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December 2nd, 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 
Sustainable Farm Energy Webinars
Energy efficiency and renewable energy are important components of farm sustainability, as often simple and inexpensive measures can save farmers money while improving air quality and reducing the environmental footprint of the farm. View our Sustainable Farm Energy page to view virtual tours of farms that have implemented sustainable energy designs such as wind turbines, biodiesel, solar panels, and even compost power. 

Farmers: Comment on proposed Food Safety rules by Dec. 15 

The FDA heard your concerns and made progress on proposed Food Safety Modernization Act regulations. However, there are still areas that could significantly limit the marketing abilities and bottom line of organic and specialty crop growers. Your personal stories made a difference for the better in the past. Your comments NOW will help craft a regulation that will ensure safe food without hurting organic production, conservation activities or our local food movement. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has an excellent website with background information, comment templates and links for sending the FDA your important concerns. Please don't delay-comment today!

Tips for Dealing With Severe Winter Weather

To minimize wind damage to greenhouses: remove loose objects from the area (including weak tree limbs), close all openings to the greenhouse, open the blower's intake valve on air inflated greenhouses to increase the inflation pressure, and consider planting windbreaks. Click here for more info about preventing or addressing greenhouse damage. If you are located in the Buffalo, NY region and suffered livestock deaths due to the recent storm, you may also be eligible for compensation through the Livestock Indemnity Program.

Is Vegetable Farming Right for You?
Vegetables are a popular enterprise choice for new farmers or for established farmers looking to diversify. Learn the ins and outs of starting a vegetable production in the Northeast, from seeding and transplants to site selection and the financial aspects of growing veggies, in an online course starting January 7th.  BF 120: Vegetable Farming, Part 1 is a 6-week online course that will help you determine whether you want to grow vegetables and give you the skills and knowledge to do so. The course consists of weekly real-time webinars followed by homework, readings, and discussions on your own time in an online setting. 
This class is part of the line-up of 12 online courses offered this Fall, Winter and Spring by the Cornell Small Farms Program. Click here to learn which courses would be best for you, read about our team of experienced instructors, see answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and view the calendar of course offerings for 2014-2015.

December 4, 2014. 2pm. Introducing Radishes into the Organic Pasture Webinar. Join eOrganic for a webinar on considerations for introducing radishes into the organic pasture by Cornell Cooperative Extension's Fay Benson and Liz Burrichter. Radishes can provide two benefits to the organic dairy pasture: 1) to extend the grazing season with a high energy feedstock, and 2) to provide "bio-drills" by utilizing the tap roots of these plants to address soil compaction. In this webinar, Fay Benson and Liz Burrichter will describe their on-farm research with brassicas, including no-till seeding Daikon Radish into grazing swards. Go here to register


December 5th, 2014 or March 6th, 2015. 9am to 12pm. Pruning Workshops. Finger Lakes Teaching and Demonstration Vineyard at Anthony Road Wine Company. 1020 Anthony Road, Penn Yan, NY 14527. Are you interested in learning how to prune grape vines? Then you won't want to miss the Finger Lakes Grape Program's pruning class and hands-on demonstration. There will be a brief indoor session with Plenty of time to get familiarized with proper techniques and ask any questions you may have. Then we will go outside and all attendees will have the opportunity  to prune vines on three different training systems. Cost is $25 a person. Pre-registration is required. Call Yates County Cooperative Extension at (315) 536-5134 or register on-line at http://flgp.cce.cornell.edu/event_preregistration.php?event=163

December 6th.  9am to 12 pm. Southern Tier Maple School. Tyrone Fire Hall; SR 226; Tyrone, NY.  Featuring Cornell Cooperative Extension's state maple specialist, Steve Childs, this annual refresher will help maple producers of all levels improve the productivity, efficiency and profitability of their operations.  The first hour will provide information on getting started to those new to maple syrup production.  Light refreshments provided. This event is free and open to the public.  For general information on maple syrup production, please visit www.cornellmaple.com.  For additional questions, contact Brett Chedzoy of Schuyler CCE: bjc226@cornell.edu (ph: 607-535-7161). 


December 6th, 2014. 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Grazing Stockpiled Forage Winter Pasture Walk: When Planning Meets Reality. Bishopp Family Farm, 2809 Route 12-B, Deansboro (Oneida County) - If you're interested in the attributes of planned grazing, seeing the results of rationing out stockpiled forage and companion forage tests, learn about the opportunities and challenges of extended grazing in the Northeast and networking with fellow farmers, plan to attend.  The Bishopp's will be serving a fabulous local lunch that will stimulate thinking and plenty of good conversations.  The cost is $20 (prepaid preferably) and you must register by calling (315) 841-3336.  This day is supported by Maple Hill Creamery in Stuyvesant, NY, a USDA-NRCS CIG grant focused on energy savings through holistic planned grazing and management, through the University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Pennsylvania Certified Organic.  If you want to follow along with the Bishopp's stockpiled grazing story go to http://www.thegrasswhisperer.com


January 8, 2015. NYS Ag Society's 183rd Agricultural Forum- "Diversification for Success: Strategically Positioning You and Your Business for the Future." Holiday Inn, Syracuse/Liverpool, NY. Finding our niche in production agriculture is a constantly evolving challenge.  Is it time to diversify?  Is value-added vertical integration the way to go?  Independently or a cooperative effort?  Keynote speaker, Dr. David Kohl, will address these questions and more, engaging Forum attendees in a dynamic and informative program.  Professor Emeritus of Agriculture and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech, Dr. Kohl is known as "The Road Warrior of Agriculture", having travelled almost 9 million miles and conducting over 6,000 workshops for diverse agricultural audiences throughout his career.  Following his keynote address, Dr. Kohl will moderate a discussion with several New York farmers who have their own unique diversification stories to share. or complete meeting details, visit: http://www.nysagsociety.org/forum-backup/. To register online, visit: https://plazameetings.com/nysas/



MANY MORE EVENTS at our Statewide Events Calendar. 

