Social media helps support budding farmers, homesteaders

JAMESTOWN — Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s Agriculture Program is continually developing programs to help beginning and diversifying farmers in the local area. Their creation of the Western New York Beginning Farmers and Homesteaders group has continued to be successful and has created an online learning community. This group is available to join by visiting www.facebook.com/groups/wnybfah.

Boasting almost 200 members, The Western New York Beginning Farmers and Homesteaders Discussion Group is a closed and moderated online community that operates as a Facebook Group. The page is moderated by Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Farm Business Management educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County. The group strives to be a source of support, education, and news of upcoming events for beginning farmers and homesteaders across Western New York.

“We’re so happy that this online community has continued to grow!” said Walley-Stoll. “It’s been less than a year since we launched the group, and we’ve gotten great feedback so far. The page has continued to be a reliable resource that bridges the gap between real-life experience and the convenience of social media. This is a tremendous opportunity to learn from and connect with other homesteaders and beginning farmers in our area — we invite anyone from the Western New York Region to join!”

The Western New York Beginning Farmers and Homesteaders Facebook Group is a part of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s L.E.A.F. program. The L.E.A.F (Learn. Empower. Achieve. Farm.) Program is open to beginning farmers, established farms looking to diversify and grow, agriculture enthusiasts, homesteaders, and everyone in between. The L.E.A.F. program is made possible through grant support from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. For more information, call 664-9502 ext. 202, email kaw249@cornell.edu, or visit cce.cornell.edu/Chautauqua.

The Western New York Beginning Farmers and Homesteaders Discussion Group is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua) in line with the County’s 20/20 Comprehensive Plan. CCE-Chautauqua is a community-based educational organization, affiliated with Cornell University, Chautauqua County Government, the NYS SUNY system, and the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information, call 664-9502 or visit the website at www.cce.cornell.edu/chautauqua. Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.

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