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Join Our Tarping for Reduced Tillage Workshop Series

Are you a vegetable farmer already using tarps? Or are you wondering if and how tarps could work best on your farm?

The Cornell Small Farms Program is excited to announce a series of workshops on tarping for reduced tillage in small-scale vegetable systems, to be held in Maine and New York this fall. The Reduced Tillage (RT) project of the Cornell Small Farms Program supports farmers in adopting scale-appropriate RT practices that can lead to healthy, productive soils and greater profitability. Through the evaluation of novel tools and methods using systems-based field research and on-farm trials, the project helps farmers learn about the approaches that can work for their farm. This work is accomplished in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension and the University of Maine, with support from Northeast SARE.

Tarping has emerged as a new practice for small farms — a tool being used to suppress weeds, manage soils, and reduce tillage. Join a full-day intensive farmer-to-farmer workshop to talk about how we can use tarps to advance reduced and no-till vegetable production. During the workshops we’ll discuss tillage, weeds, and how to combine tarps with other soil building practices — like compost, mulches, and cover crops. You will learn from farmers as they share their successes and failures with tarps being used on their farm. You will also hear research results from five years of tarping trials in Maine and New York, which test no-till practices side-by-side with conventional management.

Lettuce harvest in a long-term permanent bed trial at Thompson Research Farm in Freeville, NY.
Ryan Maher / Cornell Small Farms Program

Join us and share your own tarping experiences and walk away with a plan to use tarps with less tillage on your farm. This is participatory workshop designed for farmers to learn from other farmers. Come prepared to dig-in, share your practices and struggles, and bring your questions as you consider adopting, changing, or expanding tarping practices on your farm.

We are offering this workshop at four different locations this November. Choose the site that works for you and register now, as space is limited.

Cost to participate is $35 per person with lunch and refreshments provided. Scholarships are available for active duty U.S. armed forces or military veterans in NY, covering up to $100 for travel costs and registration with support from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. To apply, contact Dean Koyanagi at or (607) 255-9911.

For questions on registration and workshops, contact Ryan Maher at

Saturday, November 2, in Northport, ME

This event is a pre-conference workshop hosted at the MOFGA Farmer to Farmer Conference, and will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Point Lookout Resort and Conference Center. Register now on the F2F Conference website.

Monday, November 4, in Springvale, ME

This workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in York County. Register now.

Monday, November 18, in Canandaigua, NY

This workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Ontario County. Register now.

Tuesday, November 19, in Voorheesville, NY

This workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Albany County. Register now.

Workshop Leaders

Anu Rangarajan is Director of the Cornell Small Farms Program, and serves as New York’s Statewide Specialist in Fresh Market Vegetable Production.

Crystal Stewart is an Extension Vegetable Specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension on the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Team.

Mark Hutton is Associate Professor of Vegetable Crops for University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Associate Dean in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture.

Nick Rowley is a Research Associate for the University of Maine at Highmoor Farm.

Ryan Maher is the Project Coordinator for the Cornell Small Farms Program’s Reduced Tillage project, and serves as a Research and Extension Specialist.

Ryan Maher

Ryan Maher

Ryan began with the SFP in the summer of 2013 and focuses on research and extension in soil health practices for vegetables. He is a Baltimore native with family and educational ties to CNY. After graduating from SUNY-ESF in 2003 he spent two summers training on diversified vegetable farms, first in SW Oregon and then in the Boston metro area. In 2007, he graduated from Iowa State with an MS in Sustainable Agriculture focusing on soils in native grassland restorations. He spent five years with the USDA-ARS in St. Paul MN, coordinating research on nutrient cycling in perennial forage crops. Ryan, his wife Jackie, and daughters Gia and Olive are happy to settle in CNY and enjoy the food, farms, forested hills, and water of the Finger Lakes region.