Cornell Cooperative Extension To Host L.E.A.F. Workshop Next Week

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s Agriculture Program will host four workshops as part of its 2016-17 L.E.A.F. workshop series at the Frank Bratt Ag Center.

“Resources and Access to Capital for Beginning Farmers” will be held on Tuesday, from 6-8 p.m. On Thursday, Feb. 23, from 6-8 p.m., a workshop on “Small Scale Hops Production” will be presented. The workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 25, is “Running a Successful CSA” with the final February L.E.A.F. workshop being held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, titled “Raising Poultry for Egg Production.”

“Resource and Access to Capital for Beginning Farmers” will focus on finding funding for a farm business. Amanda Ritchey, farm loan manager with the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, and United States Department of Agriculture staff members will give information about the various resources available through USDA and associated federal agencies, including the Farm Service Agency, Rural Development and Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Small Scale Hops Production” will provide an overview of hops production from site selection, choosing varieties, plant nutrition and integrated pest management strategies for hops, to harvesting, processing and marketing. Participants will hear not only how things should be done but also hear real life experiences of how to determine if a farmer actually needs to add a task to the chore list as well as what happens if they should and don’t. The workshop is designed to be an informal look at getting into growing hops with a combination of lecture, discussion and question-and-answer period. The instructor will be Tim Weigle, senior extension associate with the state IPM Program, who has been growing hops for six years at the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory in Portland.

An encore presentation of “Running a Successful CSA” will focus on Community Supported Agriculture, a unique way to connect consumers to farmers. The seminar will include information about starting, organizing, managing and marketing a CSA as well as deciding what type of a CSA will work best for a farm business. Adrienne Ploss, owner of Hickory Hurst farm, a fourth-generation family farm that produces USDA-certified organic cut flowers, herbs and produce, will be the workshop instructor and will incorporate her own experiences with running her farm’s CSA. She has more than 25 years of experience as a horticulturist, as well as a masters degree from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

“Raising Poultry for Egg Production” focuses on backyard chickens, a popular way to get started with homesteading and farming. In the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to learn about raising egg-layers from baby chick to productive adult including information on housing and supplies, nutrition, breed selection, chick care, pest control and marketing. There will also be a discussion on regulations and labelling requirements for sales of farm-fresh eggs. The instructor will be Katelyn Walley-Stoll, farm business management educator and “Chicken Lady” with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County, who has had many years of experience raising poultry for egg production.

The L.E.A.F. Workshop Series is open to the general public, including homesteaders, beginning farmers, established farmers looking to diversify and grow and agriculture enthusiasts. The 2016-17 workshop series featured 23 workshops and was made possible through support by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

The cost to attend a L.E.A.F. workshop is $5 per family per workshop. Light refreshments are offered. Workshops are designed to be interactive, so participants are encouraged to bring their questions and ideas. All of the workshops are held at the Frank W. Bratt Agricultural Center, 3542 Turner Road, Jamestown. Pre-registration is required prior to the workshop to allow for adequate time to prepare printed resources and materials. Interested participants can register online by visiting, emailing or calling 664-9502.