Over the years, we purchased adjoining land and, as my farm grew, I diversified and have switched to raising beef cattle on managed intensive grazing. Why I do this is not strictly to make money, but also because I love being outside, enjoy growing things and can't imagine not living in the country.
I am not alone. Living in the country, owning a few acres and raising some sort of agricultural crop or livestock is a way of life for many area residents with "regular" jobs. Small farmers may not make their primary income from their efforts, but that does not make them any less of a farmer.
Small farmers are a source of locally produced foods and also purchase from local farm suppliers. Small farms and local producers of crops and livestock are an important part of the big picture in our local agricultural economy.
So much so that Cornell Cooperative Extension has developed several new online resources for new and small farmers. The Beginning Farmers Resource Center provides support for beginning and diversifying farmers at www.nebeginningfarmers.org.
Another valuable resource is the Small Farms Program at Cornell University located at www.smallfarms.cornell.edu.
Both of these websites are designed and intended for the aspiring small farmer and should provide you with guidance and information on a wide variety of small-farming topics.
As always, your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office in Plattsburgh is also here to help you navigate your small-farm dream.
As an Agriculture Educator, my main focus is assisting livestock producers and small farms with big dreams. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Peter Hagar, agriculture program educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension Clinton County, 6064 Rt. 22, Plattsburgh, 12901. Call 561-7450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.