Cornell Small Farms Update- Spring 2010

3rd Small Farm Summit a SuccessThis past winter, the Small Farms Program hosted our 3rd NYS Small Farms Summit. Over 130 people gathered at 4 video-linked sites across the state on March 4, 2010. The theme for this Summit was ‘Designing Smart Solutions for NY Farms.’ Farmers, educators, faculty and other service providers prioritized key outcomes for our livestock processing, grasslands utilization, small farm energy and local markets work teams. Our goal is to have reportable outcomes in two years, by the next Small Farm Summit. Results from this Summit will be collated and published in the next few months. Learn more about previous summits.

Guide to Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry Revised
We are pleased to announce the Livestock Processing Work Team has revised and updated the “Guide to Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry”. This invaluable resource is the culmination of multiple meetings with NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets to get clarification on complex regulations, particularly for direct-marketing. The Guide provides 155 pages of valuable information to help in direct marketing of meat and poultry and Topics covered include an overview of meat regulations, animal handling, slaughtering and cutting, packaging and labeling, food safety, and resources. Please visit the Small farm Program Website to download a copy.

New Edition of “Guide to Farming in NY”
The NY Beginning Farmer Project and Cornell Small Farms Program have completed the annual revision of the popular Guide to Farming in NY: What Every Agricultural Entrepreneur Needs to Know. If you work with farmers in any capacity, this guide will prove a useful resource. In 2008 it was deemed an “Outstanding New Extension Publication” by the NY State Association of County Agriculture Agents. The Guide consists of 33 fact sheets covering finding land, food processing regulations, farm vehicle safety, financing, farm taxes, and everything in between. As always, the Guide is available for free download, as a complete document or by individual fact sheet, from the Cornell Small Farms website  (or just go the Small Farms Program homepage and click on the QuickLink that says “Guide to Farming in NY.”)

Green Grass Green Jobs Report Published
Latest numbers show that there are 3 million acres of under-utilized land in the state. Productive management of these idle and under-utilized land resources can potentially contribute significantly to the social and economic health of rural areas of the state. The NY Grassland Utilization Team was organized in the summer and fall of 2007 to identify strategies to increase livestock utilization of the grasslands of New York State. The current resurgence in grass-based agriculture is driven by four key factors: 1) profitability and other benefits of grazing systems for the farmer; 2) environmental benefits of grazing; 3) rising consumer demand for alternatives to confinement reared animal products; 3) availability of land suitable for grazing; and most recently, 4) rising grain prices from the competition for tillable cropland for energy crops. Their report, ‘Green Grass Green Jobs’ will be available by April 1 at the Cornell Small Farms website.

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Rachel Whiteheart

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