Career, Etc. Opportunities
  • Rural Health Service Corps (AmeriCorps/VISTA) -Central NYS 

    The purpose of the Rural Health Service Corps is to provide meaningful service and learning opportunities for people committed to improving the health and lives of those living in South Central New York State.  RHSC is now accepting applications for full-time AmeriCorps positions in Binghamton, NY. As an AmeriCorps member serving with RHSC, you will be on the front lines, working to address critical health needs and issues, while at the same time developing profession skills and experience. A full-time AmeriCorps service term is for ONE YEAR. Positions currently available include Health Access Specialist and Mobility and Transportation Advocate. Click here for more information

  • Sales Leader, Crew Position at Huguenot Street Farm -New Paltz, NY

  • Huguenot Street Farm grows 10+ acres of diverse, mixed vegetables for a 200 member CSA and restaurants. This position will be in charge of our restaurant and wholesale accounts throughout the growing season. They will be in regular communication with our restaurants and markets and will be responsible for record keeping, harvesting, packing and delivering vegetables to these accounts.  When not working in sales, this position will join the crew to perform field tasks. This position will be 45-50 hours/week at the height of the season, but between 35- 45 hours in the spring and the fall. This position will run from March- November with the option to work multiple seasons.  Compensation will be $10-$12/hour with the potential for on-farm housing. If interested, please send a cover letter and resume to gavin@huguenotfarm.com with 2-3 references. Please also specify which position you are applying for.

  • Farmer Recruitment Specialist at Harvest Home -NYC 

    Harvest Home has the largest network of farmers markets based in "fresh and healthy food-desert" communities with high rates of diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and heart disease that collectively serve over 250,000 shoppers every season.  They are seeking a temporary staff person to assist with the development of farmers markets in low income communities by recruiting growers of fruits, vegetables and other locally grown and produced foods like herbs, meats, dairy, breads, pastries, etc. in the New York metropolitan region including New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The Farmer Recruitment Specialist will also establish a line of communication with the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Farmer's Market Federation of New York and any other agriculture entities in the Metropolitan New York region that can support the goal of increased participation at market locations during the 2015 market season. This is a part time position from January to May 2015. To apply, send cover letter and resume to  info@harvesthomefm.org

  • Funding Opportunities
  • National Gardening Association Youth Garden Grant -Due Dec. 5th

    Twenty awards will be offered this year to support youth garden programs in the United States. The selection of winners is based on the demonstrated relationship between the garden program and education related to the environment, health and nutrition issues, character education, and entrepreneurship in the United States. More information

  • Scholarship for NOFA-NY Winter Conference -Due Dec. 1

    Scholarships are available for this year's NOFA-NY conference, which will take place January 23rd to 25th at the Saratoga Hilton and City Center and has the theme "Soil: The Root of the Movement." Scholarships cover registration fees, which include breakfast and lunch (transportation, travel, and dinners are not included).  Each scholarship recipient will be assigned a work shift to be completed leading up to or during their time at the Winter Conference. Fill out a scholarship application here. Find out more about the conference at www.nofanyconference.org

  • Iowa Watershed Improvement Review Board Water Quality Grants -Due Dec. 29 

    Approximately $830,000 is available through the Watershed Improvement Review Board to support qualifying projects that will improve water quality in Iowa. Up to $250,000 per project is available to local watershed-improvement committees, soil and water conservation districts, public water-supply utilities, county conservation boards, cities, and counties. To learn more, visit http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/press/2014press/press11062014.asp
  • Latest Resources
  • Cover Crop Survey Report

    For the second year in a row, a national survey of farmers has documented a yield boost from the use of cover crops in corn and soybeans, as well as a wide variety of other benefits. The survey - which was funded by the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and carried out by the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) - also details the challenges and benefits farmers expect from cover crops, data on the costs of seed and establishment, and insight into how farmers learn to manage cover crops. Download the report here
  • The Top 6 Improvements With Whole-Farm-Revenue Insurance Policy


    Recently, the Risk Management Agency released the new Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) insurance policy. Farmers now have until late February or early March to sign up, depending on the county they farm in. The 2014 Farm Bill created the new option, aimed at diversified farms, including mixed grain and livestock operations, local food producers, organic farmers, and others for whom single commodity insurance protection is not a good option. As farmers start to contemplate whether to sign up, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition thought it would be a good idea to identify the top six reasons WFRP is better than its predecessor whole-farm policies, known as adjusted gross revenue (AGR and AGR-Lite). Read through the top 6 improvements 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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