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April 15th, 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 
Muddy Fingers Farm: 2 Person Vegetable CSA 
Liz Martin and Matthew Glenn own and operate Muddy Fingers Farm in Hector, NY as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) operation. This 6-video series discusses how the farm got started, soil prep and compost, growing plant starts, transplanting and direct seeding, irrigation, and hoop house considerations.  View the videos here
mushroom woman poc

Mushrooms to Dining Rooms: Meet the People Behind the Food Chain 

The third presentation in the Small Farms: New Markets webinar series, this webinar features Alan Kaufman of Shibumi Farm, Jennifer Goggin of FarmersWeb, and Anthony Fassio of the Natural Gourmet Institute. Alan Kaufman began growing exotic mushrooms as a hobby in his home basement in 2003. Today he produces as much as 5000 pounds of mushrooms a week, supplying unusual varieties to highly regarded chefs in New York and New Jersey from his Shibumi Farm in Princeton, NJ. Last year, Alan started using FarmersWeb online business management software for farms, food hubs, and local food artisans. With more time for growing, Shibumi has expanded its wholesale business to include more restaurants, corporate kitchens, and purchasers such as the Natural Gourmet Institute.  CEO Anthony Fassio will speak to how the NGI connects with small farmers like Alan and purchases regional farm products for use in their chef training programs. Register here.

We are pleased to announce a more user-friendly redesign of our Small Farms Statewide Events Calendar.  You can now click on your region of the map for local events, or browse all events currently offered across New York. As before, this calendar brings you a broad spectrum of trainings, classes, workshops, and conferences from our network of Cornell Cooperative Extension partners and other small farm organizations around New York State. Click here to check out the new map.  If you have an event you'd like to submit to our calendar, please send an email to smallfarmsprogram@cornell.edu. 

Spring Small Farms Quarterly

The Spring 2015 issue of the Small Farm Quarterly is now in print and online! The Quarterly is a wonderful read for farmers or for anyone interested in agriculture and nature. Our 
newest issue is the first of new managing editor Steve Gabriel and includes: "Copper Poisoning and Copper Deficiency in Sheep", an informative reflection on the use of copper in the diets of sheep, as well as "Habanada: The Unmasked Habanero", an article about a new type of pepper developed by a Cornell professor. Read this issue as a PDF or read individual articles online. Back issues are also available.

Insurance for Mushrooms Growers Now Available 

Forest mushroom cultivation has recently been growing in popularity, due to the abundance of forest resources in the northeast and the relative low-cost of startup operations. Growers interested in cultivation have sometimes found one major hurdle; insurance companies would deny or drop coverage upon learning the farm was planning on mushroom cultivation, mostly over fears of the liability incurred with wrongful identification of a mushroom species or with the sanitary conditions associated with cultivation. A a new development between Small Farms, New York Farm Bureau, and Nationwide Insurance has confirmed that insurance policies are now available immediately to outdoor, forest mushroom farmers in temperate regions of the United States. Read more here.

Cortland County Agri-Economic Development Mini Conference for All Farm Sizes

April 17, 5:00PM. NYS Grange at 100 Grange Place, Cortland, NY
This free workshop is being provided to help you develop and promote your agricultural enterprise. Cornell Cooperative Extension Educator Steve Hadcock will share ideas on various business management practices, risk management, business structures, taxes and regulations for any size farm or business that will assist you as your farm or business grows and changes.  Participants are welcome to bring farm or business displays, literature, brochures, business cards et cetera for networking while enjoying local foods provided by Dasher's Pub. More information is available here. Please call 607-753-5078 to register.  

NOFA-NY presents Creating the Cooperative Farm: Designing for Diversity 
May 2nd, 3-5pm. Letterbox Farm Collective, 4161 US 9, Hudson, NY 12534
Letterbox Farm Collective is a growing collective of farmers, producing specialty vegetables, herbs, pork, pastured poultry, eggs and value added products.  The four farmers take charge of six enterprises and 25 sales outlets, and are ready to share their information about strong organization systems that help them manage diversity on so many levels.  Learn how Letterbox has developed their team, systems, markets, skills, and security in their first two years, and delve into the structural components (member agreements, business planning, and more) that make their business work. Registration fees are $15/person or $25 two or more people/farm. Pre-register and pay here or call Stephanie at 585-271-1979 ext. 509. 

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Poultry Production for Farm & Family
May 14th, May 21st, June 4th, June 18th. Wild Geese Farm in Rushford, NY. 
This workshop series is designed for individuals wanting to explore chicken production for family use or diversification of farm products. Introduction to Poultry Production I on May 14 6:30-9:00PM will include style for raising birds (free range, pasture pens, confinement housing and equipment needed to get started), and selecting breed based on production systems and farm or household goals. Introduction to Poultry Production II on May 21, 6:30-9:00PM will focus on basics of nutrition, health and general flock management. Poultry Business on June 4, 6:30-9:00PM will cover the costs of production. On-Farm Poultry Processing on June 18, 9AM to 3PM will provide hands-on experience in the processing of birds. Click here for more information and registration.

From Tillage to Drainage: Working with your Farm's Diverse Soils
May 14th. Mud Creek Farm, Victor, NY.
Whether bringing new acres into production or renovating your existing fields, there is plenty to be done to provide for optimum soil fertility and to properly incorporate infrastructure like irrigation and drainage.  Hear from Ruth Blackwell about Mud Creek Farm's existing soil health management as Cornell Cooperative Extension's Crystal Stewart adds insight about techniques for making most of the soil and land. Register by May 12th at http://www.cvent.com/d/lrqpj2 or by contacting Stephanie at (585) 271-1979 ext. 509.

chicken livestock

Poultry Processing Workshop
May 23. 15 Silver St, Norwich, NY 13815
This all day workshop will be conducted in both classroom and in a poultry processing plant. Students will learn about the proper techniques for processing poultry, health, sanitation and safety issues, HACCP, handling, packaging, storing as well as equipment necessary for processing poultry. Class size is limited, cost for the event is $75.00 per person, and lunch is included. Please register by emailing info@cornerstone-farm.com or calling 607-334-9962. More information is available on the cornerstone farm website.

