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November 18th, 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 
Northland Sheep Dairy: 100% Grassfed Sheep
and Artisanal Cheese
Meet MaryRose Livingston of Northland Sheep Dairy in Marathon, NY. Together with her husband Donn Hewes, she raises a flock of dairy sheep and produces cheeses, wool, and meat that she sells at the Ithaca Farmers Market. Donn and MaryRose also produce most of their own hay using a team of draft horses and mules. See how they do it in this Small Farms YouTube video

Sign Up for a NE Beginning Farmers Online Course this Winter

The snow has started falling, which means that the winter online course season has begun! Here are the courses coming up in January 2015: BF 102: Markets and ProfitsBF 104: Financial Record KeepingBF 203: Holistic Financial PlanningBF 120: Vegetable Production I, and BF 140: Small-scale Organic Grain ProductionThese courses consists of weekly real-time webinars followed by homework, readings, and discussions on your own time in an online setting. 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 outlines.  

NY Veterans in Agriculture Summit: Reflections

Thank you to the nearly 100 veterans and service providers that joined the Vets in Ag Summit on November 6th at the NYS Fairgrounds.  We had many productive discussions about steps needed to prepare and support veterans interested in agricultural careers. To learn more about the meeting or download the agenda, click here.  We'll be posting outcomes from the day at this site soon.  To receive alerts of agriculture events or training geared toward veterans and service providers, please sign up for our 'Veteran in Ag' list-serve by filling out this short interest form.   


December 2, 2014. Best Management Practices for New High Tunnel Growers.  Civil Defense Center, 7220 State Route 54, Bath, NY. This program is targeted for commercial growers new to high tunnels but all who are interested in improving their crop yield, quality, and profitability by using high tunnels are welcome. Topics include site selection & structural considerations, crop & variety selection, cultural management, disease management, and an experienced grower panel. Registration is due by November 25, 2014. Cost is $25/person and includes lunch, refreshments and resource materials. To register online with a credit card visit http://cvp.cce.cornell.edu, or call Stephanie Mehlenbacher at 607-583-3240. 


December 10-11, 2014. Calf & Heifer Congress 2014 - Birth to Breeding. RIT Inn and Conference Center outside of Rochester, NY located off Exit 46 of the New York State Thruway.  Presented by Cornell University Extension and the Cornell PRO-DAIRY Program, the conference will go beyond the management of the young calf this year. The timeline will extend from the calving event to breeding age. We have worked to incorporate expanded knowledge on common practices as well as venture into what research might tell us where replacement rearing and associated economics are going down the road.  To register on-line go to http://www.cvent.com/d/k4qctr/4W


December 17, 2014. 8:30am to 4:00pm. Spotted Wing Drosophila Winter Regional Workshops. Ramada Inn, 1305 Buckley Road, Syracuse, NY 13212. This is the place to learn current SWD information, the most recent research results, and management practices. The 2015 Producers Expo will focus on other topics of importance to berry growers. Presentations by Cornell Researchers, Extension, and NYSBGA on SWD will focus on biology; management including cultural, biological and chemical/technology; early warning signs and symptoms of infestation; and decision making resources. CCA credits and 5.5 DEC credits are available! Categories 1A, 10, 22, 23 & 24. Registration cost is $25 for NYSBGA members and $50 for non-members. Registrations MUST be received 7 days prior; late fee is $20. There is also an Eastern NY workshop (January 14, 2015 at 24 Martin Road, Voorheesville, NY 12186) and a Western NY workshop (March 4, 2015 at 8250 Park Road, Batavia, NY 14020). Click here for more information


January 23 to 25, 2015. NOFA-NY's 33rd Annual Organic Farming & Gardening Conference. Saratoga Springs Hilton: 534 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, New York 12866. The theme for the conference is "Soil: The Root of the Movement," and to highlight the importance of soil we are excited that Wes Jackson, founder and President of the Land Institute will be the keynote speaker. The work of the Land Institute is to address the issues of soil loss and degradation, ecosystem destruction, and high energy use associated with agriculture. Find more information and register here.


February 19-21, 2014. Farmers Market Manager Training Conference. Ramada Inn in Liverpool. The conference will focus on farmers markets and building programs and services that maintain connections with the market farmers, consumers, and host communities. Our keynote speakers, Gretchen Wall of the Produce Safety Alliance and John Luker, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, will discuss food safety, specifically the Food Safety Modernization Act and current food safety regulations. Get more information at http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/annual-conference


MANY MORE EVENTS at our Statewide Events Calendar. 

Career, Etc. Opportunities
  • Groundswell Incubator Farm Accepting Applications - Ithaca, NY 

    The Groundswell Center's Farm Business Incubator Program is again accepting applications from beginning farmers who are ready to launch a new farm enterprise.  New producers who participate in the 2015 Incubator Program get access to land, irrigation, tools and equipment, as well as mentoring from Groundswell's network of experienced farmers and business consultants.  People interested in launching new farm enterprises can apply for either 1/8 acre or 1/4 acre plots in their 1st year, and are able to apply for additional space (up to acre) in their 2nd year.  Interested producers are encouraged to contact Groundswell Staff at devon@groundswellcenter.org to discuss their farming goals and understand the policies of the Incubator Program. More Information.  

  • Groundswell Education Program Manager - Ithaca, NY 

    Groundswell is an agriculture education organization based in Ithaca, NY, that seeks to empower and to direct resources to historically disadvantaged populations, including people of color, new immigrants, veterans, and those with very limited economic resources, who have often been excluded from the sustainable farming and local foods movements. The successful candidate will work closely with Groundswell's Director, Incubator Program Manager, and USDA Project Advisory Team to plan and coordinate multiple training programs, courses, and workshops for beginning and aspiring farmers. To apply: send resume, writing sample, and cover letter to info@groundswellcenter.org. Please include three references with contact information.  Application deadline is November 25th.

