Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Enrollment

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  • Pest Management
  • Cultural Practices

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Move from Good to Great in Ag Labor Management This Season

Elizabeth Higgins, Business Management Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

January 17, 2019

As a fruit and vegetable farmer, labor is one of your most important resources but being a manager also exposes you to risks.  To help prepare you for the 2019 growing season, the Eastern NY Commercial Hort Team, in collaboration with the Cornell Small Farms Program and the Cornell Ag Workforce Development Program and the Cornell Farmworker Program, is offering many opportunities for farmers and farm managers to improve their skills and gain important information in labor management this winter.

Do you have legal or compliance issues?  Plan to attend one of the Ag Labor Road Shows in January.  One session will be held in Peru and one in Ballston Spa.  Experts from farms, private industry and the university will focus on critical topics that affect all farm employers including: employee housing, onboarding, sexual harassment prevention, employee engagement, safety, wage and hour laws, and worker care.

If you are attending Ag Expo in January in Syracuse there will be workshops there on on-boarding new employees, migrant labor and transitioning to H2A in tree fruit, and training new employees and developing and using SOPs.

At our February fruit and vegetable school, Richard Stup and Liz Higgins will be offering a program on making the transition from being an employee (or working alone) to managing people, a session on using SOPs effectively in training; and a session on training youth for agritourism.

Finally, in March we will be offering a 2-day program for farm owners or managers (or employees moving into management) on effective farm labor management skills.  This workshop will pilot components of a certificate program in labor management and help get you ready for the 2019 season.

The Cornell Small Farms program is also offering a technical assistance grant for beginning farmers, next-gen farmers and current farm managers who may be part of a transition plan on a farm to provide one-on-one assistance in improving a labor management issue on a farm - this could include development or legal review of an employee manual, assistance with developing a training program or help with paperwork and compliance systems.  See the information in this newsletter on the grant.  The deadline is January 30.

Improving your knowledge of HR best practices and resources can pay off.  In November I surveyed farmers who attended our pilot labor programs in 2018.  58% reported having made changes on their farms in 2018 to improve employee satisfaction and enhance communication with workers.  Most planned to implement additional changes in 2019. 

If you have any questions about these programs or have additional HR needs related to ag labor, contact Liz Higgins (emh56@cornell.edu) and we will try to put you in contact with the right people. 



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Apples

Apples

Apricots

Apricots

Asparagus

Asparagus

Beets

Beets

Blueberries

Blueberries

Broccoli

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage

Cabbage

Carrots

Carrots

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

Cherries

Cherries

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Dry Beans

Dry Beans

Eggplant

Eggplant

Ethnic Vegetables

Ethnic Vegetables

Garlic

Garlic

Grapes

Grapes

Horseradish

Horseradish

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Leeks

Leeks

Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Melons

Melons

Nectarines

Nectarines

Onions

Onions

Parsnips

Parsnips

Peaches

Peaches

Pears

Pears

Peas

Peas

Peppers

Peppers

Plums

Plums

Potatoes

Potatoes

Pumpkins / Gourds

Pumpkins / Gourds

Radishes

Radishes

Raspberries / Blackberries

Raspberries / Blackberries

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Rutabaga

Rutabaga

Snap Beans

Snap Beans

Squash - Summer

Squash - Summer

Squash- Winter

Squash- Winter

Strawberries

Strawberries

Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Turnips

Turnips

more crops

Upcoming Events

2020 Fall Round Up: Fall Management for Your Livestock, Pasture, and Business

October 29, 2020

Join Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators Ashley Pierce, Aaron Gabriel, and Dayton Maxwell.  This dynamic and slightly humorous group will discuss strategies for overwintering pastures in combination with management guidelines for helping livestock enter the winter season with adequate body condition.  Farm visioning, mission development, and farm goal setting will conclude the one-hour program. 

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2021 Fruit & Vegetable Conference

February 16 - February 18, 2021

The Eastern NY Fruit & Vegetable Conference, normally held at The Desmond Hotel in Albany, will be going virtual 2021.  The ENYCH team will try to coordinate with other regional fruit and vegetable teams from across the state to offer a larger statewide virtual meeting.  These are tentative dates for now.  Additional information will be continued to be shared as it becomes available. 

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Announcements

U-Pick Farm Practices During Covid-19 Pandemic

U-Pick is a critical direct marketing approach for many of our farms and provides
customers with a unique connection to fresh produce grown close to home. In light
of what we understand about the spread of COVID-19, new management practices
will be needed to protect your farm team and your customers. This document
provides recommended practices and communication strategies for U-Pick
operations for the 2020 season.

https://rvpadmin.cce.cornell.edu/uploads/doc_864.pdf

Resources from CCE ENYCHP!

We are developing new ways to connect with the CCE ENYCHP team this year! We have a Youtube page located at this link. Check out videos on Table Grape Production, Pest Updates and the 20 Minute Ag Manager - in 4 Minutes series

We have a Facebook Page here as well as an Instagram page. We keep these places updated with current projects, events, and other interesting articles and deadlines.

There are also text alerts available. Fruit and vegetable farmers in 17 Eastern NY counties can now receive real time alerts on high risk disease and pest outbreaks texted directly to their cell phone. The Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture program, which is supported by local Cornell Cooperative Extension associations, will now offer text alerts to those that enroll in our program in 2019. 

The text alerts will be reserved for important crop alerts that could impact management decisions immediately. For instance, if there were an outbreak of Late Blight in the area, this would be transmitted to vegetable growers.

Farmers can choose the crop for which they wish to receive updates. Additionally they can request that Ag Business Alerts be sent to them. These alerts might include due dates for crop insurance deadlines, market opportunities etc.

If you have questions, please contact enychp@cornell.edu


Podcasts

2020 Biweekly Vegetable News Podcast - Episode 12 9/30/20

September 30, 2020
The September 30, 2020 edition of the Eastern New York Vegetable News covers the following topics:

Farmers Benefits from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 or CFAP (1:10)
Reflections on the Challenges and Successes Faced by Vegetable Growers in 2020 (4:40)

listen now

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