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BF Learning Network Meetings & Webinars

Looking for past meeting presentations? Did you miss a webinar? View slides and listen to recordings here!

2015 NE Beginning Farmer Service Provider Meeting, Oct 27-29, Latham, NY

The Cornell Small Farms Program and the NE Beginning Farmers Project hosted a 2-day Northeast Beginning Farmer Learning Network (BFLN) meeting bringing together over 50 service providers from extension programs, non-profit organizations, and government agencies across the NE. This training was supported in part through a NE SARE PDP. See a detailed agenda HERE. Archived presentations from this training can be found below:

Supporting NYS Veterans in Agriculture, Oct 26th

We brought together traditional military veteran service providers and agricultural service providers to learn how to best serve military veterans who seek careers in agriculture, discuss the challenges faced by veterans who seek farm careers and the resources available to help them, and to create regional networks that support veterans in NYS agriculture. Find the slides at our Veterans in Agriculture page.

NE Regional Beginning Farmer Service Provider Training, Oct 27th

Our goals were to promote networking and collaboration among BF support organizations across the NE, build organizational and programmatic skills on emergent BF issues, and share teaching tools and methods to improve BF outreach and training services. Contact Ryan at if looking for any additional resources shared.


  • Creative strategies to improve farmers access to farmland – Tim Biello, New York Programs Manager and Hudson Valley Farmlink Network Coordinator – American Farmland Trust 
  • Farmland transfer: building relationships between landowners and landseekers – Dan Welch, Business and Succession Planning Coordinator – NY FarmNet (View slides)
  • Reading the land: Classroom and field-based activities to engage farmers in land assessment – Crystal Stewart, Regional Vegetable Specialist – Cornell Cooperative Extension (View slides)
  • How to teach the balance of land and livestock  – Ben Crockett, Site Manager – Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator (View slides)
  • Helping producers and landowners set “fair” rents for farmland in complex land markets – Liz Higgins, Ag Program Leader – Cornell Cooperative Extension (View slides)


  • Enterprise budgeting: The Poultry Enterprise Budget Calculator Project – Jennifer Hashley, Director – New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (View slides)
  • Understanding meat yields and pricing cuts for profit – Brian Moyer, Program Assistant – Penn State Extension (View slides)

 2014 NE Beginning Farmer Service Provider Meeting, Oct 27-29, Latham, NY

The Cornell Small Farms Program and the NE Beginning Farmers Project hosted a 3-day Northeast Beginning Farmer Learning Network (BFLN) Conference in fall of 2014. The train-the-trainer conference, titled Re-strategizing with advanced BF’s: Supporting scale-up and farm investment decision making,  brought together over 50 service providers from extension programs, non-profit organizations, and government agencies across the NE to help improve service provider teaching skills and foster a growing BF service provider network. This training was supported through a NE SARE PDP. See the full agenda here. Archived presentations from this training can be found below:

  • Identifying Credit Readiness- Gary Matteson – Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach, Farm Credit Council  [View slides]
  • Farm Financial Analysis- Gary Matteson – Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach, Farm Credit Council, Washington  [View slides]
  • Labor and Equipment Decision Making – Chris Blanchard- Flying Rutabaga Works [Contact Ryan at for materials]
  • Marketing through Wholesale Channels – Bob Weybright- Cornell University, Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program  [View slides]
  • Whole farm decision making – Erica Frenay- Cornell Small Farms Program and the NE Beginning Farmers Project, Phil Metzger – Consultant, and Elizabeth Marks– USDA NRCS [Contact Ryan at for materials]
  • Cultural Competency
    • Cultural Competency Continuum – Eduardo Gonzalez, Statewide Diversity Specialist, CCE-NYC [View Slides]
    • Veterans as Beginning Farmers – Norm Conrad, NE Regional Director-National Center for Apppropriate Technology,  Armed to Farm Program [View slides]
    • The New Farmer Development Project – Chris Wayne, New Farmer Development Project, FarmRoots NYC [View slides]

2013-14 Webinars for BF Service Providers

Cultural Competency 101: Working across cultural differences
October 15th, 2014
Presented by Eduardo Gonzalez Jr.
Cornell University Cooperative Extension – NYC

