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Extension and outreach

Farm Ops initiative opens new fields to veterans

Anu Rangarajan

Anu Rangarajan

Cornell Chronicle [2016-05-24]:

New York agriculture faces a looming employment crisis, but not the kind that normally leaves job seekers skittish.

A rise in job capacity in the agriculture industry is not being met with enough skilled people ready to fill the expected surge in high-paying, productive careers. An innovative Cornell project is betting that military veterans are the answer.

Farm Ops, an initiative from the Cornell Small Farm Program, is the first of its kind in the country to give returning veterans the opportunity to learn agriculture via their G.I. Bill benefits. The program allows earned military benefits to be deployed in agriculture training, opening the way for young, hardworking men and women with the skills to be successful in a technologically advanced field to become the farmers of tomorrow.

“After leaving the military, our veterans enter the workforce with the dedication, grit and work ethic to succeed in whatever they wish to do,” said Anu Rangarajan, director of the Cornell Small Farm Program and senior extension associate in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science. “Until now, the job-training benefits they earned have not been applied to agriculture. Our program offers pathways, information and support to enter the agricultural workforce.

“It’s a win for our veterans and a win for the New York agricultural industry that desperately needs these talented people,” she said.

Read the whole article.

Relationships drive Cornell Vegetable Program’s reach

Hoover speaks with Cornell Vegetable Program specialist Judson Reid '94 in a climate-controlled high tunnel. (Photo: R.J. Anderson/Cornell Cooperative Extension)

Hoover speaks with Cornell Vegetable Program specialist Judson Reid ’94 in a climate-controlled high tunnel. (Photo: R.J. Anderson/Cornell Cooperative Extension)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-05-09]:

Commercial vegetable grower Nelson Hoover does not own a car, a computer or a degree. In fact, the 28-year-old never attended high school. But for over a decade, Hoover, a member of the Groffdale Mennonite Conference in Penn Yan, New York, has been one of the Cornell Vegetable Program’s (CVP) most trusted research partners.

A Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) regional agriculture team, CVP assists farmers in 12 western New York counties – the largest vegetable-producing region in the state – by helping them apply Cornell research and expertise to their local growing operations.

Two of those counties, Yates and Seneca, are home to the highest concentration of Old Order communities in the state. As their populations grows, the Amish and Mennonite influence on the area’s agriculture markets has followed suit. They now operate 99 percent of dairy farms in the area and own of one of the region’s largest produce auctions, which has grown by $185,000 annually over the last 12 years.

Working to maximize vegetable quality and output in Yates and Seneca counties is Cornell-trained horticulturist and CVP extension vegetable specialist Judson Reid ’94. Specializing in small-farm operations and high tunnel growing, Reid has become a trusted agricultural voice – even within those sects not typically receptive to outside influence.

Read the whole article.

In the news

From Picture Cornell May 4:

Students peruse the colorful offerings by Hortus Forum during an Earth Day display, April 20. (Photo: Jason Koski/University Photography)

Students peruse the colorful offerings by Hortus Forum during an Earth Day display, April 20. (Photo: Jason Koski/University Photography)

Boots on the farm: Helping military vets enter agriculture [CALS Notes 2016-03-03] –  Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and the Cornell Small Farms Program (CFSP) are helping military veterans find new career opportunities in agriculture.

New toolkit clarifies agricultural economic assessment [Cornell Chronicle 2016-03-03] –  A Cornell University economist has teamed up with the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other researchers to provide a standardized toolkit to evaluate the economic benefits of investing in local and regional food systems.

Jim Giovannoni elected to the National Academy of Sciences [Discovery that Connects (SIPS blog) 2016-03-03] – Jim Giovannoni (SIPS Section of Plant Biology Adjunct Faculty) was among 84 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences on May 3. Giovannoni, BTI staff member and plant molecular biologist with ARS, researches the genetics and regulation of fruit ripening, with particular focus on tomato.

 

Video: Conservatory ribbon-cutting

If you missed yesterday’s remarks and ribbon-cutting at the Student Open House at the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory, it’s available online.

Kevin Nixon, Glenn Evans, Alan Collmer and Ed Cobb cut the ribbon.

Kevin Nixon, Glenn Evans, Alan Collmer and Ed Cobb cut the ribbon.

Bonus video: The Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory – History, features, plants.

More information: Visit the Conservatory website.

NYFVI awards grants worth $1.6 million

nyfvi logoThe New York Farm Viability Institute announced the award of $1.6 million in funding for 20 projects that aim to help farmers across the state improve improve yields, lower input costs, reach new markets and develop new opportunities.

