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Increasing production on the farm can often require investments in equipment to improve labor efficiency, productivity and profitability.  Are you a farmer who is interested in scaling up farm production through investment in your first tractor or upgrading to a bigger piece of equipment?  Are you a beginning or experienced farmer who wants to understand tractors better and to use them and care for them more safely and efficiently?  The Cornell Small Farms Program will be hosting two upcoming workshops on the basics of tractor operation, safety and routine maintenance.

This two-day, intensive workshop will be led by Shane LaBrake, who provides an unusual and holistic approach to tractor operation, safety and  routine maintenance.  The class is designed to de-mystify tractors and equipment, empower and inspire, and inform “scale-appropriate” equipment choices and purchase decisions.

The workshop will be held on Thursday, April 27th and Friday, April 28th at  Cornell Cooperative Extension of St Lawrence County in Canton, NY.

Classes run 9 am – 5pm each day.  Lunch and snacks are included. Cost is $75.00 total for both days.  Scholarships are available for military veterans upon completion of the training (reimbursement for registration and partial travel expenses).  For more information about scholarships, please contact Dean Koyanagi at drk5@cornell.edu.  Participation in the workshop is limited to 12. 

Click here to register

Learn to take care of business, grow veggies and oyster mushrooms, extend your season with high tunnels, improve your marketing efforts, enhance your grazing practices, and start a beekeeping enterprise with our suite of online courses.

Sign up by January 26 and save $25 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 February 27

BF 103: Taking Care of Business 

Starting a successful farm means navigating a long list of business, insurance, and regulatory issues, and planning ahead for these saves you time, money, and headaches, offering you freedom to focus on production. Join this course and be supported to design the structure and function of your farm business to ensure its greatest potential.

www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-103-business-side-of-farming

BF 160: Introduction to Beekeeping  

bees

Whether you are currently keeping honey bees, or are considering adding them to your farm, a basic understanding of bee biology, diseases, pests, and how to set up your colony for success is essential.

This eight-week online course, taught by experienced beekeepers and the NYS Honey Bee Extension Associate, will give you real-world experiences paired with academic concepts.

www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/beekeeing-for-beginners

 

BF 121: Veggie Farming 2 – From Care to Harvest

vegetable tomato

This five week online course, starting March 1, covers vegetable production from transplanting to harvest, including information on in-season fertility, integrated pest management, weed control options, harvesting strategies, and tips for marketing your products.

Join experienced educators to create an in-season fertility and pest/weed control plan, and focus on making good production decisions for the upcoming season.(NOTE: You don’t have to have taken Part 1 to attend)

BF 220: Season Extension with High Tunnels  

Adding weeks to either end of your growing season with the use of a high tunnel can mean attaining a premium for having products available well before (or long after) other local growers.During this course, growers will learn to complete a basic site assessment, confidently make decisions to improve or maintain their soil health and fertility in the tunnel, select an appropriate high tunnel structure for their site, climate, and production needs, and determine if high tunnels make economic, environmental, and social sense on their farm.

www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/season-extension-with-high-tunnels-bf-220/

BF 201: Effective Marketing for Busy Farmers 

Most of us go into farming with the thought of making some – or all – of our livelihood through the sale of what we make or grow. As you grow your operation to provide more of your family’s income, having a carefully planned marketing strategy becomes more critical.This course enables you to better understand how to price your products, position yourself in the “buy local”, direct sales or wholesale marketplace, and understand low-cost “guerrilla” marketing tactics to get the best bang for your buck.

http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-201-making-money

BF 231: Improved Grazing Management 

cow dairy grazing calf livestock

Grazing is more than simply turning livestock out onto pasture 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.

In this course, you’ll learn the key concepts of successful grazing operations that can be adapted and successfully implemented on your own farm. The focus will be on grazing ruminant livestock, but most of the information will be relevant to non-ruminant animals as well.

www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/grazing-management-bf-231

BF 202: Writing a Business Plan

Whether you intend to borrow money or not, heading into a farm venture without a business plan is like setting out on a long-distance journey without a map.

