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December 3, 2013 

The Small Farms update summarizes announcements, information resources, opportunities and upcoming events relevant to small farms.  Please feel free to share this information in newsletters, email lists, etc. If you have announcements or resources you would like to include, please send us an email.  SUBSCRIBE HERE 

Thank you again for your interest and support of small farms in New York.
Anu Rangarajan
Director, Cornell Small Farm Program
Muddy Fingers Farm - Soil Prep and Compost

Have You Learned From Our Small Farm Videos? Want More?

Nearly a million people have watched the production videos on the  Cornell Small Farms Program YouTube channel demonstrating how successful small farmers grow food. Now you can help the excellent videographer behind these clips, Peter Carroll Productions, produce more videos by contributing to his Indiegogo campaign  "Small Farm Videos: Learn How Successful Small Farms Produce Good Food." With the funds from this campaign, he will produce 15-20 more high-quality video clips and make them freely available at our YouTube channel. The campaign ends in Dec. 27, 2013, so please spread the word or contribute now!

Planning for Profit: Online Course Starts Jan 14

This 6-week online course, BF 203: Holistic Financial Planning: Building Profit into the Picture, will help you to proactively plan for profit, while investing strategically in your farm and reducing stress.


The course runs Tues. Jan. 14 - Feb 18, with webinars once weekly on Tues. evenings from 6:30-8:00pm EST. The cost is $200, and multiple people from the same farm may participate without paying extra. 

Visit http://nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/ for a list of more available online courses.


December 5, 2013. 2:00 PM- 3:00 PM. Interpreting USDA Fruit & Vegetable Inspections Webinar: Does the Shipment Make Good Delivery? To register: http://bit.ly/19M0or5. These informative webinars are designed for fruit and vegetable growers, packers, shippers, processors, wholesalers and retailers of all sizes. Registration is required and space is limited. Log on today to register- it's your first step to learning how we can work together to meet your unique business needs. If you miss a webinar, just visit USDA's Webinar Archive to watch it online. 


December 12, 2013 - February 4, 2014. Webinar Series: Reducing Pesticide Resistance in Greenhouses and High Tunnels. A six-part Webex webinar series on topics around reducing pesticide resistance in greenhouse production was developed with Cornell experts. The information will be useful for anyone growing in a greenhouse or high tunnel, and may also be helpful for other specialty crop growers. DEC pesticide recertification credits (1 credit per one hour session) were granted in Categories 1A, 3A, 10, 23, 24. Only participants viewing the live sessions at a Cornell Cooperative Extension office will qualify for pesticide re-certification credits. The cost to view the session at a CCE office is $10/webinar. Please RSVP for each individual session at least one week in advance to: Kat Loeck, kal257@cornell.edu or 607.687.4020 x 319. More information on the webinar series can be found here.  

January 3 and 4, 2013. New York State Maple Producers Winter Conference. Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School in Verona, New York. The 2014 New York State Maple Producers Winter Conference Has Plenty on Tap for You! Opportunities include having access to a large trade show with many exhibitors. For a complete agenda and registration information, visit:


January 24-26, 2014. 32nd Annual Organic Farming & Gardening Conference. Saratoga Hilton & City Center, Saratoga Springs, NY. This conference offers a line-up of workshops on a wide range of topics from dairy farming to urban gardening, from food policy to business planning plus a special childrens conference, entertainment, and delicious meals made from food donated by NOFA-NY's farmers. Scholarships are available. For more information about the conference, or to register, click here.


[MANY MORE EVENTS!] Visit our comprehensive statewide events calendar online.
Career Opportunities

Check out the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's database here for a long list of job opportunities in the region. 

Funding Opportunities

Native Agriculture & Food Systems Initiative Grant Due Dec 6 

This grant, available through the First Nations Development Institute, is open to U.S. based Native American-controlled nonprofit or tribal organizations, or Native American community-based groups. The goal of the project is to build local and systemic infrastructure in Native American communities by supporting projects that increase access to fresh, healthy foods and improve the overall health and well-being of Native children and families. The project is also intended to help increase knowledge of and control over where food comes from and of the linkages between food and Native cultures, families' income and entrepreneurially-related food ventures. The average grant award is $37,500. For more information: http://www.firstnations.org/NAFSI2014

Weed Science Undergraduate Research Grants Due Dec 15

The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) has developed an Undergraduate Student Research Grant program designed to encourage and involve exceptional undergraduates in agricultural research. Interested faculty members are encouraged to identify potential award candidates and discuss the possibility of sponsoring a research project. Up to $2,000 will be awarded over a minimum of one quarter/semester during 2014. The applicant must be an enrolled undergraduate student with a strong interest in Weed Science. Students majoring in all related disciplines may apply. For more information: http://wssa.net/2013/11/wssa-undergraduate-research-award-deadline-extended-to-dec-15/.

Latest Resources

New Fact Sheet on Thinning Asian Pears Now Available

Achieving the optimal size for Asian pears along with optimum yield requires substantial fruit thinning because this type of tree blooms so heavily. In the past, most Asian pear thinning has been done by hand, but a SARE-funded team of researchers and farmers in New Jersey recently studied how effectively Asian pears were thinned by a synthetic plant growth regulator called benzyladenine. They found that MaxCel, one of several chemical thinners that contain benzyladenine, can reduce the cost of hand-thinning by up to 50 percent while delivering fruit yields and sizes comparable to those of untreated, hand-thinned control trees. The fact sheet that they developed to introduce and guide growers through this chemical thinning process can be downloaded here.

Agricultural Law Center Launches Online Legal Guide  

The Drake Agricultural Law Center developed their online legal resource as a way of making their free publication "The Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing" more accessible, providing regular updates on direct farm marketing law and policy, and allowing readers to ask questions directly to Center staff and law students. The website is available here: http://directmarketersforum.org/.

New Video in Pastured Poultry Series Now Available on ATTRA Website

This video features Ann Baier, an organic program specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), discussing "Branding for differentiating and Marketing Pastured Poultry Products." She has experience providing training and education to minority and limited resource farmers. She also is an inspector for the California Certified Organic Farmers and was the Executive Director of Roots and Wings, a nonprofit organization that provides farm- and garden-based education and training programs to young people. Baier's keynote speech is archived on the ATTRA website at https://attra.ncat.org/video/ along with the other keynote speeches in the series.

Free Irrigation Apps Now Available!

The University of Florida has recently released a series of free apps designed to improve irrigation efficiency. The crop-specific apps collect information from growers on root length and crop location and combine it with real-time information from weather providers to create irrigation schedules. Apps for citrus and strawberries are already available; one for cotton is under development. The apps can be accessed here: http://smartirrigationapps.org/.

Get Connected!
Need personal help?
Sometimes local questions are best answered by your neighborhood Cornell Cooperative Extension agent. Check out our county-by-county listing of small farm agents here. You can also get to know our Cornell Small Farms Program staff, or contact us.   Just starting to farm?  We have an extensive directory of beginning farmer service providers across the Northeast in the "Who Can Help?" section of our Northeast Beginning Farmers Project website.
The Small Farms Update is intended as a resource for farmers and agricultural service providers in New York and the Northeast, and is provided to you by Cornell Small Farms Program. Our mission is to foster the sustainability of diverse, thriving small farms that contribute to food security, healthy rural communities, and the environment.  The Cornell Small Farm Program is a joint effort of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Cornell Cooperative Extension.
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