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The Cornell Small Farms Program is seeking a full-time Beginning Farmer Project Coordinator and a part-time Communications Specialist!

The Cornell Small Farm Program (SFP) engages in research and extension projects and collaborations that support and enhance the viability of small farms in New York. In coordination with CALS Marketing and Communications, the Communications Specialist will develop all facets of communication on the mission, work, accomplishments and value of the Program, including highlighting impact of the SFP on local and state-wide communities. He or she will ensure all communications meet the highest standards of scientific accuracy, accessibility, and effectiveness for target audiences; ensure cross-programmatic integrity of messages, designs, and institutional branding. The Beginning Farmer Project Coordinator will support the SFP projects focused on beginning farmer training, their support networks, and informational resources.

Click here to learn more about and apply for the Beginning Farmer Project Coordinator position.

Click here to learn more about and apply for the Communications Specialist position.

Do you own or manage a farm in New York? Please take the Survey of Farm Labor Management Practices. Your feedback will help the Labor Ready Farmer’s Project develop educational programs and tools to improve farm labor management skills and decision-making.

Participants can enter to win either a $100 gift certificate to Tractor Supply or a free Cornell Small Farms online agricultural course of their choice in the coming year. One winner will be selected for every 50 participants.

Please take the survey and share this link with coworkers, farmers, and farm owners you know:

If you have any questions, please contact Kat McCarthy (kmm485@cornell.edu607-255-9911). To learn more about the project, please visit the Labor Ready Farmer website.

Join us for our April lunchtime webinar series featuring the best of the Good to Great in Ag Labor Management Program. Each webinar will take about 20 minutes and provide tips and resources to help you get off to a great start with your employees this spring. Pre-registration is required but the program is free.

All programs run from 12:00-12:30.  You are welcome to attend all of the dates below, or pick and choose the topics that are most useful to you!

April 2 – Creating a Farm Culture that Attracts and Retains Employees
April 3 – Being a Great Manager
April 4 – Effective Employee Handbooks and Policies
April 5 – Writing Great Job Descriptions
April 6 – Managing Risk as an Ag Employer
April 9 – Hiring and Orienting New Staff
April 10 – Assessing Employee Skills and Performance
April 11 – Effective Strategies for Getting the Most from Pay and Compensation

The link to the first webinar will be sent to you after you register. You can also listen and participate by phone if you do not have access to a computer.

Registration information can be found here:

The Cornell Small Farms Promushrooms, woodlot, agroforestry, treegram is seeking farmers who have grown and sold specialty mushrooms commercially during 2017 in the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania to respond to a survey about their harvest numbers, sales, and marketing strategies.

The goal in collecting this information on an annual basis is to keep a pulse on the state of specialty mushroom cultivation by small farms in the Northeast USA.

Answers to this survey will be kept confidential, and no individual responses will be shared publicly.

Eligible farmers are asked to respond by
Friday March 23rd at:

In addition to collecting sales and production data, we are also interested in capturing the research and education needs of the mushroom growing community. Please share your thoughts and ideas when prompted.

After compiling the results, the program will offer a summary of the data via a public webinar, which can be useful to a number of individuals and institutions for granting, market assessment, and other uses for a growing industry.

Any questions can be directed to Steve Gabriel at

Sessions will take place in the Hudson Valley and in western New York for Latino agricultural employees to gather feedback and help inform program development. These roundtables will offer an opportunity to discuss the role of a farm manager and identify skills that are important to successfully climb the ladder from laborer to management. Events are scheduled for:

  • March 12, 4-7 pm, Goshen, NY – contact Gabriela Pereyra for more information to sign up by email or phone (212)788-7900 x288
    12 de Marzo de 4 a 7 pm en Goshen, NY- Para registrarse llamar a Gabriela Pereyra al (212)788-7900 x288 o envía un email
  • March 16, 1-4 pm, Wayne County – more information can be found in the event announcement or on the registration website.
  • March 17, 1-4 PM, Orleans County – more information can be found in the event announcement or on the registration website.

Local and Regional Food Systems at Cornell recently launched a new, dynamic LRFS website to better demonstrate, strengthen, and build the network around local & regional food systems in New York State.  Learn about the network of peopleprojectsresources, and locations of their workconnect with others who are working on food system issues; participate in events or online forums; share info on your Cornell or CCE based programs in LRFS; and explore CU/CCE expertise across various areas of local food systems work. In essence, LRFS is sharing your stories to better leverage your work, to help you stay connected, and to strengthen their impact in local & regional food systems. Nominate someone, including yourself, for a spotlight interview. Or, upload your own here!

