How to Sustainably Reduce Soil Acidity

How to Sustainably Reduce Soil Acidity

The plants we grow are just as dependant on nutrition as we are.  If their soil is too acid, too base or doesn’t contain the right nutrients, they just won’t grow. Some like the soil to be toward the acidic side of the PH scale, while others prefer their soil to be more base. If your local soil is too acidic, or the soil you’re getting from your local hardware store has a PH that is wrong for the types of plants you want to grow, what can you do to sustainably lower the soil acidity?

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The Joy of Soy: Why Soy Beans May Be the Ultimate Crop for our Times

The Joy of Soy: Why Soy Beans May Be the Ultimate Crop for our Times

The 21st century presents the world, and specifically the world of agriculture with some serious sustainability quandaries. As the population booms, animal agriculture has had to grow exponentially to meet global demand. As meat consumption becomes increasingly widespread and intensive, the growth of American fast food trends in Asian markets such as China, Thailand, Japan and Cambodia where meat consumption has traditionally been sparse and infrequent has led to a sustainability crisis.

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Farm-To-Table Dinner Party Slated Nov. 4 At Better Farm, Featuring Chef Clayton Moody

You are cordially invited to a farm-to-table dinner party at Better Farm from 6:15-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, at Better Farm in Redwood.

Enjoy farm-fresh appetizers, an entree, and delicious dessert meticulously prepared, featuring 100% locally sourced ingredients from Better Farm and surrounding locations. Omnivorous and vegan options available, along with bottomless wine!

Featuring the culinary genius of Chef Clayton Moody (Jacques Cartier Room). $50 per person, pre-registration required. Click here to sign up—please specify meal choice as a note on your RSVP!

Better Farm is located at 31060 Cottage Hill Road, Redwood NY, 13679. For further information, email info@betterfarm.org.

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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Three Exciting, Money-Making Opportunities For Small Farms

Three Exciting, Money-Making Opportunities For Small Farms

It’s no secret that running a farm is hard work. It a very physical job that involves long hours working in both good and inclement weather conditions. From tending to crops to feeding cattle, countless tasks need to be completed each day. Despite what many may think, the pay that farmers receive does not always reflect the hard work they put in. This can leave many of them feeling under appreciated and tempted to try a different career instead. However, there are ways that even the smallest of farms can maximize their profits. So to keep the lifestyle you adore and to make more money from your farm, consider these exciting ideas.

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Farming Equipment Is Essential To Your Success: Here's How To Keep It In Good Condition

Farming Equipment Is Essential To Your Success: Here's How To Keep It In Good Condition

Every farm and farmer use farming equipment. There is no way in which a modern farm can function properly and find real success unless you have the right equipment. So, you need to think about what you can do to keep your farming equipment in the best possible condition for as long as possible. It’s something that can be done pretty easily if you take the right kinds of steps.

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What To Consider When Expanding Your Farm

What To Consider When Expanding Your Farm

Having a farm full of varied animals is a dream for many a farmer. Of course, being a farmer in itself is exceptionally hard work. It goes without saying that the more animals you have, the more work you will have on your plate. However, with many different types of livestock, your day will always be interesting. After all, they say that variety is the spice of life! Plus, having a wide range of livestock can open your farm up to many more opportunities – whether you are selling produce or opening your farm up to the public. Here are some things you’ll need to consider if you’re thinking of adding to your brood.

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Keeping A Modern Farm Eco-Efficient Isn't Difficult If You Know How

Keeping A Modern Farm Eco-Efficient Isn't Difficult If You Know How

Is running a farm that has a high eco-efficiency  level a massive challenge? You might not think so, but many farmers would disagree. They are under the impression that keeping their farm green and making it efficient is a steep slope to climb. Is it really, though? Of course not. In fact, we would argue that as long as you know the right steps to take, going green is easy. We are living in an age where farms are more intensive than ever. A lot of the processes are not completed by machines. But even with that machinery, it’s possible to keep your farm eco friendly.

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More Efficiency in Farming: Why the World Needs It ASAP

More Efficiency in Farming: Why the World Needs It ASAP

There are many people out there who believe that agriculture now makes up only a minute fraction of the world’s labor. That farms across the world are disappearing by the second. Replaced by food-creating machines that spew artificial food products into the world by the truckload. It’s true that the agricultural life has been largely eclipsed by post-industrial, city-centred businesses. But an eclipse doesn’t mean that the eclipsed object has ceased to exist. It merely means that it’s not so easy to get a look at.

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October Small Farms Update

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. The update's 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.
 
