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October 17, 2017

The Small Farms update summarizes announcements, resources, opportunities and upcoming events relevant to small farms. Please feel free to share this information in newsletters, email lists, etc. If you would like to submit an item for an upcoming issue,  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 Farms Program
Small Farms Program Highlights

carrot, vegetable, hands
Registration open for annual summit of the Beginner Farmer Learning Network!

Please join us for the 2018 Northeast Beginning Farmer Learning Network (BFLN) Summit, a regional convening of beginning farmer service providers!  The 2018 Summit will be held in College Park, Maryland on January 11, 2018. The summit brings together beginning farmer service providers from across the region to discuss best practices, policy, and emerging trends in beginning farmer training. In 2018, Future Harvest CASA will host the summit in partnership with the Cornell Small Farms Program. Learn more and register here.
Improve Your Labor Management!

Your employees are your most  valuable resource.  Wages, salaries, and contract labor
expenses represent more than 40  percent of the cost of production in  labor intensive crops like fruits,  vegetables, and nursery products.  CCE is offering four workshops that will help you improve your skills in managing your farm's employees effectively.
One of the workshops, "Marketing Your Farm as a Great Place to Work", is being held all over New York starting Oct. 25. Check out this brochure with registration information and further workshop details.
Agricultural Technical Assistance Providers Asked to Provide Input
A new study seeks to examine local and regional agricultural production and intermediated markets. The study examines the opportunities and risks of four main marketing opportunities for farmers, which includes direct-to-consumer, direct-to-institution, direct-to-retail, and selling to intermediaries (such as distributors, wholesalers, or food hubs) who in turn sell the products as local or regional food. We are interested in you and/or your organization's technical assistance in these areas. The survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. It asks you questions about you/your organization and the farmers and ranchers you serve, their marketing practices, and your technical assistance and information capacity and needs. Take the survey online or contact Lydia Oberholtzer at 301-891-0470 or lso@psu.edu to complete a paper survey.
New Wheat Variety Introduced to Organic Grain Growers

A new, taller wheat variety designed for hardiness and for the organic market has been recently certified.  The Erisman soft red winter wheat variety is meant to be resistant to stripe rust. It is also designed to have a good test weight to benefit growers and have a short enough season that it could be double cropped with soybeans, for example, to make it profitable. Developers said it is ready for planting on a small scale this fall, and they hope to be commercially available on a larger scale in 2018. Learn more about this new wheat variety in the press release.
Farm Labor Challenges - Flash Poll
New Entry and  Farm Commons are working to collect information on  your experience recruiting/retaining skilled farm labor, in hopes of beginning conversations that will allow us to imagine and enact solutions to common farm labor challenges in the Northeast region.  Responses to the poll will be used to support research into farm labor options in the Northeast. Your contribution is greatly appreciated! Take the Farm Labor Flash Poll here.
Integrating Food Justice into Rural Farmer Training Programs

October 18, 12-1pm. Online.  

Elizabeth Gabriel, Executive Director of Groundswell Center for Food and Farming, and Kate Cardona of Groundswell will share lessons learned as Groundswell has deepened its commitment to building a just, inclusive and equitable organization, specifically in a majority white organization and region of Upstate NY.  She'll share concrete examples from their work including resource sharing, racial justice staff/board education, collaboration with people of color-led organizations, the creation of an organizational equity statement, bridging rural farmers and urban food justice efforts, accountability practices, and the food justice curriculum they piloted in their 2017 Farmer Training Programs. Insight & feedback encouraged! Register here.
Detecting Herd Lameness

October 25, 7-9pm. 
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County, 121 Second St., Oriskany, NY
Lameness issues exist at some level on local dairy farms. Continued efforts to identify early and manage lameness rates proactively can serve as a way to preserve tightening dairy margins. What might you be missing on your operation? Are you looking to reduce the incidence of lameness in your herd? Make plans to join guest speaker Neil Andrew on Wednesday October 25th at CCE Oneida County. Reservations are required by October 23rd and can be placed by calling 315-736-3394 ext. 132 or by email at mrm7@cornell.edu. There is no fee to attend. Learn more here.
Permaculture Land Evaluation Workshop

November 3, 9am-2pm. 
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, 232 Plaza Road, Kingston, NY 12401

