2013 Workshops and Panels

How Food Moves

Farming Our Future – What Role Can You Play?

Leasing Land to Farmers – Challenges and Opportunities

Make Your Ag Business Appealing to Investors

Growing a Farm-Friendly Municipality

Conversation with Jim Slama


How Food Moves    

10:45 am & 1:30 pm 

Do we eat what our local farmers grow?  Find out how a chef, a distributor, a processor, and a food systems researcher see the future of farming, and how it will directly impact what ends up on our plate.  The discussion is sure to identify opportunities for farmers and local food entrepreneurs.

This panel moderated by Todd Erling, will tackle some of the tough questions on how to get more locally grown food into the hands of chefs and consumers, and explore some of the new approaches that could make buying local a whole lot easier.

Chef Brian Alberg – Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage, Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA

Sarah Brannen – President, Upstream Advisors:  Consultant to Local Economies Project, New World Foundation

John Brusie – Vice President of Operations, Ginsberg’s Foods

Kathleen Harris – Northeast Livestock Processing Service Company

Todd ErlingModerator – Executive Director, Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation

  • About Chef Alberg:  Brian has been instrumental in galvanizing a Berkshire culinary movement – as a chef supporting local farms, as a grower raising his own heritage breed pigs at his Bacon on the Side Farm, and as a member of Berkshire Grown’s Board of Directors. Brian is a member of the James Beard Foundation and is on the board of Berkshire Grown. Read more…
  • About Sarah Brannen:  Sarah Brannen has more than nine years of experience in the public sector working on urban policy issues. For more than four years, she was a Senior Policy Analyst at the New York City Council where she advised the Speaker on economic development and food policy issues. Read more…
  • About John Brusie:  John is Vice President of Operations of Ginsberg’s Food, which has grown into one the largest independently owned and operated foodservice distributors in the Hudson Valley since its humble beginnings as the local grocery store and butcher shop in Hudson, NY in 1909. Read more…
  • About Kathleen Harris:  The Northeast Livestock Processing Service Company, LLC (NELPSC) is a grassroots business, created by livestock farmers to help other farmers overcome processing and marketing challenges. Incorporated on June 1, 2005 as a new and innovative business model, NELPSC has since grown to 132 farmer members from 24 counties and has agreements with 11 livestock processors to provide service for NELPSC farmer members.  Read more…
  • About Todd Erling:  With an academic background in environmental design and planning from Miami University and the Pratt Institute, years of experience in community and economic development, and growing up in the family orchards Todd brings a holistic approach to agri-business development.  Todd lives on his wife’s family farm in Southern Columbia County and has hands-on knowledge of the challenges to the Valley’s agriculture while applying practical Economic Development programs and projects to protect and preserve open space by keeping farmers in business.  Todd has completed numerous agri-business projects with beneficial impact for local farmers throughout the region.  Read more…

Farming Our Future – What Role Can You Play? 

Landscape stories and conversations with the Farmscape Ecology Program

10:45 am & 1:30 pm 

Columbia County’s ‘farmscape’–its agricultural landscape–is replete with landscape stories drawn from its rich history, ecology and cultural use. Examining our role on the land, the Farmscape Ecology Program will share vignettes of how people have interacted with this land over time, inviting reflection and conversation on our role today in engaging with and shaping our farmscape.

Anna Duhon – Social Scientist, Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program
Claudia Knab-Vispo – Botanist, Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program

  • About the Farmscape Ecology Program:  The Farmscape Ecology Program is a research and outreach branch of Hawthorne Valley Association, an educational not-for-porfit located in central Columbia County, New York. The program’s staff is comprised of Dr. Claudia Knab-Vispo, a botanist who loves to explore the landscape’s plant life; Anna Duhon, a social anthropologist intrigued by the local patterns of people and their socio-economic interactions; and Dr. Conrad Vispo, a wildlife ecologist fascinated by the past and future interactions of humans and nature in Columbia County.  Read more…

Leasing Land to Farmers:  Challenges and Opportunities 

10:45 am & 1:30 pm 

Presentation and discussion for landowners interested in leasing to farmers. Topics to be covered will include assessing the land, finding farmers, lease arrangements, establishing successful relationships, common pitfalls, and success stories.

Marissa Codey – Conservation and Agricultural Program Manager, Columbia Land Conservancy

  • About Marissa Codey:  The Columbia Land Conservancy’s (CLC) Marissa Codey has been selected to participate in Farmland Advisors, a new training program on farm transfer and farmland access options designed for professionals working with farmers and landowners.  Read more…

Help Me, Help You – How to Make Your Ag Business Appealing to Investors

10:45 am & 1:30 pm 

Help Me, Help You – A discussion focusing on the “tools” that every farm business should have to help them obtain financing, even if they don’t need it now. A focus on the importance of full business plans, budgets, complete and accurate records, the difference between taxable income and profitability and how to use financing to improve your business cash flow. The panel of industry professionals will bring key perspective and advice on how these tools not only improve your chances for financing, but also help your business succeed.

