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Cornell Small Farms Update- Sumer 2010

Small Farms Program Welcomes New Staff
Small farms are a growing audience across the Northeast, and the Cornell Small Farms Program is pleased to announce we are greatly expanding our educational services and support to small and beginning farmers with the addition of two new staff.
Thanks to a recent grant award from the USDA, we are excited to welcome aboard Michelle Striney, to work with Erica Frenay on the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project. Michelle comes to us with a full and diverse background that includes a professional gardeners’ degree from Longwood Gardens, farmers’ market experience, landscape design and project management. She is finishing her thesis for a Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture at Cornell.
We are also thrilled to welcome Matthew Goldfarb, who comes to us from the Farm Institute in Massachusettes where he served as director for 5 years. He began his career in farm-based education and sustainable food production and distribution systems in 1994.  Since then he has studied and worked within this field in a number of positions including: the design and management of diversified farms, consulting work with farms and farm-education organizations, teaching high school biology and agriculture, academic work in Rural Sociology, and completing his MBA from Babson College with a focus on entrepreneurship and creativity.  In his new position, Matthew will be focusing on small dairy and livestock issues and conducting much needed small farms research.
Facebook, Twitter for Beginning Farmers
The Northeast Beginning Farmer Project is proud to announce our introduction into the social networking realm!  Please visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pages/Northeast-Beginning-Farmer-Project/194847584903) and become a fan, subscribe to our blog at the NY Beginning Farmers website (www.nybeginningfarmers.org), or follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/BeginningFarms).  These outlets will offer up news, informational resources, sources of support, and tips for the beginning and diversifying farmer, as well as for those who provide support to this audience. Check in frequently for updates on events, topical articles, new videos and much, much more. If you are a service providers and would like us to feature a resource or event offered by your organization, please contact Erica at ejf5@cornell.edu or Michelle at mls266@cornell.edu
Announcing the Small Dairy Work Team
This summer we will kick off a new statewide work team focusing on small dairy issues in NY.  According to the NY Agriculture Statistics Survey, 90% of New York’s dairies contain 200 or less cows, and yet this size dairy also has seen the largest exodus from the industry. The new Small Dairy Work Team will help create, and will consist of a broad spectrum of stakeholders from the industry. Fay Benson, Small Dairy Support Specialist with the Cornell South Central NY Regional Dairy Team, and Matthew Goldfarb, Small Farms Program, will facilitate the Work Team. Support for the Team is also coming from Cornell Regional Teams and Cornell ProDairy. The first step this summer will be to establish a leadership team and conduct SWOT analysis of this segment of the industry. There will also be a booth at Empire Farm Days in the Cornell Building, to gather information and suggestions. Stay tuned to more information in the Fall Issue.
Help Us Prioritize Biggest Challenges for New Farmers After Start-up
Cornell’s Beginning Farmer Education Enhancement team needs your help prioritizing the challenges and needs of new farmers after their start-up. This effort is directed at the entire Northeast Region and is an attempt to capture as broad and diverse a beginning farmer sample as possible. Will you complete this survey, and/or share it with farmers you know? if so, please visit: www.surveymonkey.com/s/BarrierID. The items in the survey were generated by farmers and Beginning Farmer service providers; getting more input from both audiences on prioritizing the items is absolutely critical.
Results from this survey will be used by economic, production and social researchers to guide their efforts toward solving the highest priority beginning farmer problems. USDA and other policy makers are also very interested in the results of this effort to help direct energy toward beginning farmers’ most critical concerns.
Again, we greatly appreciate your willingness to help identify key issues and concerns of the Northeast’s beginning farmer population.  The survey can be accessed at www.surveymonkey.com/s/BarrierID and easily completed online.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Erica Frenay at 607-255-9911 or ejf5@cornell.edu; or Dave Grusenmeyer at 315-453-3823 or dgrusenmeyer@nyfvi.org.  Thank you in advance for your assistance.


Rachel Whiteheart

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