Our Instructors

Bonnie Collins

BF 104: Keeping Financial Records

Bonnie Collins is a community extension educator in Oneida County, with responsibilities in farm business management and the environmental touring teacher program.  She has been with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Oneida County for 7 years and has operated an accounting business for the past 28 years. She holds an MBA in technology management, a BPS in Accounting, has competed the Cornell Bird Biology seminars, is a Master Gardner, and has won the a National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Science award for Environmental Education.

Beth Claypoole

BF 102: Exploring Markets and Profit Potential

Beth Claypoole is the Executive Director and Agriculture Issues Leader for Cornell Cooperative Extension Wayne County. She has been an extension specialist for more than 20 years, with expertise in dairy management and business management.  Beth has taught business planning to more than 1000 people across the United States and in Poland.  Her most recent expertise has been building workshops and working with the New England Small Farm Institute as a trainer and facilitator for “Exploring the Small Farm Dream”. She has an MS in Animal Science Nutrition and an MBA, with emphasis in Marketing.  Her current focus is on new farm start-ups and agriculture economic development.

Carol King

BF 106: Certifying Your Farm as Organic

Carol has worked in the organic community for over 11 years. She is the Certification Director of NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC, a USDA National Organic Program and ISO65 Accredited Agency. In this role, she oversees the management of the organization and maintains the Quality Systems. Carol holds certificates in Crop and Processing/Handling Inspections, International Standards and National Organic Program Regulations. She has serve on many working groups within the Accredited Certifiers Association. She is also an avid organic foods consumer and grower for own use.

Crystal Stewart

BF 120 and BF 121: Growing a Small-Scale Veggie Farm

Crystal Stewart is a regional agriculture specialist with the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Capital District Vegetable and Small Fruit Program. She specializes in working with organic and beginning farmers, specifically with fresh market vegetable crops. She strives to help farmers balance the financial, environmental and social aspects of their operations to increase their long-term sustainability and quality of life. When not working with farmers, Crystal runs a small coffee shop in her local food co-op.

Dan Welch

BF 102: Exploring Markets and Profit Potential

Dan Welch is a Resource Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension - Cayuga County in Auburn, NY. At CCE Cayuga, Dan focuses on farm management and marketing, and animal science. He went to college at SUNY Cobleskill, and has a master’s degree from SUNY Oswego. Dan has also received the American FFA Degree, the highest level of membership in FFA. Outside of work, Dan enjoys spending time with his family, and is currently growing hops and plans to have chickens and make some maple syrup at home in the next year.

David Belding

BF 110: Improving Soil Health

David Belding is co-founder of Cross Island Farms, a highly diversified, direct market, Certified Organic vegetable and grass-based livestock farm on Wellesley Island NY.  With his partner Dani Baker, David produces and markets over 200 varieties of organic, mostly heirloom vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers, raises & markets organic grass-fed eggs, poultry, goat, pork, and beef, and produces honey & sometimes maple syrup.  They offer Educational Organic Farm Tours, Organic Farm & Garden Workshops, & Primitive Camping. David is currently training a young heifer calf "Babe" to do double duty as an ox.  David says the most important job on any farm or garden is "FEED THE SOIL!"

Dianne Olsen

BF 101: Starting at Square One

Dianne Olsen is senior extension educator in Putnam County, with responsibilties in environmental horticulture, natural resources, small farming, family vegetable gardens and school gardens.  She has been with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Putnam County for 11 years and is a member of the county’s Agricultural Protection and Farmland Preservation Board.  She holds a BS in Horticulture Studies, an MA in Environmental Studies, and has had specialized education in environmental psychology.

Erica Frenay

BF 202: Planning Your Farm Business

Erica Frenay co-manages the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project for the Cornell Small Farms Program, and manages Shelterbelt Farm, a diversified livestock farm near Ithaca, NY. She also teaches whole farm planning and holistic decision-making to beginning farmers throughout NY and MA and utilizes her training in permaculture and Holistic Management to plan her own farm’s development.

Laura Biasillo

BF 101: Starting at Square One
BF 106: Certifying Your Farm as Organic
BF 201: Making Money in the Marketplace

Laura Biasillo is an Agricultural Economic Development Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension -Broome County, in Binghamton NY. Laura has been in this position for 5 years, and in this position she focuses on increasing marketing channels for producers, creating education programs focused on new skills and technologies, and facilitation of farmland protection and development initiatives with the county. She and her husband own ~5 acres, have a 6 month old son and raise chickens and a garden (when the chickens don't treat it like their personal buffet).

Laura McDermott

BF 122: Growing Berry Crops Commercially

Laura McDermott works with commercial vegetable and berry growers as part of the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Capital District Vegetable and Small Fruit Program. Laura is the primary resource for berry crop production information and also handles season extension topics along with farm labor issues. Laura has worked with eastern NY growers and gardeners for over 20 years.

Lynn Bliven

BF 130: Raising Pastured Poultry for Profit

Lynn A. Bliven, Agriculture & Natural Resource Team Coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Allegany/Cattaraugus Counties. She began her career in 4-H and currently works in Agricultural Economic Development; specializing in beginning farmer outreach, local food systems and livestock production. Lynn and husband Shawn operate a 52 acre farm in Rushford, NY raising grass-fed beef, lamb and poultry.

Rebecca Schuelke-Staehr

BF 202: Planning Your Farm Business

Rebecca Schuelke Staehr operates Cayuga Pumpkin Barn, a seasonal vegetable farm in Springport, Cayuga County, NY.  She has worked for Cornell Cooperative Extension and the NY Farm Viability Institute.  She is a past chair of CADE, the Center for Agricultural Development & Entreprenuership.  Rebecca serves on the board of Central New York Resource Conservation and Development Council, and the Cayuga County Farm Bureau.  She has taught classes in time management for beginning farmers, starting a farmstead cheese operation, and more.

Steve Hadcock

BF 104: Keeping Financial Records,
BF 103: Understanding the Business Side of Farming

Steve Hadcock is a Cornell Cooperative Extension Educator with the Capital Area Agricultural and Horticulture Program with educational responsibility for working with new and beginning farmers.  He provides education on an individual and group basis to those interested in beginning a farm and for those who have been farming for less than 10 years.

Trish Westenbroek

BF 102: Exploring Markets and Profit Potential

Trish Westenbroek is senior extension educator in Sullivan County, with responsibilities in dairy, livestock, agronomy and farm management.  Her particular interest is with youngstock management.  She has been with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Sullivan County for 4 years . Trish  is a member of the county’s Agricultural Protection and Farmland Preservation Board and serves as liaison for the Sullivan County Farm Bureau, Farm Service Agency, and the Soil Water Conservation District.   She holds a BS in Animal Science and a MS in Agricultural Development.

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