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.

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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Invest in Your Farm Education this Winter

By Erica Frenay / January 14, 2014

Evaluation Shows Online Courses Inspire Action. Too busy to travel to a workshop or conference?  Have you ever thought of taking an online course to advance your farming education?  Whether you are a new, aspiring or experienced farmer, the Northeast Beginning Farmers Project offers interactive 6-week courses that connect you to the information and people…

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Farm Profit: Making a Life and a Living from Your Farm

By Erica Frenay / July 4, 2011

My husband and I started Shelterbelt Farm in Caroline, NY last year, joining the ranks of new farmers across the country capitalizing on direct marketing opportunities and the demand for local food. Like most beginning farmers, I’m coming into a farming career from outside the production agriculture sector. I have been working on food and…

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Incredible Innovations from Overseas: Introducing the Japanese Paper Pot Transplanter

By Erica Frenay / July 4, 2010

  Incredible Innovations from Overseas: Introducing the Japanese Paper-Pot Transplanter If I said you could put 264 transplants in the ground in less than a minute all by yourself, with no motorized equipment, and no stooping and bending, you’d probably tell me I was full of… bunk. Or something worse. But it’s true, and the…

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