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February 16th, 2015

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 
Training: Telling Better Stories 
On April 11th, 2013, the Cornell Small Farms Program hosted a training for agriculture educators, service providers, and farmers seeking to become better story tellers.  The training provided professional journalism instruction on how to fine-tune interview skills, use style appropriately, find reliable facts and sources efficiently, develop engaging narratives, take better photographs and create podcasts. Access videos, handouts, and PowerPoints from the workshop here.
Organic Vegetable Breeding Needs Assessment Survey 
Exercise your right to inform public breeding and assure your public vegetable breeding program is working on breeding relevant to your needs!  If you are a vegetable grower in the Northeast using organic growing practices (regardless of whether your farm is certified organic), please fill out this survey. The survey is being conducted as part of the Vegetable Breeding Program of Cornell University under breeder Dr. Michael Mazourek.

Step It Up in 2015 Winter Grazing Conference
February 26, 2015. 10:00am-3:00 pm. Byrncliff Resort and Conference Center, 2357 Humphrey Road, Varysburg, NY.
This conference will focus on dairy graziers. Keynote speaker Bruce Rivington, a dairy grazier from Hamilton, NY, will speak about the Business Side of the Grazing Dairy. Other topics include Milking Efficiencies with Pasture Based Herds; Grain vs. No-Grain - What's Profitable? and How Many Cows Can Your Farm Support - It Depends. The day will conclude with a farmer/speaker panel focusing on Improving Your Grazing Operation. Register here or contact Cathy Wallace at 585.343.3040 x138 or cwf6@cornell.edu. Direct any questions to Nancy Glazier at 585.315.7746 or nig3@cornell.edu.   

QuickBooks 3-Part Webinar Series
Part I: February 26th, 2015. 12:00 pm. Parts II and III: Date and Time TBA
The Carrot Project and Julia Shanks Food Consulting are offering a webinar series on QuickBooks and farm accounting. QuickBooks is the industry-standard accounting software. At a minimum, it's a robust, digitized system for balancing your checkbook. At its best, it can help you understand your business and make effective managerial decisions based on your economic reality. Find more information here.

Farm to City Expo 2015, Going with the Grain: The Renaissance of NYS Grain Production
March 10th, 2015. 12pm to 2:20pm. Javits Center, NYC
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Empire State Development are co-hosting the annual Farm to City Expo 2015 at the International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York. This discussion is a two panel forum featuring speakers from many ends of the grain value chain.  New York State has been growing grain since 1678 and it's seen a recent increase in production.  In fact, grain can now be found on more tables across the state than ever before. Come hear the ways you can bring local grain to your table! Register here and be sure to enter the discount code FARMTOCITY.  

NYCO Meeting: Producing, Protecting, and Marketing of Organic Grain
March 10th, 2015. 10am. NYS Agricultural Experiment Station Jordan Hall, 614 W. North Street, Geneva
New York Certified Organic (NYCO) is a group of organic grain and dairy farmers which has been meeting together since 1994 to increase their practical knowledge and expertise with the organic production of crops and milk. At this meeting Wegman's Bakery Team will discuss their locally-produced organic grain in a new line of breads, Sam Sherman will describe Champlain Valley Mills and their products, Dr. Heather Darby will go over results from her grain trials in Vermont, Jeff Liebert will talk about cover crop-based, organic, rotational no-till soybean systems, and Fay Benson will go over the new organic crop insurance program for organic grains. No RSVPs required, and no cost to attend the meetings but participants are asked to bring a dish to pass at the potluck lunch. 

Beginner and Backyard Grape Production Workshop
March 11, 2015. 6-8:30pm. Vince's Park- at the intersection of Rte 318 and Rte 5&20.
This introductory level course, taught by Michael Colizzi of CCE's Finger Lakes Grape Program, will focus on backyard and beginning small-scale commercial grape production. The class will cover topics such as site selection, site preparation, choosing varieties, and what you will need to do to keep your vines healthy. Cost: $15.00 per family/farm. Register online here or contact Derek Simmonds at 315-539-9251 or dcs285@cornell.edu. 

Poultry School: Raising Pastured Birds for Soil Health and Flavor
March 28-29, 2015. Stone Barns Center, 630 Bedford Rd, Pocantico Hills, NY. 

Poultry School is a two-day intensive of classroom and hands-on workshops, guest speakers, and forums to explore current issues, methods and technologies in raising pastured poultry including layer-chickens, meat-chickens, turkeys and geese. Program cost is $100. Registration will open on Friday, February 20 at 10:00 am. Please visit the Stone Barns website for more information: http://www.stonebarnscenter.org/products/poultry-school.html.

MANY MORE EVENTS at our Statewide Events Calendar.
Career, Etc. Opportunities
  • Sustainable Nantucket Seeks Agricultural Apprentices -Nantucket Island, MA

    Successful candidates will be paired with an island grower, or with the Farm to School Program, based on the interests and skill set of the apprentice. Apprentices will experience and participate in many aspects of small-scale farming in our sensitive island environment, from greenhouse cultivation to field planting & harvest to farm stand sales. Weekly educational apprentice meetings will be held and will include readings, discussion, field visits and hands-on application. They will participate in the Sustainable Nantucket Farmers & Artisans Market on behalf of the farms, and possibly in restaurant delivery. Apprentices will also meet once a week as a group for 2 hours on an educational project, including readings, discussion, field visits and hands-on application. The internship will run from June 1st to October 10th and wages range from $9 to $10 an hour. To apply, email dennie@sustainablenantucket.org to request a questionnaire, then send your resume and questionnaire responses to that same email address. 

