BF Learning Network Meetings & Webinars

Looking for past presentations? Did you miss a webinar? View slides and listen to recordings here!

Summer 2017 Webinar Series

Attendees of the November 2016 Beginning Farmer Learning Network (BFLN) meeting made it clear that they wanted ways to remain connected and learning from each other throughout the year. So we invited your ideas for topics you would be willing to share, and the following monthly webinars are the result: a mosaic of ideas representing the diversity and wealth of knowledge among members of the network.

  • May 17: 12-1pm, Overview of FSA Programs and the Bridges to Opportunity Resource Database – Lynette Wright, FSA. VIEW RECORDING
  • June 21: 12-1pm, What Urban Farmers Need and how All Service Providers can Support Them – Molly Riordan VIEW RECORDING
  • July 19: 12-1pm, Is Your Farm Business Structured for Success? – Marilyn Anthony, Fox School of Business, Temple University VIEW RECORDING
  • August 16: 12-1pm, Organic Vegetable Cost of Production Project – Jen Miller, NOFA-VT – VIEW RECORDING
  • September 20: 12-1pm, Integrating a Profitable Forest and Timber Production System into Your Farm – Jared Woodcock, SUNY AdirondackVIEW RECORDING
  • October 18: 12-1pm, Integrating Food Justice into Rural Farmer Training Programs – Elizabeth Gabriel, Groundswell Center for Local Food and FarmingREGISTER HERE

2016 NE Beginning Farmer Learning Network Meeting at the NESAWG Conference, Nov 10, 2016 in Hartford, CT

Our 2016 meeting was held as a pre-conference session at the annual Northeast Sustainable Ag Working Group (NESAWG) “It Takes a Region” conference. (Download the full agenda (PDF)

Morning presentations:

  • Anu Rangarajan, Director of the Cornell Small Farms Program, shared the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Model from WI, which is rolling out in NY (View slides)
  • Rachel Armstrong, Director of Farm Commons, presented on the Legal Landscape of Farm Labor (View slides)

Afternoon presentations/working sessions:

  • Advancing the Beginning Farmer Pipeline – with Chris Wayne of GrowNYC/FARMroots and Jennifer Hashley of New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (View slides)
  • Top Ten Financial Metrics for Beginning Farmers – with Jon Jaffe and Chris Laughton of Farm Credit East and Dorothy Suput of The Carrot Project (View slides)
  • Teaching Farmers How to Manage the Full Life Cycle of Farm Labor – with Mary Peabody of UVM Extension and Rachel Armstrong of Farm Commons (View slides)

 2015 NE BFLN Meeting, Oct 26-27, in Latham, NY

We hosted a 2-day meeting for over 50 service providers from extension programs, non-profit organizations, and government agencies across the NE. This training was supported in part through a NE SARE PDP (PD13-0012). See a detailed agenda HERE. Archived presentations from this training can be found below:

Supporting NYS Veterans in Agriculture, Oct 26th

We brought together traditional military veteran service providers and agricultural service providers to learn how to best serve military veterans who seek careers in agriculture, discuss the challenges faced by veterans who seek farm careers and the resources available to help them, and to create regional networks that support veterans in NYS agriculture. Find the slides at our FARM OPS project.

NE Regional Training, Oct 27th

Our goals were to promote networking and collaboration among BF support organizations across the NE, build organizational and programmatic skills on emergent BF issues, and share teaching tools and methods to improve BF outreach and training services.


  • Creative strategies to improve farmers access to farmland – Tim Biello, New York Programs Manager and Hudson Valley Farmlink Network Coordinator – American Farmland Trust 
  • Farmland transfer: building relationships between landowners and landseekers – Dan Welch, Business and Succession Planning Coordinator – NY FarmNet (View slides)
  • Reading the land: Classroom and field-based activities to engage farmers in land assessment – Crystal Stewart, Regional Vegetable Specialist – Cornell Cooperative Extension (View slides)
  • How to teach the balance of land and livestock  – Ben Crockett, Site Manager – Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator (View slides)
  • Helping producers and landowners set “fair” rents for farmland in complex land markets – Liz Higgins, Ag Program Leader – Cornell Cooperative Extension (View slides)


  • Enterprise budgeting: The Poultry Enterprise Budget Calculator Project – Jennifer Hashley, Director – New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (View slides)
  • Understanding meat yields and pricing cuts for profit – Brian Moyer, Program Assistant – Penn State Extension (View slides)