  • StopPests in Housing Trainer and Consultant - Cornell University, Ithaca NY  

    This position at the Northeastern IPM Center will engage, coach, and train participating affordable housing providers in order to address housing conditions that threaten human health. Specifically, they will contact designated housing providers to establish the status of their IPM program. Build relationships with fellow trainers, governmental agencies and Regional IPM centers. Collect and update records of contacts through the management system. Provide technical assistance as-needed to prepare for on-site IPM trainings. Coordinate with co-trainers and local support agencies for on-site trainings. Arrange training logistics with the housing provider and meal logistics with caterers. Please apply through Cornell's Taleo system at: https://cornellu.taleo.net/careersection/10164/jobdetail.ftl?job=26167 

  • Northeast IPM Grants and Partnerships Coordinator - Cornell University, Ithaca NY 

    This position at the Northeastern IPM Center is responsible for managing all aspects of the Center's Partnership Grants Program, annually revising the Request for Applications for our Partnerships Grant Program, recruiting and leading the review panel, coordinating sub-award documents, and monitoring progress and expenditures. Resolve discrepancies that arise from financial reports and invoices, and track project data. Communicate the scope and goals of the projects to staff and others.  Please apply through Cornell's Taleo system at: https://cornellu.taleo.net/careersection/10164/jobdetail.ftl?job=26183

  • Produce & Aggregation Manager - New York City

    Corbin Hill Food Project's (CHFP) mission is to supply fresh fruit and vegetables to where they are needed most. Launched in 2010, CHFP is a food hub linking more than 30 NY state farmers with NYC consumers and businesses through its Farm Share, Wholesale and Community Health programs. Reporting to the General Manager, the Produce & Aggregation Manager is responsible for purchasing high quality fruits, vegetables and other select items from existing relationships with CHFP farmers and producers as well as sourcing new products at an optimal price to achieve CHFP's sales and financial goals and enable the Company to achieve profitability. For more information, see http://blogs.cornell.edu/smallfarms/files/2014/11/produce-and-aggregation-manager-1g4q48i.pdf

  • Livestock Guardian Dog Pups for Sale Near Watkins Glen, NY

    Born September 21st, 2014, pups are 3/4 Great Pyrenees and 1/4 Maremma.  They are trained on electronet and are brought up with piglets, poultry (ducks and chickens), sheep and lambs.  We have had zero losses to coyotes, coydogs, bears, owls and hawks since placing the parent dogs with our animals several years ago.  Dogs are gentle with  children and farm cats.  Males and females available.  Most are white or white with badger markings.  All pups will have received their complete set of shots before leaving our farm.  References provided upon request for pups purchased by other farms from our past litters. We are located near Watkins Glen, NY. Please contact shannon@shannonbrookfarm.com. 

    Funding Opportunities
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program Honey Bee Habitat - Due Nov. 21

    The USDA is offering more than $4 million to help farmers and ranchers in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin improve the health of honey bees. The assistance will provide guidance and support to implement conservation practices that will provide safe and diverse food sources for honey bees. Funding will be provided to producers through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Learn more at http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2014/10/0241.xml
  • New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program - Due Dec. 15 

    The New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program provides loan-forgiveness awards to individuals who obtain an undergraduate degree from an approved New York State college or university and agree to operate a farm in New York State, on a full-time basis, for five years. The maximum lifetime award is $50,000. Learn more here.
  • WaterSMART: Water and Energy Efficiency Grants - Due Jan. 14 


    U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation is inviting States, Tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other organizations with water or power delivery to apply for a cost-share on projects that conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy, and improve energy efficiency. Up to $300,000 will be available for projects taking up to two years to complete. Up to $1 million will be available for larger, phased projects. Learn more at http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48072

  • Latest Resources
  • Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities Updated
    The newly updated "Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities: A Guide to Federal Programs for Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry, Entrepreneurship, Conservation, Food Systems, and Community Development" is a one-stop guide with details about federal programs and how to apply for them. The publication provides descriptions, eligibility, and application requirements for nearly 70 individual programs. The publication is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was produced in cooperation with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). View the guide at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=279
  • Sustainable Strawberry E-Book Released 
    The National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative has released a new e-book on sustainable strawberry production, Moving the Needle: Accomplishments of the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative 2013-2014. The 60-page digital publication distills the results of 20 sustainability research projects and links to more than 70 videos, tools, and publications created to improve the sustainability of U.S. strawberry production. Find more information at http://arkansasagnews.uark.edu/8248.htm.  
  • Science of Soil Health Videos Online 


    A new series of videos, called "The Science of Soil Health," is designed to provide new insight into how to improve soil health while benefiting the environment and lowering production costs. The series includes interviews with some of the nation's leading experts in soil biology, agronomy, entomology, and soil ecology. The whole video series can be viewed on the USDA-NRCS website

  • New Guide Available on Matched Savings Accounts for Beginning Farmers
  • A collaborative of 16 organizations has recently published a new step-by-step manual, A Guide to Developing and Operating an Agricultural Individual Development Account (IDA) Program. Readers will learn the basics of IDAs and find a comprehensive collection of resources that cover many aspects of IDA program development. The Guide is a resource for organizations interested in starting their own IDA programs. The 164-page guide is online in PDF.

  • Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs Available from NSAC
  • The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has released its 2014 Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs. This free, digital guide offers plain-language explanations of the dozens of federal programs and policies most important to sustainable agriculture and how farmers, ranchers, and grassroots organizations nationwide can access them. Check out the guide at http://sustainableagriculture.net/publications/grassrootsguide/

    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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