Learn how to assess land with methods and techniques used in permaculture design. You will learn how to identify important landscape features, and list assets and challenges to the land relative to your goals.  CCE Agriculture Educator, Erik Schellenberg, and guest speaker, Mark Krawczyk, owner of  Keyline Vermont , will discuss the concept of the Scale of Permanence, developed by mining and agricultural engineer, P.A. Yeomans.  We will spend the first part of the day indoors for a lecture-style class, and the remainder of the afternoon out on a site visit where we will identify the concepts and features discussed in the classroom. The class will cover climate, landform, water, access, trees, structures, subdivisions and fencing, and soil. Walk-ins are welcome but space is limited - register early to save your seat! Registration deadline: October 31. For all event details and registration, click hereFor more information contact Richard at 845-344-1234.
Growing Better Brassicas
November 7, 9:30am-3:30pm. 
24 Gideon Putnam Road, Saratoga Springs, NY
Join us for a day of information exchange between growers, industry representatives, and university researchers with the goal of better understanding how to grow great brassica crops! This day will be filled with short presentations about topics ranging from transplant production to plant spacing and disease management, followed by ample time for
growers to ask questions and discuss topics with panelists and each other. The crops we will focus on during this day are broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, but many topics will be relevant to other brassicas as well. Click here to learn more about the day's speakers and find out how to register.
MANY MORE EVENTS at our Statewide Events Calendar.
Career, Etc. Opportunities
Essex Farm
Essex Farm, a 1,100 acre sustainable, diversified farm in the Champlain Valley of Upstate New York, is inviting individuals excited about farming to work with our team. We offer a full diet, year round CSA Membership, with Vegetables, Meat, Dairy, Eggs, Grain, Fruit, and more. Text Mark at 518-570-6399 if you would like to hear more.
ARE YOU HIRING? If you have a job opportunity that you would like to submit to the Small Farms Bi-Monthly Update, please write a detailed 125 word description and submit it here !
Funding Opportunities
Farmer Grants for Sustainable Agriculture in the Northeast (NESARE) 
NESARE Farmer Grants are for commercial producers who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, marketing initiative, or other technique. A technical advisor--often an extension agent, crop consultant, or other service professional--must also be involved. Projects should seek results other farmers can use, and all projects must have the potential to add to our knowledge about effective sustainable practices.  To apply, you must be a commercial farmer in the Northeast SARE region. You need not be farming full time, but your operation should have an established crop or animal product that you sell on a regular basis. For more info, visit hereDue December 5th, 2017.
Farm to School Grant
The USDA Farm to School Program is offering $5 million in competitive grants to projects that make local food more accessible to schools. Eligible applicants can apply to one of three grant tracks: the implementation grant, planning grant, or training grant. For more information, visit grants.gov. Closing date for applications is December 8th, 2017.
Cultivating Change - Local Farm Grant Opportunity
On October 1 st, Greener Fields Together launched Cultivating Change, a grant program that gives local farms funds to upgrade infrastructure, invest in food safety, implement sustainable technology, and continue to grow the food that nourishes America's communities. Eligible farmers are able to apply for this grant in four different categories (certifications, marketing, infrastructure, and capacity building) and have the opportunity to win up to $30,000 to put towards their projects. Local farms can apply for a project of their choosing  until December 15th, 2017. Check out an overview of the project here, learn more online, or contact Hanna Ricci at   831-658-1919  or  hricci@proactusa.com if you have questions.
Latest Resources
Pawpaw - A "Tropical" Fruit for Temperate Climates
Although they look like a mango and taste like a banana, pawpaws are native to most of the eastern United States. ATTRA's updated publication,  "Pawpaw - A 'Tropical' Fruit for Temperate Climates," offers an overview of pawpaw production and discusses several factors that are coming together to make commercial pawpaw production a viable option for eastern growers.  The publication also covers overall culture, pests, harvest, postharvest handling, and marketing.  You can find the publication available free online here
Smart Marketing Newsletter
Every month, the Cornell Dyson School produces a newsletter discussing a wide variety of topics relating to marketing strategies. The most recent newsletter, focusing on developing a marketing strategy, is part 1 of a series dedicated to improving meat marketing for small scale and direct marketing farms. You can also view past articles dating back to 1988 at the Cornell Dyson School's outreach page.
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 resources available in the " Plan Your Farm" section of our 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. We envision a future where diverse and vibrant urban and rural farms build human capacity, revitalize communities, supply regional food systems, and foster ecological resilience in a changing world. The Cornell Small Farm Program is a joint effort of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Cornell Cooperative Extension.