2014 NE BFLN Meeting, Oct 27-29, in Latham, NY

This was a 3 day training, titled Re-strategizing with advanced BF’s: Supporting scale-up and farm investment decision making, that brought together over 50 service providers from extension programs, non-profit organizations, and government agencies across the NE. This training was supported through a NE SARE PDP (PD13-0012). Archived presentations from this training can be found below:

  • Identifying Credit Readiness– Gary Matteson – Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach, Farm Credit Council  [View slides]
  • Farm Financial Analysis– Gary Matteson – Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach, Farm Credit Council  [View slides]
  • Labor and Equipment Decision Making – Chris Blanchard- Flying Rutabaga Works
  • Marketing through Wholesale Channels – Bob Weybright- Cornell University, Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program  [View slides]
  • Whole farm decision-making – Erica Frenay- Cornell Small Farms Program and the NE Beginning Farmers Project, Phil Metzger – Consultant, and Elizabeth Marks– USDA NRCS 
  • Cultural Competency
    • Cultural Competency Continuum – Eduardo Gonzalez, Statewide Diversity Specialist, CCE-NYC [View slides]
    • Veterans as Beginning Farmers – Norm Conrad, NE Regional Director-National Center for Apppropriate Technology,  Armed to Farm Program [View slides]
    • The New Farmer Development Project – Chris Wayne, New Farmer Development Project, FarmRoots NYC [View slides]

2013-14 NE BFLN Winter Webinar Series 

Cultural Competency 101: Working across cultural differences
October 15th, 2014
Presented by Eduardo Gonzalez Jr.
Cornell University Cooperative Extension – NYC

Cultural competence is a set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together to enable a system, agency or profession to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. How can you best work across cultural differences with those that you serve? In this webinar, you will be introduced to key terms and definitions of cultural competency; review the multiple dimension of diversity – including your own; and learn key steps for becoming more culturally competent in order to effectively work across differences. [View recording] [View Slides]

Diversifying Beyond Direct – Supporting Beginning Farmers in Exploring Wholesale Markets
Friday, April 25th, 2014
Presented by Anthony Mirisciotta, Deep Roots Organic Cooperative

How can you help beginning farmers decide on and take steps to entering a wholesale market? Learn through the experience of Deep Root Cooperative and their work with organic vegetable farmers in the NE. Learn about the nature of wholesale relationships, terms of pricing and payment, and expectations for quality and packaging. Exploring the structure of wholesale markets will help you design outreach and education programs that prepare beginning farmers to consider these channels as their enterprises grow. [View recording here]

Valuing Time and Muscle – Working with Beginning Farmers in Labor Record Keeping,
April 17, 2014
Presented by Chris Blanchard, Flying Rutabaga Works

Learn from farmer, consultant, and educator Chris Blanchard, and explore ways to track and calculate labor inputs that translate into meaningful records. This training focuses on what activities to monitor, if and how to extrapolate from a snapshot, when to lump activities together or get picky, and what forms and formats may work better or worse. Whether it is setting prices, evaluating profitability, or considering a new farm investment, this training will help you work with beginning farmers in designing the right recording keeping systems that lead to informed management decisions. [View recording here]

The Language and Landscape of Working with Farmer Veterans, Feb 27, 2014
Presented by Michele Pfannenstiel DVM, President of the Farmer Veteran Coalition – Maine Chapter and Director of Food Safety for the Farmer Veteran Coalition

How can BF service organizations better support military veterans returning to or starting up farming? What special knowledge and skills will help you serve this audience more effectively? Improve your understanding of today’s veteran experience, learn how to navigate to the VA’s programs, and see examples of successful veteran farmer training efforts, as exemplified by the Farmer Veteran Coalition. Hear how this national effort is building momentum for support of military veterans in agriculture.[View recording here]

AgSquared for BF Service Trainers: A Tool for Teaching Crop Planning and Record Keeping to Beginning Farmers, November 22, 2013
Presented by Drew Katz, Brianna Ewert, and David Wides, AgSquared

Learn how AgSquared can help farmers develop their initial crop plans and keep better farm records and see what record keeping resources AgSquared can provide to BF service organizations. [View recording here]

These webinars were supported with funding from a NE SARE PDP (PD13-0012)

