What We're Offering


Morning Sessions

Session 1 - 8:00-9:00am
Startup Farming

Are you thinking about growing and selling agricultural products?  Did you start farming recently and need some more help? This workshop will help you better understand various aspects of starting a farm including planning, finances, and management.

Meat Rabbits

Domestic rabbit meat is one of the leanest meats but has the highest protein. Rabbits are the perfect project for livestock producers with limited space. Learn the basics of rabbit husbandry, breeding and management.

Presenter: Carrie Edsall
Carrie Edsall is a Visiting Professor in the Animal Science Department at SUNY Cobleskill. Carrie also owns and operates Black Willow Pond Farm, a pasture-based, diversified livestock farm raising sheep, pigs, rabbits, turkeys, meat chickens, and laying hens in Cobleskill.

Summer Strawberry Patch

Strawberries can be picky plants to grow but the sweet juicy fruit is well worth the effort. Learn the ins and outs of growing strawberries in the northeast. This short workshop will cover all areas of planting, variety selection, pest control, and winter survival.

Presenter: Jim O'Connell
Jim O'Connell is a Senior Resource Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County's Agriculture Program. Jim has helped to educate berry growers about the invasive vinegar fly, spotted wing Drosophila. He has also worked with grape growers to help them make informed decisions on good site selection and best management practices for their vineyards. Jim is developing programming for farmworkers, and general education in the area of integrated pest management. Jim has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Horticulture from the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Science in Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Culinary Herbs Preservation

Tired of spending money on dried culinary herbs? This workshop will explore ways to grow and preserve common culinary herbs for use all winter long.

Presenter: Carolyn Wellington
Carolyn Wellington is the owner and operator of Wellington Herbs and Spices, a 45 acre certified organic farm located in Schoharie County NY. The farm specializes in growing and selling high quality herbs and spices.

Waking Up the Veggie Garden

April showers bring May flowers, so it is time to start prepping your garden for planting. Come learn proper tillage, compost additions, and weed removal to get your veggie garden ready for planting and producing healthy plants.

Presenter: Barbara Melera
Barbara Melera is advisor to Harvesting History, a horticultural company founded in 2016 to provide the finest quality horticultural and agricultural products available today. Harvesting History specializes in heirloom varieties that can be reliably offered year after year. For 13 years, Barbara was president and CEO of The D. Landreth Seed Company, which was established in 1784, and was the oldest seed-house in America and the fourth oldest US corporation.

Mushroom 101: An introduction to Mushrooms and Fungi

Mushrooms and their underground network of cells called mycelium are the unsung heroes often missing from our studies, culture, and cultivation practices. Take a look at the roles mushrooms play within our lives, the forest, and in food systems. Learn basic concepts of mycology, and explore their biology. Enter into the "wood wide web" and find out how they exist in nature and ways we can incorporate them into our everyday lives.

Presenter: Olga Tzogas 
Olga Tzogas created & operates Smugtown Mushrooms in Rochester, NY. She forages in both urban & more wild settings, embracing the amazing potential of mushrooms & fungi.  She teaches workshops throughout the region about wild mushroom identification, medicinal mushrooms, biology, and mushroom cultivation.

Know Your Cuts: Pork & Beef

Not sure what the difference is between a T-bone steak and a flank steak? No idea where pork belly comes from? Learn about the various proper cuts of pork and beef meat products. Walk away with meat product expertise. This course is a great intro to the Whole Hog and Half Cow breakdown workshop.

Presenter: Betsy Jensen
Betsy Jensen is the Meat Lab Manager at the SUNY Cobleskill USDA-inspected Meat Processing Facility where she oversees the processing operation and assists with classes and workshops

Maple Syrup 101

What is better than tapping a maple tree and getting that sugary goodness? Whether you want to tap a few trees or set up a small operation, come learn the basics of tapping maples trees and making maple syrup.

Setting an Edge: Knife & Tool Sharpening

Having a sharp edge on your tools and knife is crucial for safety and increased productivity. Not sure how to properly sharpen your tools? Let a pro teach you how to properly and efficiently set an edge to your tools.

Session 2A - 9:15-10:45am
Homestead Site Assessment

Presenter: Gaz Lewis
Gaz Lewis is an author and runs the Startoff Homesteading Blog. He may be a native of Australia, but he has been homesteading in Colorado and Maine since 2005. Gaz has been building his homestead and farm in Maine since 2012

Introduction to Bees & Hives

Participants will learn about the lives of honey bees, their importance to a sustainable environment and the basic requirements and responsibilities of keeping bees. Instruction will cover the history of bees, bee anatomy and biology, natural hive design, apiary site selection, seasonal concerns, and methods for recognizing the needs of your bees.

