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May 1, 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
Attention NY Ag Educators: Are You Prepared to Help Farmers Sell Wholesale? 

As an educator, do you feel equipped with the tools and resources to help farmers decide if, when and how to sell to a wholesale market?  If your answer is "No" or "I'm not sure", would you be interested in a professional development training to support further education in this topic?  The Cornell Small Farms Program and NESARE are currently designing a 3 year professional development program to provide educators and agriculture service providers with the skills to prepare farmers to sell wholesale.  This program will be launched in October, 2014.  If you'd like to be a collaborator or beneficiary of this project, please reply to this short questionnaire.  We look forward to working with you! If you have any questions about this project, please contact Violet Stone, NY NESARE Coordinator, at vws7@cornell.edu or 607-255-9227. 

Cornell Entomologists Seeking Farmland to Test SWD Baits

Entomologists at Cornell are looking for field sites to test new proposed baits for Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD). In particular, they are focusing on blueberry plantings, but would consider fall raspberry plantings as well, that are at least 0.5 acres in size where they can put out attract and kill stations and compare SWD infestations with other plots where no kill stations are deployed. It would be helpful if no insecticides are used in the planting during the trial and therefore, in some ways, a recently abandoned planting might be best or a situation where the potential of some infestation would not cause economic hardship. Also, they need plantings within an hour or so from Geneva, NY to expedite frequent data collection. If you are interested in helping or learning more about the project please contact Dr. Greg Loeb at gme1@cornell.edu or 315-787-2345.

Series of Seminars Will Clarify Revisions to Slaughterhouse Licensing Rules

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is sponsoring two Outreach Seminars on the revision of 1 NYCRR Part 245, Rules and Regulations Relating to the Licensing of Slaughterhouses. The Seminars will be held on May 12th and May 22nd throughout New York State. The Seminars will provide an opportunity for poultry and small animal slaughterhouse operators to comment on the need, benefit and costs associated with the revision of the Regulation. Registration required by May 6th. For more information on these seminars, please visit our events calendar.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Survey for Growers

Got stink bugs? The Northeast Integrated Pest Management Center needs your help! They are surveying growers to assess the impact of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) on crops and gather information that will help them defeat this pest. Receive a free Guide to Stink Bugs if you complete the 10-minute BMSB survey (https://cornell.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5ssnjXLNhvp6v1H). Your participation will help NEIPMC to help you stop BMSB! The survey will be available until June 30th.


May 3, 2014. 10:30 AM- 3:30 PM. Practical Farming Lessons for Every Farm, from a Small-Scale Diverse Organic Farm. Bittersweet Farm: 1249 State Hwy 184 Heuvelton, NY 13654. At NOFA-NY's Farmer of the Year's farm in picturesque St. Lawrence County, you'll be treated to an interactive and entertaining tour highlighting why and how Bittersweet Farm produces a diversity of products using small-scale, hands-on Organic practices. In the morning, hosts Brian and Ann Bennett will lead an interactive garden tour highlighting the planting techniques, varieties, inter-planting, mulches, weeds, insect/pollinator conservation that encourage the ecosystem. During the afternoon session the emphasis will be on animal biodiversity, breeds, feeding, housing, costs, income and marketing. Click here for more information.


May 9, 2014. 9:00 AM- 4:30 PM. Pollinator Conservation Short Course. Bedell Cellars Winery, 36225 Main Road, RT 25, Cutchogue, NY 1193. This course is tailored towards Long Island's diverse agricultural and conservation community and will provide scientifically based research on the agronomic and economic benefits offered by native pollinators, introduce principles of pollination biology, and highlight an array of best management agronomic practices critical to the protection and support of these vital insects. Visit NOFA-NY's website for more information. 


May 10, 2014. 1:00 PM- 5:00 PM. MacDaniels Nut Grove Open House. MacDaniels Nut Grove, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. When most people think about farms, they think about fields. Today, sustainable forest-farming is taking root across the country­- and will be on display at the MacDaniels Nut Grove spring open house, just of the Cornell University campus. The open house features a full demonstration of forest farming practices including mushroom cultivation, medicinal plants, an ornamental nursery, and fruit production of paw paw and elderberry, and water management techniques including swales and hugelkulture piles. Try hands-on inoculation of mushroom logs and see grafting demonstrations. Taste nuts and enjoy an afternoon in the woods, which is adjacent to the East Hill Recreation Trail for longer hikes. More information.


