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Events Series for Veterans in Agriculture

Farm OPS is pleased to announce that we will be providing a series of training workshops throughout 2019 for veterans interested in agriculture. Opportunities include two week-long intensives that cover a wide range of agricultural enterprises, single-day focused classes, as well as connecting participating veterans to additional regional training opportunities, print material, and online resources tailored to each individual’s interests.

Specific topics in this series will include: mushroom production, high tunnel growing, soil health, pasture management, greenhouse management, maple syrup production. There will be additional 5-day intensive sessions for those preparing, or beginning, to launch a farm business enterprise.

Veterans interested in these programs must be enrolled at a VA facility in NYS (VISN2 area). These events will be held at the EquiCenter Farm in Mendon, NY, unless otherwise specified.

Event details and registration continuously updating...

Chimney Solar Dryer Workshop

Tuesday, September 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Join us as we learn about and build chimney solar dryers. There will be a brief discussion session and construction briefing in the morning, after which we will begin construction on two chimney solar dryer units. This workshop will be led by Shaun Bluethenthal, veterans program associate with the Cornell Small Farms Program. Learn more and register.

Mushrooms Workshop III

Tuesday, October 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Join us for the third installment of the mushroom course offerings which will focus on the medicinal aspects of mushrooms. Learn basic mushroom cultivation principles, how the chemical properties of fungi are affected by their environment, and how you can create potent extracts and innovative medicinal and culinary products for home, family or your business. This workshop will be led by Tradd Cotter, a microbiologist, professional mycologist, and organic gardener. Learn more and register.

High Tunnel Workshop II

Tuesday, November 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Join us as we tour EquiCenter's new high tunnel and share in learned lessons from construction to planting. We will look at crops on hand and discuss sustainable fertility as well as pest ID and scouting. Bring your questions on growing vegetables in protected settings. The topics covered will include: site prep and construction, soil types, management and fertility in high tunnels, crops to grow in cool and cold seasons, and high tunnel cover crop considerations such as timing and species benefits. This workshop will be led by CCE Educator and Vegetable Specialist Judson Reid. Learn more and register.

More events coming soon...


Past events in this series...

Beginner High Tunnel Workshop

Tuesday, March 26 from 10:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Interested in growing in high tunnels? Join this engaging workshop on the fundamentals of starting plants in a high tunnel. Participants will learn how to select and manage appropriate crops via the topics of: varietal selection, crop nutrients, pest and disease management, as well as take a 'nuts-and-bolts' tour to discuss site selection and design considerations. This workshop will be led by CCE Educator and Vegetable Specialist Judson Reid. Learn more and register.

Learning to Work with Mushrooms & Fungi

Tuesday, April 9 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

In this course you will journey through the complex web and ancient world of mushrooms. Explore how they grow in nature and then how they nurture us in return — forging our immune systems, circulation, anti-inflammation and more. Learn the basics to recognizing them in the field, and explore different ways to grow them for food and medicine. Gain skills to get started incorporating mushrooms in your kitchen, garden and medicine cabinet. Also, take home an Oyster Mushroom starter to begin growing your own mushrooms. The course will be taught by Olga Tzogas of Smugtown Mushrooms. Learn more and register.

Introduction to Soil Health

Tuesday, April 30 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Soil can be a strong partner to a successful farming operation if we learn how it works and understand its potential. Through demonstrations with equipment contained in the NY Soil Health Trailer and in field or pasture soil pits, this course will provide the participants with a focused perspective on soil and its relation to their farms impact on the environment. This course will be led by Fay Benson, manager of the soil health trailer through the NY Grazinglands Coalition and extension educator on grazing and organic dairy through the Cornell South Central NY Dairy Team. Learn more and register.

Tarping to Reduce Tillage

Tuesday, May 7 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Tarps are a low-cost tool for small-scale vegetable farms to prepare beds for planting and suppress weeds with less tillage. Join Ryan Maher of the Cornell Small Farms Program, to hear lessons learned from the latest research combining tarps with permanent beds, organic mulch, and cover crops. Come to share your own experience, talk about how tarps are impacting weeds, labor and soils, and dig into a field demonstration to discuss the best ways to be successful on your farm. Learn more and register.

Controlled Environment Mushroom Production

Tuesday, June 11 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The second part of the mushroom course offerings, this course will provide practical instruction for designing and building controlled atmosphere mushroom production spaces. Learn the basic techniques and equipment required to start producing mushrooms on a small scale commercially. This course will be taught by Eric Myers of Myers Mushrooms. Recommended prerequisite: Learning to Work with Mushrooms & Fungi. Learn more and register.

Pasture Management

Tuesday, August 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In this class you’ll get a basic understanding of soils and pasture plants and how to improve the functioning of the Four Ecosystem Processes (water cycle, mineral cycle, biological communities, and energy flow) to improve forage for livestock. The morning will be a power point presentation and the afternoon will be hands on and in the field. You’ll learn how to identify the soils on your farm, determine soil texture by feel, research land use history and how it can provide clues for future uses, identify soil drainage class and why it matters in pastures, and how to grow good, nutritious grasses and legumes for optimal livestock health. This workshop will be led by Elizabeth Marks. Learn more and register.

Holistic Planned Grazing

Tuesday, August 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In this class we’ll learn how to improve the land with animals. We’ll discuss different grazing management techniques including Holistic Planned Grazing and when to use them. In the afternoon, participants will break into small groups to create a grazing plan. We’ll head out in the field to learn some simple pasture monitoring techniques.  This workshop will be led by Elizabeth Marks. Learn more and register.