Presenter: Christine O'Dell
Christine O’Dell is a Cobleskill alumna and a Plant Science faculty member. She has been a beekeeper for 15 years, first in California and now in New York. She has served as Vice President and now board member and librarian of the local Catskill Mountain Beekeeper’s Club. At SUNY Cobleskill, she teaches a beekeeping course and leads the campus Honeybee & Pollinator club.

Cultivating Cider & Heirloom Apples

Hard cider is all the craze now. Not all apples are the same though. Apples used for making the best cider are often not as great for eating. Want to learn more about the older variety of apples? This workshop will cover the ins and outs of cultivating and producing the best varieties of apples for making cider.

Presenter: Michael Guidice
Michael Guidice grows bittersweet cider apples and bottles naturally fermented ciders using traditional methods on his homestead farm in Sharon Springs, NY. Selecting and grafting from older orchards located on historic homestead farms, Michael is part of a preservation effort attempting to halt the disappearance of local heirloom apples specific for cider making.

Healthy Soil - Happy Plants

The health of your plants starts underground. To have a productive garden, it is imperative to consider the health of your soil. This workshop will consider techniques you can use to increase the health of the home garden soil.

Presenter: Crystal Stewart
Crystal Stewart works with diversified organic, small and beginning vegetable farmers throughout a 17 county region of Eastern NY, helping them to improve both sustainability and profitability for long-term success. She provides on-farm support to address grower concerns; creates educational programs for local, statewide, and regional meetings; and conducts research in organic systems with a focus on root crops, garlic, and other alliums. She is interested in community development through agriculture and the use of Holistic Management™ to guide decision making. She is a founder of Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market in Gloversville, NY and has been working with Holistic Management International for almost a decade, training women farmers throughout the Northeast. Prior to working for Cornell Cooperative Extension, Crystal worked as a regional horticulture specialist for South Dakota State University. She received her Master's in Horticulture and her Bachelor’s in International Agriculture from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Sap to Syrup Processing

Ready to produce the seasonal sweetness, maple syrup? This introductory workshop will explore all the tricks and techniques of turning your sap into syrup, whether you are using sap from a few trees or a few hundred taps.

Introduction to Wild & Medicinal Mushrooms

This workshop will focus on the identification and uses of common edible and medicinal mushrooms and Fungi of the forest and other habitats.  Together we will start the complex journey into the huge kingdom of Fungi and families that we can start to easily and safely recognize in the field. Learn the differences in physical characteristics, seasonal growth, and locations.

Presenter: Olga Tzogas
Olga Tzogas created & operates Smugtown Mushrooms in Rochester, NY. She forages in both urban & more wild settings, embracing the amazing potential of mushrooms & fungi.  She teaches workshops throughout the region about wild mushroom identification, medicinal mushrooms, biology, and mushroom cultivation.

Preparing Your Fibers for Use

Not sure how to clean and card your fibers for use? It can be easier than it seems if you know a few tips and tricks. Come learn how to turn your fibers into a useful product.

Session 2B - 9:15am-12:15pm

*Note that these courses continue into Session 3

Spring Tractor Startup & Repairs

The course will cover the necessary steps to prepare equipment for spring operation after winter use or storage. Included will be an actual service on a tractor and an implement, performed by students under supervision of the instructor. Proper shop work attire including safety glasses will be required.  

Presenter: Paul Novko
Paul Novko has been teaching for over 9 years in the Agricultural Engineering Technology Department at SUNY Cobleskill, having taught courses in Agricultural Machinery, Hydraulics, Fuel Systems and others. His extensive background in machinery repair and operation was gained as a Technical Trainer for a large equipment manufacturer, owning an equipment dealership and a dairy farm, and currently farming part-time producing hay, vegetables and fruit.  

Advanced Brewing: Beyond the Kit

Ready to up your brewing game and move beyond the basic brewing kits? If you want to start getting creative with your brewing, then this is the workshop for you. This hands-on workshop will cover how to create your own malt and choose the right hops and grains. We will prepare you to step up your brewing skills, all while brewing during the workshop.