Do you hire, or are you considering hiring, migrant or foreign-born labor? Do you want to improve your skills in supervising employees who come from different cultures, especially workers from Mexico and Central America? If yes, this workshop is for you!

On April 12 from 11:30am-5:00pm, learn how to build better relations between farmers and workers and how to establish meaningful communication across cultures and language barriers. Mary Jo Dudley, Director of the Cornell Farmworker Program, will discuss how to create positive workplaces and reduce miscommunication and culturally-based misunderstandings. Other speakers will address access to health services, opportunities for English language learning, and tips for worker and employer emergency preparedness.

Cost: $20
Location: Jordan Hall, NYS Agricultural Experiment Station, 630 W. North St., Geneva, NY, 14456
Register Here.
If you are unable to register online, contact Abby Henderson at (518) 746-2553 or

Read more about the workshop here.

Do you manage employees on a farm? Do you need help recruiting and retaining good staff? Please take this brief survey and share important feedback that will help shape our new Labor Ready Farmer project. Growing a great workforce can result in long-term benefits for your business. Share your management challenges and successes to help us better understand how to develop effective program tools, such as online courses and videos, plain language guides, and workshops. Participants can enter to win either a $100 gift certificate to Tractor Supply or a free Cornell Small Farms online agricultural course of their choice in the coming year. One winner will be selected for every 50 participants. Learn about existing efforts and events, including the Improving Ag Labor Management Workshop series, at the Labor Ready Farmer webpage. For more information, contact Kat McCarthy (kmm485@cornell.edu607-255-9911) or Anu Rangarajan (

Cornell Small Farms ProgramEquicenter of RochesterDraft Animal Power Network, and Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming present: Beginning Teamster Workshop –  Working With Draft Horses

February 17th 9:00AM – 4:00PM
Oxley Equestrian Center, Cornell University, Ithaca NY

In this workshop we aim to give participants a full day of experiencing what is like to work with draft animals.  We will focus on what keeps us safe, what we gain from work with drafts, and how we can make them fit into profitable farms and businesses. We want folks to get their hands on the animals, the harnesses, and the lines and see what it is like. Depending on interest and demand we are considering future programs on using draft animals in Agriculture and logging.

What You Will Learn:

9:00 AM Introduction
What is a Draft horse? Why do the they work for us?
Learn safety principles for working with Draft Animals.

10:00AM Two Groups
First group: How are they harnessed?
Second group: How are they driven?

11:00AM First Drive

12:00PM Lunch (Bring your own bag lunch)

1:00PM Two Groups
First group: Driving with a cart or wagon.
Second group: Ground driving with a log.

3:00PM  How to Continue Training Your Team
Discussion on round pens, lunge ropes and working to train.
Opportunities for fun, therapeutic, and productive work with draft animals.

4:00PM END

With contributions and support from the Cornell Small Farms ProgramEquicenter of RochesterDraft Animal Power Network, and Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming.

Cost: $40 for Veterans, Immigrants and Refugees
$80 for the general public
Bring your own bag lunch

Veterans with questions or needs please call, text or email:
Nathan Bush, USAF Veteran, Farm Manager, EquiCenter Inc.

*Veterans in New York State may be eligible for a reimbursement scholarship to attend this program. To learn more about this opportunity, and determine if you are eligible for a scholarship to a specific event, please contact Kat McCarthy at the Cornell Small Farms Program by email or at 607-255-9911.*

General questions or for interpretation needs, please call or email:
Kate Cardona, Outreach & Equity Coordinator, Groundswell

Register Here or call 607-319-5095                Pay Here

Our Small Farms Bi-Monthly Update brings you small farm announcements, events, job and internship opportunities, grant and loan opportunities, other small farm resources. It is intended for farmers and agricultural service providers in New York and the Northeast. If have an item to be included in the update, please contact Violet Stone at Sign up here!

2017 Small Farm Updates

Looking for a grant opportunity or resource that appeared a few issues back? To view previous 2017 issues, click on the links below.

Issue 1  Issue 2
December December 1st Issue  December 15th Issue
November November 1st Issue  November 15th Issue
October October 2nd Issue  October 17th Issue
September September 1st Issue  September 15th Issue
August August 2nd Issue August 16th Issue
July June 30th Issue July 17th Issue
June June 1st Issue June 15th Issue
May May 1st Issue May 15th Issue
April April 3rd Issue April 17th Issue
March March 1st Issue March 15th Issue
February February 2nd Issue February 16th Issue
January No Issue January 16th Issue

More »