Upon completing this course, you will have a full business plan to guide the development of your farm. The plan will be in a form ready to submit to a banker, private investor or grantor, in the event you are seeking outside funding.

www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-202-planning-for-sustainability

BF 153: Oyster Mushroom Production 

Mushrooms are an emerging niche crop with many benefits and offer a unique and highly desired product.With a bit of practice, oyster mushrooms can easily be grown in a variety of locations and on many different substrates including straw, coffee grounds, and more.

This course trains new and experienced farmers in the background, techniques, and economics of farm scale commercial oyster production.

www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/oyster-mushroom-cultivation

Each course is $250, which entitles two people from a farm to attend.

Upon registering, you will receive a receipt with a link you can use to register the second person from your farm.Register by Jan 26 to get $25 off per course, AND $50 total off 3 or more courses.

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.
ABOUT
The Small Farms Program helps farmers get expert assistance to facilitate all phases of small farm business development, from initial growth to optimization to maturity.We are a joint effort of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

SFP Small Farms Program Logo

Back to the Guide to Farming Table of Contents >>

An increasing number of programs and resources are available for veterans entering farming. Navigating through federal, state and local channels can be time consuming. While not intended to be all encompassing the information below will help you get started.

Sign up for the New York State Veterans in Agriculture Listserve: From the email address you’d like to use for your list subscription, send an email to NYVETSAG-L-request@cornell.edu and type the word “join” (without quotations) in the body of the message. The Small Farms Program and our partners will be using this forum to publicize events, resources, and opportunities related to veterans interested in farming in NYS.

Armed to Farm (ATF) is a National Center for Appropriate Technology program that provides training on sustainable agriculture to veterans. ATF is a combination of farm tours and classroom instruction that focuses on business planning, livestock production, and fruit and vegetable production. https://www.ncat.org/armedtofarm/

The Farm Bureau Resource Guide to Assist Veterans in Agriculture. A Farm Bureau and Farmer Veteran Coalition Partnership http://www.fb.org/newsroom/nr/nr2013/11-25-13/FBVetGuide_LR_Final1-2014.pdf

The Farmer Veteran Coalition. National non-profit organization “mobilizing veterans to feed America”: http://www.farmvetco.org/. In New York State contact Jamie Critelli: jamie.critelli@gmail.com  (530) 756-1395.

Download a free copy of the Veteran Careers in Agriculture: A Resource Guide: http://www.farmvetco.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/RG_FINAL_WEB_compressed.pdf

Heroic Food, is based in Columbia County, NY and is being developed in collaboration with the Farmer Veteran Coalition. It’s a residential, tuition-free program, and participants will have paid training positions on farms and other income streams throughout the program. http://heroicfood.org/  (917) 806-5055.

National AgrAbility Project The vision of AgrAbility is to enhance quality of life for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities. While the term “disability” often brings to mind conditions such as spinal cord injuries and amputations, AgrAbility addresses not only these but also many other conditions, such as arthritis, back impairments, and behavioral health issues. http://www.agrability.org/ 1-800-825-4264.

Veterans Outreach Center Inc. Founded locally in 1973 by returning Vietnam veterans, the center is serving the veterans and military families of Greater Rochester (585) 546-1081 and Buffalo, NY (716) 424-1892.  Offering a comprehensive portfolio of supportive services designed to meet the needs of veterans and their families. http://veteransoutreachcenter.org

Clear Path for Veterans We help Veterans, military members and their families.  We provide myriad programs and services to make this happen. Each program and service relies on one of three methods: Self-empowerment, Peer-to-Peer support, and Community involvement. http://www.clearpath4vets.com/ (315) 687-3300.

USDA Start Farming USDA is an “Every Day, Every Way” department that touches the lives of every American, every day by supporting the agriculture sector, strengthening rural communities, promoting healthy eating, and helping to protect our natural resources. At the forefront of our mission is the support we provide to farmers to help them start and continue farming. https://newfarmers.usda.gov/veterans (202) 720-2791

USDA Wants You! Veterans in Agriculture brochure: https://www.nal.usda.gov/sites/default/files/vetsagbrochure.pdf

Contact your Regional Learning Network Leader. Tell them you are a veteran in their region who is interested in a career in agriculture (or already farming) and get plugged in to activities near you.