BBQ & Smoking Meat for Beginners

Hot smoking for BBQ is all about the basics of good preparation. This hands-on workshop starts with instruction in properly preparing meat cuts and building up your own mixes for dry rubs. Once your meats are ready, you will learn techniques and tricks for a great smoking. We finish up the course with recipes for sauces from scratch.

Presenter: Chuck Lindquist
Chuck Lindquist is a SUNY Cobleskill alumnus and part of the Rubbin Butts Bar-B-Q team in Howes Cavern, NY, which also serves up food at the Serious Brewing Company, associated with SUNY Cobleskill through the STARTUP-NY program. With 25 years of experience smoking meats for business and as a hobby he has plenty experience to field your questions and experiences to share.

Half Cow Breakdown

Ready to start processing your own beef? This hands-on workshop will take place in our campus USDA-approved meat processing facility and provide you the training needed to break down your beef into various cuts of meat. It is suggested that you attend the "Know Your Cuts: Pork & Beef" workshop if you plan to attend this workshop.

Presenters: Betsy Jensen and Chef Mike Lapi
Betsy Jensen is the Meat Lab Manager at the SUNY Cobleskill USDA Inspected Meat Processing Facility where she oversees the processing operation and assists with classes and workshops. Chef Mike Lapi is an award-winning Farm to Table Chef and Culinary Instructor at SUNY Cobleskill where he teaches International Cuisine, Meat Products and Farm to Table Management. Michael has long been a champion of cooking with local ingredients and sources many of his ingredients from the farms throughout Schoharie and Albany counties.

Session 3 - 11:00am-12:30pm
Homestead Planning

Whether you're just starting your farm daydreams or have a small farm right now, it can be a daunting task to plan for the future, so where should you begin? Having a plan is always a good way to look ahead at ways you can save time and money. Learn to lay out your farm or homestead around basic permaculture principles and with the eye of an experienced homesteader by your side.

Presenter: Gaz Lewis 
Gaz Lewis is an author and runs the Startoff Homesteading Blog. He may be a native of Australia, but he has been homesteading in Colorado and Maine since 2005. Gaz has been building his homestead and farm in Maine since 2012.

The Backyard Flock

Birds of a feather may flock together but their needs and opportunities all differ. This workshop will discuss breed selection for both egg and meat, basic health, nutrition, and feeding. Housing and protecting your flock will also addressed as well as the all-important: marketing and profitability.

Presenter: Carrie Edsall
Carrie Edsall is a Visiting Professor in the Animal Science Department at SUNY Cobleskill. Carrie also owns and operates Black Willow Pond Farm, a pasture-based, diversified livestock farm raising sheep, pigs, rabbits, turkeys, meat chickens, and laying hens in Cobleskill.

Bush Berries

Juicy and sweet, bush berries are a summer delight. Proper techniques are necessary to grow the best berries. Covering soils, fertilizers, pruning, irrigation, and variety selection, this introduction workshop will provide you with the information to get your berry growing off the ground.

Presenter: Jim O'Connell
Jim O'Connell is a Senior Resource Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County's Agriculture Program. Jim has helped to educate berry growers about the invasive vinegar fly, spotted wing Drosophila. He has also worked with grape growers to help them make informed decisions on good site selection and best management practices for their vineyards. Jim is developing programming for farmworkers, and general education in the area of integrated pest management. Jim has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Horticulture from the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Science in Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Growing with Drip Irrigation & Ag Films

Growing with drip irrigation allows you to direct water exactly where it is needed by the plants, reducing wasted water. Ag films reduce weed suppression and can help to regulate heat within the soil. The introductory workshop will cover the basics of growing with different types of ag films while utilizing drip irrigation.

Presenter: Dr. George Crosby
Dr. George Crosby is a skilled gardener and professor of Plant Science at SUNY Cobleskill where he teaches courses in Vegetable Production, Botany, Greenhouse Management, Irrigation, and Hydroponics.

Sugar Bush Management

Managing your forest is important for increasing your maple sap yield and sugar concentration while maintaining a healthy forest. Proper management of your sugarbush can sustainably provide the fuel wood needed to operate your maple evaporator. This introductory workshop will cover aspects of tree density, thinning, species composition, invasive species, and pest control.

Operating Small Farm Equipment

New to farming and not sure how to operate different types of farm equipment? Come gain experience operating various pieces of small farm equipment in this hands-on workshop.

Presenter: SUNY Cobleskill Agriculture Engineering Club

Fiber Felting

Not sure what to do with your fiber? Felt it! This workshop will provide you with the principles necessary to start turning your fibers into warm creations.

