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Events Series for Veterans in Agriculture

Farm OPS is pleased to announce that we will be continuing our series of trainings for veterans interested in agriculture. We are working with the Canandaigua VA Medical Center's Whole Health Program to provide 1-day focused trainings at no cost to New York State veterans who are enrolled at a VA facility. Spouses of NYS veterans can also attend.

Opportunities include twelve single-day focused trainings, as well as connecting participating veterans to additional regional training opportunities, print material, and online resources.

These events will be held at the EquiCenter Farm in Mendon, NY, unless otherwise specified, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with lunch and refreshments provided.

We will be covering a variety of topics relevant to small-scale agricultural endeavors, and each workshop consists of hands-on learning opportunities, along with paired reading materials, and connection to additional resources. Workshops are open to all farmers, with no prior knowledge of the specific topic required.

Our Armed to Farm 2.0 event had farmer veterans digging deep into farm business planning, marketing and more. During the week-long training, they visited Cornell Agritech to learn about hemp. Kacey Deamer / Cornell Small Farms Program

Event details and registration continuously updating...

Home-Scale Maple Syrup Production
Sunday, February 23

With an abundance of Maple species as well as the necessary climactic conditions needed to generate robust sap flows, our region is a prime area for tree-sap harvesting and syrup production. Accessing tree saps can be an easy way to generate your own supplemental sugar source, either for household consumption or as an added farm enterprise. This training will introduce you to tapping tools and equipment, sugar testing, and will include a farm tour and pancake brunch.

On-Farm Fertility Production
Saturday, March 7

Would you like to take agency over the fertility needs of your farm, garden, or growing operation? This focused training on Bokashi production will detail how the fermented organic inoculant/ amendment builds soil fertility and promotes vibrant plant growth. Production takes 15-days to complete utilizing low-cost materials and traditional farm equipment (hand-tools). When made properly, Bokashi can be a complete, stand-alone fertility solution for nearly any cropping system.

Specialized Tools for Small-Scale Intensive Production
Saturday, March 28

Small-scale intensive production, aka micro-farming or market garden farming, is a tractor-less, cropping strategy for high-yield production on low acreage without the need for large capital investment. This training will review how tools should be considered with regard to your operation, and whether the efficiency-savings they provide justifies their sticker cost.

Ginseng Production in Your Woods
Saturday, April 25

What opportunities do your woods hold for ginseng? Learn how to recognize ginseng habitat and how to start up your own ginseng production in this training. You will be introduced to the American Ginseng plant, woodland plant identification (including trees and wildflowers), and the startup steps toward a successful ginseng operation.

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.

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 12, 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.

Microgreens Workshop - Intro to Production

Tuesday, December 10, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

In this introductory course on microgreens, we will explore the basics of production under the guidance and instruction of Todd McLane, TC3 Farm Director and Assistant Adjunct Professor at Tompkins Cortland Community College. Through lecture and hands-on learning, you will gain insights into seeding and harvesting techniques, equipment and supplies, marketing strategies, and more. Learn more and register.

Agroforestry Opportunities in Your Woods

Tuesday, December 17, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Learn about opportunities in your woods in this workshop led by Tracey Testo, Environment and Natural Resource Program Coordinator from Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Agroforestry Resource Center. You will learn how to recognize agroforestry values and potential that may lie in your woods. Learn more and register.