Get Local Help:  It’s always best to first ask questions to your local small farm agent since they are familiar with local zoning issues and regulations for your county. You can find your local Small Farms Cooperative Extension Agent by checking the county-by-county listing at: http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/contact/local-contacts/

Looking for local events/trainings? We highly recommend subscribing to our bi-monthly newsletter.  It brings you statewide events, ag funding opportunities, new resources, and small farm related job or career opportunities every two weeks. Subscribe at http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/contact/e-news-sign-up/

 

Back to the Guide to Farming Table of Contents >>

Spirited- FarmPlanning to Stay in Business (BF 202)

Writing Your Business Plan

an online course through the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project

Thurs. February 4 – March 10, 2016, with webinars every Thursday evening from 6:00-7:30pm.

http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-202-planning-for-sustainability/

Whether you intend to borrow money or not, heading into a farm venture without a business plan is like setting sail across the ocean without a map. Either way, you’re likely to run into bumps and twists that can derail your venture. Arm yourself with a business plan and you will have a guide to aid your farm decision-making and demonstrate to yourself and your family that your ideas are feasible. This intensive, fast-paced course is designed to help you build your plan quickly.

This course is geared for new farmers as well as those expanding or transitioning from one farm enterprise to another. Before enrolling in this course you should already know the type of farm you want, some short-term and longer-term farm business goals, and the geographic area or state where you intend to farm. You should have at least some first-hand experience with farming, including personal research into the type of farm you will operate. NOTE: If you are new to farming or are still exploring ideas, it may be helpful to take BF 101: Starting at Square One before enrolling in BF 202.

Upon completing this course, you will have a full business plan in a format ready to be implemented on the farm. The business plan may be used to guide you in decision-making in the course of running the farm business. Additionally, the business plan will be in a form ready to submit to a banker, private investor or grantor, in the event you are seeking outside funding.

Graduates of BF 202 have obtained equipment and operating loans, and mortgages, for start-up and expanding farms.

Instructors:

Rebecca Schuelke-Staehr co-owns Cayuga Pumpkin Barn and formerly worked for the NY Farm Viability Institute.
Steve Hadcock is the Beginning Farmer and Market Development Educator for the Capital Area Agricultural and Horticultural Program for Cornell Cooperative Extension.

MORE INFO AND REGISTRATION
http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-202-planning-for-sustainability/

fishing- vertical lettuce 2Veggie Farming, Part 2 (BF 121)

From Season-Long Care to Harvest

an online course through the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project

Wed. February 24 – March 23, 2016, with webinars every Wednesday evening from 7:00-8:30pm.

http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-121-veggie-farming-part-2/

This course will take you from transplanting to harvest, including information on in-season fertility; integrated pest management including pest ID and control; weed control options; harvesting strategies; and tips for marketing your products. Be prepared to create an in-season fertility and pest/weed control plan as part of this course. Weekly homework will focus on preparing you to make good decisions in the coming growing season.

This course is for serious aspiring farmers or those with at least one growing season of vegetable farming experience. You should already have a basic understanding of how to select crops, manage bed prep, seeding, and transplanting. This course is focused specifically on production systems used in the Northeast, so is targeted to people farming in that region.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Make good decisions about fertility management for your specific crops;
  • Understand options available for weed, pest, and disease control;
  • Be able to identify problem weeds, pests and diseases on your farm; and
  • Learn successful harvesting and marketing strategies.

Instructors:

Amy Ivy is a regional production specialist for the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE).

Darcy Telenko is a regional vegetable specialist with the Cornell Vegetable Program, and is based at the CCE Erie County, NY office.

MORE INFO AND REGISTRATION:
http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-121-veggie-farming-part-2/

solar powering farm houseTaking Care of Business (BF 103)

Understanding the Business, Tax, and Regulatory Implications of Your Farm

an online course through the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project

Mon. March 7 – April 11, 2016, with webinars every Monday evening from 7:00-8:30pm.

http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-103-business-side-of-farming/

This course is designed to help aspiring or beginning farmers better assess and manage a variety of risks that farmers face in operating their farms.  Throughout the six week period, topics essential for operating a farm business will be discussed. Participants will learn about insurance coverages, types of business structures and tax information.

