to help them understand and analyze their numbers and grow their business.

Steve Gabriel (BF 101: Starting at Square One, BF 151: Woodland Mushroom Cultivation, BF 153: Oyster Mushroom Cultivation)


Steve grew up in the Finger Lakes Region and graduated from Empire State College with a BS in Environmental Science, an educational path which incorporated aspects of forestry, ecology, and permaculture. He co-founded the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute in 2005 and began working at Cornell in 2009 in the Department of Horticulture, focusing on permaculture and agroforestry research and education. Along with his wife Elizabeth, he operates Wellspring Forest Farm in Mecklenburg NY where they produce shiitake mushrooms, duck eggs, pastured lamb, and maple syrup. He has co-authored a book called Farming the Woods with Cornell professor Ken Mudge, published in Fall 2014.

Steve Hadcock (BF 103: Taking Care of Business, BF 202: Business Planning, BF 204: QuickBooks for Farmers

Steve Hadcock is a Cornell Cooperative Extension Educator with the Capital Area Agricultural and Horticulture Program with educational responsibility for working with new and beginning farmers. He provides education on an individual and group basis to those interested in beginning a farm and for those who have been farming for less than 10 years.

Willie Crosby (BF 153: Oyster Mushroom Cultivation)

 Willie has been growing mushrooms in a variety of methods for the last four years. He is a co-founder of Fungi Ally, a mushroom farm in Hadley, MA that grows shiitake, oyster, and lions mane mushrooms. The farm also provides spawn and ready-to-fruit kits to commercial mushroom farms. Willie is involved with research, education, and mushroom production. Through study and experience he hopes to continue learning the diverse methods people can improve themselves and the world through allying with fungi.