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 submit, please visit our new online form. Subscribe here. Thank you again for your interest and support of small farms in New York.
Anu Rangarajan, Director, Cornell Small Farm Program
Keeping Farmers on the Land: New Research Underscores Need To Address Farm Transition in New York
In New York, farmers age 65 and older own or manage nearly 30% of the farms, and most are farming without a young farmer alongside them. New research from American Farmland Trust and Land For Good sheds light on what this means for the future of New York agriculture. Using Census of Agriculture data, the Gaining Insights, Gaining Access project looked at characteristics of farmers beyond retirement age, and those young or new to farming. We held focus groups which helped us to learn more about this large and influential farmer subset: what are they farming and with whom; what are their visions of retirement; and what challenges do they see for the future. View the report here.
USDA Establishes New Partnerships to Link Underserved Farmers to FSA Programs
The U.S. Department Agriculture (USDA) recently announced cooperative agreements with 55 partners to educate farmers and other producers that have been underserved by USDA programs historically about Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs that provide financial, disaster or technical support. Nearly $2.5 million will go to nonprofits, associations, universities, and foundations that will provide training and information on agricultural best practices, local networking opportunities, and more to minorities, women, new and beginning farmers, military veterans and urban producers to receive training. Read the whole press release here.
USDA Issues Proposed Rule to Amend Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices, Including Poultry Living Conditions; Invites Comments
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) recently announced that the agency will propose amending the organic livestock and poultry production requirements, in order to ensure consistent application of the USDA organic regulations and maintain confidence in organically labeled products. The proposed changes are based on recommendations by the National Organic Standards Board and incorporate years of public comment and suggestions by stakeholders. The proposal is designed to provide clear guidance for organic producers and handlers to provide for their animal's welfare.The proposed rule will be published soon in the Federal Register and is available to view here. Public participation and comments are vital to USDA's work in organic agriculture. The organic community, stakeholders, and consumers are invited to submit written comments on the proposed rule by visiting www.regulations.gov once the proposed rule has published.
Leasing Your Land For Solar Energy
6pm-8pm. Ramada Ithaca Hotel & Conference Center, 2310 N. Triphammer Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850
This meeting is for farmers and rural landowners who may be considering leasing land for large, multi-acre solar arrays. Topics which will be addressed include the pros and cons of leasing your acreage to a solar generator; the agricultural assessment of farmland as it relates to leasing; the economics of solar farms; and how solar farms impact land values. There is no charge to attend, reservations are appreciated as space is limited. Please register here.
Beef Quality Assurance Certification
May 20, 6pm-9pm. 6235 Fort Hill Road, Bath, NY 14810.
BQA is a national program for producers that provides science based management practices that enhance carcass quality and safety and improve animal care. BQA works to return more profits to producers and to protect consumer confidence in our beef supply. The training is for all individuals who have the opportunity to influence the quality and handling of cattle. Youth under 14 can attend but must be accompanied by an adult. Benefits of the BQA Program to producers include improvements in: Animal well being, herd health, herd performance, beef quality, records for decision making and marketing potential. Individuals will receive Level 1 BQA Certification if they attend the BQA training (classroom and chute-side) on May 20, successfully complete the BQA test, and sign the BQA contract. Register here.
Groundswell Land Assessment and Advanced Soil Testing
May 25, 5pm-8pm. Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming. 225 South Fulton St. Ithaca, NY 14850
What does healthy soil look like? Learn to do a visual assessment of land and soils. Learn how take samples for a soil health test and how to read their results for different crop needs. Students will submit individual soil samples for analysis. Presentation by Crystal Stewart, Field Tour by Plowbreak Farm. More information can be found here.
Square Foot Gardening Workshop
June 1, 6:30pm-8:30pm. CCE-Tompkins Education Center 615 Willow Avenue Ithaca, NY 14850.
Square foot gardening divides a growing area into small square foot sections to create a diverse, intensively planted garden. Learn what this "intensive" method is, how to do square foot gardening, the pros and cons, and (weather permitting) see a demonstration square foot garden outside. Great for beginners and kids. To register, contact Patricia Curran at firstname.lastname@example.org or (607) 272-2292 ext.146.
