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September 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
Featured Resource 
Campus to Farm Guide: A Directory of Research and Extension Projects Supporting Small Farms 
Are you interested in university and extension research that is applicable to your small farm? This guide highlights small farms-focused research and extension projects led by Cornell faculty and educators around the state. Some of these projects are ongoing and offer long-term results and farmer-friendly resources. Access the guide.
Message from the Director
It is with both excitement and some sadness that I share the following news.  I will be transitioning out of my position at Cornell to assume a new role as the Director of the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, which is sponsored by the Local Economies Project and The New World Foundation.  I was drawn to this position because it represents an opportunity to execute a vision for local farm and food systems that I have worked toward for the last 25 years.  I will put 'boots on the ground' in one community/region and direct my efforts toward local change and growth.  I will be working with our Leadership Team to hire a new Director for the Cornell Small Farm Program. I will miss being at Cornell, but I will not be that far away!  I invite you to learn about the Hub and come visit when you are in the area.  -Anu Rangarajan
Unlock the Secrets of Your Farm's Soil Health with an Online Course Starting Oct 16 

No matter what you grow, the health of your "underground livestock" determines the productivity of your farm. Learning to understand what's happening with your soil and to apply the right management tools at the right time is part art and part science, and is key to growing your aboveground crops and livestock. BF 110: Soil Health - Building the Farm From the Ground Up is a 6-week online course that will help you understand, measure, and improve the health of your soil. The course consists of weekly real-time webinars followed by homework, readings, and discussions on your own time in an online setting. The course runs Thurs. Oct 16 - Nov. 20, 2014, with webinars Thurs. evenings from 6:30-8pm EST. The cost is $200, but multiple people from the same farm may participate without paying extra. See the course description page for more on the course learning objectives, instructors, and outline.

Online Permaculture Design Certification Course
 Our newest staff member, Steve Gabriel, is teaching the full permaculture design certification, starting with the first class on October 6th. You can take one course, or take all three and earn a permaculture certificate through the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute. Permaculture gardens, farms, and backyards balance the provision of human needs with improvement of local ecosystem health. Participants will explore the content through videos, readings, and activities and complete portions of design for a site of their choosing. Most of our participants take our distance courses for life enrichment or professional development. For each course you will receive a certificate of participation from our Office of Continuing Education and Continuing Education Units.  More and registration 
New Book From Cornell Professor & Small Farms Staffer
In Farming the Woods, authors Ken Mudge (Cornell Professor) and Steve Gabriel (Cornell Small Farms) discuss in detail how to cultivate, harvest, and market high-value non-timber forest crops such as American ginseng, shiitake mushrooms, ramps (wild leeks), maple syrup, fruit and nut trees, and ornamentals, along with profiles of forest farmers from around the country who are practicing forest farming every day.  To learn more about the book and order a signed copy visit:  www.FarmingTheWoods.com

September 23, 2014. 8pm. Pest Exclusion Fencing Webinar. The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA-NJ), an organic food and farming non-profit is offering a new webinar "Pest Exclusion Fencing." Livestock and pest exclusion fencing specialist Len Pollara will be giving this webinar presentation. Len will discuss how to match the fencing with your needs, installation tips, applications, where to source materials, and construction. Fence styles, fundamentals of fence construction, post and wire types and setting, and specific tips for various goals will be covered. A question and answer session will close-out the webinar. Visit http://www.nofanj.org/ for more information. 


September 23, 2014. Margin Protection Program for Dairy Webinar. Dairy farmers can learn more about the USDA margin protection program (MPP-Dairy) during a webinar through Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County. The first session will run from 10am - 12pm, the second from 1-3pm, and the final from 7-9pm. The goal is to introduce the MPP-Dairy program to dairy farmers and explain how it works in protecting dairy profit margins using national data including an all milk price and calculations for input feed costs. For registration or further information, contact Marylynn Collins or Bonnie Collins at Cornell Extension Oneida County in Oriskany. Their phone number is 315-736-3394 ext. 132 and extension 104 respectively. 

September 25, 2014. 7pm. Beginning Farmer Discussion Group Roundtable. CCE Auditorium at 21 South Grove St. East Aurora, NY 14052. Would you like to learn how to lobby for a new agricultural law? Are you interested in learning if you should set your business up as an LLC, Sole Proprietorship or Partnership? Do you want to know if any USDA grants are available for Beginning Farmers?  Attend our Beginning Farmer Discussion Group Roundtable on Thursday, September 25th at 7pm to meet the associations and service providers who are ready to help you with your Beginning Farmer needs. Participants include: Erie County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency  (FSA), Erie County Farm Bureau, Campbell, Bolas & Associates, LLP, and Farm Family Insurance. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Megan Burley at (716)652-5400 x138 or e-mail at [email protected]


October 1, 2014. Livestock Inputs Webinar. This webinar presented by the International Organic Inspectors Association and the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) will introduce commonly used organic materials, what organic inspectors look for during an inspection, and how OMRI evaluates livestock inputs. This webinar is part of a project designed to provide educational programming for veterinarians, Extension educators, and other professionals who routinely work with organic livestock. Click here for more information


October 11, 2014. 11am-5pm. Bel Canto Farm Festival. 341 Buck Hill Road North, Trumansburg, NY 14886. Bel Canto Farm is opening their doors to the public for a fun-filled day with their Alpacas and Kunekune pigs during their annual Fall Festival.  Learn about our farm life, the animals we raise and products we produce.   Enjoy personal time with the Alpacas and adorable, friendly Kunekune pigs and shop for luxurious alpaca clothing and home products.  Joining Bel Canto will be a variety of Finger Lakes Regional artisans selling their beautiful hand-made creations, local food producers offering tantalizing temptations for your palette, and entertaining musicians creating a magical mood for the celebration of all that is local.  You will also enjoy a variety of fiber demonstrations, face painting for the children and fiber crafts and have the opportunity to try your hand at spinning. The Festival is housed in our seasonally decorated barn rain or shine. So bring the entire family and join us for a one-of-a-kind day on the farm surrounded by the beautiful fall colors of our landscape. Admission is FREE, parking is $5 per car. For more information call:  (607) 387-7122 or email: [email protected]


MANY MORE EVENTS at our Statewide Events Calendar. 

