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Juniper Hill Farm is nestled between the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain, on the Boquet River in Wadhams, New York.
Established in 2007, they grew on three acres of fertile land; now, for their ninth CSA season, they cultivate over one hundred acres.  They are continuously adding more greenhouses with a goal of bringing to market an earlier and higher quality variety of products.

During the summer, they can be found selling our produce at five local farmer’s markets weekly, and they provide a healthy quantity of wholesale goods to their local grocery stores and restaurants.  They hope our food makes its way onto your table.  The quality of their produce is evident by their diversified model of marketing.
Their growing techniques exceed the requirements of the National Organic Farming Association of New York and the farm is recognized by NOFA NY as a Certified Organic Farm.

There website can be found here. 

About the Farm

Wolftree Farm is in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region on the slopes between the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and Finger Lakes National Forest. The 92 acres are a mixture of field, forest and stream. They are a diverse operation producing meat and fiber from Icelandic sheep, honey from their apiary and pick-your-own blueberries. Their cultural and husbandry practices are based on organic farming principles where organic matter (whether from animal manure, cover crops or composts) is the nutrient source for our pastures and crops.  Insects and disease causing organisms are a reality in any farming system.  They encourage beneficials to thrive on our farm and utilize approved compounds when they are merited.  Besides their role as a fiber and food source, the sheep are an integral management tool for renovating their old fields.

About the Farmers

Jeromy Biazzo and Margaret Meixner are both native to upstate New York, Jeromy to the lower Hudson Valley and Margaret to central New York.

 

Visit their website here. 

The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) application system is now open to preproposals for three large grant programs: Research & Education, Professional Development, and Research for Novel Approaches.  Preproposals are brief preliminary concept documents due by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 10, 2018.  Acceptable budgets range from $30k to upwards of $200k. View this webinar recording to learn more about these grant programs, the application process, and how to write a competitive proposal. Invited full proposals are due on October 30 with projects awards made in late February 2019. For more information, visit: www.northeastsare.org/GetGrant. Use this decision tree to help decide which grant program is the best fit for your project: www.northeastsare.org/grantdecisiontree. More information is below.

The webinar can be found here.

Preproposals Due July 10

Preproposals for the following grant programs are due online by Tuesday, July 10, 2018  at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Option One: Research and Education Program

This program funds applied research and farmer education projects on sustainable farming and food system topics. Projects must engage farmers as cooperators; aim for specific, measurable change in farm practices; and have a plan to verify results. Awards typically range from $30,000 to $200,000.

Option Two: Professional Development Program

The program funds train-the-trainer projects about sustainable agriculture concepts and techniques for Extension educators, non-profit personnel and other agricultural service providers. Projects must specify measurable changes in service providers’ education and training of farmers. Awards typically range from $30,000 to $150,000.

 

Option Three: Research for Novel Approaches Program

The program funds applied research conducted through social science investigations and/or field and laboratory experiments. Projects should lead to the feasibility of new practices and approaches that have high potential for adoption by farmers. Awards typically range from $30,000 to $200,000.

 

Still-shot from “Outside Animal Care (Dairy Safety Training Part I, Section 1)” video.

The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) is promoting a series of on-boarding safety training videos for new dairy workers. These free videos were created by the High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health & Safety (HICAHS) and are a valuable resource for dairy farmers looking to train new workers quickly and efficiently about safety from day one of employment.

HICAHS describes these videos as follows: “Today’s dairy workforce needs to know how to handle large animals, operate specialized equipment, and deal with extreme weather conditions without harming themselves or animals. In this video series created by HICAHS, ‘Considering Human and Animal Safety,’ best practices are outlined on how to safely and productively care for dairy cows while reducing risk of injury to yourself. Watching this video series will help you get the proper training and guidance for a healthy, productive workforce.”

These videos are available for free on the HICAHS Website, the NYCAMH website and on the U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers YouTube Channel. All videos are narrated in English and Spanish. Pre and post tests are also available, to assess workers knowledge of the safety concepts described in the videos.

To watch these videos, visit any of the websites below:

http://www.nycamh.org/resources/dairy-safety-videos/

http://csu-cvmbs.colostate.edu/academics/erhs/agricultural-health-and-safety/Pages/dairy-videos.aspx

http://www.youtube.com/USagCenters

The sign-up period for Farm Credit East’s annual Winery Benchmarks program is now open! The Winery Benchmarks is a unique program for Northeast wineries to measure their businesses against wine industry peers. The program is now accepting registrations for the 2018 benchmark.

