How We’re Building a Strong NYS Agricultural Industry with Current and Future Programs

As the Winter season approaches, we would like to share information on existing and upcoming programs currently available to fruit producers. We welcome the opportunity for collaboration and adaptation to NYS’s vegetable producers and service providers.

The Cornell Small Farms Program is currently recruiting for the Winter 2022 Futuro Financiero course!

The Futuro Financiero course (piloted as the Master Class program, 2018-2020) is a 5-week professional development course for bilingual and Spanish-speaking farm owners, managers, and employees looking to grow their management skillsets within an English Language Learning (ELL) environment. Throughout the piloting period, this in-depth course has proven to increase on-farm communication and employee engagement within the complex multi-cultural, multilingual agricultural workplace. 

sfp lof fruit tour 2021

Tour group at Rosario Brother’s Marshall Road Farm after a cultural practices demo by Mario Miranda Sazo, along with a discussion of the importance of obtaining ag managerial skill sets with 5 Master Class Graduates (Ruben Gomar `18, Jose Vallejo `18, Silvia Rosario `19, Sergio Rosario `19, and Flor Iniquez `19).
Alejandro Calixto / NYS IPM

The Winter 2022 offering of Futuro Financiero will feature additional course content aimed at expanding basic financial literacy, while building confidence in both team leadership and English-language communication. The Cornell Small Farms Program is actively seeking students in the Western NY region to enroll in the 2022 course. Eligible students include bilingual or Spanish-speakers currently employed in agriculture (no commodity restrictions). This course offers an opportunity for farm business owners and employers to enhance their businesses, while demonstrating appreciation and value for their workforce through thoughtfully tailored professional development opportunities.

Celebrating the Entrepreneurial Spirit and Success of NYS LatinX Agricultural Leaders

Meet Silvia and Sergio Rosario, owners, Rosario Brothers’ Farm, Medina, NY. The Rosario’s provide custom services for winter/summer pruning, spring grafting, and summer budding in New York’s Lake Ontario fruit region. They are dedicated, dynamic, and savvy farm business professionals, who crossed paths with the Cornell Small Farms Program during the 2019 Master Class Program (Futuro Financiero) and quickly evolved into important collaborators and inspiring mentors to both Spanish and English-speaking agricultural entrepreneurs alike. As mentioned above, the Rosario’s proudly expanded their orchard operation in 2019 to include 50 acres of Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, NY1, and Evercrisp varietals. During their expansion operation, the Rosario’s partnered with the Cornell Small Farms Program through the Smart Farming Team initiative, gaining access to consulting and farm financial expertise. A 2020 video series titled, In the Orchard – I am Free, was produced, telling their story and sharing their experience in the program (Trailer, Full English, Full Spanish versions available).

The Rosario’s represent an essential segment of the NYS agricultural workforce and farmer identity. The Futuro Financiero Course and the Cornell Small Farms Program (in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension – Lake Ontario Fruit Team and NYS Integrated Pest Management) aims to further efforts of recognition and celebration of an important group of NYS farmers, while simultaneously creating language-appropriate educational materials and defined pathways to successful farming careers.

If you are interested in learning more about our programs, have questions, or would like to enroll (yourself or an employee(s) in the Futuro Financiero course, please contact Nicole Waters, or Mario Miranda Sazo (en espanol), or simply complete this information request form.

Together we rise. Together we inspire, educate, and support successful farmers. Together we will improve and innovate NYS Agriculture.

Nicole Waters

Nicole is the Beginning Farmer Project Coordinator for the Cornell Small Farms Program. Her work focuses on the human side of farming, with the day-to-day operations of the Labor Ready Project as her main priority. Trained in organizational communication, leadership, and English as a Second Language (ESL); Nicole’s work aims to foster healthy and positive working environments through professional development programs.