2019 Funded Projects

1. Annie’s Project: Farming in New Jersey’s Cities and the Urban Fringe
Project Director: Robin Brumfield (brumfiel@njaes.rutgers.edu)
Co-Project Director: Deborah Greenwood (deborah.greenwood@rutgers.edu)
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Award Amount: $39,700

New Jersey is heavily urbanized, with 92.2 percent of its population residing within urbanized
areas. The goal of Annie’s Project: Farming in New Jersey’s Cities and the Urban Fringe is to
provide production and business management skills specifically geared to urban farmers and the
unique challenges they face. These include soil quality issues such as lead contamination, offfarm
employment requiring time management skills, irrigation water quality and availability,
direct marketing in food deserts, food safety, working with WIC and SNAP-Ed clients,
overcoming language and cultural barriers, and acquiring short-term leased land. This six-week,
one evening class per week program will be offered in three urban locations to at least 60
participants. Our target audience will be women producers, beginning farmers, and military
veterans. We will take cues from a former program organized by Rutgers Cooperative Extension
of Essex County that trained unemployed NJ military veterans for jobs in urban agriculture. In
total, 25% of the military veterans were women, who expressed interest in additional training in
urban farm business management. Participants will also gain a better understanding of
communications and marketing strategies, business planning and finances, and the beneficial
impacts on their families and future business goals

2. Building Farm Resilience: On-Farm Leadership Development and Human Resources Training
Project Director: Kelly Coleman (kelly@buylocalfood.org)
Co-Project Director: Devon Whitney-Deal (devon@buylocalfood.org)
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, Inc. (CISA)
Award Amount: $31,110

This project will provide farmers in western Massachusetts with tools and approaches to address
human risk. By creating a positive workplace environment, family and small-scale farms can
build resiliency and mitigate the effects of family emergencies and workforce changes to
improve their long-term economic viability. One hundred small specialty-crop or value-added
producers will participate in the program, which includes three day-long workshops, 30 one-onone
meetings, and resource materials, to learn strategies for on-farm leadership development and
best practices in labor management. Topics will include farm leadership succession, on-farm
mentoring, anti-harassment training, and team building. As a result of participation, farmers and
farm managers will understand employee management and communication strategies, on-farm
leadership development options, legal requirements and best practices in staff training. Farmers
and farm managers will have skills to evaluate their own labor management and will begin to
implement improvements in their labor management and training efforts. The information and
tools will be adapted and made available online. By the end of the project, 45 farmers will have
evaluated changes in labor practice and 25 will have implemented at least one improvement in
their farm business.

3. Educating Produce Growers & Workers in the Farm Food Safety Aspects of Efficient Reasonable Cleaning of Wash-Line Equipment
Project Director: Robert Hadad (rgh26@cornell.edu)
Cornell University
Award Amount: $44,267

The project addresses risks facing produce growers concerning farm food safety. Legal risks
from liability from consumer sickness/death attributed to poor farm food safety. Incidents
could’ve been prevented through specific training of risk-reducing practices for farmers/workers.

Fruit/vegetable farmers/workers will be trained on risk reduction through on-farm educational
workshops. Project focus: food safety how’s/why’s in the wash/pack shed and putting training
into action.

Produce wash equipment wasn’t designed with thoughts of cleaning. Microbial contamination
of equipment was linked to some illness outbreaks. Cleaning is a huge challenge to accomplish
while needing to be cost-effective. All food contact surfaces must be clean. Workshops
will cover this.

New York State is agriculturally diverse with a lot of produce grown in the regions mostly on
small to medium-sized farms. Workshops will be held in representative areas in the state based
on demand. The project will offer 6 or more workshops.

Outreach for the trainings will be though county Extension offices and other farm groups.
Attendance would be 75+ growers and workers. FSMA regulations requires significant worker
training to aid in reducing risk. Workers are closest to the produce often the last to touch it
before a consumer eats it.

4. 2019 West Virginia Farmer Tax Education Outreach Program
Project Director: Lisa Jones (llagana@mail.wvu.edu)
Co-Project Director: Tom McConnell (trmcconnell@mail.wvu.edu)
West Virginia University
Award Amount: $37,590

This project will help small farm producers manage financial risks through the understanding of
agricultural taxes and how to optimize expense tracking.

We will conduct four regional in-person comprehensive training workshops – two in the North
and two in the South – in West Virginia covering agricultural exemptions, expense tracking,
completing a Schedule F, the IRS Farmers Tax Guide, and other tax topics selected by financial
experts in agricultural tax law. A multi-page record journal for tracking expenses will be
distributed to 1,500 producers. Delivery methods in addition to the four regional in-person
classes include two YouTube videos, four webinar sessions, and one class at the annual West
Virginia Small Farm Conference in 2020 to further reach small farmers.

As a result, 100 small farmers will better understand agricultural taxes and gain knowledge to
avoid making costly mistakes. Forty farmers will report implementing expense tracking as part
of their regular farm operation record keeping system.

5. Tackling Farm Succession Planning and Stress on the Farm
Project Director: Darlene Livingston (daliving@pafarmlink.org)
Pennsylvania Farm Link, Inc.
Award Amount: $36,177

A multifaceted approach will ensure high quality farm succession and farm stress educational
programming will engage a diverse group of Pennsylvania farmers.

Video conferencing will be utilized for the farm succession workshops educating 50 farmers at
various locations simultaneously. Facilitators and speakers will ensure all locations actively
participate in the program.

Farm succession workshop topics will include family communication, finances, senior
generation income options, legal, business and tax implications of farm succession and selecting
a qualified attorney.