This 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 include, please email smallfarmsprogram@cornell.edu.
Announcements
Don't Miss the Upcoming Farm Energy Field Days!
The last two field days in this series of farmer-led tours will give you a first-hand look at what it takes to integrate renewable energy technologies into your farm or homestead. You'll learn how to assess your own energy use, explore your renewable energy options, seek financing and grants, and work with technical experts. This is your opportunity to get "how-to" information, view customized equipment on the farm, and network with other energy enthusiasts. Field days are free and open to the public and refreshments will be provided. Sponsored by Northeast SARE and the Cornell Small Farms Program.

October 4, 2013. 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM. Using Residual Biomass to Fuel the Farm. Dedrick Farms, 389 Buck Rd off of Rt. 34, Lansing, NY 14882. Matt Dedrick will give a demonstration of converting non-saleable farm residues from his 400 acre field crop and vegetable farm into fuel for heating and transportation. This farm tour will interest anyone thinking about how farm biomass can become an energy supply! Map.

October 11, 2013. 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM. Sourcing Solar: On-Farm Production to Retail. Schoharie Valley Farms, 5605 State Route 30, Schoharie, NY 1215. Join proprietor/producer Richard Ball for a tour of one of the premier diversified vegetable farms and retail outlets in the region. Learn how the energy derived from a large solar array installation benefits farm production, processing, cold storage, food service, and retail. Map.

UVM Extension New Farmer Project Needs Your Input: Survey due Oct 8!
The UVM Extension New Farmer Project is working to develop education and training to help managers of Northeast small-scale and diversified farms develop skills and strategies for matching farm labor decisions to production, profit, & quality of life goals. This survey is designed to gauge your interest in participating in educational programs related to farm labor and also to gather some baseline data on the challenges and needs related to farm labor management. The survey should take 5-8 minutes to complete. Access the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FarmLaborEducationQuestions about this or other initiatives of the UVM Extension New Farmer Project, please call or email Jessie Schmidt, newfarmer@uvm.edu, 802-223-2389x203.
Coming Soon: OSHA Training for Small Dairy Producers
OSHA's Syracuse Area Office is planning a Local Emphasis Program focusing on Dairy Farm Operations in New York beginning as early as February 2014. Farms have not typically been an area of OSHA inspection unless prompted by an accident, so it is important that farmers understand what operations are subject to OSHA and what OSHA expectations are. While most small dairy operations will not be affected by OSHA inspections, they want to emphasize that farm safety education and training is useful to all operators and their employees. Learn more about this local emphasis program within OSHA: https://www.osha.gov/dep/leps/leps.html.
Events
Featured Events

October 5, 2013. 10:00 AM- 4:00 PM. Berlin-Berkshire Fall Foliage Grazing Tour. First stop on the tour will be with Morgan Hartman of Black Queen Angus Farm in Berlin, NY.  Black Queen Angus Farm is a grass-fed operation owned by Morgan Hartman and his family. The next stop on the tour is the Berlin Fire Hall at 12 PM to enjoy a delicious local foods lunch catered by Wild Oats Market of Williamstown, MA. The last stop will be at 1:30 PM at Cricket Creek Farm, a small grass-based enterprise located in Williamstown, MA. Nestled on the slopes of the Taconic hills, the farm consists of over 500 acres of rolling fields and woodlots, old apple orchards and sugarbush. The grazing tour is a drive yourself tour. The cost for tour and lunch is $20/person.  Please contact Donna Murray at 518-270-2668 or visit http://ccecapitalregion.org/news/13-09-24/Berlin-Berkshire_Fall_Foliage_Grazing_Tour.aspx for more information.
 
October 12, 2013. 9:00 AM- 3:00 PM. Maple Workshop.  Cornell Cooperative Extension Broome County, Binghamton, NY. Steve Childs, from the Cornell Maple Program, will cover maple suckers & hard candy, maple coating nuts, maple soft drinks, maple straws, maple cotton, and much more at this maple workshop. The cost is $65 per farm and includes either a NY Maple Confections Notebook or digital thermometer, lunch, snacks and all materials. Each farm will need to bring one quart of syrup (any color or grade) for testing for invert sugar and to be used in the program. To register and pay online visit: https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/mapleconfections_203 or contact Carol at (607) 584-9966.

October 17, 2013. 9:30 AM- 4:00 PM. Organic Cover Crop Workshop and Tour. USDA-NRCS Big Flats Plant Materials Center, 3266 RT 352, Big Flats, NY 14814 . Presentations during this workshop will focus on nitrogen cycling and soil ecology, small scale reduced tillage implementation, crop rotation practices, and cover crop utilization, among other topics. For registration information, click here.

