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March 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 
people vegetable winter squash woman Beginning Farmer Trainer's Toolbox
Organizations that support beginning farmers can visit our Trainer's Toolbox for info about our network of beginning farmer service providers, archived service provider webinars and trainings, data on the economic impact of beginning farms, and lists of farm incubators and land access programs. Visit the toolbox at http://nebeginningfarmers.org/trainers/.

People Staff Matthew Weiss Joins Small Farms Team

We are pleased to announce that we have hired Matthew Weiss to fill the role of Northeast Beginning Farmer Project Coordinator. Matt is an Ithaca, New York native who has returned to the Finger Lakes region after spending seven years living in Philadelphia, PA. Matt has a B.S. in Communications from Cornell University and an M.S. in Community and Regional Planning from Temple University, where he focused on environmental planning and the collaborative planning process. Most recently, Matt spent three and a half years working with small farms in Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey on direct-to-consumer sales and marketing through farmers' markets, CSAs, and buying clubs. His work in Philadelphia involved coordinating partnerships across a diverse group of stakeholders including farmers, small business owners, non-profits, and government agencies.  He is very excited to be returning to his roots in Central New York while continuing to work with small farms to help them grow and thrive.   

Apply now for New Farmer Profit Teams 


This initiative seeks to improve the long-term success of advanced beginning farmers by providing selected farmers with customized, one-on-one guidance from farm professionals (financial, production, legal, marketing, etc.) over an 18-mo to 2-year period. These New Farmer Profit Teams are modeled on Dairy Profit Teams, which have a track record of improving productivity, profitability, and efficiency. The application deadline is April 1, and in this first round, 10 farms will be chosen. A second round of applicants will be accepted in Fall 2015. Learn more on our Beginning Farmer website.

The Basics of Solar Thermal Water Heating

March 18th, 2015. 10 am to noon. CCE in Oneida County
In the United States, water is typically heated using natural gas, electricity (generated from coal, natural gas, or hydro-power), or propane. Water heating often account for a significant percent of the total energy used for homes, farms and businesses. Come and learn about solar hot water systems that are designed to capture the sun's energy to heat water, as well incentives that are available to make these systems very attractive for consumers. Please register for this event here by March 17, 2015 as space is limited, or RSVP to Mary Wrege at mpw57@cornell.edu or (315) 736-3394 ext. 131.

Soils 101: Beginning Farmer Discussion Group
March 19th, 2015. 6pm to 8pm. CCE Erie County 21 South Grove Street, East Aurora, NY 14052
Hear from Carol MacNeil, Extension Vegetable Specialist with the Cornell Vegetable Program, and learn about soil health, how to read a soil test, applying fertilizer, and how to apply different types of amendments for soil pH.   Also meet Allen Young, Technician for the Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District.  Allen will discuss different equipment used for tillage on a farm, no-till practices, and the basics of soil erosion. More information.

Cow Dairy cows livestock

Lunch with Jerry: Organic Dairy Discussion Series
March 19, 20, 26, 31, and April 1, 2015. 11am to 2pm. Various locations in NYS.
These discussions are an opportunity for farmers to share what they have tried and learned in the past year, and to make plans and identify goals for 2015. Farmers who are currently certified as well as those thinking of transitioning to organic production are welcome. CCE educator Fay Benson notes that these meetings are an excellent place for farmers who are considering whether organic production is a good fit for their farm to ask questions. Click here for the full event schedule

Malting Barley Roundtable
March 24, 2015. 11am to 2pm. Tally-Ho Restaurant, 156 Main St (State Route 20) Richfield Springs, NY.
This roundtable discussion is for anyone planning on or thinking about growing malting barley this coming growing season as a chance to meet with others who are considering this crop. In 2014 malting barley fields were monitored around the state last summer for disease and quality. The results of that monitoring program will provide the basis for the discussion. A similar monitoring program will be offered this year so if you are interested please plan to attend. We will also discuss the malting barley variety testing that has occurred to date. Registration and lunch are free but please pre-register by March 20th.  

Public Training for Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, and Asian Longhorned Beetle Identification and Management
April 8, 2015. 12pm - 4pm. Civil Defense Center, 7220 State Rte 54, Bath NY.
These invasive insects pose a serious threat to our forests and forest industries. Participants will learn how to detect and identify these pests and how to get involved to slow their spread. Please contact Emily Staychock to register for this free event: ecs268@cornell.edu; 315-536-5123 x4127.