The target audience includes aspiring or beginning farmers living and/or farming in NYS and seeking to learn about the commercial, legal and tax implications of farming. This is an intro-level course. Farmers outside NYS can take the course, but should know that extra legwork will be required on the part of the farmer to determine the parallel agencies and regulations that apply in their state.

At the completion of this course, you will know how to:

  • Describe the five risks that farmers need to regularly address
  • Comprehend the legal liabilities of operating a farm or selling agricultural products
  • Find the resources necessary to better understand income and sales tax regulations for operating a farm.
  • Evaluate various forms of business ownership and determine which will be best for you at this time
  • Identify rules and regulations (for marketing, food safety, facilities, etc) that are pertinent to the type of agricultural enterprise you plan to operate
  • Use insurance as a risk management tool

Instructors:

Stephen Hadcock, Extension Educator with Capital Area Agricultural and Horticultural Program, NY
Lynn Bliven, Extension Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County, NY

MORE INFO AND REGISTRATION:
http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-103-business-side-of-farming/

Fishing- High tunnelSeason Extension with High Tunnels (BF 220)

Know Before You Grow

an online course through the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project

Tues. March 22 – April 19, 2016, with webinars every Tuesday evening from 7:00-8:30pm.

http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/season-extension-with-high-tunnels-bf-220/

Adding weeks to either end of your growing season can mean attaining a premium for having products available well before (or long after) other local growers. But the structures that make this possible–unheated plastic-covered “high tunnels” or “hoophouses”–can cost a lot of money, and they bring special management considerations that need to be understood in order to be profitable additions to your farm.

This course is meant for farmers who already have some experience successfully growing vegetables outdoors and are exploring high tunnels as a way to expand the season or improve plant quality. Information will be focused on using high tunnels in colder climates (US Climate Zones 4-6), but can be adapted to other growing regions.

By the end of this course growers will have the knowledge to do the following:

  • Complete a basic site assessment and know when to bring in experts to discuss site limitations
  • Make decisions to improve or maintain their soil health and fertility in the tunnel
  • Select an appropriate high tunnel structure for their site, climate, and production needs
  • Select and grow appropriate cold and/or warm season crops for the tunnel
  • Employ pest control and trouble-shooting strategies for high tunnels
  • Decide if high tunnels make economic, environmental, and social sense on the farm

Instructors:

Jud Reid is a regional vegetable specialist with the CCE Cornell Vegetable Program.
Crystal Stewart is a regional vegetable specialist with the CCE Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program.

MORE INFO AND REGISTRATION:
http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/season-extension-with-high-tunnels-bf-220/

Farmers Market at Rt 13 of New York State

Effective Marketing for the Busy Farmer (BF 201)

Sell Smarter, Not Harder

an online course through the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project

Mon. January 11 – February 21, 2016, with webinars every Monday evening from 6:30-8:00pm

http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-201-making-money/

Most of us go into farming with the thought of making some – or all – of our livelihood through the sale of what we make or grow. As you grow your operation to provide more of your family’s income, having a carefully planned marketing strategy becomes more critical. Completion of this online course will enable you to better understand how to price your products, position yourself in the “buy local”, direct sales or wholesale marketplace, and understand low-cost “guerrilla” marketing tactics to get the best bang for your buck and make your farm operation financially sustainable. If you complete the activities in this course, you will possess a marketing plan to guide decisions for which market channels to enter, branding and crisis management plans and pricing guidelines for your farm products.

The target audience is new farmers with 1-3 years of farm management experience and/or serious aspiring new farmers who have already explored the basics of marketing and are ready to develop a formal marketing strategy.