Afternoon Sessions

Session 1A - 2:00-3:30pm
Farm Financial Management

You can grow lettuce and sheep, but you can't grow money. Farming is fun but requires careful financial planning. This introductory workshop will get you started on managing your farm’s finances.

Presenter: Dr. Jason Evans
Dr. Jason Evans is a professor of Agriculture Business at SUNY Cobleskill. He received his BA in Economics and Psychology from the University of Virginia, and his MS in Agricultural Economics and his Ph.D. in Natural Resource Economics from West Virginia University. Prior to his arrival in 2009 at SUNY Cobleskill he was a Graduate Teaching Assistant and a Research Assistant Professor at WVU.  Dr. Evans has authored two books and several refereed journal publications.  He is the advisor to the American Animal Producer’s Club, the Livestock Show Team and Epsilon Pi Tau honor society at SUNY Cobleskill, and also an active member of many on-campus committees.  He is also enthusiastically involved in grant writing.

Homesteading 101

Is homesteading right for you? Have you toyed with the idea of starting off your own homestead? Learn the factors you need to consider in doing so, including the ten factors every new homesteader needs to discuss with their partners and family.  This course will open your eyes to the joys and pitfalls of starting off a homestead and prepare you for what can be a wonderful lifestyle.

Presenter: Gaz Lewis
Gaz Lewis is an author and runs the Startoff Homesteading Blog. He may be a native of Australia, but he has been homesteading in Colorado and Maine since 2005. Gaz has been building his homestead and farm in Maine since 2012.

Garden Planning & Seed Starting

Timing and planning can be everything when it comes to having a productive garden. This workshop will cover how and what plants should be started inside by seed, sowing by seed in the garden, timing of when to plant, transplanting, and layout of your veggie garden.

Presenter: Barbara Melara
Barbara Melera is advisor to Harvesting History, a horticultural company founded in 2016 to provide the finest quality horticultural and agricultural products available today. Harvesting History specializes in heirloom varieties that can be reliably offered year after year. For 13 years, Barbara was president and CEO of The D. Landreth Seed Company, which was established in 1784, and was the oldest seed-house in America and the fourth oldest US corporation.

Essential Oils: The Basics

Learn the basics of essential oils: their origins, processing, and how and why to use them around your home. We will end the workshop by making two basic recipes to take home.

Presenter: Sarah Lamanna
Sarah Lamanna has a long-standing interest in health and immunology. She began using Young Living Essential Oils in 2016, and has continued to learn more about oils ever since, incorporating them into her life. She also is an alpaca breeder, operating Claddagh Farms in Lafayette, NY, and has taught high school for over 20 years.

Operating Small Farm Equipment

New to farming and not sure how to operate different types of farm equipment? Come gain experience operating various pieces of small farm equipment in this hands-on workshop.

Presenter: SUNY Cobleskill Agriculture Engineering Club

Chainsaw 101

Chainsaws are handy tools but can also be extremely dangerous if not used properly. Come learn proper chainsaw use, safety, and maintenance.

 
Session 1B - 2:00-5:00pm

*Note that these courses continue into Session 2

Orchard Startup & Grafting

Not sure how to prune your apple trees for maximum production? Want to start a small orchard on your property? Come learn what you need to start a small-scale orchard with a few trees on your property and ways to care for and prune existing apple trees. This hands-on workshop will provide you the opportunity to try your hand at pruning an apple tree.

Presenter: Jim Hoffman, San Flats Orchard
Jim Hoffman is the owner and operator of Sand Flats Orchard in Fonda, NY. Sand Flats Orchard is a family owned and operated apple orchard and agritourism destination, with over 4,000 trees, a farm stand, cider press, and bakery.

Mushroom Bags Cultivation

IS THAT FUNGUS IN YOUR CLOSET? Growing Mushrooms can be a blend of mad science and indoor farming. This classroom and hands-on lab will introduce the techniques and science for cultivating your Cinnamon Cap Mushroom crops using mushroom bags.

Cheese Making: Beyond the Basics

Ready to step up your cheesemaking skills? This interactive three-hour workshop will provide you with more advanced techniques allowing you to refine your artisan cheese creations.  

Maple Candies & Creams

Want to do more than just maple syrup? Make maple candy and creams! This hands-on workshop shop will walk you through creating your own value-added maple products.

