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Posts by Erica Frenay

Erica has had several different roles with the Small Farms Program since she began working there in 2005. In 2006 she co-founded the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project, and launched the first online course in 2007. For 10 years she facilitated and organized the Beginning Farmer Learning Network, a professional development network for service providers in the Northeast who support beginning farmers. She has shepherded the development, publishing, and updating of several key SFP publications, like the Guide to Farming in NYS, the On-Farm Poultry Processing Guide, and the Guide to Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry. As the SFP’s menu of online courses surpassed 20, she shifted her role primarily to managing these courses, providing ongoing training to instructors, and ensuring a high quality experience for students.

Red Meat Processing in NYS: Bottleneck in the Local Food Economy

By Erica Frenay / July 5, 2021

By Dr. Mike Baker, Dana Havas, Nancy Glazier, Lynn Bliven, Dr. tatiana Stanton, Erica Frenay  A team of Cornell faculty and Cooperative Extension educators interviewed meat processors in NYS during the COVID pandemic to better understand where there are opportunities to increase capacity and improve the resilience of our local meat industry. Executive Summary  The…

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New Report Summarizes NYS Meat Processor Needs and Perspectives

By Erica Frenay / May 10, 2021

Building a resilient local food system requires sufficient meat processing capacity. The COVID pandemic revealed that NYS did not have the ability to absorb shocks, including increased consumer meat demand, leaving farmers and consumers frustrated and meat processors overwhelmed. In Fall 2020, a team of Cornell Cooperative Extension educators, Cornell Animal Science Dept faculty, and…

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Meat Processing Webinars Help Answer Livestock Farmers’ Questions

By Erica Frenay / March 31, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on both livestock producers and processors, neither of whom could keep up with the demand for local meat. As a result, the Cornell Small Farms Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Livestock Program Work Team (PWT) offered a series of webinars to address some of the most common questions we were…

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New Self-Paced On-Farm Poultry Processing Course Available

By Erica Frenay / March 1, 2021

Has your insurance provider told you they won’t underwrite your on-farm processing of poultry unless you complete a training? Do you need to brush up on best practices for processing meat birds on-farm? Our new self-paced online course offers detailed videos and lessons on food safety and humane techniques for dispatching and processing chickens and turkeys on-farm under…

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Upcoming Webinar on Starting a Slaughterhouse

By Erica Frenay / November 16, 2020

This has been a challenging year for livestock farmers and red meat packers in New York State. With many packers already booked solidly for 2021, livestock farmers are feeling panicked about how to get their animals harvested in a timely way. This has driven unprecedented interest in opening new slaughterhouse facilities in the state. But…

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NYS Livestock Producers Share Meat Processing Challenges

By Erica Frenay / August 24, 2020

In Spring 2020, with the COVID pandemic in full swing, the Cornell Small Farms Program (CSFP) was hearing reports of livestock producers from around NYS who were either unable to get butcher appointments or whose appointments were being cancelled by the butcher. Livestock processing was a challenge for producers long before the pandemic. In 2006…

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A flock of sheep and one cow graze in a pasture in front of a glamping tent.

Consider Glamping to Diversify Income from Your Scenic Pastures

By Erica Frenay / July 27, 2020

The Cornell Small Farms Program’s Erica Frenay details how a glamping operation has helped diversify her farm’s income stream. In the early 2000’s, I had the joy of spending a memorable 4 days with Bill Burrows, a 6th-generation rancher and Holistic Management practitioner from Northern California. Bill told us the story of how his family…

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Struggling with Slaughterhouse Access? Survey for NYS Livestock Farmers

By Erica Frenay / July 20, 2020

If you raise animals for meat in New York State, you are no stranger to the complicated logistics and roadblocks that exist in getting animals to slaughter. For many producers, the COVID-19 pandemic has made access even more difficult. We are collecting information to communicate with policy-makers the scope of the problem from farmers’ perspectives…

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Solar Grazing: Livestock as Landscapers at Utility-Scale Solar Arrays

By Erica Frenay / July 20, 2020

Solar grazing is the use of livestock to maintain vegetation under solar panels.   Utility-scale solar arrays may cover 3 million acres across the US by 2030, according to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). This is causing tension with farmers and farmland advocates, as the panels are often sited on good ag land, displacing…

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A person stands in a field with a flock of sheep in the background,

Selling Real Farm Products in a Virtual Marketplace

By Erica Frenay / July 1, 2019

There are myriad options to explore, from a personal online store to a collective online farmers’ market. Four years ago, I was using a common mix of marketing channels for my small diversified farm: a farmers’ market and restaurant accounts, along with direct sales of whole and half animals. I knew I was missing an…

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