Posts by 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.
reduced tillage field tractor

Reduced Tillage Project Sharing Research at Soil Health Field Days

By Ryan Maher / July 15, 2022

Hear the latest Cornell Small Farms Program research on reduced and no-till practices for vegetables at Soil Health and Climate Resiliency Field Days this July. We’ll be sharing our research along with the NY Soil Health team and partners in a statewide event series running this summer. On July 25, we’ll be at Cornell’s Thompson…

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permanent vegetable beds with high tunnels

Empire State Producers EXPO Goes Virtual

By Ryan Maher / February 16, 2022

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…

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Empire State Producers Logo new FINAL

Empire State Producers EXPO Offering Scholarships, Expanded Content

By Ryan Maher / December 8, 2021

Update: Status of the EXPO being offered in-person is pending given the ongoing pandemic. Check the Expo website for the most up to date info. This year’s Empire State Producers EXPO is returning to an in-person event from January 11 to 13, 2022, at the Syracuse OnCenter, following all local and state health and safety…

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hand hoeing reduced tillage beets

Farmer Survey: Help Us Build the VISION 2050 of New York’s Ag Future

By Ryan Maher / December 6, 2021

We need your help in shaping the future of NYS food and farming. As part of our work on the VISION 2050 project, we are asking New York farmers to put forward their voices in developing this vision for NYS agriculture.  What do you want to see for the future of New York State’s food system…

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SFQ rt june22

Our Summer of Reduced Tillage Research in Photos

By Ryan Maher / October 4, 2021

The Cornell Small Farms Program continues to document our on-farm trials on tarping practices for organic vegetables. What’s happening under tarps? How are weeds and soils changing? How do they fit in a vegetable rotation with less tillage? And how do we handle and troubleshoot the shortcomings? The current work of the Cornell Small Farms…

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Tarps on permanent beds.

Join Our Farmer to Farmer “Tarp Talk” Webinars in March

By Ryan Maher / February 25, 2021

Tarps are clearly a multifunctional tool for small farmers and are being sized, sourced, and applied to fit the farm. How much can we ask of tarps, how are they changing our tillage and weeds, and how do we handle and troubleshoot the shortcomings? We hosted a series of lunchtime webinars in partnership with the…

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brian field day

In the News: Reduced Tillage Project Partner Named to USDA National Organic Standards Board

By Ryan Maher / October 19, 2020

The Cornell Small Farms Program is happy to share the news that Brian Caldwell has been appointed to the USDA National Organic Standards Board, beginning a five-year term in 2021. Brian was a major contributor to the Reduced Tillage project for five years before retiring from Cornell in the spring of 2019. Brian brought decades…

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hand hoeing reduced tillage beets

Reduced Tillage Project Uncovers Tarping Impacts for Organic Vegetable Farmers

By Ryan Maher / September 8, 2020

One farmer shared with us in early summer: “If we didn’t have a tarp down before our mixed greens this spring, we would have been in big trouble with our CSA. In our untarped plantings, we lost the crop to weeds. We’re not going to do that again.”  Tarps are becoming a versatile tool to…

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Join Our Tarping for Reduced Tillage Workshop Series

By Ryan Maher / October 2, 2019

Are you a vegetable farmer already using tarps? Or are you wondering if and how tarps could work best on your farm? The Cornell Small Farms Program is excited to announce a series of workshops on tarping in small-scale vegetable systems, to be held in Maine and New York this fall. Tarping has emerged as…

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Tarps on permanent beds.

Manage Weeds With Tarping

By Ryan Maher / July 15, 2019

Tarping has become a popular practice for small-scale organic farms to manage weeds. Typically, beds are tilled and prepared for planting and then covered using a durable, black plastic tarp. Tillage combined with warming soils under tarps can promote the germination of weed seeds which then die when starved for light. Tarps are then removed…

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