The program offers participants two report options: the Management Review report or an Executive Summary report. The Management Review report provides a highly detailed comprehensive report on every area of the winery business. The Executive Summary report requires less data for a reduced cost. It is ideal for wineries that are just getting started in the program and may not have all of the data required for the more comprehensive report.

Farm Credit East will host a meeting for benchmark participants at Ventosa Vineyards in Geneva, NY, on Tuesday August 7, 2018, which is included in the cost of the program. The meeting will cover several topics, including “Managing your wholesale relationship” presented by Sandy Waters. For most of her career, Sandy has represented Northeast wines for various distributors.

Registration for the 2018 benchmark is currently underway. Data will be required no later than June 29. If you are a past participant or new to the program, we invite you to contact your local Farm Credit East office to learn more. You can also contact the program’s director, Gregg McConnell, at Gregg.Mcconnell@farmcrediteast.com.

Farm Credit East is the largest lender to the Northeast wine and grape industry, lending more than $128 million to wineries and grape growers across New England, New York and New Jersey.

Farm workers harvest kale at Main Street Farms in Cortland, New York. Photo: Zack Bolton

As Dani Baker looked forward to retirement in 2006, she and her partner David Belding purchased 102 acres on Wellesley Island in the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River. They were intrigued by the idea of resuscitating a former dairy farm, but they weren’t convinced that farming was in their future. Then Baker remembered Belding’s childhood dream of being an organic farmer, and a newspaper advertisement for a workshop caught her eye: Building Your Small Farm Dream.

“The course was extremely inspiring,” Baker said of the educational opportunity offered by the Cornell Small Farms Program (CSFP). “It propelled us to take the leap.”

‘Today, with the ongoing support of CSFP, Baker and Belding operate Cross Island Farms, producing a range of certified organic meats, eggs, fruits and vegetables, and powering their efforts with sustainable energy.

Since 2001, CSFP has been providing New York farmers with education and training programs, addressing needs ranging from preparation to enter new markets to support for military veterans looking to enter the industry. Through efforts like on-the-ground teaching, online courses and an e-newsletter that reaches 11,000 people, program staff, together with community educators of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), have been empowering farmers through every stage of small farm business development.

Yet small is relative, according to CSFP director Anu Rangarajan. “It comes down to the community a farmer aligns with and how they perceive their operation,” she said. “Many people who take advantage of our programs would be considered mid-size to large. The bottom line is we want to see a vibrant, evolving and growing agriculture.”

The 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture highlights a crucial need for this type of growth: the average age of farmers has risen to 58.3.

“At our core, we are an educational organization, but I think it’s just as important we provide voices saying that farming is rewarding and doable,” said Violet Stone, small farms program coordinator and New York coordinator for the Northeast chapter of Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE). With support from state and federal organizations, such as the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), CSFP is well positioned to do just that.

About ten years ago, CSFP discovered there was a surge of people looking to start farms. With CCE educator colleagues and NIFA’s support, they developed the Beginning Farmers Project to offer networking opportunities, courses and trainings. As part of that effort, they produced the “Guide to Farming in New York,” a printed guide of practical information such as zoning and labor laws, tax regulations and ways to access land and equipment.

Farmers like Baker and Belding have benefited directly from the program. Not only are CSFP courses designed to help farmers assess their resources and interests at the outset, but the courses help them develop their businesses
over time.

David Belding and Dani Baker started Cross Island Farms after taking a course from Cornell Small Farms Program. Photo: Matt Weiss

Baker and Belding also participated in CSFP’s Profit Team Program to set realistic financial goals. For Baker, the most exciting outcome has been an edible forest garden they created in 2012 after taking a two-hour course on permaculture.

“I’m hopeful the forest will bring in new income streams through U-Pick, weddings and workshops—and even an associated nursery,” Baker said.

The main way in which CSFP has been taking the pulse of New York farmers and agricultural educators is by means of their Small Farms Summit. Every two years they bring together farmers and educators to ask about their concerns and what opportunities they see.

“From our statewide position,” Stone said, “we can see trends and concerns emerge in a broader way than local educators who have one-on-one relationships with farmers.”

At a 2014 summit, farmers expressed apprehension about declining direct-market sales. For some, intense competition at farmers’ markets was keeping them out, and community supported agriculture (CSA) was losing customers. Farmers’ interest in new marketing opportunities led CSFP to create the Baskets to Pallets Project, which teaches farmers how to expand their marketing to scale-appropriate wholesale buyers such as natural food stores, farm cooperatives and food hubs.

“The summits drive our programming, but we also share farmers’ comments with legislators, community members and others to make the needs of a dispersed and diverse group of farmers visible,” Rangarajan said. “The conferences also help build connections among Cornell, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the community.”