Developing Greener Pastures, a resource covering farm stress, anxiety, depression and suicide,
will be created through a professional, mental health partnership. Printed materials will be
distributed to all farm succession workshop participants and each will be asked to give a copy to
a neighboring farm family, thus 85+ farmers will initially receive the tool. Developing Greener
Pastures will also be distributed through trade shows and partner organizations as well as online
broadening the distribution range to 500 farmers.

A video on farm stress and related issues will be developed and available online providing 24/7
access to 75 farmers who seek help from their rural location. The video will direct farmers to
Developing Greener Pastures as well as mental health professionals and emergency hotlines.

6. Risk Management Strategies for Female Agritourism Operators in Pennsylvania
Project Director: Claudia Schmidt (czs786@psu.edu)
Co-Project Director: Sarah Cornelisse (sar243@psu.edu)
The Pennsylvania State University
Award Amount: $27,300

As small farms struggle to remain in business, interest in diversifying with agritourism options
has increased in Pennsylvania. We have observed that agritourism enterprises are often headed
by a female member of the farm family. This project will address production, marketing, legal,
and human resource risk as experienced by female agritourism operators. The risks to be
addressed have been chosen based on educational requests received, questions posed, and the
existing literature on female agritourism operators. The delivery methodology of our workshop
series will follow the Pennsylvania Women’s Agricultural Network (WAgN) educational
strategy, which emphasizes hands-on demonstrations, visual instructions and discussions. The 60
workshop participants are operators or family members of small to medium sized Pennsylvania
farms that are planning to start, expand, or improve agritourism enterprises on their farm.
Participants will begin their educational journey by viewing web-based video interviews with
female agritourism operators discussing specific experiences with marketing, financial, legal,
and human resource risk experiences followed by attending workshops addressing each of these
risk topics. The 60 workshop participants will identify actionable risk for their farm operation
during the workshops and 40 will have implemented steps to manage these risk after three
months of workshop completion.

7. Reducing Farmer Risk from Ticks and Tick Borne Diseases
Project Director: Kenneth Smith (kas294@cornell.edu)
Co-Project Director: Ashley Russell (anr72@cornell.edu)
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chenango County
Award Amount: $45,137

The project purpose is to reduce health and economic risks to farmers by producing a series of
presentations, videos, and posters that will show how to: avoid ticks and tick bites, safely remove
and identify ticks, and how to manage farms and ranches to reduce tick numbers.

A series of tick education programs will be delivered at farmer meetings in the northeast.
Program topics will include: dressing to avoid ticks, pesticides to safely repel and kill ticks,
protecting livestock from ticks, identifying ticks of the northeast, diseases of northeast ticks and
their symptoms, how to safely remove ticks and submit for ticks for testing, how to manage
landscape to reduce tick exposure to humans and livestock.

The farmer presentations will be used to help improve and measure the effectiveness of
educational videos and posters producest to educate farmers on how to reduce risks from tick
bites. Videos and Posters will be produced in both english and spanish. Six to eight videos will
be produced in english with spanish subtitles and published on YouTube and Facebook through
the Cornell Extension System. Six to Eight downloadable pdf posters will be produced in both
english and spanish and made available through Cornell Extension websites.

8. Making It Happen: Profitability & Success 2020 (MIH2020)
Project Director: Dorothy Suput (dsuput@thecarrotproject.org)
The Carrot Project; Third Sector New England, Inc.
Award Amount: $21,986

Making It Happen 2020 is an outcome-based risk management training that addresses the
purpose and priorities of the NERME by helping producers understand and use financial
management tools in their business. This reduces their financial risks and is critical to their longterm
economic viability. It will provide participants with the tools to answer four questions: Can
I pay my bills? Is a capital investment worth it? Is this the right price? And, Should I add a new
product line?

Thirty producers with at least one year of operating experience will participate in Making it
Happen: Profitability and Success, a USDA-FSA approved borrower training in MA, RI, CT,
and NY. The training consists of prerequisite webinars, 10 hours of instruction including
applying learned skills to a farms’ own numbers, and 1:1 business assistance. The target
audiences are beginning and small farmers using sustainable production methods and primarily
reside in Western Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The expected results are that 23 of 30
participants will increase their understanding of the financial management tools, 28 will practice
using the tools, 24 will decide to use at least one tool in their business, and 23 will implement at
least one tool.

9. Building Resiliency and Reducing Producer Risk through Improved Soil Health and Water Management
Project Director: Laura Wood (lwood@shorerivers.org)
ShoreRivers
Award Amount: $30,420

This project addresses the production risks related to degrading soil health and
excess/insufficient water, and the potential legal risks stemming from water quality regulations
in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Healthy soil and the right amount of water are two of the most crucial elements for profitable
yields. This project will educate producers on how innovative cover cropping techniques and
water management through conservation drainage can make their farms more resilient. The 75
project participants will be row crop farmers on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Participants will
attend workshops on reducing production risk through improved soil health and conservation
drainage. Workshops will focus on educating producers on these two techniques, the production
benefits of implementation, demonstrating techniques in practice, and how proactively
implementing best management practices (BMPs) for their production benefit can prevent
regulatory risk in the future as the Maryland Department of Agriculture works to meet
Chesapeake Bay water quality goals. Participants will receive a comprehensive informational
packet that will include an overview of conservation drainage and cover crop practices, their
impacts on yields and farm profitability, and information on implementation and the associated
costs that can be used to evaluate how these practices could work on their own farms.