Emili Ponte – Farm Credit East, ACA
Benneth Phelps – The Carrot Project
Brian Zweig – Business Opportunities Management Consulting

  • About Benneth Phelps:  Benneth is The Carrot Project’s program coordinator and served as a member of the Loan Review Committee prior to joining the team. A farmer with a decade of Northeast farming experience, Benneth holds a Master’s degree in Land Use Planning; her academic work focused on the intersections between agriculture and larger-scale land use issues, including community food systems, food security, and agricultural lands.  Read more…
  • About Emili Ponte:  Emil Ponte grew up in Rhode Island where she participated in local 4H programs and worked with her father on his commercial fishing boat. She moved to New York to attend SUNY Cobleskill, where she achieved a Bachelor of Technology in Agricultural Business degree in 2006.   After graduating, she worked in Marketing and Sales for the Rhode Island Dairy Cooperative, marketing their fresh milk products, Rhody Fresh.  She moved on to operating a commercial sheep herd in her current hometown of Greenville, NY, where she marketed the sheep for auction.  Emili’s current role is with Farm Credit East, where she started as a Credit Representative in June of 2008. She serves all industries, including dairy, crops, equine, orchard fruit, etc. This job involves working with local agricultural businesses, providing assistance with financing, financial analysis, budgeting, business planning and profitability analysis.  
  • About Brian Zweig:  Brian is Business Opportunities Management Consulting’s Principal, and maintains the philosophy that seeks to achieve success through developing opportunities.  BusinessOpportunities know the challenges faced by managers, because they have had the experience of sitting in their chair!  BusinessOpportunities exists to make their experience available to clients so they can be more successful and enjoy greater satisfaction in managing their businesses.  Read more…

Growing a Farm-Friendly Municipality 

10:45 am & 1:30 pm 

Moderated by Steve Hadcock, this panel will explore programs that have helped communities throughout the Hudson Valley and Northeast Region expand opportunities for farmers and engage communities.

Sue Bassin – Ancram Agricultural Advisory Council
David Haight – Chapter Director, New York - American Farmland Trust
Virginia Kasinki – Director of Community-Based Programs, Glynwood
Moderator: Stephen E. Hadcock, Beginning Farmer & Market Development Educator, Capital Area Agricultural and Horticultural Program, Cornell University Cooperative Extension

  • About David Haight:  Since joining American Farmland Trust in 2001, David Haight has worked with more than 20 local governments to establish agricultural economic development and farmland protection plans. He aids state and federal legislators as they work on agricultural and land conservation legislation and has helped coordinate projects that have permanently protected more than 4,000 acres of New York farmland.  Read more…
  • About Virginia Kasinki:  Virginia oversees Glynwood’s training programs and community support initiatives, at Glynwood and  in communities throughout the Hudson Valley and Northeast region.  Virginia is in charge of development and growth of the Keep Farming program, which is now at work in numerous communities in New York and Massachusetts.  Read more…
  • About Sue Bassin:  Sue served on Ancram’s Agriculture & Farmland Protection Planning Committee from 2009 to 2011 as Plan Coordinator. The A&FP Plan was adopted by Ancram’s Town Board May 2011 and is posted on the town’s website . She continues to serve on the Ancram Agricultural Advisory Council, and is responsible for promotion activities, communications, and integrating agriculture with the town’s overall preservation activities.  She has over 25 years experience in marketing, business strategy, new product/business development and strategic planning, working in large industrial companies and consulting firms. She earned her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Smith College, and an M.B.A. from Harvard in Marketing and Organizational Development.  Sue and her husband, Ancram Town Supervisor Art Bassin, have lived and operated Cricket Hill Farm in Ancramdale, NY, for 35 years. The farm first raised dairy herd replacement stock and has been a horse operation since 1987. Contact suebassin@aol.com.
  • About Steve Hadcock:  Steve brings over 30 years of educational experience to the Capital Region Agricultural and Horticultural Program assisting beginning and established farmers.  His educational responsibilities are to assist beginning farmers and assist all farms in market development.   Steve serves on the Columbia County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan Board for the past five years.    In his youth and as a young adult, he worked on dairy farms. From this his desire to work with cattle, he pursued and received a bachelors degree from Cornell in Animal Science.

Conversation with Jim Slama 

10:45 am only

Informal discussion with Jim Slama in the Library (This session offered only in the AM)





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