Some projects of horticultural interest include:

  • Optimizing use of native persistent nematodes for biological control of Plum Curculio in organic and conventional apple production (Arthur Agnello, Entomology)
  • Developing a mechanical method to seed undervine cover crops in NY winegrape vineyards (Hans Walter-Peterson, Finger Lakes Grape Program)
  • Use of under vine fescues in Long Island vinifera vineyards to reduce production costs and environmental impact (Alice Wise, CCE Suffolk County)
  • Insects On-Line: Forecasting insect management for nursery and Christmas tree growers (Elizabeth Lamb, NYS Integrated Pest Management Program)
  • Insect-killing nematodes for biocontrol of greenhouse thrips and fungus gnats (John Sanderson, Entomology)
  • Developing a sustainable hops IPM program from greenhouse to harvest  (Tim Weigle, NYS Integrated Pest Management Program)
  • Minimizing wildlife impacts on yield and food safety risk in vegetables by utilizing repellency tactics (Darcy Telenko, Cornell Vegetable Program)
  • Adoption of controlled release nitrogen fertilizer in potato production (Rebecca Wiseman, CCE Suffolk County)
  • Onion growers can reduce rot! (Steven Beer, Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology)

More information:

SoHo host Horticulture Outreach Day May 5

From Juana Muñoz Ucros, Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SoHo):

Take a break and get inspired by a variety of horticultural activities including plant propagation, cyanotypes, soil painting and more:

Horticulture Outreach Day
Thursday, May 5
2 to 5 p.m.
114 Plant Science Building

hort outreach day poster

Vanden Heuvel in the NY Times

Justine Vanden Heuvel

Justine Vanden Heuvel

In Do Children in France Have a Healthier Relationship With Alcohol?Justine Vanden Heuvel and psychology professor Katherine Kinzler explore how the informal education about alcohol children receive influences later drinking habits.

“Though some studies have suggested that offering children small tastes of alcohol is associated with problem drinking, countries where drinking wine at meals is standard, including Italy, France and Spain, rank among the least risky in a World Health Organization report on alcohol. Can cultural attitudes toward wine affect our propensity for problem drinking?.”

Read the whole article.

 

Podcast: Climate Change and Fruit Trees

How will the changing climate affect the way we grow fruit now and in the years to come?  Greg Peck, Assistant Professor in the Horticulture Section, sat down with Susan Poizner, host of the Orchard People podcast for a wide-ranging discussion about sustainable fruit productions systems, how climate change will affect fruit trees and what growers and gardeners can do to prepare.

Listen to the podcast.

Greg Peck dissects fruit buds to assess frost damaage.

Greg Peck dissects fruit buds in his lab to assess frost damage.

 

Vanden Heuvel: Climate Change Will Transform What’s in Your Wine Glass

Justine Vanden Heuvel

Justine Vanden Heuvel

[Huffington Post 2016-04-20]:

After the publication of a recent study about the impact of climate change on French wine, several articles misrepresented the study, resulting in misleading headlines such as An Upside to Climate Change? Better French Wine, French Wine May Be Improving Due To Climate Change, and Climate Change Giving The World Better French Wine. While the stories implied that any benefit of climate change on French wine would be short-term, they failed to press on a key point: Climate change will transform what’s in your wine glass and continue to do so as long as it remains unchecked.

Here in the U.S., the assessment of the future of the wine industry is pretty grim: the land area capable of producing premium wines could decrease by as much as 81 percent by the end of this century. The major impact of climate change on wine grape production is through increasing temperature; as the growth of grapevines is mostly dictated by temperature, climate change has been resulting in earlier bloom and harvest dates, with most major wine regions being impacted.

Major wine-growing regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Napa Valley have at least a few strategies available to them. One is that they can maintain the status quo by growing the same grape varieties that they grow now. As temperature increases, sugar accumulation in the grape increases, resulting in a higher alcohol wine. Acidity of the grapes decreases, color can be reduced, and compounds that are responsible for the typical aroma of some wines can decrease. Will consumers adapt to these changing styles? It’s difficult to say.

‘Urban Eden’ students put a price tag on trees for Arbor Day

Urban Eden teaching assistants Huan Liu and Miles Schwartz Sax tag a sugar maple outside of Roberts Hall.

Urban Eden teaching assistants Huan Liu and Miles Schwartz Sax tag a sugar maple outside of Roberts Hall.

What’s a tree worth?

In what has become an annual tradition, students in Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920) are helping to make people more aware of why trees are worth hugging by hanging bright green “price tags” on trunks around the Ag Quad.

The students entered data about the trees, such as species, diameter and location, into i-Tree — a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service. The application then calculates monetary benefits from reduced stormwater runoff, improved air quality,  carbon dioxide sequestration and energy savings to nearby buildings by blocking wind in winter and providing shade in summer.

“It’s really quite eye-opening for people who think that trees are just nice to look at and don’t have any other value,” said Nina Bassuk, professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, who leads the class alongside Peter Trowbridge, professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture.

There are also benefits that are not easily quantified, such as wildlife habitats and emotional responses, added Bassuk, who is also director of the Urban Horticulture Institute.

Urban Eden tree taggers spread out across the Ag Quad tagging trees ...

Urban Eden tree taggers spread out across the Ag Quad tagging trees …

... until it was time to go prune and mulch landscapes installed by previous Urban Eden classes.

… until it was time to go prune and mulch landscapes installed by previous Urban Eden classes.

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