Presenter: Steve Childs
Steve Childs is the New York State Maple Specialist providing educational instruction and resources to maple producers in New York State. His focus areas include sustainable forest sugar bush management, sap collection and processing technology, product quality improvement and grading, and making quality value added product development

Whole Hog Breakdown

Ready to start processing your own pigs? This hands-on intensive workshop will cover the ins and outs of breaking down a hog into all of the different cuts of meat. The workshop will take place in our campus USDA-inspected meat processing facility.

Presenters: Betsy Jensen and Chef Mike Lapi
Betsy Jensen is the Meat Lab Manager at the SUNY Cobleskill USDA-Inspected Meat Processing Facility where she oversees the processing operation and assists with classes and workshops.
Chef Mike Lapi is an award-winning Farm to Table Chef and Culinary Instructor at SUNY Cobleskill where he teaches International Cuisine, Meat Products, and Farm to Table Management. Michael has long been a champion of cooking with local ingredients and sources many of his ingredients from the farms throughout Schoharie and Albany counties.

Session 2 - 3:45-5:15pm
Farm Marketing for Beginners

Making farm products can be fun, but do you know how to sell them? This introductory workshop will get you started on some principles to start marketing your own products.

Presenter: Dr. Sophie Winter
Dr. Sophie Winter is a professor of Agriculture Business at SUNY Cobleskill. A native of southern France, Dr. Winter joined the Agricultural Business Management team at SUNY Cobleskill in 2014. She received a Master’s degree in Agribusiness from Illinois State University and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Arizona State. Her teaching interests include food systems, marketing, small business development and entrepreneurship. Dr. Winter is faculty advisor for the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA), a student organization that competes nationally each year in marketing plan competitions.

Keeping Your Beef: Care and Nutrition

Join us to learn about beef cattle breeds, selection, nutrition, and facilities needed to run successful small scale beef cattle operations. This program will emphasize the importance of forage availability and choosing the right breed, production situation, and marketing scenario to meet your goals.

Presenter: Dr. Ben Weikert
Dr. Ben Weikert is an Assistant Professor of Animal Science at SUNY Cobleskill with specialization in the livestock industry and agriculture education.

Garden Insect & Disease Management

Tired of fighting pests in your garden? Garden pests can certainly by a nuisance in your garden but steps can be taken to safely reduce pests and garden diseases without harsh chemicals.

Presenter: Dr. Alex Ellram
With a PhD in plant pathology, Dr. Alex Ellram is a professor of Plant Science at SUNY Cobleskill where he teaches Plant Pathology, Integrated Pest Management, and Turfgrass Management classes. Dr. Ellram is passionate about reducing chemical inputs and using IPM practices to provide high quality turf with minimal environmental impact.

Introduction to Bees & Hives (repeat of Morning Session)

Participants will learn about the lives of honey bees, their importance to a sustainable environment and the basic requirements and responsibilities of keeping bees. Instruction will cover the history of bees, bee anatomy and biology, natural hive design, apiary site selection, seasonal concerns, and methods for recognizing the needs of your bees.

Presenter: Christine O'Dell
Christine O’Dell is a Cobleskill alumna and a Plant Science faculty member. She has been a beekeeper for 15 years, first in California and now in New York. She has served as Vice President and now board member and librarian of the local Catskill Mountain Beekeeper’s Club. At SUNY Cobleskill, she teaches a beekeeping course and leads the campus Honeybee & Pollinator club.

Sauvés & Lotions

Are you trying to get petrochemical creams out of your life? Are you tired of not knowing what exactly is in your lip balms or lotions? Then make your own! With kitchen products or weeds from your garden edges! This introductory workshop will cover the basics of making your own Sauvés and Lotions using products from your homestead. A take home cream creation will forever inspire you.

Presenter: Marguerite Uhlmann-Bower
Marguerite Uhlmann-Bower, RN, Clinical Herbalist, Wild Crafter and forager, is co-founder and director of the human-plant relations movement PlantPioneers.org and founder of a "weeds for your wellness" agri-foraging and agri-tourism business: Weeds, Leaves, Seeds & Shoots. She invites people to become interested in plants through hands-on, outdoor nature experiences that bridge invasive weeds, traditional herbals and wild edibles for tangible, everyday wellness strategies.

Homestead Saw Milling

Ready to turn your logs into lumber? This demonstration workshop will walk you through the steps and equipment needed to safely and efficiently saw your own lumber.