Cornell Small Farms Update Spring 2017

From the Editor

The spring brings renewal – and the promise of a productive year ahead for farmers. We ease into the season with excitement and some caution, wondering if early killing frosts or too much or too little rain will make our lives difficult. Despite all the unknowns, we’ve experienced all the possibilities before, and know we can make it through in the end. All of us at the Small Farms Program wish you a healthy, safe, and productive growing season, and hope you find the enclosed stories and articles inspirational and helpful in your farm enterprises. We are always looking for YOUR stories for our “Lessons from the Land” column, so please consider sending us one!
Steve Gabriel
Managing Editor

Agroforestry Trainings for Veterans

The Cornell Small Farms Program, with support from New York State and the USDA, announces three trainings in agroforestry this coming spring to support Veterans looking to get into agricultural production. Agroforestry includes farming practices that combine trees and forests with crop production.
Each training includes classroom instruction and site visits to farms in active production. Content will cover the technical aspects of production as well as the financial and business considerations for each venture.
These trainings are exclusively for veterans and active military personnel who are residents of New York State with an interest in selling commercial farm products (filing a Schedule F) in 2017 or 2018. Participants will be asked to complete a targeted survey at the end of the course as well as 6 months from completion, to determine the effect on their operation.
Cost: $30 per training includes lunch and all materials. Participants are able to submit up to $100 in travel expenses for reimbursement.
March 31 & April 1, 2017
Log-Grown Shiitake Mushroom Production
Cornell Cooperative Extension Chenango County
99 N Broad St, Norwich, NY 13815
This course discusses the appropriate wood species and set up for economical production of log-grown shiitake mushrooms. Participants will get hands-on experience in inoculating logs and receive budget-planning tools to help them decide on the scale of their operation.
May 12 & 13, 2017
Managing Trees and Animals in Silvopasture Systems
Cornell Cooperative Extension Schuyler County
323 Owego St # 5, Montour Falls, NY 14865
This course will explore the successful integration of livestock and trees in mixed systems to help participants understand how to establish and maintain forest and tree grazing systems on their farms.
Questions? Contact Dean Koyanagi at 607- 255-9911 or Learn more and register at: http://

One-Day Professional Development Training

Framing an Economic Evaluation of Community Food Systems Initiatives
Save the Date: May 19, 2017
Led by Becca Jablonski (Colorado State University) and Todd Schmit (Cornell University, Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management), Cornell’s LRFS* Team will host an in-depth training on the USDA-AMS The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices. The Toolkit aims to help communities reliably evaluate the economic impacts of investing in local and regional food systems. This workshop will be tailored to small teams of Extension professionals, researchers, students, and other stakeholders (e.g., farmers, food security reps, distributors, processors, community planners, local legislators, etc.).
For more information or to request a Toolkit Training application, contact Kathi Colen Peck at Preference will be given to those who apply as a small team (2-4 individuals representing inter-organization or interdisciplinary perspectives working together on a local and regional food systems initiative).
*Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Local & Regional Food Systems (LRFS) effort explores ways to maximize and improve interdisciplinary and inter-organization coordination, alignment, and connection for a robust and resilient regional food system in New York State. To date, a small team of researchers, staff, and Extension professionals has been identifying and further developing a collaborative network that will work to better integrate sustainable food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management in order
to boost the economic, social and environmental well being in NYS. The Toolkit Training is one such effort to help strengthen collaboration among campus, county, and community.

Baskets to Pallets Training

The Baskets to Pallets project hosted an intensive two-day training workshop at Templeton Hall, Cooperstown, NY. A total of 50 producers of all levels were instructed on preparing their products for marketing to wholesale buyers — especially food hubs, groceries, restaurants and cooperatives. The Training drew a huge diversity of farmers from about a 100-mile radius.
In a pre-training survey, farmers cited a number of barriers to entering wholesale markets, including knowledge, time, money, infrastructure and transportation challenges. After the Training, most farmers reported feeling ready to enter at least one new wholesale market. Farmers had the opportunity to meet a total of 30 buyers at a regional Farmer-Buyer Mixer in Troy, NY a few
weeks after the training.
To learn more about the Baskets to Pallets project, visit

Partnerships Foster Reduced Tillage Info

The Cornell SFP teamed up with Michigan State University and the University of Maine to offer 3 webinars in March and shared the latest research on reduced tillage for organic vegetable production. We discussed soilbuilding practices for both small and midsize farms, from permanent beds, tarps, and mulches, to cover cropping, strip tillage, and cultivation tools. Find and listen to webinar recordings at our Reduced Tillage project page,

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Tara Hammonds

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