MANY MORE EVENTS at our Statewide Events Calendar.
Career, Etc. Opportunities
Gourds Pumpkins Winter Squash Autumn Fall
Agriculture Economic Development Specialist - Ontario County, NY 
The AED is responsible for creating and implementing Agriculture Educational Economic Business development programming.  This Senior Resource Educator will develop formal educational or training programs or informational classes, and/or lectures designed around the business development needs of Ontario County's growing agriculture community.  This role will work in conjunction with Cornell Cooperative Extension staff, Ontario County Economic development Department and Cornell Cooperative Extension's Agriculture Advisory committee to research new agriculture business strategies to develop new and innovative educational programs for the local community or to explore new emerging business markets for local agriculture stakeholders to pursue. Full job description 
Organic Farm for Sale in West Hoosick, NY
The 25 acre property includes an 1800s farmhouse, many barns, a fenced garden, a stream, amended soil, and plenty of fresh water. The farm is selling for $290,000. Email curryfarm@gmail.com for pictures and more information, or you can find the property on craigslist Albany. 
Funding Opportunities
  • First Nations Development Institute - Native Agriculture & Food Systems Initiative - Due March 25 

    This program seeks to support projects that address food-system control, food insecurity and food deserts. Projects should be committed to increasing healthy food access in rural and reservation-based Native communities and improving the health and well-being of Native American children and families. An average of $26,000 is available. View more info at http://www.firstnations.org/grantmaking/2015NAFSI
  • Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program-Organic Transitions -Letter of Intent Due March 26 

    USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is requesting applications for Organic Transitions (ORG) for FY 2015. ORG supports projects designed to solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education, and extension activities in program areas. Approximately $4 million is available to colleges and universities under this program. View the RFA here.
  • Grape Fruit Wine Funding for Specialty Crop and Organic Agriculture Research and Extension -Letter of Intent Due April 1st

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the availability of more than $66.5 million in funding for research and extension activities to address the needs of America's specialty crop industry and solve critical organic agricultural production issues. Specialty crops are defined in law as "fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture."  Funded projects will aid farmers and ranchers with whole farm planning by delivering practical research-based information and will improve the ability for growers to develop the Organic System Plan required for certification. View the RFA here
  • Ag and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change Challenge Area -Letter of Intent Due April 2nd

    This U.S. Department of Agriculture program will provide opportunities for the development of new scientific knowledge for adaptation to climate variability and change, mitigation of atmospheric greenhouse gases, and making this knowledge accessible and usable in decision-making. View the Request for Applications here.
  • Barn Farm Scenery
  • Water for Agriculture Grants - Letter of Intent Due April 9th

    This U.S. Department of Agriculture program seeks to support: water availability for diverse agricultural uses; understanding decisions and behaviors connected with agriculture and post-harvest processing industry water use; and understanding the human health impacts to exposure from nontraditional water used in agriculture. View the RFA here
  • Food Safety Grants - Due May 13th, 18th

    The long-term outcome for this U.S. Department of Agriculture program is to invest in research, education and extension/outreach projects that reduce food-borne hazards in the U.S. food supply producing positive impacts on both public health and the economy. The application deadline for Effective Mitigation Strategies for Antimicrobial Resistance is May 13th, and the deadline for Enhancing Food Safety through Improved Processing Technologies is May 18th. View the RFA
  • Latest Resources
    Goat People Livestock
  • Cornell Goat Extension Facebook Page 

    Cornell Goat Extension provides information to goat producers through research, online resources, symposiums, and now a brand new Facebook page. They will be posting events, articles, and other information of interest to goat farmers on the page which can be found at https://www.facebook.com/CornellGoatExtension/timeline

  • New Food Safety Resources for Artisan Dairy Producers 

    Food safety systems help to ensure the safety of your food products, protecting both your consumers and your business. This Cornell Dairy Extension webpage is intended to assist you in developing plans for your facility through examples, templates, resources, and practical information such as Good Manufacturing Practices. View the website here

  • Berries Fruit
  • Cornell Pest Management Guidelines for Berry Crops

    This annual publication provides up-to-date pest management and crop production information for blueberry, bramble (raspberry and blackberry), strawberry, ribes (currant and gooseberry), cranberry, elderberry, and Juneberry (Saskatoon) production in New York State. Information on wildlife management and harvesting, handling, and transporting berry crops is also included. Order the guidelines from the Cornell store

  • Penn State Issues Organic Crop Production Guide

    Penn State has released the Penn State Organic Crop Production Guide, a 243-page field-crop guide tailored to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. The guide provides science-based information on organic practices and ecological processes, and it features case studies from farmers and firsthand producer experience. It also includes Penn State research results. Find more information 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.
    SFP Small Farms Program Logo
    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.