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Learn about Climate Smart Farming, Maple Syrup Production, Holistic Financial Planning, Vegetable Production, and more during our upcoming farming courses starting January 16.

Sign up by December 16 and save $50 on tuition!
http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/annual-calendar-of-courses/

The Cornell Small Farms Program offers over twenty courses to help farmers improve their technical and business skills. Students connect with other farmers, work on farm plans, and gain practical tips without leaving their home. Course content can be accessed anywhere with a high-speed internet connection.

Most courses are six weeks long. Each week features an evening webinar and follow-up readings, videos, and activities. Students and their instructors connect through online forums and live chat. If you aren’t able to attend the webinars in real-time, they are always recorded for later viewing.

Classes starting the Week of January 16 include:

marketBF 102: Markets and Profits
Have an idea for a farm enterprise but not sure if it’s feasible? This course will help you explore the potential markets and profitability of your ideas. Its perfect for beginning farmers in their first few years of production, who are looking for help exploring marketing, development of budgets, and tools to help achieve profitability.

 

climate floodBF 107: Climate Smart Farming
The earth’s climate is always in flux, but today’s rate of change is far beyond what previous generations of farmers have had to face. This course equips farmers with the knowledge to understand their risk to climate change and extreme weather, empowering them to implement measures that address changes and also raise their bottom line by promoting sustainability, preparedness, and best management practices.

 

veggies BF 120: Veggie Farming 1 – From Planning to Planting
This course helps new and aspiring vegetable producers answer basic questions about site selection, crop rotation, seeding and transplanting, and financial aspects of veggie production. Topics including variety selection, pre-plant preparation, and cultivation will be covered.

 

maplepic4BF 152: Introduction to Maple Syrup Production
The production of maple syrup is growing rapidly around the Northeast and offers a sound financial opportunity to utilize woodlots. This course explores the range possibilities of maple sugaring on your land – be it for supplemental income or for your livelihood. Students learn many practical skills. Also discussed are “alternative” trees for production, including Birch and Black Walnut.

 

financialBF 203: Holistic Financial Planning
If you’ve been struggling to make your farm operation profitable without driving yourself into the ground, this financial planning course is for you. Ultimately, this course will help you with the delicate balancing act that all farmers must succeed in: balancing healthy profits with healthy land and a healthy farm family and personal life.

 

apple treeBF 223: Tree Fruit Production
Tree fruit are an important component of the agricultural and homeowner landscape. This course trains beginning tree fruit growers in fundamental concepts in orchard planning and management. Content will include site selection and management, rootstock and cultivar selection, orchard systems, pest management, nutrient management, and harvest consid erations for commercial orchards tailored to the northeast U.S.

 

Happy sheep playing. Photo by Georgia RanneyBF 232: Commercial Sheep Production
Have sheep or thinking about getting a flock? Producers of all experience levels will find something for them in this lively, wide-ranging course. This course is designed for commercial producers seeking to build their knowledge in production, marketing, processing, and sales of lamb and sheep products. We will cover management styles and marketing for different types of sheep farms, focusing on meat production.

 

Each course is $250, which entitles two people from a farm to attend. Discounts for early sign up and multiple course sign ups are available.

Check out the listings at http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/ for more information on a particular course and the instructors.

Questions?
Contact Erica Frenay, ejf5@cornell.edu, or Steve Gabriel, sfg53@cornell.edu,
or call 607-255-2142.

Food Safety Plans for Artisan Food Processors, December 5-6, 2016 Crowne Plaza, White Plains NY

Spaces are still available for this course designed to provide a hands-on, practical approach to developing food safety plans for your artisan/farmstead operation! It is targeted to those who need help setting up a Food Safety System in their facility.

Prior to an intensive hands-on session at Cornell University, participants will be responsible for completing online modules and pre-reading to better prepare them for plan development.

Throughout the course, participants will break up into specific commodity groups and you will receive guidance in developing specific plans for your facility. At the end of the workshop you will have a good start to developing Food Safety Systems. We will also cover all the Food Safety Programs needed in your facility that would meet FSMA and 3rd party auditing requirements.

Register online, or contact lmf226@cornell.edu for more information.

The Small Farms Program is very happy to announce that Kreher’s Farm has been approved by the Division of Veterans Affairs to be the first farm in New York state to offer on-the-job farm training (OJT) to military veterans. The On the Job training program allows veterans to use their Military Housing Allowance through the GI Bill during the training period on the farm. During this time the trainee is also paid a standard training wage. In addition, the trainee may be able to continue in to a full-time position on the farm at the end of the training period.

If you are interested in applying for an OJT position at Kreher’s Farm, you can apply online here.

If you are a service provider or know a veteran who may be interested in this opportunity, please help us spread the word. If you are a farmer interested in being approved to offer on-the-job training, please contact me directly.

For more info on this exciting announcement please check out this article from The Cornell Chronicle.

farm ops

Bf110Soil

The health and productivity of the soil forms the basis for any farm’s success, profitability, and ecological sustainability. Successful farmers need to develop a holistic approach to preserving and building soil health and fertility. Stewardship of the soil is arguably the most important job of any farmer or gardener.

