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Resources for Starting a
Farm in Ontario County
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Resources for Starting a Farm in Ontario County

NY Beginning Farmer Project

If you are starting a new farm enterprise, or just want to explore your options on-line, be sure to visit the NY Beginning Farmer Project, part of the Cornell Small Farms Program.  This site will be your main portal for ideas, videos, contacts, and on-line classes and discussions.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County Agriculture Program

We are going to give you a lot of good information, support, and referrals as you start into farming.  Each year, we help more than 50 new farmers with a wide range of services, including:

  • Timely workshops, publications, articles, and clinics addressing farm development issues.
  • Research business contacts on your behalf, identify sources of capital and other funding for innovative agriculture-realted projects, and network existing economic development programs related to new farms.
  • Educational assistance and consultation for new or expanding farm operations.
  • Referrals to appropriate resources and agency programs for all agriculture enterprises – dairy, livestock, field crops produce, pasture, forest-based products, and horticulture.
  • Assistance with identifying grants and grant writing for farms, business plan development for agriculture or farm product processing businesses.
  • Site visits to provide advice and referrals as circumstances permit.
  • Tips on farm and forest tax management, farm labor, agriculture laws and policies, farmland preservation, energy management, and dealing with neighbor pressures on farmland.
  • Assistance with developing and accomplishing direct marketing objectives, web site creation, farm market sales, and other innovative marketing plans.
  • Telephone consultations for all aspects of farming and rural land management.
Jim Ochterski
Agriculture Economic Development Specialist
Issues Leader for Agriculture and Natural Resources
(585) 394-3977 x 402
Nancy Anderson
Administrative Assistant
(585) 394-3977 x 427

Russ Welser
Resource Educator / Agriculture, Horticulture and Natural Resources
(585) 394-3977 x 436


Guide to Farming in NYS: What Every Ag Entrepreneur Needs to Know
This Guide is an essential resource for new and existing farmers alike, providing answers to questions about taxes, business planning, labor law, zoning, regulations, marketing and many other topics that farmers need to know (updated December 2008).

Beginning Farmer Business Skills Check List: List of 25 things you should plan to know and do as a new farmer in Ontario County.

Beginning Farm Business Plan example: This is a 4-page sample of what a start-up business plan looks like, taken from an actual farm in Upstate NY.

Recommended books for starting a livestock farm: List of books we have screened and selected especially for people starting a small livestock farm in Ontario County.

Beginning Farm Start-Up Plan Template: There are 5 key sections to write for a start-up plan for your farm.  This template will help get your plans organized.



This site brought to you by The Ontario County Agricultural Enhancement Board In cooperation with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County, the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, and Ontario County Department of Planning. Canandaigua, New York 14424
585-396-4455 or 585-394-3977.