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Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm

Field Day at Thompson Research Farm

Freeville, NY
The Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm is located 10 miles from the Cornell campus. It is a primary location for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' historically important vegetable research. The 260-acre farm includes a 30-acre certified organic parcel for organic vegetable and grain research. Well-known by local citizens, the farm is popular for its "field days," which give local commercial farmers and amateur gardeners the chance to learn about state-of-the-art planting and best management practices. Specialized farm equipment, such as a small plot herbicide sprayer, is designed for precise cultivation and management of small research plots. The farm is managed by Cornell AES as a site for interdisciplinary research aimed at optimizing vegetable production systems for the Northeast.

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Research Highlights

  • Students are planting different kale varieties at Thompson Research FarmTesting the newest breeding lines of potatoes with best potential of production in New York, to develop appropriate cultivation practices, utilization recommendations and yield assessments, to guide local growers. Researcher: Walter De Jong
  • On the certified organic acres, research includes trials on vegetable cover cropping; vegetable, wheat and field corn variety trials for organic systems; crop rotations; minimum tillage and the effects of organic nutrient sources on soil quality, to identify new strategies for vegetable production. Researcher: Anusuya Rangarajan
  • Research on the optimum use of herbicides for vegetable crops informs the development of appropriate labeling. Researcher: Antonio DiTommaso
  • Organically managed malting barley variety trials assess spring and winter varieties for best quality and yield. The agronomic data collected provides crucial, tangible guidance to New York growers who aim to meet the growing demand from local breweries. Researcher: Mark Sorrells
  • Vegetable field trials identify and develop varieties that perform well in New York state and establish best management practices for each cultivar.
    • Mixed vegetable varieties ideal for organic growing systems - researcher: Michael Mazourek
    • Crops from the kale and cabbage family, and cherry tomatoes - researcher: Phillip Griffiths
    • Tomato breeding for disease resistance - researcher: Martha Mutschler

Organic Agriculture at Homer C. Thompson

The Freeville Organic Research Farm – 30 acres certified organic by NOFA-NY Certified Organic LLC – is the home of Cornell's ground-breaking organic agricultural research. Research focuses on optimizing organic vegetable production systems in the Northeast.

Researchers are currently conducting trials on organic production systems in order to meet the short-term and long-term needs of organic farmers. Organic farming is an important, fast-growing segment of the U.S. farming market. It offers small- and mid-size farms an option that can improve economic viability and environmental sustainability. It is the only sector with an increasing numbers of farmers. Organic practices are moving beyond a "niche" market and are an increasingly an important part of today's agricultural landscape.

Annual Food Donations

Truck picking up food donationsThompson Research Farm has a long history of donating large amounts of fresh produce to local food banks and non-profit food networks. Since 2004 the farm has donated more than 1.8 million pounds of produce, including potatoes, corn, peppers, cabbage, beets, onions, melons, squash, pumpkins and tomatoes to help combat local food insecurity.