“What can I do with my woods?”
We are often asked this question and encourage people to check out the wide range of options with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Agroforestry Program Work Team.
Agroforestry describes a wide range of practices that integrate trees, forests, and agricultural production. These systems can be adapted to almost any site and condition, though considerations like climate, slope, soil characteristics, and grower objectives will ultimately determine the crops that are appropriate for a specific piece of land.
Agroforestry happens across New York State!
In response to increasing interest in agroforestry over the years, Cornell has created an extension program work team and a number of tools and resources to help woodlot owners start farming their forests. Each category below has videos, guides, and websites to help, along with the contact information of key individuals in the Cornell community you can reach out to with questions.
Woodland Mushrooms can be grown in many forests. Common species produced include Shiitake, Oyster, Lions Mane, Stropharia, and Nameko. Our program is a nationwide leader in providing guidebooks, factsheets, and videos to help you get started.
Visit www.CornellMushrooms.org for factsheets and videos describing in detail how to grow and market forest mushrooms, and connect with other growers.
Tree Saps & Syrups
Globally, humans have tapped trees and enjoyed saps and syrups for centuries. While production in New York is heavily focused on maple Syrup production, new opportunities are growing for birch and walnut syrups and for sap beverages and other value-added products.
The Cornell Sugar Maple Program web site provides maple syrup production information for people with varied syrup knowledge, activities and information for students and teachers, and extension research project information: cornellmaple.com
Ginseng is a high-value crop that can be grown in the right type of forest and ample patience on the part of the grower.
Learn how through the series of videos above, and the downloadable guides from former Cornell Extension Educator Bob “Mr Ginseng” Beyfuss.
- A Practical Guide to Growing Ginseng is a 25 page booklet that outlines all you need to know to get started.
- The Ginseng Visual Site Assessment helps landowners “score” their woods to see if its a good fit.
- Getting Started Right for Successful Ginseng Production is a great article that outlines a process of trialing potential sites for production before committing.
Tracey Testo, Agroforestry Resource Center of Greene County, firstname.lastname@example.org
Silvopasture integrates livestock, trees, and forage and can be done in existing woodlots or by bringing trees into pasture settings. There are many variations and options for systems and the resources below offer some starting points.
- Silvopasturing in the Northeast is a publication by Peter Smallidge and Brett Chedzoy that outlines the basic principles and approaches to the practice of silvopasture.
- Photo Guide to Northeastern United States Silvopasture by Joe Orifice offers a nice array of examples from active farms demonstrating the wide range of possibilities for silvopasture systems.
- Silvopasture: How to Integrate Pastured Animals, Forage Crops, and Trees in a Temperate Farm Ecosystem is a new book by Steve Gabriel
Brett Chedzoy, Extension Forester Cooperative Extension Schuyler County, email@example.com
Steve Gabriel, Cornell Small Farms Program, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cornell Forestry Extension Program includes information for forest owners, educators, loggers, and foresters regarding how best to engage in sustainable production on private forest lands. http://www2.dnr.cornell.edu/ext/bmp/contents/cce.html.
Peter Smallidge, State Extension Forester, email@example.com
Our Agroforestry Team
- Brett Chedzoy, CCE Schuyler County, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Peter Smallidge, Cornell Department of Natural Resources, email@example.com
- Kristina Ferrare, CCE Onondaga County, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Aaron Wightman, Arnot Research Forest Maple Specialist, email@example.com
- Adam Wild, Director, Cornell Maple Uihlein Station, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Don Gasiewicz, CCE Wyoming County, email@example.com
- Sam Bosco, phD Student, School of Integrated Plant Science, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kate MacFarland, USDA Assistant Agroforester, email@example.com
- Jonathan Bates, Food Forest Farm
News and Updates
A changing climate is expected to change the seasonality of crops, largely affecting farmers’ production patterns and yearly cycles. This impact on crops also includes maple syrup production, according to…Read More
Interest in specialty mushrooms (defined as any non-button variety) from both farmers and consumers is growing rapidly, with demand increasing by 4% annually in the U.S. Given the flexible scale…Read More
Steve is an Extension Specialist focused on specialty mushroom production and agroforestry. Throughout his career, Steve has taught thousands of people about the ways farming and forestry can be combined to both benefit the ecology and economies of small farms. He is also a farmer, author, hiker, and musician.
Read Articles by Steve Gabriel