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

Seasonal Farm Workers- Northfield, VT

Green Mountain Girls Farm links interrelated enterprises to maximize their land, talents and built infrastructure. They rotationally graze Tamworth pigs, dairy and meat goats, turkeys, and chickens and grow vegetables, primarily for retail sale. They follow organic standards and are in the midst of applying for certification. Green Mountain Girls Farm is recruiting seasonal farm workers who strive to continually improve, think systemically, are keen to accept responsibility, and who wish to learn and contribute to their late-stage start-up multi-functional farm. Some positions will start as early as May 2014. Seasonal paid positions will requirement a commitment through at least October, with some possibility for ongoing employment. More information.

Funding Opportunities

Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program- Due June 12

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 appropriated $75 million for FY 2009 to FY 2012 to develop and offer education, training, outreach and mentoring programs to enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. The Agriculture Act of 2014 has provided an additional $20 million per year for 2014 through 2018. Applicants for this funding should be a collaborative, State, tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of public or private entities, which may include: state cooperative extension service; community-based and nongovernmental organization; college or university (including institutions awarding associate degrees); or any other appropriate partner. For more information about the grant, eligibility, and upcoming webinars that will further explain the funding: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/beginningfarmersandranchers.cfm.

USDA Disaster Assistance Program

Eligible ranchers and farmers can now sign up for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance program which was restored by passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. Producers signing up for these programs are encouraged to contact their local FSA office for information on the types of records needed and to schedule an appointment. Producers have three to nine months to apply depending on the program and year of the loss. For more details on program eligibility, please visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=diap&topic=landing

USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the availability of approximately $66 million in Specialty Crop Block Grants to state departments of agriculture for projects that help support specialty crop growers, including locally grown fruits and vegetables, through research, programs to increase demand, and more. Interested applicants should apply directly to their state department of agriculture. Several states have already published their requests for proposals, and the list of FY 2014 State Requests for Proposals is available on the AMS website. For more information visit the AMS Specialty Crop Block Grant Program webpage or contact Trista Etzig via phone at (202) 690-4942 or by e-mail: trista.etzig@ams.usda.gov.

USDA Market Access Program

Through the Market Access Program (MAP), USDA Foreign Agricultural Service enters agreements with U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups, and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities. Program funding for FY 2015 is $200 million. Applications are due by May 19, 2014.More information can be found here.

Latest Resources

Farming for Improved Ecosystem Services Seen as Economically Feasible

By changing row-crop management practices in economically and environmentally stable ways, U.S. farms could contribute to improved water quality, biological diversity, pest suppression, and soil fertility while helping to stabilize the climate, according to an article in BioScience. Researchers with the Long Term Ecological Research Network at the Kellogg Biological Station in southwest Michigan investigated the yields and the environmental benefits achievable in systems that used cover crops, reduced chemicals, and no-till techniques. They also found that farmers appear willing to provide ecosystem services in exchange for payments. More information.

Free Online Marketing Course Offered for Farmers
The Farmers Market Federation of New York and the NY Farm Viability Institute are co-sponsoring Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success, a free online course for farmers. The course materials are also available at no charge for use by educators. The curriculum includes five components: Self-Assessment, Market Assessment, Customer Assessment, Communications Assessment, and Business Assessment. Successful completion of all sessions will earn the participant a Certificate of Achievement. In addition, farmers who complete the course in its entirety will be eligible for borrower training credits through the USDA Farm Service Agency. Fine out more about the course here.

Open Source Seed Initiative Releases 29 New Crop Varieties
The Open Source Seed Initiative recently announced the release of 29 new varieties of crop seed. Plant breeders developed new varieties of carrots, kale, broccoli, and quinoa, which are being distributed under an "open source pledge." The pledge is intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners, and plant breeders to share those seeds--and future plants derived from them--freely. Anyone receiving the seeds must pledge not to restrict their use by means of patents, licenses, or any other kind of intellectual property. More information.

IATP Releases Interactive Food System Tour

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has released Justice and Health: Missing Ingredients in the U.S. Food System, an interactive tour of the U.S. food system. The online presentation explores increasing concentration in the food market, compares prices paid to farmers with retail prices, and reveals statistics on minority farmers. You can access the presentation here.

Entrepreneurial Marketing Ideas Webinar Series

eXtension Entrepreneur Community of Practice is offering short and targeted webinars that they call "First Friday 15." The first Friday of each month, an entrepreneur will share in 15 minutes ideas that have helped to make their business successful. In May, Jerry Buchko, MA, AFC®, counselor, coach, & tutor of personal finance in private practice shares his experiences creating and working in online communities. Sign up for this hangout here. You can see prior hangouts on the  "Power of Business" Youtube Channel.

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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