Career Opportunities
  • Laughing Goat Fiber Farm Seeks Interns, Volunteers- Ithaca, NY

    How long has it been since you've hugged a baby goat? Too long. Laughing Goat Fiber Farm is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help them care for their animals and farm. A 50-Acre farm located on West Hill, just 4 miles from downtown Ithaca, Laughing Goat has a herd of about 100 angora and cashmere goats, as well as 9 alpacas and one very sassy sheep. They offer formal apprenticeships and internships, as well as casual volunteering opportunities. Contact Lisa at the farm to find out more: [email protected], 607-273-9212. 

  • Foodlink Community Nutrition Educator- Rochester, NY

    Foodlink is a regional food hub and the Feeding America food bank serving Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates Counties. Our operations target the root causes of hunger. We do this by distributing food to a network of human service agencies, serving meals through our commercial kitchen, and offering more than 30 food-related programs. In 2014, Foodlink distributed over 18 million pounds of food-including 3.6 million pounds of produce, offered more than 200 nutrition education courses, and creatednew access points for healthy foods in underserved communities. Our innovative approach directly addresses health disparities related to food insecurity. The ideal candidate for this position is someone who values education, collaboration, and innovation and cares deeply about addressing the problems of hunger and poverty in the community. Click here for more information
  • Farm Catskills Program Manager- Delhi, NY 

    Farm Catskills, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building sustainable communities in a working landscape, is currently seeking a contract program manager to connect our neighbors with fresh nutritious farm and homegrown foods through community centered farm and food programming. The application deadline is September 22, 2014. To apply, candidates must send resume with cover letter, three references and proposed hourly rate to: [email protected]. For more information, visit http://media.wix.com/ugd/a44c29_1d2a1ff75edd444d81635093cff8c1f5.pdf

  • Funding Opportunities
  • Wisconsin Worker Training Grants for Agriculture and Related Occupations- Due October 21st.  Wisconsin Fast Forward provides matching grants from $5,000 to $400,000 for employer-led programs that deliver customized training in agribusiness and related occupations to incumbent workers and/or job seekers. Apply at http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wff/grants/ff143al1.htm
  • Rodale Institute: Your Two Cents Fund -Rolling Applications Accepted through Dec. 31st
  • The Rodale Institute is offering grants of $5000 to farms in the Northeast which are or wish to become certified organic. Examples of strong asks include project specific asks (i.e. greenhouse improvements or upgrades or buildings), funds to assist in certification of organic acreage, funds to assist in purchase of equipment to help grow and expand the farm, and funds to purchase organic seed. See http://rodaleinstitute.org/assets/TwoCentsRFP-20Acres+.pdf for more information. 

  • Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America Safety Grants Program -Due Jan. 7, 2015
  • Grants up to $10,000 are being offered by the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America to provide financial support to promote evidence-based safety/health strategies addressing farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers. Find more information here

    Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by October 1st

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible. Visit http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAOC/bulletins/cd5fd3  for more information. 

    Latest Resources
  • Barnraiser is the 'Kickstarter' for Food 
    So you want to build the hoophouse of your dreams or start a teaching garden but lack the funds? The new site Barnraiser aims to help agriculture projects get off the ground through crowdsourcing. Barnraiser, which hopes to be the Kickstarter of the local and sustainable foods movement, launches September 9, 2014. It is both a platform for funding food-system related projects as well as a community for sharing news and connecting people who care about such issues. Visit the page at https://www.barnraiser.us/
  • Cold Climate Strawberry Farming Publication Now Online
    The University of Minnesota has released Cold Climate Strawberry Farming, a free, interactive e-book that details innovative marketing techniques, comprehensive cultivar recommendations, insurance requirements, and other essential business information. The book discusses best practices for growing strawberries and also introduces a new, season-extending method of growing strawberries using low tunnels and day-neutral cultivars. Access the free e-book at https://www.inkling.com/store/book/cold-climate-strawberry-farming-1st/
  • Organic Cost Share Resources Issued by NOP 

    USDA National Organic Program has announced a revised Frequently Asked Questions document and a new fact sheet to support the Organic Certification Cost Share Programs. These programs reimburse individual organic operators up to 75% of their certification costs up to $750 per category of certification. http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOPCostSharing

    Farm to School Evaluation Framework Launched 

    The National Farm to School Network has launched a new resource, Evaluation for Transformation: A Cross Sectoral Evaluation Framework for Farm to School. It defines outcomes farm to school can achieve and offers common language, guidelines, and metrics to help users understand and articulate those outcomes. The framework is organized around four key sectors: public health, community economic development, education, and environmental quality, and three levels of action: program, research, and policy. The evaluation framework and accompanying documents can be downloaded here.

    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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