This year is turning out to be a memorable one for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tioga County (CCE-Tioga). The association hosted an open house on Oct. 2 and 3 at their new community farm, located at 343 Cass Hill Rd. in Candor, N.Y.
T Hanson, CCE-Tioga executive director, along with about 12 other staff members are in the process of transforming the home adjacent to the farm as their new office and are relocating there. The organization had rented out office space at 56 Main St. in Owego for about 40 years.
CCE-Tioga’s new venture and vision is to introduce a working community farm, and where the public can participate.
Barb Neal, agriculture agent and horticulture educator, remarked, “We are super excited about the move,” and explained that the property will provide a vast array of possibilities.
The property, encompassing 107 acres, includes about 75 acres of open pasture. Featured on the farm is a large riding arena with exhibition area, horse and milk barns and silos, along with a Quonset hut and several ponds, just to name a few.
Tags still hang inside the horse barns left by the previous owners, the Sattmeier Family, and who utilized the riding arena for equestrian activities.
CCE-Tioga’s community farm, and previously run as the Schumacher Dairy Farm, dates back several generations, and many may remember the property referred to as the Hilltop Farm.
Neal foresees multiple educational and hands-on learning opportunities in the future such as welding, equipment repair, and tractor maintenance. Camps and an outdoor classroom for kids are on the agenda, along with raising sheep and goats, an incubator program, and allowing individuals to pursue their own pasture-based farming on the land.
Regarding the scope of it all, Neal said, “It’s a win-win,” and envisions one particular pond / shed area as the centerpiece of their nature programming.
At this stocked pond and wetlands, plans are to replace invasive plants with native plants that will make the farm more climate-resilient, improve wildlife and wetland habitats, and help keep the stream clean and healthy. In addition, Neal remarked that the location will be perfect for a water quality lab, and envisions young people learning how to fish.
From youth programs to 4-H events, horticulture and animal science programs, guidance in soil preservation and crop production, a child’s garden, and more, CCE-Tioga will put the spotlight on farming today from an ideal location.
The Oct. 2 and 3 Open House was coordinated with the 2021 Four-County Farm Trail, where farms in Broome, Tioga, Cortland and Chenango counties opened their doors for public tours. Multiple activities were featured at the Candor farm, such as crafts and gardening for kids, along with a farmer’s market where local farm products were available for purchase. Booths were set up for individuals interested in the Master Gardener or 4-H programs.
CCE-Tioga has served the county for over 100 years. To learn more, visit www.tioga.cce.cornell.edu.