cows in forest pasture

Introducing Forest Farming and Silvopasture to the Small Farms Community

Introducing Forest Farming and Silvopasture to the Small Farms Community

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Oswego County hosted a free online workshop through Zoom on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This workshop explored some of the different ways the small farms community can develop greater resilience by adopting agroforestry practices. Agroforestry describes a wide range of land-use practices that combine farming (of plants, animals, fungi) with trees, shrubs and forest ecosystems. Agroforestry can help provide new opportunities to increase farm income while also receiving other environmental and social benefits.

This workshop gives a broad overview of agroforestry with special attention focusing on forest farming and silvopasture. Forest farming is the cultivation of high-value, non-timber forest products under the protection of a forest canopy. Forest farming does not significantly interfere or modify forest ecosystems, but essentially allows agricultural producers to farm in the woods. Some of the forest products that were highlighted include: maple & walnut syrup, raspberries, blackberries, pawpaw, shitake & lions mane mushrooms, nut trees (walnut, hickory, pecan, hazelnut) and medicinal crops like American ginseng, cohosh and goldenseal.

Silvopasture is the integration of livestock, trees, and forages into existing woodlots or by bringing trees into pasture settings. Grazing livestock under tree cover not only reduces animal heat stress during the summer months, it also allows livestock producers to grow wood or other agricultural products as an additional source of income. Essentially, agroforestry practices like forest farming and silvopasture try to stack multiple enterprises on the same piece of land. Not only can this increase and diversify farm revenue, it can also lead to greater farm resilience.

Guest speakers were Professor Emeritus Dr. Kenneth Mudge, from the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University, and Brett Chedozy, Senior Resource Educator in Agriculture and Natural Resources at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County.

Agroforestry Workshop Screenshot

This recording of this workshop can be accessed at Workshop: Introducing Forest Farming and Silvopasture to the Small Farms Community/1_8rs88drz 


Joshua Vrooman
Agricultural Community Educator
315-963-7286 ext. 200

Last updated December 15, 2021