March 16, 2020
Welcome back to the Small Farms newsletter!
Dear friends,

Never before has our work as farmers and stewards been so important.

In times like these — when uncertainty upsets the daily rhythms of our communities — we agriculturists have the opportunity to tap into timeless rhythms of a new season and deliver on a call to action.

Whether you farm, homestead or garden, you can grow more food. Your farming and even gardening efforts are, by nature, optimistic! Through hard work, you turn sunshine into real food for your community. Ramping up your production efforts is a practical step you can take to feed more of the people around you.

What else can we in agriculture do now to further support our communities over the next year? 

We have shared a few ideas about how you can take care of yourself, the farm, and your local community: Building Farm Resilience in this Crisis. Please add more to our list of ideas for how we can work better together. We will continue to collect and share all of our ideas about how we can come together to get through this time of crisis. 

As farmers and gardeners, we have tremendous biological wealth. While we may not always have cash, we have access to soil, plants and animals that are the foundation of life. We can share that wealth and help lead our communities through this time of struggle. 

Reach out to us if you need help. We may not have all the answers, but we can listen with compassion and try to connect you with resources. Please also share your stories of hope! 

We are in this together,

Anu Rangarajan
Director of the Cornell Small Farms Program
Small Farms Program Updates
Deep Dive into Compost
for Soil Health

Our program's soil health specialist, Ryan Maher, who leads our Reduced Tillage project, presented on deep-composting strategies at a conference. While compost is commonly used as an amendment to soil health, the act of deep-composting is using compost as a mulch. Learn more about the benefits of using compost as a mulch.
New Resources Available for Specialty Mushroom Growers

We are excited to announce a new Harvest to Market Guide for producers interested in growing specialty mushrooms. This publication offers information to support post-harvest handling, sales, business planning, and decision making that is critical to developing a viable small enterprise. Learn more about the guide.
Featured From #CornellSmallFarms
@alwayssomethingfarm gave their piglets iron shots, and it led to a bucket cuddle.
@saint_isidores_farm's girl and her chickens offers a peek into farm kids' lives. ⠀
@cloverbrookefarmhydeparkny had a beautiful day for their llama and alpaca hike. 
Share what’s been happening on your farm with #CornellSmallFarms on Instagram and we may feature your image and story in the next newsletter.
Funding Opportunities
Millions Available for Conservation Stewardship Program, Deadlines Soon

Are you already enrolled in Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and need to process your five-year renewal? Or are you interested in putting your land into a CSP? Deadlines are coming up soon, with the closing date to renew on March 20, and an initial enrollment varying state by state, beginning in June. Learn more and apply.
Grant Opportunity for Young Farmers

The National Young Farmers Coalition is launching a new grant program to help young and beginning farmers and ranchers start up and grow their businesses. Grants of $5,000 are available for anything that will further applicants’ goals as farmers, and recipients will also receive a one-year membership to the Coalition. Learn more and apply by March 29.
Micro-Grants Available for Adirondack Farmers

The Adirondack Council and Essex Farm Institute are seeking grant proposals for up to $5,000 from Adirondack farmers and value-added producers for projects that will enhance the environmental benefits their businesses provide. Project areas can include, but are not limited to, soil management, water quality improvements, energy conservation and emissions reductions. Learn more and apply by March 31. 
Call for Proposals for NE SARE Partnership Grant

This grant program funds projects conducted by agricultural service providers working in partnership with farmers to encourage the understanding and widespread use of sustainable techniques. Projects will add to SARE’s collective understanding of sustainable agriculture, and strengthen working partnerships between farmers and farm service providers. Learn more and apply by April 14. 
Apply Now for On-Farm Trial Grants with NRCS

The USDA NRCS is accepting proposals for grants to help support the adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural land. There are over $25 million in funds to implement projects in irrigation management technologies, precision agriculture technologies and strategies, management technologies and strategies, and soil health demonstration trials. Learn more and apply by May 11. 
Good Agricultural Practices Assistance (GAP) Program Extended

The USDA has extended the Harmonized GAP Program to remain available to eligible producers until all allocated funds are depleted. The program defrays the costs of user fees for voluntary audits as produce buyers often require third-party food safety certifications from growers. These audits verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled and stored in the safest manner possible. Learn more and apply.
Business & Career Opportunities
Farm Apprentice Opportunity in Ulster County

Phillies Bridge Farm Project is a non-profit, educational, CSA farm on 65 acres in New Paltz, NY. The apprenticeship will be a full season with housing provided, a weekly stipend, and a small CSA share. Start date is flexible in May. Learn more and apply.
Vermont Farm Hiring for Multiple Positions

Maple Wind Farm is a pasture-based livestock farm operating in Huntington, Bolton, and Richmond, VT. They are seeking a pasture-based livestock farm and processing crew members as well as poultry processing crew members. Learn more and apply
Executive Director Sought for Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO)

PCO is a nonprofit, USDA-accredited, organic certifying agency positioned for growth, located in Spring Mills, PA. A successful Executive Director candidate will have an established track record of ensuring efficient operations while driving organizational growth, development, and results. Learn more and apply.
Mark Your Calendars
Check our statewide calendar for events near you. 
Food Safety for Small Farms Webinar

When: Thursday, March 19, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: Online

Details: Join food safety specialist Elisabeth Hodgdon for this webinar on how to thoughtfully approach designing diversified farming systems with food safety in mind. Cost is $6;must register at least 24 hours in advance. Learn more and register.
Business Plans that Don’t Sit on a Shelf

When: Saturday, March 21, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Where: Jamestown, NY

Details: This discussion based workshop will walk you through the mental exercise of planning your future agricultural adventures. Participants will leave with a “to-do” list to inform future planning efforts. Cost is $5. Learn more and register
Minding Your Marketing P & Qs 

When: Thursday, April 2, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Irving, NY

Details: Gain foundational knowledge about creating a marketing plan for ag businesses. A Taste NY presentation will also be given to learn more about opportunities and logistics for selling. Cost is $15 ($10 for or CCE Erie Ag enrolled). Learn more and register.
Empower Your Farming Community to Manage Their Legal Risks

This day-long workshop will help you get the training, resources, and contacts you need to spot legal risk and direct farmers to proactive solutions. This program is designed exclusively for Extension agents, farm educators, nonprofit leaders, government employees, and farm financing professionals. It will be held on Thursday, May 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Fabius, NY. Cost is $35, lunch included. Learn more and register.
Additional Reading & Resources
Free Mental Health Resources in One Location

The American Farm Bureau’s Rural Resilience program has acquired "Farm State of Mind," and the resources will be combined to expand the reach and resilience of rural health mental initiatives. The merge should fully take place by April, but you can find all the free resources online now, including resources on how to help someone else.
Free Software to Accept SNAP, Government Benefits at Farmers Markets

Farmers market vendors and direct marketing farmers may be eligible for free, smartphone-based software to accept government payments such as SNAP. MarketLink is now offering this free software, which will also accept debit and credit payments.
About Us

The Small Farms Newsletter is a resource for farmers and agricultural service providers in New York and beyond. The newsletter is produced by the Cornell Small Farms Program (SFP), which helps farmers get expert assistance to facilitate all phases of small farm business development. SFP is housed at Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and works collaboratively with Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Stay Connected
Do you have farm-related questions? Sometimes local questions are best answered by your neighborhood Cornell Cooperative Extension agent. Find your local contact .