The ground may be covered in snow, but New York farmers already have their minds on growth.
Agricultural producers from across the state are meeting in Syracuse Jan. 19-21 as part of the 2016 Empire State Producers Expo. The three-day showcase brings together Cornell scientists and Cornell Cooperative Extension specialists to share the latest in research and technical advances, from crop management and food safety compliance to the best practices to aid the industry’s newest farmers to those working the land for generations.
New York agriculture is at a point of ascendency, said Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). She said the potential growth for farmers and producers of all sizes is aided by research conducted on the Cornell campuses in Ithaca and Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York.
“This is an opportune moment for local agribusiness. We are on the cusp of a new era with potential for sustained agricultural growth in New York,” she said during her keynote speech Jan. 19. “We have the land, water, specialty and dairy agriculture, educated producers, and research and development support in Geneva and in Ithaca to grow specialty food production and processing here in our state.”
Cornell research on combining edibles, herbs and ornamentals in patio containers is featured in and article in the January 2016 issue of GrowerTalks magazine, a trade magazine serving the greenhouse and garden center industry, starting on page 90.
The article was authored by technician Kendra Hutchins, horticulture faculty Bill Miller and Neil Mattson, and Cheni Filos MS ’14, production line manager at PanAmerican Seed.
Mattson was also featured in a recent article in the Ithaca Journal, Is the future of vegetable farming indoors? Some of Mattson’s research is helping ornamental growers make use of their greenhouses in the late spring and summer after gardeners and landscapers have bought up the inventory. “Growing vegetable crops during those unused times of the year is a good way to have revenue during times when they otherwise wouldn’t have revenue,” Mattson said.
A new video from the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program features Cornell’s Soil Health Program, based in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section of the School of Integrative Plant Sciences.
“We’re still very much in a rapid growth phase in terms of doing the soil health assessment,” Harold van Es, professor in Soil and Crop Sciences who was instrumental in the development of the test, says in the video. “We currently get about 2,000 samples per year submitted to our lab. That has been steadily growing as there’s more interest the assessment framework and the test. All in all, we’ve reached many thousands of farmers and consultants.”
The video also features Donn Branton, a cooperating farmer in Le Roy, N.Y., who has worked with van Es and the Cornell Soil Health Team, and Bianca Moebius-Clune, former coordinator of the Cornell Soil Health Program who is now director of USDA-NRCS’s Soil Health Division.
Special kudos to Jenn Thomas-Murphy, an Extension support specialist in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section, who shot and edited the video.
See also: Innovative Assessment Helps Farmers in the Northeast Improve Soil Health at the SARE website.
Horticulture professor Thomas Björkman is breeding new varieties of broccoli that thrive in the eastern climate. His research as part of the Eastern Broccoli Project could mean fresher, better tasting broccoli grown in New York and other eastern states, reducing the demand for the vegetable grown and shipped from California.
Climate change has become a huge topic of discussion lately, especially following an international agreement on how to combat the problem. But here in New York, Cornell University is taking a different approach. They’ve created the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture to help train and educate farmers on how to adapt to a changing climate and reduce their impact on the environment. Cornell’s Matt Ryan and Neil Mattson joined us to talk about the initiative.
Chris Wien (who retired in September) has released his 2015 cut flower cultural practice studies and variety trials report. This year’s research includes:
- Anemone/Ranunculus presprouting trial
- Lisianthus spacing and topping trial
- Sunflower topping trial
- Sunflower photoperiod experiment
- Snapdragon overwintering high tunnels
- Compost trials
- Ornamental cabbage seedling management trial
- Ornamental pepper hydration evaluation
Wien also reports on variety trials of:
- Eucomis (Pineapple Lily)
To see previous years’ reports, visit Wien’s research page.
A Harvest, Sweet and Plentiful [cornell.edu feature] – Susan Brown, Herman M. Cohn Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Goichman Family Director of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, helps create fruits and vegetables that benefit consumers and the state’s agricultural economy.
The Outsize Importance of the Tiny Organic Seed [Modern Farmer 2015-12-15] – As agriculture has become more and more industrialized, flavor and genetic diversity have been sacrificed in favor of efficiency and yield. The result, says Cornell plant breeder Michael Mazourek, is the bland, “one-size-fits-most crops” that dominate today’s culinary landscape.
Vegetables Under Glass: Greenhouses Could Bring Us Better Winter Produce [NPR 2015-12-09] – Even though growing vegetables in greenhouses is usually a bit more expensive than open-air production, Neil Mattson says that indoor farming’s key advantage — the freshness of its produce — may outweigh cost for many consumers.
New York wine varietal debuts [Good Fruit Grower 2015-12-17] – Goose Watch Winery became the first in the nation to offer the new wine varietal Aromella, and it did so just a year after Cornell initially released the grape in 2013.
If you missed last summer’s Cornell Floriculture Field Day held at the Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility adjacent to campus, you can still view 2015’s top performing annual flower and foliage plants and the results of mixed container trials combining vegetables, ornamentals and herbs.
And mark your calendars now: The 2016 Cornell Floriculture Field Day will be held August 9, 2016 at Bluegrass Lane.