Cornell CALS - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Projects

The Cornell Small Farms Program is housed at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell University. By working collaboratively with a network of CALS faculty and staff, Cornell Cooperative Extension educators, and other small farm advocates throughout New York, we have generated innovative research and extension initiatives that enhance small farm viability.

Our current projects engage farmers at the front-end of challenges, and introduce new and emerging opportunities.

Whether you are a beginning farmer just starting your business, or an experienced farmer looking to expand, one of our projects may be suited to your needs. Also, consider taking an online course.

There are also some emerging projects that our program is developing with our partners. Upcoming projects include: controlled environment agriculture, digital agriculture, and social sustainability for farmers. If you are interested in these emerging projects, contact us to learn more.

The following list includes all of our active projects, as well as past projects. For a tailored list of projects based on your needs, click the relevant button below.

Agroforestry

This project addresses a range of practices that integrate trees, forests, and agricultural production. Crops include mushrooms, ramps, nut trees, and more. We've created tools and resources to help woodlot owners farm their forests.

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Baskets to Pallets

Exploring new markets?  This project provides educational resources and trainings to prepare farmers to enter new scale-appropriate wholesale markets such as food hubs, groceries, schools and cooperatives.

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Farm Ops

This project offers resources and training events for military veterans in New York State who are pursuing careers in agriculture.

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Labor Ready

This project offers a team-based approach to building skills of new farmers and Latino agricultural employees wanting to climb the ladder from labor to management.

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Reduced Tillage

Reduced tillage practices are important for building soil health. Successful strategies can take many forms. This project works to help growers at diverse scales reduce tillage while managing vegetable production systems that build better soils.

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Specialty Mushrooms

Demand for specialty mushrooms is rapidly rising, as consumers look to purchase foods that are healthy, nutritious, and medicinal. This project offers training both in person and online, cultivation and marketing factsheets, videos, and guidebooks.

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Small Farm Summits

The Small Farm Summits are opportunities for farmers, educators and small farm advocates to gather across NY and prioritize emerging issues and opportunities that will strengthen the small farm sector.

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Urban Ag

Building a viable small farm business in an urban area requires different planning than for rural farms. This project highlights important considerations to farm in an urban environment as well as examples of successful urban farms.

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Past Projects

In the last couple years, we've hosted various projects that produced useful resources. Although the projects below aren't currently being offered, we wanted to make sure they remained accessible

Profit Teams

Advanced Beginning Farmer Profit Team Project

This project provided 40 advanced beginning farmers with intensive support from a “New Farmer Profit Team” of advisers.

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Trainers Toolbox

Resources for Service Providers

Since 2009 the Beginning Farmer Learning Network met once a year to share ideas and improve the support we collectively provide to beginning farmers. The Trainers Toolbox is the repository of presentations, documents, and webinars shared by members of this network.

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Sustainable Farm Energy

Education on energy efficiency and renewable energy is an important part of farm sustainability, as often simple and inexpensive measures can save farmers money while reducing the environmental footprint of the farm. NE SARE offered sustainable farm energy programs from 2014 to 2017.

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Small Farm Grants Program

In 2012, the Cornell Small Farms Program awarded $3,000 to $5,000 grants to organizations in NY that presented compelling projects serving and supporting small farms. Four proposals were selected. An additional project to support a small dairy field day series in the summer of 2012 was also funded.

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Telling Better Stories

In 2013, the Cornell Small Farms Program hosted a training for farmers and ag educators seeking to become better story tellers, providing professional journalism instruction on how to develop engaging narratives.  Access resources from the workshop and visit the Story Share page for articles and photos submitted by attendees.

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