Cultural competence is a set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together to enable a system, agency or profession to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. How can you best work across cultural differences with those that you serve? In this webinar, you will be introduced to key terms and definitions of cultural competency; review the multiple dimension of diversity – including your own; and learn key steps for becoming more culturally competent in order to effectively work across differences. [View recording] [View Slides]

Diversifying Beyond Direct – Supporting Beginning Farmers in Exploring Wholesale Markets
Friday, April 25th, 2014
Presented by Anthony Mirisciotta, Deep Roots Organic Cooperative

How can you help beginning farmers decide on and take steps to entering a wholesale market? Learn through the experience of Deep Root Cooperative and their work with organic vegetable farmers in the NE. Learn about the nature of wholesale relationships, terms of pricing and payment, and expectations for quality and packaging. Exploring the structure of wholesale markets will help you design outreach and education programs that prepare beginning farmers to consider these channels as their enterprises grow. [View recording here]

Valuing Time and Muscle – Working with Beginning Farmers in Labor Record Keeping,
April 17, 2014
Presented by Chris Blanchard, Flying Rutabaga Works

Learn from farmer, consultant, and educator Chris Blanchard, and explore ways to track and calculate labor inputs that translate into meaningful records. This training will focus on what activities to monitor, if and how to extrapolate from a snapshot, when to lump activities together or get picky, and what forms and formats may work better or worse. Whether it is setting prices, evaluating profitability, or considering a new farm investment, this training will help you work with beginning farmers in designing the right recording keeping systems that lead to informed management decisions. [View recording here]

The Language and Landscape of Working with Farmer Veterans, Feb 27, 2014
Presented by Michele Pfannenstiel DVM, President of the Farmer Veteran Coalition – Maine Chapter and Director of Food Safety for the Farmer Veteran Coalition

How can BF service organizations better support military veterans returning to or starting up farming? What special knowledge and skills will help you serve this audience more effectively? Improve your understanding of today’s veteran experience, learn how to navigate to the VA’s programs, and see examples of successful veteran farmer training efforts, as exemplified by the Farmer Veteran Coalition. Hear how this national effort is building momentum for support of military veterans in agriculture.[View recording here]

AgSquared for BF Service Trainers: A Tool for Teaching Crop Planning and Record Keeping to Beginning Farmers, November 22, 2013
Presented by Drew Katz, Brianna Ewert, and David Wides, AgSquared

Learn how AgSquared can help farmers develop their initial crop plans and keep better farm records and see what record keeping resources AgSquared can provide to BF service organizations. [View recording here]

2013 NE Beginning Farmer Service Provider Meeting, Oct 28-30, Latham, NY

Beginning farmer service providers from across the NE gathered in this 3 day professional development training.  Over 50 beginning farmer service providers representing extension services, organizations, and government agencies across 8 states joined invited speakers to focus on improving training skills in Organic Vegetable Production and Farm Financial and Business Management. Conference workshops brought creative teaching methods that will translate into new knowledge and skills for beginning farmers as they build their farm enterprise. Participants were also challenged to think about how they can effectively reach veterans, African Americans, Latinos, recent immigrants, women and other under-served farmers in their community. These workshops were supported with funding from a Northeast SARE PDP Grant and were the first in a two part training program. Archived presentations from this training can be found below.

Advanced Organic Vegetable Production [Download Agenda]

  • Planning for Flexibility in Effective Crop Rotations- Chuck Mohler, Cornell University [Download Slides]
  • Organic Weed Management- Eric Gallandt, University of Maine [Download Slides]
  • Organic Soil Management- Elsa Sanchez, Penn State University and Brian Caldwell, Cornell University [Download Slides]
  • Organic Insect Management- Ruth Hazzard, University of Massachusetts [Email  – file is too large]
  • Organic Disease Management: Concepts and Facts for Beginning Farmers- Meg McGrath, Cornell University [Download Slides]

Farm Financial and Business Management [Download Agenda]

  • Matching the Farm Business Approach to Farm Maturity- Christie Young, FarmStart [Download Slides]
  • Choosing and Evaluating Marketing Channels- Matt LeRoux, CCE Tompkins County [Download Slides]
  • Teaching Enterprise Budgeting- Richard Wiswall, Cate Farm
  • Developing and Teaching Effective Record Keeping Strategies- Guilia Stellari, AgSquared [Download Slides]
  • Creative Financing, Complementary Financing: Ways for Farms to Acquire Capital for Start-up and Operations- Ben Waterman, University of Vermont Extension New Farmer Project [Download Slides]

Presentations and Notes from BF Learning Network meeting March 8, 2013 in Albany, NY

Download agenda here (PDF).