2013 NE BFLN, Oct 28-30, in Latham, NY

We had 3 day training with over 50 providers representing extension services, non-profit organizations, and government agencies across 8 states. Our tracks were Organic Vegetable Production and Farm Financial and Business Management. Attendees also focused on improving services for underserved, diverse audiences and how to effectively reach military veterans, African Americans, Latinos, recent immigrants, and women in their community. These workshops were supported with funding from a NE SARE PDP (PD13-0012). Archived presentations from this training are here:

Advanced Organic Vegetable Production [View agenda]

  • Planning for Flexibility in Effective Crop Rotations– Chuck Mohler, Cornell University [View slides]
  • Weed Management– Eric Gallandt, University of Maine [View slides]
  • Soil Management– Elsa Sanchez, Penn State University and Brian Caldwell, Cornell University [View slides]
  • Insect Management– Ruth Hazzard, University of Massachusetts [View slides]
  • Organic Disease Management: Concepts and Facts for Beginning Farmers– Meg McGrath, Cornell University [View slides]

  Farm Financial and Business Management [View agenda]

  • Matching the Farm Business Approach to Farm Maturity– Christie Young, FarmStart [View slides]
  • Choosing and Evaluating Marketing Channels– Matt LeRoux, CCE Tompkins County [View slides]
  • Teaching Enterprise Budgeting– Richard Wiswall, Cate Farm
  • Developing and Teaching Effective Record Keeping Strategies– Guilia Stellari, AgSquared [View slides]
  • Creative Financing, Complementary Financing: Ways for Farms to Acquire Capital for Start-up and Operations– Ben Waterman, University of Vermont Extension New Farmer Project [View slides]

Spring 2013 BF Learning Network Meeting, March 8 in Albany, NY

Download agenda here (PDF).

Land Access Updates

  • Land For Good Land Access Project updates from Kathy Ruhf [Download PDF]
  • American Farmland Trust’s “Farmland Advisors” program and Hudson Valley FarmLink updates from Diane Held [Download PDF]
    • Notes from Diane Held’s and Kathy Ruhf’s presentations [Download PDF]

Full-Service Beginning Farmer Support

Organic Production Training Curricula and Methods

  • Penn State’s Start Farming Program presentation by Tianna Dupont [Download PDF]
  • Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Assoc (MOFGA) presentation by Andrew Marshall [Download PDF]

New Financing Options for Beginning Farmers

2012 NE BFLN Lunchtime Learning Webinars

Presentations by:
Jennifer Hashley of New Entry Sustainable Farming Project
(if you would like a PDF of Jennifer’s presentation, please email Erica – it is too large to post) and
Joanna Green of Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming
(download the Powerpoint slides from Joanna’s presentation)

This first of a two-part webinar on land access focuses on the basics. Viewers will learn about land acquisition options and their advantages and disadvantages. They also will come away with information about leases and landowners. Download Kathy Ruhf’s (Land For Good) Powerpoint

This is the second part of the land access webinars, and focuses on emerging financing strategies, including alternative financing for land access as well as topics covered in the new book, Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm, such as legal/accounting considerations, promissory notes, and multi-year CSAs. Download Ben Waterman’s slides (VT New Farmer Project). Links shared from Ben’s powerpoint:

  • Developing Share Lease Agreements for Farmland.” Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. This workbook goes through detailed considerations in pursuing a share lease, and includes worksheets for determining costs and revenue sharing. Available online at:
  • A Sharemilking agreement is specific to dairying, and is a share lease that is focused on sharing dairy infrastructure and building equity for the tenant farmer through partial ownership of the herd or other assets. The University of Missouri Pasture-based Dairy Program has comprehensive resources on share-milking agreements for livestock operations. They are available online at:
  • “Crop Share Rental Arrangements for Your Farm.” North Central Farm Management Extension Committee. This publication covers advantages and disadvantages of crop share arrangements, guiding principles used for developing equitable arrangements, and different approaches used for developing a functional arrangement. Available online at:

This webinar included presentations by Gail Myers, Farms to Grow Inc. (Oakland, CA), and Joanna Green & Millie Gustafson, Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming. Gail, Joanna and Millie presented strategies for any organization wishing to ensure their programs meet the needs of ethnically and socially diverse audiences and share their experiences with becoming more culturally competent.
Download Gail’s slides here (PDF).
Download Joanna’s slides here (PDF), including the “10 things you and your organization can do”.  References for further reading:

2011 BFLN Meeting, Sept 29-30, 2011 in Latham, NY