Empire State Producers EXPO Goes Virtual

The Empire State Producers EXPO has announced plans for a virtual conference with educational sessions offered from February 21 to March 11, 2022. The in-person event, initially scheduled for January 11-13 at the Syracuse OnCenter, was postponed due to the spike in COVID cases.

Sessions are now being offered virtually, spread out over a three-week period with one or two sessions running each day, for a total of 27 sessions. This annual conference serves NYS vegetable, fruit, and other specialty crop growers and typically gathers almost 1000 attendees from across the state. This year’s production-centered sessions will include a Tomato IPM school – covering pests and disease, Cut Flowers, Agroforestry, Cover Crops for Weed Management, and Biocontrol for Managing Insects.

Soil Health sessions, organized by the Cornell Small Farms Program, include “Strategies for Small Farms,” featuring mulching, tarping, and cover cropping, together with “No-Till in Rolled Cover Crops,” covering both vegetable transplants and soybeans and dry beans.

See the full virtual conference schedule and register at the Empire State Producers EXPO website.

Soil Health: Strategies for Small Farms and No-till in Rolled Cover Crops

Tuesday, March 8, 2022, from 11:45 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Hear farmer experiences and research with integrated practices to add organic matter and keep soils covered across farm scales. First, we’ll talk No-Till in Rolled Cover Crops with Jean-Paul Stewart-Courtens (Philia Farm, Johnstown, NY) and Sarah Pethybridge (Cornell University). Stewart-Courtens will discuss his experimentation with different cereal-legume mixtures, roller crimping, transplanter adjustments, and the potential of this system to suppress weeds and supply nitrogen to summer transplanted crops while Pethybridge will share lessons from research using high residue cover crops as a method to reduce white mold infection in organic soybean and dry bean production.

Then, in Strategies for Small Farms, Bob Tuori (Nook & Cranny Farm – Brooktondale, NY) will discuss the use of permanent beds, hay mulch, cover crops and tarps as soil and weed management tools for diversified, small-scale organic vegetable production. Natalie Lounsbury (University of New Hampshire) will then share her research and experience working with farmers using tarps to terminate overwintering cover crops and enhance weed suppression in no-till. Come to take ideas on how you can keep more of your soil covered, reduce your inputs, and improve productivity with less tillage on your farm.

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.