Land Access Updates

  • Land For Good Land Access Project updates from Kathy Ruhf [Download PDF]
  • American Farmland Trust’s “Farmland Advisors” program and Hudson Valley FarmLink updates from Diane Held [Download PDF]
    • Notes from Diane Held’s and Kathy Ruhf’s presentations [Download PDF]

Full-Service Beginning Farmer Support

Organic Production Training Curricula and Methods

  • Penn State’s Start Farming Program presentation by Tianna Dupont [Download PDF]
  • Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Assoc (MOFGA) presentation by Andrew Marshall [Download PDF]

New Financing Options for Beginning Farmers

  • Kiva Zip 0% Loans – by Becky Hockaday [Download PDF]
  • Microloans from Farm Service Agency (FSA) – by Christy Marshall [Download PDF] [Recording of Christy’s Presentation on YouTube]
  • Better Harvest Credit Union: Research and Next Steps – by Scott Budde [Download PDF] [Recording of Scott’s Presentation on YouTube]
  • Crowdsourcing Options and the Delicious Evolution – by Cameron Dubes [Download PDF]
  • New Agrarian Trust – by Severine von Tscharner Fleming of the Greenhorns [sorry, no PDF available]


2012 Lunchtime Learning Webinars

Presentations by:
Jennifer Hashley of New Entry Sustainable Farming Project
(if you would like a PDF of Jennifer’s presentation, please email – it is too large to post) and
Joanna Green of Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming
(download the Powerpoint slides from Joanna’s presentation)

This first of a two-part webinar on land access focuses on the basics. Viewers will learn about land acquisition options and their advantages and disadvantages. They also will come away with information about leases and landowners. Download Kathy Ruhf’s (Land For Good) Powerpoint

This is the second part of the land access webinars, and focuses on emerging financing strategies, including alternative financing for land access as well as topics covered in the new book, Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm, such as legal/accounting considerations, promissory notes, and multi-year CSAs. Download Ben Waterman’s slides (VT New Farmer Project). Links shared from Ben’s powerpoint:

  • Developing Share Lease Agreements for Farmland.” Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. This workbook goes through detailed considerations in pursuing a share lease, and includes worksheets for determining costs and revenue sharing. Available online at:
  • A Sharemilking agreement is specific to dairying, and is a share lease that is focused on sharing dairy infrastructure and building equity for the tenant farmer through partial ownership of the herd or other assets. The University of Missouri Pasture-based Dairy Program has comprehensive resources on share-milking agreements for livestock operations. They are available online at:
  • “Crop Share Rental Arrangements for Your Farm.” North Central Farm Management Extension Committee. This publication covers advantages and disadvantages of crop share arrangements, guiding principles used for developing equitable arrangements, and different approaches used for developing a functional arrangement. Available online at:

This webinar included presentations by Gail Myers, Farms to Grow Inc. (Oakland, CA), and Joanna Green & Millie Gustafson, Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming. Gail, Joanna and Millie presented strategies for any organization wishing to ensure their programs meet the needs of ethnically and socially diverse audiences and share their experiences with becoming more culturally competent.
Download Gail’s slides here (PDF).
Download Joanna’s slides here (PDF), including the “10 things you and your organization can do”.  References for further reading:

  • Bringing Good Food to Others (PDF) by Julie Guthman
  • Four Agreements of Courageous Conversation (DOC) by Singleton and Linton
  • Anti-Racist Practice and the Work of Community Food Organizations (PDF) by Rachel Slocum

3rd Beginning Farmer Learning Network Meeting

Held Sept 29-30, 2011 at the Century House Hotel in Latham, NY