Gentleman farmer who has restored his family farm near Malone, New York is looking for someone who is ambitious and willing to work hard to to develop new ideas and products for the existing 1000 acre farm. Young apple orchard, bees, and berry bushes started. All equipment, new 4 bedroom house, vehicle and salary, as well as share of produce. We are open to ideas. Send credentials to PO Box 376, Malone, New York 12953.
Evergreen Berry Farm - Watertown, CT
Evergreen Berry Farm, LLC (Watertown, CT) is a small pick-your-own berry farm where farming practices focus on soil biology and nutrition to build health from the
ground up. Established in 1979 through the dedication and hard work of owners Bob and Cathee Alex, the farm is a tradition for locals and a stop for travelers seeking the bounties and tranquility of the field. We are currently
hiring for our summer 2016 staff (Berry Harvesters and Register Staff). The season varies year to year dependent on weather conditions, but typically begins around the 1st of July and tapers off into mid-September. Please contact email@example.com regarding further details on the available positions. Our website: www.evergreenberryfarm.com
Assistant Farm Manager - West Redding, CT
New Pond Farm is an environmental education center and working farm in West Redding. We are also a non-profit, public foundation. The center is located on a beautiful 102-acre property, and our mission it to connect people with the land. We have year-round educational programs for people of all ages that focus on environmental awareness, historical farming and agricultural ecology, Native American lifestyles, astronomy and the arts. The responsibilities of the assistant farm manager would be to assist the Farm Manager with the care and maintenance of the farm's animals: including dairy cows, chickens, sheep, and pigs; care and maintenance of the property: including barns, out buildings, hayfields, woodlands with trails, stream and pond. Other responsibilities include milking, processing milk for our state licensed dairy, haying, producing maple syrup, overseeing rotational grazing, gardening, snow plowing, wood splitting and equipment maintenance. To apply, submit a cover letter, resume and references by email to firstname.lastname@example.org (please write "job opening" in subject line).
Aspiring Shepherd - NYS Conservation Grazing Program - Albany, NY
NYSCoG is seeking an aspiring shepherd who will manage a flock of sheep at the 80 acre Tivoli Lake Preserve in Albany, NY. NYSCoG seeks to help young and beginning farmers gain access to land and infrastructure, and to begin grazing enterprises, while simultaneously assisting municipal, county and state governments in meeting vegetation management goals. The shepherd will receive the use of land, a flock of sheep, summer and winter housing for the sheep, fencing, winter hay, meds, and insurance, and will participate in grazing and pasture management planning. The shepherd will own the agricultural products of the enterprise (lambs, wool). Project begins in July 2016. Contact Dr. Gary Kleppel at Longfield Farm, 518 362 6576 or email@example.com.
Sprouts and Shoots Producer - Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market - Troy, NY
The Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market is currently looking for a Sprouts and Shoots Producer to join us for a tentative one-year period beginning Summer 2016. The opportunity is available to Agricultural Producers only within a 50-mile radius of Troy, NY, and special preference will be made to those practicing Certified Organic methods. You must currently be a Sprouts and Shoots producer with supporting data for your agricultural enterprise. Applications will be accepted for 30 days through www.managemymarket.com.Please feel free to contact Liz Hammond, Market Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org with further questions.
Cornell University Viticulture and Enology Experience
CUVEE is a weeklong summer program offered through the Professional Studies office of Cornell's School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions and led by Cornell faculty members Alan Lakso and Kathleen Arnink. With area wineries as their classroom, participants will learn about key agricultural components of growing grapes, study the scientific principles behind viticulture and enology, gain hands-on practice working vines and making wine, obtain an insider's view of the grape-growing and wine-making industry, and consider the business aspects of owning or investing in a vineyard or winery. If you have any questions, please contact Mary Adie, director of professional studies, by phone at 607.255.7259 or by e-mail at email@example.com, or visit the CUVEE website at sce.cornell.edu/cuvee.
Food Safety Outreach Program
This U.S. Department of Agriculture program will develop and implement food safety training, education, extension, outreach and technical assistance projects that address the needs of owners and operators of small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, or small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers. A maximum of $400,000 is available over a period of 1 year. The deadline to apply for this grant is June 2nd, 2016. For eligibility requirements and other information, read the Request for Proposals (RFP).
