Home » Projects » Labor Ready » Workshops and Programs

Workshops and Programs

Your employees are your most valuable resource.

Wages, salaries, and contract labor expenses represent more than 40 percent of the cost of production in labor-intensive crops like fruits,  vegetables, and nursery products. Each winter, the Cornell Small Farms Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension join forces to host a series of workshops across New York related to hiring, training, retaining, and working with employees within a farm business.

The Cornell-led New York Soil Health Initiative has just released its Soil Health Roadmap, which identifies ways farmers and land managers can adopt better soil health practices. Above, Jean-Paul Courtens, left, of Roxbury Farm, discusses the finer points of using a roller crimper to terminate a cover crop and create a layer of mulch that suppresses weeds in preparation for planting a cash crop. 
Photo courtesy of Cedric Mason

Upcoming Events

Master Classes for Hispanic Ag Managers
Fall 2019 & Spring 2020

With support from Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Team & Cornell Cooperative Extension Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Increasing the skill-set of your most valuable employees paves the way for long-term retention of the individuals most committed to the ultimate success of your business.  Promoting the development of leadership skill among key employees is an investment in a business owner's most valuable resource. This 5-week professional development program is specifically designed to increase leadership and managerial skill-sets, while increasing overall confidence in English language communication.


  • Eastern New York Master Class
    • Dates: February 18 - March 17, 2020
    • Location: Hudson Valley Region New York

To Nominate an Employee for the Master Class Series - Contact Nicole Waters


Workshop: Supervising Farm Employees
Spring 2020

For Full Workshop Details and Registration Information - Click Here!

  • Please register by Feb 25 for the March 2 session, by March 10 for the March 16 session.

Two-day intensive training program for farm managers. Managing people is a skill that can be learned, much like operating equipment, or growing crops. Do you expect yourself or your employees to learn those other skills on their own?  Most people are not born with people management skills and benefit from coaching.  Labor is one of your farm's biggest expenses - how well are you managing it?

Led by Cornell Ag Workforce Development and co-hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • March 2-3, 2020 - Hudson Valley Region
    • CCE Office Dutchess County, 2715 Route 44, Millbrook, NY 12545
  • March 16-17, 2020 - Western New York
    • CCE Office Orleans County, 12690 State Route 31, Albion, NY 14411


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

Farmer Focus Group Opportunity at the Supervising Farm Employees Workshop:

Exploring Novel Approaches to Farm Labor

Do you struggle with getting all the work done on your farm?  Do you have challenges attracting and retaining employees?  Are you interested in working with other farmers to design solutions to labor challenges?  If so, consider attending the farmer focus group, Exploring Novel Approaches to Farm Labor, at the Supervising Farm Employees Workshop. We will discuss potential farm labor models and the opportunities, challenges, and interests of each one.  Be prepared to provide your input and feedback!

Contact and Registration Details:

    • March 3, 8:00 – 9:30 AM – Dutchess Co. CCE Office
    • March 17, 8:00 - 9:30 AM - Orleans Co. CCE Office
    • Breakfast and an electronic gift card ($50 Amazon) for up to 15 participants will be provided.
    • Seeking: small to mid-scale diversified fruit and vegetable NYS producers who practice sustainable growing methods and market products directly to consumers or engage in wholesale/institutional markets, particularly those who hire full-time, part-time seasonal workers, and/or family members.

Sign-Up! – Send an email to Nicole Waters, nw42@cornell.edu

    • First 15 participants accepted.

This project is funded by a Northeast SARE Novel Approaches grant, LNE19-386R.  For questions about this project, please contact Nicole Waters, Cornell Small Farms Program: nw42@cornell.edu

Hope to see you there!