Small Farms Staff to Present at “Farmer to Farmer” Conference

If you head out to the Homer C. Thompson Research Farm in Freeville, NY, you’ll find a field filled with permanent beds in the organic section of the farm. These beds have been under trial for four years using different combinations of tarps, mulches, and tillage depths to discover the ideal system for an organic vegetable farmer who desires to reduce their tillage without succumbing to weed pressure. Years of meticulous planning and carrying out of the experiment have led to results that farmers in the northeast can implement.

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Permanent beds in Freeville, NY.

The results of the four-year trial will be shared at the Farmer to Farmer Conference hosted by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). On Monday, November 5, 2018. The Small Farms staff and a representative from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will be presenting at the Permanent Bed Session. The Freeville experiment was duplicated in both Maine and Michigan to test the effects of the methods across various climates and better serve farmers throughout the northeast based on their region.

Learn more about our research using the permanent bed system, as well as general methods to reduce tillage in vegetables on our project website. More resources include past Small Farm Quarterly articles: Strip Tillage and Cover Crops and Take Me Out to a Tarped Field, both written by Ryan Maher and Brian Caldwell of the Small Farms Program.
Recently, a resource handbook on reducing tillage in organic systems was produced, including a section by Ryan Maher on zone tillage systems.

If you would like to hear exciting results firsthand, consider registering for the MOFGA Farmer to Farmer Conference being held November 3-5 in Northport, Maine. And be sure to attend the Small Farms Program’s Permanent Bed System presentation on Monday, November 5, from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Kelsie Raucher

Kelsie is from southwest Missouri and grew up on a 150-acre farm helping her family buy and sell horses and cattle. She credits FFA for finding her passion for agriculture and food issues and desiring a career as an “agvocate.” Since coming to Cornell, she has gained interest in local production, global food issues, and environmental impacts of and on agriculture. She joined the Cornell Small Farms Program in May of 2018 and is excited to gain experience to complement coursework in the Agricultural Sciences major and Communication major.

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