In addition to the summits, where farmers and agricultural educators enjoy the opportunity to meet face-to-face, CSFP has created virtual networks to inspire innovation. Currently, 100 organizations participate in their Northeast Beginning Farmer Learning Network—groups who are all committed to supporting the next generation of farmers.

FOSTERING DIVERSITY

 

CSFP recognizes that nurturing the next generation depends on supporting diversity among the farming community.

“Farmers of color and other underserved populations are an audience we want to better serve,” Stone said. “We are committed to building these relationships.”

With a recent grant from NIFA, they are currently addressing the training needs of Hispanic farmworkers wanting to climb the ladder from labor to management to ownership.

Another traditionally underserved group that came to the program’s attention in recent years is military veterans. Veterans often encounter obstacles when considering entry into farming, such as lack of access to specialized resources and lack of funds for farm-related education and training.

Nina Saeli of Centurion Farm, 58 acres of pastures, hardwood forest, riparian forests and wetlands, spent 17 years as a medical service core officer in the U.S. Army and had two spinal surgeries prior to retiring.

“The most difficult struggle I faced during my transition was feeling like I had lost my sense of purpose,” she said. “It wasn’t until we made the decision two years ago to start farming that I feel I’m starting to regain it. I became a soldier to serve my country, and now I’ve become a farmer to serve my community.”

After receiving an increasing number of requests for assistance from veterans like Saeli over the last few years, CSFP created the Farm Ops Program. Forging bridges with organizations like the Division of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor, they support agriculture training for veterans and have implemented multiple education strategies to engage and train those who want to farm.

“One of the most valuable resources has been going to the workshops sponsored by the local Cornell extension offices,” Saeli said. “They haven’t just been informative, but also provided many opportunities to network with local farmers.”

LOOKING AHEAD

 

One of the biggest challenges CSFP faces is helping new farmers scale up because each farm is so different. “If we can elevate other people’s work to help make connections, that can really move us forward,” Rangarajan said. “The grand goal is to highlight the many ways in which New York is an attractive place to land—and stay—for farming.”

Looking to the future, she hopes to work with small farm specialists to discover where digital agriculture fits into a small farm context. What technological tools and advances might best support small farms to help them achieve their goals?

For both Rangarajan and Stone, farming is much more than just growing and producing things. It’s personal.

Stone grew up in a rural Pennsylvania dairy community. Rangarajan, born in India and raised in Detroit, found her home in agriculture. Both have come to believe that farming plays a crucial role in land stewardship and boosting the ecological health of communities.

“I love my work,” said Rangarajan. “My aspiration is to pave the way for anyone who’s interested in supporting agriculture. Frankly, I think that the more people who count themselves as farmers, the better.”

 

 

periodiCALS, Vol. 8, Issue 1, 2018

Untreated, alfalfa snout beetle is costing Northern New York farmers with 100-cow dairies between $30,000 to $60,000 per year every year, depending on the size of the pest infestation and the speed of alfalfa stand loss. The pest has been identified in nine New York State counties: Cayuga, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Wayne counties, and in Ontario, Canada.

The current cost of controlling alfalfa snout beetle with biocontrol nematodes in a single application for multi-year control is $28 per acre plus the cost of application by the farmer or a custom service.

Biocontrol nematode applications must be made before September 15. Best results are obtained by applying to alfalfa fields in their seeding year or first production year. Three to five are needed to totally inoculate a farm with nematodes to reduce the snout beetle population to a manageable level. Learn more atwww.alfalfasnoutbeetle.org.

“Even with the terrible milk prices farmers are currently facing, the cost of biocontrol nematode application should be weighed against the cost of not protecting your alfalfa crop,” says Dr. Elson Shields, the Cornell University entomologist who pioneered the biocontrol nematode solution to combat alfalfa snout beetle and that now appears to be useful for protecting other crops.

 

 

With assistance from Ev Thomas, Oak Point Agronomics, Ltd; Mike Hunter, Cornell Cooperative Extension; Tom Kilcer, Advanced Ag Systems, LLC; and Michael Miller, W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, Shields and Research Support Specialist Antonio Testa estimate the true cost of alfalfa snout beetle moving onto the farm in three distinct areas:

 

1. alfalfa stand and yield loss: average $325 per acre (per cow) per year; range: $200-$500 depending on speed of loss of stand

2. expense of off-farm protein purchased to replace forage quality of lost alfalfa crop; for example, extra soy costs: average $120 per cow per year; range: $56.40-$201;

3.  the resulting impact on farm CAFO plan from increased phosphorus brought on farm with increased purchases of protein-like soybean meal.