MANY MORE EVENTS at our Statewide Events Calendar.
Career, Etc. Opportunities
Seasonal Farm Manager at the Seed Farm - Emmaus, PA 
The Seed Farm is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that trains new farmers and assists them in establishing sustainable farm businesses. The Field Manager will assist in the growing of vegetables and herbs in the 2.5-acre market garden and in the management of 20 acres of surrounding fields. This is a seasonal (9-month) position, with a seasonally variable work schedule. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume and three professional references to: Lindsey Parks, executive director at Lindsey_Parks@theseedfarm.org. Click here for the full job description.
vegetable marketing carrot tomato radish summer
Vegetable Research Technician - Batavia, NY 
The Cornell Vegetable Program seeks an individual to assist in research trial implementation, data collection, crop scouting and harvest. Work will be conducted in commercial fields and greenhouses. This is a full-time (39 hours/week) six-month appointment with possible extension based on funding and performance.  The position is located in Batavia, NY (Genesee Co.) with travel required throughout the central and western part of the state.  Minimum 6 months training beyond HS diploma or Associate's degree. Applicants must apply online no later than April 19, 2015.  For more information and application instructions, see the Cornell Vegetable Program website http://cvp.cce.cornell.edu.
Model Plot Project Coordinator with Penn State Extension 
The project coordinator will work with new farmers to establish "Models of the Future" on-farm demonstration sites at five farms across the state. These plots will implement a set of best management practices and latest innovations, giving new farmers an opportunity to observe scientifically based practices in the context of the working farms of their peers. The coordinator will also assist in the coordination, promotion and evaluation of study circle meetings designed to help new farmers learn from one another and assist in grant management. To apply visit https://psu.jobs/job/56684 and search for position # 56684. 
pumpkin winter vegetable
Farm Stand Manager for Hudson Valley Farm Hub - Hurley, NY 
The Farm Stand Manager will supervise the daily operations of this retail fresh produce market, and coordinate community outreach  events that support the Farm Hub's mission to support regenerative farming through beginning farmer training, demonstrations and agricultural research. This is a unique opportunity to operate a dynamic, locally-focused retail operation and foster education and engagement in the vibrant Hudson Valley agriculture and local food system. Applications will be accepted for this full time, year round position until May 1st. Click here for the full job description
Funding Opportunities
  • Beekman Mortgage Lifter Grants - Due April 30th

    A portion of profits from Beekman's Mortgage Lifter pasta sauces is donated to assist small farms that have a viable, future focused, growth-oriented business strategy. Beekman 1802 will provide one $15,000 "Lift" and three $1,049 "Mini-Lifts" to small American farms. The program is open to agricultural businesses that fit the USDA definition of a Family Farm and have been in business for three years. Apply here
  • Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program - Due May 14th

    This program provides matching funds to state Departments of Agriculture, state agricultural experiment stations, and other state agencies. These funds assist in exploring new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the marketing system. Approximately $1 million in matching funds is available. More information.
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  • Agricultural Conservation Easement Program - Due May 15th

    NRCS is making $332 million in financial and technical assistance available to eligible partners for purchasing Agricultural Land Easements that protect the agricultural use and conservation values of eligible land. Eligible partners include Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs. More information
  • Latest Resources
    pig livestock
  • New Free Sustainable Farming Tutorials from ATTRA 

  • The free, self-guided tutorials on Scaling Up for Regional Markets and Pest Management contain multiple lessons with ATTRA specialists and other well-known experts in sustainable agriculture. They're designed for you to delve deeply into the subject while working at your own pace and include calculators, worksheets, resource lists, and other downloadable tools. The tutorials also include "case study" conversations with successful producers who know what it takes to make a go of farming. The tutorials are available on the ATTRA website
  • Guide Introduces African and Asian Crops to U.S. Farmers 

    The UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture's New American Farmer program has partnered with the New Farms for New Americans program of the Association of Africans Living in Vermont to publish Global Food, Local Food: Guide to Growing, Harvesting & Preserving African & Asian Crops in the Northeast. The guide tells the story of eight crops with significant potential for being integrated into the Northeastern U.S. food system. The publication is available for free download

  • From Crop to Table: Pesticide Use in Produce

    The 53-page report from the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center describes how pesticides are used in produce production, explores the risks of pesticide use to particular populations and the environment, and offers guidance to consumers on choosing fruits and vegetables with the lowest risk of pesticide contamination. The report is posted online in PDF.

  • Urban Agriculture Website from University of California 

    This website offers science-based information and resources on urban farming, including soil, planting, irrigation, pest management, and harvesting. It also provides information on the business of farming, such as how to market urban farm products. Visit the website at http://ucanr.edu/sites/UrbanAg/
  • Specialty Melon Production for Small and Direct-Market Growers 

    This ATTRA publication provides an overview of production and marketing of numerous different species and varieties of specialty melons. The guide offers helpful advice on seed sources, planting needs, soil preparation and insect pest and disease control, discusses marketing outlets for producers to sell their melons, and summarizes results of current melon research. A resource list details sources for more information, seeds, and supplies useful for melon growing. Click here for a free PDF download. 

  • 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.