 

“From this course, I learned a substantial amount about the overall picture of soil health and how I might use that information to improve my soils in the future – it must be the primary focus, and the key to running a profitable agribusiness.” – John,  New York Farmer

 

At the end of this course, participants will:

  • Understand what soil health is and why is it important for the farm.
  • Develop knowledge of the characteristics of healthy soils and how to measure them.
  • Determine appropriate soil practices to improve soil health
  • Begin work on a soil health improvement plan for their farm

DATES: November 10 –  December 22, 2016 (NO CLASS on Nov 24 Thanksgiving) with webinars onThursday evenings from 7:00 8:30pm Eastern time.

LEARN MORE & REGISTER: http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-110-soil-health-basic/

Cornell Small Farms offer Statewide Agroforestry Trainings for Veterans in 2017

The Cornell Small Farms Program, with support from New York State and the USDA, announces three trainings in agroforestry this coming Winter and Spring to support Veterans looking to get into agricultural production.

Agroforestry includes farming practices that combine trees and forests with crop production. Three trainings will convene to focus on three of the most viable tree-crop enterprises including maple syrup, log-grown shiitake mushrooms, and silvopasture (combining livestock with trees).

Each training includes classroom instruction and site visits to farms in active production. Content will cover the technical aspects of production as well as the financial and business considerations for each venture.

These trainings are exclusively for veterans and active military personnel who are residents of New York State with an interest in selling commercial farm products (filing a Schedule F) in 2017 or 2018. Participants will be asked to complete a targeted survey at the end of the course as well as 6 months from completion, to determine the effect on their operation.

Cost: $30 per training includes lunch and all materials.
Participants are able to submit up to $100 in travel expenses for reimbursement.

Visit Veteran Trainings in Agroforestry to learn more or register for the trainings.

bf122berry-tr31pn-221x300Thinking about adding berries to the farm? Growing strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and other berries is scalable and economical. Learn all about it during our 6-week online course starting November 8.

This course will help you consider all the aspects of this decision, from varieties and site selection all the way through profit potential and marketing. It is especially useful if you are exploring the possibilities of growing berries for income – be it supplemental or for your livelihood. The material presented will assume little past knowledge of farming, but a background in gardening will be very helpful.

 

Upon completion of this course, you will understand:

  • Primary considerations when choosing a site for successful berry farming
  • Basic cultural demands of the 3 major berry crops (strawberry, blueberry and brambles)
  • Cultural requirements of an array of lesser-known berry crops
  • Pest complexes of the major berry crops
  • Post-harvest requirements of berries
  • Considerations for successful marketing of berry crops
  • How to analyze costs vs. expenses and be able to incorporate them into a business plan

DATES: November 8 – December 16 with Webinars on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 8:00pm EST

LEARN MORE & REGISTER: http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-122-berry-production/

The New York Division of Veteran’s Affairs has approved Kreher’s Poultry Farm in Clarence, New York, as the state’s first on-the-job training program for military veterans to become farmers!

The Oct. 10 approval was obtained via the Farm Ops initiative of the Cornell Small Farms Program and the Farmer Veteran Coalition. For more information, check out the press release in the Cornell Chronicle.

To learn more about the Northeast Beginning Farmers Project’s Farm Ops project, visit www.nebeginningfarmers.org.

Grazing is more than simply turning livestock out onto a green “warehouse” and hoping for the best. With sound grazing management, you can reduce your workload, keep your animals happier and healthier, and improve the overall productivity and profitability of your farm.

bf231grazing-2efimzx-300x225Well-managed grazing systems also provide greater environmental benefits and enhance habitat for many wildlife species.

As a participant, you will learn the key concepts of successful grazing operations that can be adapted and successfully implemented on your own farm. Focus will be on grazing ruminant livestock, but most of the information will be relevant to non-ruminant animals as well.

 

In this course you will:

  • Learn common grazing terminology, systems and methodology
  • Comprehend the fundamental principles of every successful grazing system
  • Develop confidence in implementing or enhancing a grazing system for your farm
  • Know how to monitor, evaluate and refine the grazing system

DATES: November 9 – December 14, 2016 with webinars each Wednesday evening from 7:00 – 8:30pm Eastern time.

LEARN MORE AND REGISTER: http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/grazing-management-bf-231/

The Fall 2016 issue of Small Farm Quarterly has recently been released! Check out 16 informative articles discussing topics ranging from hazelnut trees to breweries. Download the PDF version or read the Quarterly online here!

Want more? Check out our SFQ archived issues.

Is a Sustainable Agriculture grant right for you?  Are you a farmer with a new idea you would like to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, or other technique?  Are you an agricultural service provider or food system community organizer looking to conduct research or trainings with farmers as active cooperators? If you answered “YES” to any of the above, a SARE grant might be the right fit for you.  Funding is available to help you test your ideas in the way of Farmer and Partnership Grants from USDA/NIFA Northeast SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education).  Both grants are capped at $15,000.

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. Check out this webinar that will help you write a compelling application. The deadline for 2016 Farmer Grants is November 29, 2016 for awards in the spring. 

Partnership Grants are reserved for agricultural service providers–extension staff, nonprofits, consultants, state departments of agriculture, and others working in the agricultural community–who want to conduct on-farm demonstrations, research, marketing, and other projects with farmers as active cooperators. The Partnership guidelines have been expanded to incorporate proposals that used to be submitted under the Sustainable Community Grant. Check out this webinar that will help you write a partnership grant application. The deadline for 2017 Partnership Grants is October 25, 2016 for awards in the spring. 

For more information or to apply for a grant, visit www.nesare.org/Grants/Get-a-Grant.

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