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June 16th, 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

Seeking NY Farms to Showcase Sustainable Farm Energy

Does your farm have sustainable energy features you're proud of?  The NY SARE (Sustainable Ag Research and Education) office can offer you financial support to lead a farm tour showcasing ways you conserve energy or produce renewable energy.  Farms in the past have featured solar and wind, earth-cooled and passive solar buildings, radiant greenhouses, no-till agriculture, hyrdroelectric power, geothermal systems, biomass, biofuels, and much more.  This September marks the 6th and final year these farm tours will be offered, so take advantage of this last opportunity to share your farm's innovations! For more information, please contact NY SARE coordinator Violet Stone at vws7@cornell.edu or 607-255-9227.

Small Farm Quarterly is Recruiting! 

Are you a farmer writer or agricultural service provider?  Would you like to share your stories and expertise with 17,000 readers across the Northeast?  The Small Farm Quarterly Magazine is  recruiting new editors and contributing writers from the Northeast region to provide content in the following areas: Horticulture, Youth Farming, Farming & Community, and Dairy/Field Crops.   In addition, interested writers may suggest a 'special feature' column in an area of your choice.  In the past, these 'special feature' columns have included 'Policy Corner', 'Farm Memoir' and 'Book Nook'.  All editors and writers are volunteers who offer their service to the magazine in exchange for the professional experience and recognition of contributing to a widely distributed publication.  For more information, contact Managing Editor Violet Stone at vws7@cornell.edu or visit  http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/quarterly/editorial/ 

Dairy Sheep Survey

The potential for profitable sheep dairying in the United States is high. Most of the information in the United States about dairy sheep farming comes from the University of Wisconsin Spooner Experiment Station dairy sheep farm and the associated Great Lakes Dairy Sheep Symposia. But many Northeast farmers interested in sheep dairying have requested information from Cornell University in recent years. The Department of Animal Science at Cornell University is considering whether to develop a sheep dairy to investigate nutrition, health, and management practices in the Northeast. Sheep milk processing would be studied in the Department of Food Science. We would like your help by completing a short, 5-question, on-line survey. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/26CSQGV 


July 17 - July 19. Grasstravaganza. Morrisville State College. Last held in 2008, Grasstravaganza will feature a trade show, soil health stations and presentations by national and local grazing and soil health experts. Among those in the speaker lineup is Ray Archuleta, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) "Soil Guy" from North Carolina, who travels the country promoting soil health. Archuleta has 25 years of experience with the NRCS and is a certified Professional Soil Scientist with Soil Science Society of America. Participants will also have the chance to visit local farms. Register online at http://grasstravaganza.morrisville.edu/ 


July 1, 2014. 11:30am - 3:00pm. Pasture Walk: Soil Health and Pasture Improvements. 
Maverick Farm, 7048 Slayton Settlement Rd, Lockport (Niagara County). Karl and Tina Kowalski graze 60 milking cows on 80 acres of pasture and will discuss the soil health improvements that switching to a rotational grazing system has achieved for the farm. Other topics will be pasture infrastructure - fence, water, and grass - and getting it all in place with the help of NRCS. To register or for more information call Nancy Glazier at 585.315.7746 or email 
nig3@cornell.edu. RSVP by June 24. Sponsored in part by NY Grazing Coalition.


June 24, 2014. Access to Capital: Food and Beverage Enterprises Conference. Albany, NY.

Are you in the food, beverage or agricultural industry in New York State? Attend a free conference and resource expo sponsored by The Federal Reserve Bank of NY, NY Empire State Development, and NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets. Hear from experts about which types of financing is most appropriate for you, what lenders look for in potential borrowers, alternatives to traditional bank loans, and international market opportunities and financing tools. Register for the conference here.


July 1, 2014. 4pm to 7pm. NOFA-NY Field Day: Value Added Grains Variety Trials. Cornell Freeville Organic Research Farm, 133 Fall Creek Rd. Freeville, NY 13608. To bring back economically viable grain production to our region, this project has focused on adding value to grains in multiple ways: by growing organically, growing grains with high market potential (specifically heritage and "ancient" wheat), and processing grains to create even higher-value products. The field tour will include discussion with Research Support Specialist David Benscher, Gary Bergstrom of Cornell Plant Pathology, Elizabeth Dyck from OGRIN, and other OREI partners. Robert Perry of NOFA-NY will provide a demonstration of mobile seed cleaning equipment. More information can be found at the NOFA-NY website.


MANY MORE EVENTS at our Statewide Events Calendar. 

Career Opportunities
  • MOFGA Seeks Educational Programs Director- Due July 11
    The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) is searching for a dynamic, organized and motivated individual to serve as Educational Programs Director. This job opening creates an outstanding opportunity to build on the success of MOFGA's educational programs, and work with a fast growing environmental organization focusing on ecologically sound farming and gardening practices. The director's primary responsibility will be to support MOFGA's mission and values through educational programs and events, and the successful candidate will have an excellent understanding of issues related to organic farming, gardening and sustainable living in Maine. This position is based at MOFGA's headquarters in the town of Unity, Maine. A detailed job description can be found here
  • Catbird Farm Seeks Seasonal Farm Assistant
    The 130-acre farm is located in Angelica NY. The farm has a small acreage of hay and grain, as well as a a garden and hoop tunnel which supplies many of the ingredients for the prepared foods which are sold at farmers markets. They also have a grain cleaner and plan to install a small flour mill. While not certified organic, Catbird Farm avoids using synthetic nitrogen fertilizers or pesticides. 
  • Working with the 60+ year-old farmers, the Farm Assistant will participate in all aspects of a small crop and vegetable farm. The right candidate can develop many skills useful for starting or managing a small farm.  The position is seasonal, starting as soon as possible and ending in mid-October. The assistant will work at least 30 hours per week, with some flexibility on hours and days, for $10.00 per hour with a $0.50 raise by September 1st.  Very basic housing is available. Send resume and cover letter to scb21@cornell.edu.
    Funding Opportunities

    Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant- Due June 24

    USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service has announced the availability of $3 million for the FY 2014 Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants program. Proposals are requested from cooperatives, groups of cooperatives, and Cooperative Development Centers who will provide technical assistance to small, socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers in rural areas. The maximum award per grant is $200,000. For more information, visit 

  • Farm Worker Housing Loan Funds- Available on first-come, first-serve basis 
  • Farm Credit East encourages farm businesses to consider seeking funds for farm worker housing construction and improvement from the New York State Farm Worker Housing (FWH) Loan Program. These funds are available to New York agricultural producers, including fruit, vegetable and dairy operations. The FWH Loan program is administered by Farm Credit East in partnership with New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), and provides no-interest loans to help finance improvement of existing housing or the construction / purchase of new housing for farm workers. Click here for more information. 

  • Risk Management Education Partnerships Program- Due June 30
  • The purpose of this U.S. Department of Agriculture program is to deliver crop insurance education and risk management training to U.S. agricultural producers to assist them in identifying and managing production, marketing, legal, financial, and human risk.  Eligible parties have the capacity to lead a local program of crop insurance and risk management education for producers in a Risk Management Agency region.  RMA Regional Offices and the States available for competition are listed on the rfp 

    Regional Conservation Partnership Program- Due July 14

    This U.S. Department of Agriculture program encourages partners to join in efforts with producers to increase the restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife and related natural resources on regional or watershed scales. Producers and landowners of agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland may enter into conservation program contracts or easement agreements under the framework of a partnership agreement. Awards up to $20,000,000 are available. More information is available here.

    Latest Resources

    Honeycomb to Consumer - Marketing Small Scale Honey Guide

    Small-scale farmers and hobbyists are keeping more honeybees than ever in NY.  With concerns about adultered foreign honey, local honey is becoming more popular.  This new bulletin provides guidelines for small-scale honey producers who are extracting, packing, and marketing honey.  It covers New York's honey rules, proper labeling, packing area sanitation, health claims, and includes a wide range of marketing ideas to inspire newer honey farmers.   The guide was written by Jim Ochterski, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County in collaboration with small-scale beekeepers and the Empire State Honey Producers Association. You can download it here: http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/files/2014/06/Honeycomb-to-Consumer-13n5j37.pdf 

    Building Local and Regional Food Systems Topic Room 

    The local food movement is more than a trend among many consumers - it is becoming a way of life, one that presents farmers with new business opportunities. But the know-how and infrastructure to get food to local markets is not always readily available. Now, you can use SARE's new topic room, "Farm to Table: Building Local and Regional Food Systems," to find the materials you need to join the movement. Resources compiled in the topic room are grouped into the following categories: Business Issues, Marketing and Markets, Distribution and Aggregation, Food Safety, Food Processing, Strong Communities, and Training Resources for Practitioners. 

    High Tunnel Construction Guide Available Online

    The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation has published High Tunnel Hoop House Construction Guide. According to author Steve Upson, the publication is the product of 17 years of experience in hoop house (high tunnel) design, construction, and utilization. The guide introduces the novice grower/ hoop house builder to the various tools and techniques used in constructing a wide range of commercial and homemade hoop house models. Upson comments that careful study of this publication prior to purchasing a hoop house kit or materials to custom-build a structure will save the builder time and money as well as reduce the level of frustration encountered during the construction process. The 102-page publication is online in PDF and can be found here. 
  • Farm Commons Releases Food Safety and Farm Event Legal Guides  Farm Commons has just released the Farmers' Guide to Reducing the Legal Risks of a Food Safety Incident. The detailed legal explanations explore the background behind the law while action points help farmers move forward with reducing their legal risk exposure. In addition, Farm Commons' newly updated guide, Hosting Safer, More Legally Secure On-Farm Events, is now available online. While learning about how things can go wrong, farmers and advocates will also find action points to help reduce legal risk exposure while having a great time. 

  • New Data Available to Locate Farmers Markets & Nurseries     Governor Cuomo recently announced that the locations of more than 450 spring and summer farmers' markets across the state as well as locations of licensed nursery growers and greenhouses are now available on the state's open data website, found at http://www.data.ny.gov. This comprehensive data website provides New Yorkers in the market for locally grown products with a user-friendly avenue to find them quickly in their area. "Buying locally grown products is an easy way to support area farmers and businesses, and through our open data website it is easier than ever for New Yorkers to find farmers' markets and greenhouses in their area," Governor Cuomo said. "The Empire State is home to some of the most nutritious, highest quality home-grown products in the world, and I encourage all New Yorkers to check out data.ny.gov this summer and explore all that our State's agricultural sector has to offer.
  • 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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