When a nematode-treated alfalfa field is rotated into corn, research has shown a positive impact on reducing wireworms and corn rootworm.  After 4 years of corn production, research has shown that the biocontrol nematodes remain in the field at sufficient populations to provide continual control of alfalfa snout beetle.

A long-term research commitment by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program supported the development of the science needed to pioneer the use of native nematodes, tiny insect-attacking worms, as a biocontrol to suppress the spread of alfalfa snout beetle. Subsequent research funded by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, New York Farm Viability Institute, and others is showing application of the biocontrol nematodes for controlling berry pests, white grub, and other crop pests in New York State and elsewhere in the U.S.

 

More information can be found here.

 

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s 4-H Youth Development Program held Conservation Field Days on May 23rd and 24th at the Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center on Route 430 in Bemus Point.

4-H welcomed nearly 1,000 area fifth graders from 19 schools. Youth visited seven of 32 stations ranging from bluebirds to fly fishing, map and compass reading, and boating safety. The weather was perfect both days of the event and youth and instructors alike enjoyed being outside along the shores of Chautauqua Lake.

Conservation Field Days was created by 4-H agent Jim Gould in 1966 to get youth learning out of the classroom. The program was first held at the Sack Farm in the town of Ellery and in 1990 moved to Long-Point State Park. CFD has been held at the Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center since 2010.

The heart of the program are the instructors who put together interactive and engaging activities for youth. Many instructors look forward to the event each year and can’t wait to come back.

Instructors for the event included representatives from 4-H, Allegany State Park, Alpacaville, the “Bluebird Lady,” Chautauqua Lake Association, Chautauqua County Beekeepers Association, Chautauqua County Health Department, Chautauqua County Master Gardeners, Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation, Chautauqua Rails to Trails, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Eat Smart NY, Farm Credit East, Grape Discovery Center/Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association, Greystone Nature Preserve, Jamestown Audubon Center, Kids on the Fly, Mike Jabot from SUNY Fredonia, National Turkey Federation, New York State Department of Health, NYS DEC Forest Rangers, NYS Department of Public Service, Pioneer Forestry LLC, Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, SAREP Fly Fishing, and USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station.

Conservation Field Days 2019 is scheduled for May 22-23.

 

Forest Ranger Nathan Sprague demonstrates how to safely start a fire at the 52nd Annual Conservation Field Days held May 23-24 at the Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center.

The spring harvest of alfalfa-grass mixes may account for up to half of the total forage yield of those crops for dairy farmers. The results of alfalfa-grass research funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program may suggest a new option for dairy farmers looking to enhance forage production. The report is posted under Field Crops: Alfalfa at www.nnyagdev.org.

Cornell University Animal Sciences Professor Debbie J.R. Cherney, who led the research conducted on dairy farms in Northern New York, notes, “It is clear from this research that switching the grass species to meadow fescue in mixtures may have more impact on forage quality than switching alfalfa varieties.”

Furthermore, Cherney notes that the combination of reduced-lignin alfalfa planted with meadow fescue, a winter-hardy grass species, can result in a large increase in neutral detergent fiber digestibility, a measure of the expected energy value that the forage will deliver to dairy cows. Higher digestibility value contributes to cow health and milk production.

Forage quality of both grass and alfalfa can be improved by well-informed variety selection. The field trials at two farms in Jefferson County and one farm in Lewis County in 2016 and 2017 provided researchers, Extension field crop specialists, and farmers the opportunity to learn how new varieties of grass and alfalfa seed released by the seed industry will perform under Northern New York soils and climate.

The trials also evaluated a meadow fescue variety developed by the USDA with reportedly higher digestibility than other meadow fescues.

The plantings and evaluations conducted at the NNY farms produced data on yield and the quality of the alfalfa and of the grass grown in various mixes. The alfalfa and grass were analyzed separately for crude protein, fiber, digestibility and lignin values.

With a 2018 grant from the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, the Cornell team will evaluate an alfalfa-grass mixed seeding with timothy established in 2017 in Lewis County, along with seven grasses and three alfalfa varieties there.

The regional research in 2018 will also include testing meadow fescue at several seeding rates in plantings with alfalfa, and the addition of a new variety of meadow fescue that looked very promising in 2017.

Throughout the 2018 spring season, Cornell Cooperative Extension Field Crops Specialists provide weekly updates to alert Northern New York farmers for optimal harvest timing for the first cutting of their alfalfa-grass forage crops. Fiber digestibility declines more than one percentage unit per day in spring growth making optimal harvesting of alfalfa-grass crops a key component of good production management.

Funding for the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

 

More information can be found here.