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April 2, 2014

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
A solar powered water pump in Pulteney, NY

Solar, Geothermal, Biodiesel & More: Lunchtime Webinars Start April 4th

Are you looking to stabilize rising fuel and energy costs on your farm or homestead?  Are you seeking more sustainable sources of energy?  In this upcoming four-part webinar series, you'll meet an organic vegetable farmer, grape grower & winemaker, sunflower & biodiesel producer, and pastured livestock farmer who will lead you through a virtual tour of their sustainable farm energy systems and ecological production techniques.  This lunchtime webinar series will run from noon-1:00pm every Friday from April 4th through April 25th.  All of the webinars are free and open to the public.   Registration is required.  Upon registering, you'll receive an email providing a link and instructions for you to access the seriesThe webinar series is sponsored by NE SARE (Northeast Sustainable Ag Research and Education) and the Cornell Small Farms Program.  Read webinar descriptions and register here

Beyond Direct Marketing: Videos Now Available!
If you missed the 2014 NY Small Farms Summit, Beyond Direct Marketing: Exploring New Ways to Sell, you can now watch videos of the morning presentations by farmer speakers Darren Maum of Salvere Farm, Shannon Mason of Cowbella, and Stephen Winkler of Lucki 7 Livestock Farm.  The farmers described the pros and cons of shifting from direct marketing to wholesale markets such as grocery stores and food hubs. You can also download information-packed profiles of these farmers and other handouts from the Summit, including preliminary results of the pre-summit survey to assess current small farm marketing trends.  Visit the Small Farm Summit pages at http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/projects/summit/

Production Risk & Crop Insurance Survey 

Help researches at UVM identify the methods vegetable and fruit growers currently use to manage production risk and document their experiences (if any) with crop insurance policies so we can determine how well crop insurance programs serve vegetable and fruit growers and make suggestions for improvement. Individual replies are anonymous; aggregate results will be shared to inform farmers, technical service providers, program staff, and policymakers about the effectiveness of crop insurance from farmers? perspectives and to suggest possible program improvements. The survey takes about 5 minutes to complete and you can enter for a raffle prize of a $50 VISA gift card. Questions? Jen Miller at jmille30@uvm.edu. The survey can be accessed here: https://survey.uvm.edu/index.php/257185/lang-en.


April 3, 2014. 9:15 AM- 4:00 PM. Vegetable Growers Meeting. CCE Erie County, 21 S Grove St, Suite 240 East Aurora, NY 14052. This comprehensive grower meeting will cover managing pests in transplants, weed management, growing for late season winter markets and CSA sales, the markets and economics of producing tomatoes, management of powdery mildew in vine crops, disease management in green beans, and using apps for your vegetable business. For more information, visit: http://cvp.cce.cornell.edu/event.php?id=193.


April 15, 2014. 6:00 PM- 8:30 PM. Grafting Workshops. Room 120, Human Services Complex, 323 Owego St, Montour Falls, NY. Grafting describes any of a number of techniques in which a section of a stem with leaf buds is inserted into the stock of a tree. John Reynolds, owner of Daring Drake Farms, will discuss the history of grafting, and will give a hands-on demonstration on how to graft. You will take two grafted trees home! 15 -20 varieties to choose from - or - bring your own scion wood.  Pre-registration (along with $20 payment) is required by April 12. Online registration here: https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/CCESCGrafting2014_244. For questions or more information, contact Roger Ort, CCE Schuyler County Horticulture Program Educator at rlo28@cornell.edu or call 607-535-7161607-535-7161.


April 25 & 26, 2014. 9th Annual Camp Mushroom. Cornell's Arnot Forest, Van Etten, NY. Camp Mushroom is Cornell's annual two-day event for farmers, woodlot owners, and hobby growers who want to cultivate their own shiitake, oyster, lions mane, and stropharia mushrooms. The workshop is a unique beginner/intermediate level workshop for those interested in small-scale forest mushroom cultivation. Participants will be trained in three methods of mushroom cultivation; shiitake on bolts, lions mane/oyster on totems, and stropharia in woodchip beds. In addition laying yard and management considerations will be covered. Each participant will also inoculate two shiitake blots to take home. Anyone who wants to get into mushroom growing as a serious pursuit should not miss out on this opportunity to learn from experienced growers and researchers who will present for this event. For a complete schedule and to register, go to http://blogs.cornell.edu/mushrooms/events/.


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

Farm and Garden Worker- Geneva, NY

This is a unique opportunity for an individual with an interest in agriculture/farming to learn about breeding, production, processing and sale of vegetable seeds for professional outdoor cultivation. The Bejo facility located in Geneva, NY grows many diverse vegetable crops for research and demonstration purposes. The successful candidate will be involved in all aspects of crop production including but not limited to seeding, transplanting, irrigating, maintaining, and harvesting field and greenhouse grown vegetables. Other responsibilities will include routine landscape maintenance, cleaning farm equipment, updating seed inventory and possible data entry. Must be able to work in both a team environment and alone. Up to 40 hours per week.  Summer and Fall positions available from as early as April through end of October, 2014. Please send resume or list of relevant work experience to: d.ferlito@bejoseeds.com.