  • Positions at Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture -South Deerfield, MA 

    Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) is a non-profit organization that strengthens farms and engages the community to build the local food economy. They currently have three job openings: Office Assistant, Program Associate, and Program Coordinator. The Office Assistant provides administrative and logistical support for fundraising, program, and administration functions. The Local Hero Program Associate supports the Local Hero staff in implementing the mission of the organization. The Program Coordinator supports the Special Projects Director in strengthening local agriculture by building connections between farmers and the community. For more information, visit http://www.buylocalfood.org/about/people/job-opening/

  • NY Farm Distillery Seeking Farm Supply

    A distillery owner starting up a business in Westchester, NY seeks a farmer for supply purposes. Open to multiple arrangement options, he is looking for someone with the ability to grow corn, barley, rye and possibly other grains. The distillery owner is also interested in fruit farming. Preferential treatment given to a farmer closer to the southern part of New York State. Please contact Vincent Miata at (914)772-8336 or vinnymiata@yahoo.com.

  • Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships 

    This directory of on-the-job learning opportunities in sustainable and organic agriculture has been published by ATTRA since 1989 as a tool to help farmers and apprentices connect with each other. It is available for farms in the U.S and its territories (though there are a few in Canada and the Caribbean as well). Anyone can browse the listings for free. View the directory at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/internships/

  • Training New Farmers?  Seeking A Place to Learn to Farm? 

    NOFA-NY has two online methods to help potential farm workers and farms connect. For standard labor arrangements, farms can post on the NOFA-NY classifieds page and those seeking farm work should check that page frequently. For on-farm immersion and education types of work, NOFA encourages the creation of legal, safe, and fulfilling educational opportunities on farms through the On-Farm Education Opportunities Directory and accompanying resources for enhancing on-farm education. Host farms and potential trainees are invited to post their information, or update their existing information, to facilitate this season's training for our future farmers!  

  • Funding Opportunities
  • USDA Announces the Availability of $16 Million to Support Food Production -Due April 2nd

    The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced the availability of more than $16 million in funding to support research, education and Extension efforts to improve food production and increase food security, defined as regular access to affordable, nutritious food. NIFA is funding the grants through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Food Security program. A letter of intent is due April 2, 2015, and full applications are due June 4, 2015. Please see the request for applications for specific program requirements.
  • USDA Announces Over $9 Million to Support Veteran and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers 

    Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden has announced over $9 million in grant funds will soon be available for outreach and technical assistance to minority and veteran farmers and ranchers. This funding will enable community-based organizations, eligible higher education institutions and tribal organizations to work directly with these groups to successfully acquire, own and operate farms and ranches and to access all USDA programs and services. More information about this 2501 Program including forthcoming grant notice and application deadlines is available at: http://www.outreach.usda.gov/grants/index.htm
  • USDA AMS Local Foods and Farmers Market Grant Trainings

    Training 1: March 31. 9:30am-3:30pm. Jordan Hall, NYS Ag Experiment Station in Geneva, NY

    Training 2: April 2.  9:30am-3:30pm. State Office Building, 55 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, NY.
    USDA AMS is providing technical assistance training on two grants - the Local Foods Promotion Grants Program and the Farmers Market Promotion Grants Program.  The purpose is to improve the quality of the applications that are received especially from small grassroots groups working in our communities to improve food access and food security. Click here for more information.

  • USDA Accepting Applications for Rural Energy for America Program
    Rural agricultural producers and small business owners can now apply to USDA for resources to purchase and install renewable-energy systems or make energy-efficiency improvements. USDA announced that it is making more than $280 million available to eligible applicants in the form of grants and loans through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Application deadlines vary by project type and the type of assistance requested. Find more information.
    Latest Resources
  • John's 12 Month Farm Finance Challenge   


    Fourteen farms and counting will be sharing their farms' detailed financial records, covering many different crops, for each month in 2015. This is a great opportunity to see just how profitable different farming enterprises are! And if you want to join the challenge and share your own financial records, you can contact John at http://www.farmmarketingsolutions.com/contact/. Find more information about the challenge here

  • Finding Farmland: A Farmer's Guide to Working with Land Trusts

    The National Young Farmers Coalition has released a new guide for farmers, designed to provide an introduction to land trusts and explain the process of partnering with a land trust to access affordable farmland. You can download the guide as a PDF or purchase a copy for $8 through NYFC's online store.
  • SNAP for Direct Marketing Farmers and Farmers Markets 

    The USDA has appropriated another $4 million to help direct marketing farmers and farmers markets join the SNAP program. Joining the SNAP program involves a three step process. The first is to complete an eligibility assessment to determine whether the USDA funds can supply a free terminal (iPhone 5 with data plan, card reader and printer) or whether NYS funds can be used to assist you in using your own iPhone, iPad or Android. The second step is the online USDA SNAP retailer application. The final step is to complete the application for a third party processor, WorldPay, to process transactions. With MarketLink, you can complete your applications today and be accepting transaction payments through your iPhone in as little as two weeks! The Farmers Market Federation of NY will be holding free webinars to help direct marketing farmers and market managers understand the MarketLink program and will schedule phone appointments with attendees to complete the application process.

  • Post-Harvest Handling Presentation Available Online 

    The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture is making a presentation available online on post-harvest handling for produce. The presentation covers harvest, cleaning and cooling, packing area infrastructure, sorting and grading, storage, transport, and more. Companion handouts are also available online. View the presentation 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.