This course will help you:

  • Link your farm’s mission and vision to your commercial goals and marketing strategy
  • Understand the key elements of a solid marketing plan
  • Understand who your target customers should be and how to most effectively reach them
  • Understand & use effective marketing strategies
  • Understand and use various pricing strategies with your products
  • Understand what a “brand” is and how to relate it back to your marketing activities
  • Create a marketing plan through weekly input from the course instructors

Instructors:

Laura Biasillo, Agricultural Economic Development Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, NY.
Marie Anselm, Agricultural Economic Development Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County, NY.

MORE INFO AND REGISTRATION:
http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-201-making-money/

2014 carrots

Vegetable Farming, Part 1 (BF 120)

From Planning to Planting

an online course through the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project

Wed. January 13 – February 17 with seminars each Wednesday evening from 7:00-8:30pm (excluding January 20)

http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-120-growing-a-veggie-farm/

This course will help new or aspiring vegetable producers to answer basic questions about site selection, crop rotation, seeding and transplants, and financial aspects of veggie production. Topics including variety selection, pre-plant preparation, and cultivation will be covered. Don’t miss BF 121, the continuation of this course, which takes you through the remainder of the growing season into harvest, post-harvest handling, and marketing.

This course is for serious aspiring farmers planning farm start-up within the next year, or those with 1-3 growing seasons of vegetable farming experience. Because the pest complex, production systems and appropriate varieties vary so much from region to region, this course targets farmers in the Northeastern United States. Farmers outside the region are welcome to register, but should do so knowing that some of the information presented may not be appropriate for their region.

At the end of this course, you will:

  • Understand the characteristics of a viable site for commercial vegetable crop production and how to alter that site if necessary.
  • Understand the importance of cover-cropping, IPM, and proper pre-plant preparation.
  • Be able to develop a basic whole farm plan, which will help you keep records, manage time more effectively, and price products.
  • Have a good understanding of the full season of tasks involved in vegetable farming – from pre-plant to post-harvest considerations.
  • Know where to go to find reliable, fact based resource material on topics related to vegetable farming.

Instructors:

Amy Ivy is a regional vegetable specialist for the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and the Executive Director of the Clinton County CCE office.

Darcy Telenko is a regional vegetable specialist with the Cornell Vegetable Program, and is based at the CCE Erie County office.

MORE INFO AND REGISTRATION:

http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-120-growing-a-veggie-farm/

GrainField

Small-Scale Organic Grain Production (BF 140)

Is it right for you?

an online course through the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project

Tues. January 19 – February 23, 2016, with webinars each Tuesday evening from 7:00-8:30pm

http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/small-scale-organic-grain-production-bf-140/

This course is intended to make grain production more accessible for small-scale farmers. Information from pre-planting to post-harvest will help aspiring grain growers determine the feasibility and profitability of integrating a grain enterprise into the farm. The course focuses on food-grade and distilling/malting markets, with backup markets for feed-grade grain. Learn what to grow, and how to grow, store and market organic grain. Topics include crop growth cycles and crop rotation, equipment and storage, post-harvest quality, cleaning and markets, and financial considerations. This course will enable the aspiring grain farmer to carefully weigh the challenges and rewards of small-scale grain production before investing time, energy and resources.

This course is for anyone who is interested in grain production but doesn’t know where to start: from the aspiring farmer to the experienced farmer considering the integration of a new grain enterprise. Because crop selection and production practices vary by region and climate, this course targets farmers in the Northeast. Farmers outside of the region are welcome to register but should do so knowing that some of the information presented may not be relevant.

By the end of this course you will:

  • Understand the agronomic characteristics of common grain crops and evaluate the suitability of specific crops for your operation.
  • Recognize the interactions of cover cropping and crop rotation.
  • Identify scale-appropriate equipment and applications.
  • Describe the full-season tasks involved in grain farming—from pre-planting to post-harvest.
  • Employ harvest, storage and market strategies to maximize quality and profitability.
  • Understand the financial aspects of small-scale grain production and develop a basic enterprise budget.

Instructors:

Kat Loeck is an organic grain farmer in Seneca County, New York.
Brian Caldwell is a researcher in Cornell’s Dept of Crop and Soil Sciences and a long-time organic farmer.

MORE INFO AND REGISTRATION:
http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/small-scale-organic-grain-production-bf-140/

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