Farming Internship- Oswego, NY

Well established garden center in the Owego, NY area is seeking qualified, ambitious applicants for paid internship. Internship period will begin in the spring of 2014 and last for the duration of the growing season. Prerequisites in horticulture and plant sciences required. Knowledge of hydroponics, growth regulation and fertilization techniques a plus. Upon successful completion of the internship period, candidate will have the opportunity for advancement within the company. Compensation based on experience. Apply to Paul Darpino, Business Manager (607) 343-3607 or send resume via email to: kimberlycruty@gmail.com. Owner is willing to compensate any qualified applicant who is interested for their time to come and visit the operation in Apalachin.

Summer Student Farming Internships- Bath, NY

The PeaceWeaver Organic Farm in Bath, NY is looking for summer interns to participate in their organic field crop and vegetable production. Peaceweaver Organic Farm has field crops (oats, buckwheat, sunflowers) on 40+ acres. They also cultivate over 70 varieties of vegetables on 5 acres for their CSA which provides produce weekly to over 100 families in the summer and fall. Interns will be involved in all aspects of operations of our farm- planning, planting, harvesting, and working with the CSA. Students will gain hands-on experience with irrigation, soil management, and soil fertility. Interns will also have the opportunity to learn about the greenhouse operation which grows wheatgrass and microgreens year-round for over fifty restaurants in Western New York. In addition to all of the hands-on experience and education, interns will receive room and board (vegan).  They are seeking interns for the months of June, July and August. To apply, please contact the PeaceWeavers at pw@peaceweavers.com or 607-776-4060.

Livestock Guardian Dogs for Sale

Shannon Brook Farm is selling livestock guardian dog pups that were whelped on March 2nd.  The pups will be ready to go in 6 weeks.  The parent dogs are Great Pyrenees and Great Pyrenees x Maremma.  Both parent dogs effectively guard sheep,  lambs, pigs and poultry on 70 acres of pasture and woods.  Our farm has sustained a record of zero predator strikes over three years due to these working dogs.  Pups will start to be trained with all of our livestock and poultry before leaving the farm.  For more information please contact Shannon@shannonbrookfarm.com

Funding Opportunities

Specialty Crop Block Program- Due May 2

The Specialty Crop Block Grant program, administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, includes fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, hops, and nursery crops, and works to enhance the competitiveness of New York farms by forming new partnerships to create innovations in agriculture that benefit the state's economy. Eligible applicants include not-for-profit organizations, not-for-profit educational institutions, and state, local and Indian tribal governments. Projects must be completed within two years and six months from the award date, and are expected to be announced in September 2014. For more information: http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html.

Sullivan County Dairy Processer Funding Available- Due April 11

Sullivan County is soliciting proposals from interested parties seeking to develop the dairy processing capacity of the county, through the creation of one or more dairy processing facilities. This funding is offered in an effort to provide an alternative production and marketing model to help farmers be more competitive and profitable in the dairy industry. Funding will cover the purchase of dairy processing equipment. Funding is available to any small and emerging private business which will employ 50 or fewer new employees and has less than $1 million in projected gross revenues. For more information: http://www.co.sullivan.ny.us/CountyNews/tabid/2206/ArticleId/347/FromTabId/36/Default.aspx.

USDA Funding Available to Help Farmers Join SNAP

USDA has contracted with the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP) to administer $4 million in funding to help farmers join the SNAP program. NAFMNP created MarketLink, an online solution to an expedited application process, nationally negotiated rates for SNAP, debit and credit; as well as state-of-the-art equipment. The Farmers Market Federation of NY will be holding webinars to help direct marketing farmers and market managers understand the MarketLink program and walk attendees through the application process. To register for the free webinar, click here. For more information, contact the Farmers Market Federation of NY at 315-637-4690 or email deggert@nyfarmersmarket.com.

Latest Resources

Two Dairy Books Written by Gianaclis Caldwell to be Released in April

Chelsea Green Publishing will release two books written by Gianaclis Caldwell in early April; The Small-Scale Dairy and The Small-Scale Cheese Business. The Small-Scale Dairy includes everything you need to know in order to successfully produce nourishing, healthy, farm-fresh milk, whether for home use, direct sale to the consumer, or sale to an artisanal cheesemaker. The Small-Scale Cheese Business will go beyond issues of caring for livestock and basic cheesemaking to cover business and marketing, including sizing up your market and ensuring maximum safety and efficiency. Both books can be accessed at the Chelsea Green Publishing page.

Handbook Helps with Urban Farm Planning

As with all types of businesses, an urban farm requires planning. And if the farm is located in a repurposed building or on an abandoned lot, it could present even more challenges than a traditional farm. To help guide you through the process of planning, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, through EPA's Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization, produced two useful resources-the Urban Farm Business Plan Handbook, and its complementary Urban Farm Business Plan Worksheets. The handbook, along with its worksheets, is available for free download at www.epa.gov/brownfields/urbanag/pdf/urban_farm_business_plan.pdf.

NNY Agricultural Development Program Posts Latest Maple Research

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program have posted the results of their latest maple research project focused on increasing sap yields and profitability for regional maple producers. The research primarily evaluated the effectiveness of a relatively inexpensive changeout of equipment to improve sap gain in three Northern New York sugarbushes. The full report is posted on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website.

Updated FSA Fact Sheets from 2014 Farm Bill Changes

USDA-FSA have published several fact sheets to explain the 2014 Farm Bill changes for both the Farm Loans and Farm Programs for FSA. The fact sheets can be accessed here: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/fbapp?area=home&subject=landing&topic=landing.

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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