Insect on Rye
Image by Samuel Miegs
Clover coming through malting barley stubble
Image by Samuel Miegs
Tine weeding organic grains Hudson Valley Farm Hub
Image by Justin O'Dea
Insect on Rye 2
Image by Samuel Miegs

Growing Organic Grains for Local Specialty Markets (2015)

FunderCornell University Towards Sustainability Foundation

CCEUC role: Collaborator


There is currently a significant growth in distilleries, breweries, and bakeries in the Leatherstocking and Catskills regions and farmers are beginning to grow malting barley and other grains to fill the demand for local grains. As farmers in the Leatherstocking and Catskills regions move to grow grains, they need to be aware of these resources to help them succeed in growing and selling quality grains.


Goal 1: Increase the production and management knowledge of farms working to expand into organic grain production for local and regional breweries, distilleries and bakeries.

Goal 2: Link producers with prospective bakers, brewers and distillers to improve communication in what is needed, when it is needed and how it needs to be processed and packaged.

Goal 3: Increase grower capacity to deliver quality grains and flours consistently.

Goal 4: Increase the knowledge of Extension Educators on specialty grain production for these markets.


Objective 1: This proposal seeks provide educational programs on growing specialty small grains to 40 farmers in the Catskills/Leatherstocking regions so they can make better decisions on varieties and organic practices that will fulfill the requirements of brewers, distillers, chefs, bakers and consumers.

Educators at these programs will include New York farmers who are currently growing these specialty grains, Cornell Cooperative Extension Field Crop Specialists, Cornell researchers, representatives from NOFA-NY, the Organic Growers’ Research and Information Sharing System (OGRIN), the Northeast Organic Wheat project (NOW) and GrowNYC.

Objective 2: Create a local network among grain growers to enable equipment sharing, cooperative buying, and information sharing.

Objective 3: Provide a forum for local and regional buyers, to discuss with farmers what they need, when they need it and how it needs to be processed. 

Last updated March 16, 2021