[MANY MORE EVENTS!Visit our comprehensive statewide events calendar online.
Career Opportunities
UVM Farmer Training Program Applications- Due Oct. 31
The UVM Farmer Training Program is a 6-month intensive program (May 5 -October 31, 2014) for aspiring farmers and food systems advocates that provides a hands-on, skills-based education in sustainable agriculture. This full-time program offers participants the unique opportunity to manage their own growing site, take classes from professors and expert farmers, and rotate as workers and learners on successful, diverse farms in the Burlington area. Participants will leave with a Certificate in Sustainable Farming, a deeper understanding of agricultural management and small-scale farming, and the entrepreneurial skills to start their own operation. The UVM Farmer Training Program is now accepting applications until October 31 for early admission to the 2014 cohort! To learn more, visit their Farmer Training Website or contact them at farmer@uvm.edu or (802) 656-8657. 
Stonewall Farm School Applications- Due Nov. 15
Stonewall Farm in Keene, New Hampshire offers future farmers the opportunity to spend a full year learning by working shoulder to shoulder with our experienced staff and administration. Hard work, critical thinking, problem solving, and the use of appropriate technologies for small farms will be emphasized. Two tracks are offered: garden and dairy. Both include the study of farm operations and management. The farm operates a certified organic dairy, a three acre garden, three greenhouses, a yearlong CSA, a micro-pasteurizing plant, a farm store, sugar house, hydroponic barely fodder system and an educational learning center. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis through November 15th for the 2013-2014 year-long session.  For more information or to request an application contact Josh Cline - Executive Director at (603) 357-7278 ext. 107 or email: jcline@stonewallfarm.org.
Funding Opportunities
Northeast Farm Credit AgEnhancement Grant Program - Due Dec. 1
Interested in hosting a field day or other educational program on your farm? The AgEnhancement Grant Program is a grant program that supports projects, events, and activities that promote awareness of agriculture and the food and fiber industries in the Northeast. AgEnhancement also supports programs designed to assist young farmers and youth considering a career in agriculture. Awards range from $1,000 to $5,000. Next application deadline is December 1. For more information and access to the application form, visit https://www.farmcreditmaine.com/.
Northeast SARE Now Accepting Applications for Farmer Grants - Due Dec. 2
NE SARE 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. The proposal deadline for the next round of NE SARE farmer grants is December 2, 2013 with awards announced in March. More information is available here.
Latest Resources
Online Tool Can Help You Build a Farm Budget
The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri has developed The Farm Cost and Return Tool, which allows farmers to determine the long-term financial feasibility of their farm operations. The tool can provide budgets based on a selected location but can also be customized to a specific operation. You can access this tool at www.fapri.missouri.edu/projects. For more information, contact any of MU Extension's agriculture business specialists located in southwest Missouri: Wesley Tucker in Polk County, 417-326-4916; Dr. Gordon Carriker in Christian County, 417-581-3558; or Stacy Hambelton in Ozark County, 417-679-3525.
New Online Magazine for Graziers
On Pasture translates the latest research and experience into grazing practices readers can use now. Since their first issue on March 21, they've published 5 articles per week on grazing management, pasture health, livestock, money matters and more. This online resource is available at http://onpasture.com.
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 directory of beginning farmer service providers across the Northeast in the "Who Can Help?" section of our Northeast Beginning Farmers Project website.
 
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Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Will Farm Bill Turn Control of Organic Industry Over to USDA?

Image from Organic Gardening,
By Nicole Caldwell for JuJu Good News

A new debate springing up in the organic community has some concerned that the commodification of the “organic” label could turn the entire industry over to the USDA—and a small number of big-money companies.

Advertising campaigns funded by “checkoff programs” (commodity research and promotion programs) are overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture and run by organizations established to promote certain foods (i.e. beef, soybeans, pork, milk, and eggs); and commission research to produce and market said food. Classic marketing campaigns with checkoff programs include: “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.” “Pork. The Other White Meat.” and of course, “Got Milk?” For every sale, the checkoff program makes money. Each head of cattle sold, for example, represents $1 is collected for the beef checkoff program.

So does organic food need its own checkoff program?

The controversial farm bill being debated by Congress includes language that would allow USDA to create a checkoff program for organic products. For other commodities, farmers pay into the fund but large food companies are largely in control of decisions on how to spend the money. Many organic farmers are therefore leery of an arrangement in which their dollars are controlled by giant food-processing companies.
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

'Food Safety' Act Hurts Small Farms

By Nicole Caldwell for JujuGood News

With the Food and Drug Administration on the verge of finally implementing the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, warning flags are being raised that certain elements of proposed regulations would put the kaibash on the Good Food Movement once and for all.

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Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.