Small Farms Summits

2011 Small Farms Summit Report Published!

2011 Summit Report

Download the Report in WORD (22pgs)


Posted March 18, 2010

Videos available of the 2010 NYS Small Farms Summit

If you weren’t able to attend the 3rd Small Farms Summit on March 4th, but would like a visual snapshot of our statewide Small Farm Workteams and the projects they have accomplished since the last summit in 2007, you can view their 5 minute presentations below. Also provided are introductions to the Summit by Anu Rangarajan, Director of the Cornell Small Farms Program, and Mike Hoffman, Sr. Associate Dean; College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. A special welcome by Susan Henry, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, concludes this video archive.

Download the 2010 Small Farms Summit Agenda
Learn more about the four statewide Small Farm Workteams

Our statewide workteams formed in 2007 to address issues raised in the four key areas of food/markets; livestock processing; farm energy; and grasslands use.

Small Farms Summit – Welcome, Anu Rangarajan from Cornell Horticulture on Vimeo.

N.Y. Small Farm Summit: Welcome, Mike Hoffman from Cornell Horticulture on Vimeo.

N.Y. Small Farm Summit: Local markets, local foods, Martha Goodsell from Cornell Horticulture on Vimeo.

N.Y. Small Farm Summit: Grasslands, Dan Welch from Cornell Horticulture on Vimeo.

N.Y. Small Farm Summit: Livestock processing, Tatiana Stanton from Cornell Horticultureon Vimeo.

N.Y. Small Farm Summit: Farm energy issues, Violet Stone from Cornell Horticulture onVimeo.

N.Y. Small Farm Summit: Beginning farmer training, Anu Rangarajan from Cornell Horticulture on Vimeo.

N.Y. Small Farm Summit: Dean Susan Henry from Cornell Horticulture on Vimeo.


About the first Small Farms Summit in 2006

On November 30, 2006 the first New York Small Farm Summit was convened by Cornell’s Small Farms Program to further identify and clarify key opportunities to enhance the viability of small farms in our state.  Over eighty participants gathered at four sites; a Central NY group in Ithaca, Tompkins County; Eastern NY in Voorheesville, Albany County; Northern NY in Malone, Franklin County; and Western NY in Mt. Morris, Livingston County. The four groups were linked by videoconference for much of the day’s proceedings. Participants included farmers, researchers, extension educators, agency representatives and NGO leaders.

Our goals at the 2006 Small Farm Summit were to:

  • Reflect on progress to date in meeting the needs of New York’s smaller farms
  • Identify emerging opportunities that may warrant increased attention from those of us in research, education and other farm services
  • Cultivate new collaborations among the diverse organizations and agencies supporting small farms in NY

The centerpiece of the Summit was a facilitated discussion at each of the four regional sites on the following questions:

  1. What are some of the MOST promising opportunities for sustaining and increasing small farms in this region of New York State?
  2. In order to capitalize on these opportunities, what are the biggest priorities for research, education, and collaboration in this region?

After each regional group identified its most promising opportunities and priorities using a multi-voting process, the four groups reconvened to share results.  Following the Summit, notes from the regional group and whole-group discussions were compiled by Small Farms Program staff.  Six major opportunities were identified (see below).

For each opportunity, a multidisciplinary Summit Review Team then developed an outline of strategic investments needed in the areas of Farmer Education, Research, Public Education, Regional Collaboration, and NYS Policy, for New York’s small farm operators and the public to capitalize on these opportunities. The resulting draft of this Small Farm Summit Report and Recommendations was then made available to all Summit participants for review and comment.

Although we do mention many resources and programs which are already supporting small farms in New York, we have not attempted to create an exhaustive listing in this report.  Rather we focus on the priorities for additional targeted research, education, regional collaboration, and policy initiatives within the opportunities identified by the Summit participants. Detailed information on other Cornell resources can be found in our recent publication, Cornell University Small Farm Research & Education Resources.

Key Opportunities

The following were identified as major opportunities to enhance the viability and sustainability of New York’s small farms:

  1. Marketing innovations to connect consumers with local and regional producers
  2. Renewable energy technologies, energy crops and energy conservation
  3. Enhanced utilization of grasslands resources for economic development and environmental protection
  4. Integrated farming systems using appropriate technologies
  5. Improved processing regulations, infrastructure and technologies for small farm meat and dairy products
  6. Beginning farmer support

Based upon these opportunities and recommended investments, the Cornell Small Farm Program initiated statewide working groups in 2007, to develop strategic plans in each of these areas.  As part of this effort, these working groups are considering ways to improve coordination among all agencies supporting NY small farms and identify additional funding and staffing needs further enhance the viability of small farms in New York.

Summit Reports

2006 Small Farms Summit Report
2007 Small Farms Summit Report