Agriculture Energy Audit Program
NYSERDA offers financial assistance to identify electric and natural gas energy efficiency measures for eligible farms and on-farm producers, including but not limited to: dairies, orchards, greenhouses, vegetables, vineyards, grain dryers, and poultry/egg. NYSERDA will assign Flexible Technical Assistance (FlexTech) Program Consultants to perform free energy audits to eligible farms and on-farm producers. This program offers a free energy audit to farms and on-farm producers. The applicant can choose from one of three levels of audits including a simple walk through for smaller and less complex operations, a standard energy audit which looks at all farm systems and provides recommendations for energy efficiency upgrades, and a more in depth audit which includes an analysis of a specific system and/or a renewable assessment. For more information or to apply for the program, visit the Agriculture Energy Audit Program webpage.
Created through the USDA Urban Agriculture Working Group (UAWG) with information from agencies and offices from across the Department (including the Forest Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture), the Urban Agriculture Toolkit lays out the common operational elements that most urban farmers must consider as they start up or grow their operations. This toolkit includes information on funding opportunities, technical assistance, and informational resources from federal, state, and local partners. Check out the toolkit online here.
BeetClock - New Phone App for Small Farmers
BeetClock is a smartphone app recently developed by farmer Alex Smith to address the difficulty of keeping track of the labor and equipment hours that go into producing each crop. BeetClock allows farmers to quickly record the time they invest in each crop they grow without leaving the field. The app can be used as a time clock, punching in and out of each job, or it can be used to record work times after the fact. Users can track multiple jobs at one time with any number of workers per job, and they can also track the equipment used in each job. BeetClock can send summaries of the labor and equipment hours invested in each job performed on each crop you grow directly to your email inbox as a spreadsheet file. It can also upload data to the NOFA Enterprise Analysis Workbook developed by Richard Wiswall (author of The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook), helping users create a whole farm budget. Red more about BeetClock here, or download it for just $4 at the Google Play Store.
"The IPM Toolbox" Spring Webinar Series
Got an IPM question? Need to know the latest IPM information? The Northeastern IPM Center has got the answers with their new spring webinar series, "The IPM Toolbox." They've asked the experts to join them online for an hour of dialogue about an effective IPM practice, method, or effort. It can be challenging to know how to implement IPM, whether for the beginner or advanced gardener, grower, or commercial operator. The IPM Toolbox webinar series will share IPM tools that improve environmental and social health and maintain profitability. In their very first series Juliet Carroll from the NYS IPM Program will talk about IPM Weather Apps. Click here for more details and to watch the IPM Weather Apps and NEWA webinar on May 18th.
Farmstand Finder App
Hello Local Farms! Farmstand Finder is an app for all mobile devices that enables users to upload and find local fresh foods from YOUR farmstands. Download Farmstand Finder for Android and iPhone to instantly upload a farm stand from your device. Alternatively, you can enter your farm stand's full information in the form hereand it will be added to the database of farm stands within 1 week. We need your help - upload your farm today!
The Art and Science of Grazing
The Art and Science of Grazing will allow farmers to gain a solid understanding of the key principles of grazing management so they can both design and manage successful grazing systems. The book's unique approach presents information first from the perspective of pasture plants, and then from the livestock perspective-helping farmers understand both plant and animal needs before setting up a grazing system. This book is an essential guide for ruminant farmers who want to be able to create grazing systems that meet the needs of their livestock, pasture plants, soils, and the larger ecosystem. Read more about the book and purchase it here.
Know Your Soil: New Assessment Tool
To improve your soil-to realize its full potential as a powerful driver of farm sustainability-first you must know your soil. A new kind of soil assessment created by Cornell University offers farmers an in-depth understanding of their soil that goes far beyond traditional soil tests. In turn, the knowledge farmers gain empowers them to make management decisions that will improve their soil health. Read the full article about the Cornell Assessment of Soil Healththat appeared in SARE's 2015/2016 Report from the Field. This resource is available online at the Cornell Soil Health Assessment website.
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.