Climate Smart Farming Extension Team


CSF Extension Team: A Trusted Resource for Farmers

Cornell’s Climate Smart Farming (CSF) Extension Team gives New York farmers access to top extension specialists with the particular expertise to help manage the risks posed by increasing extreme weather, climate variability and long-term change.  Working in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension and climate change and agriculture specialists at Cornell, the team draws on the latest science to answer growers’ questions about changes they can make to their management practices that will help increase resiliency and farm sustainability.

To reach the CSF extension team, contact the specific team members below by email or phone.  You can also download the Climate Smart Farming Extension Team Fact sheet.

Dairy Management

Dr. Kimberley Morrill is a regional dairy specialist who focuses on calf management, record management, on-farm outreach programs and helping New York dairies improve their capacity to manage the risks associated with climate change. Dr. Morrill conducted research on transition cow management, calf management, and colostrum absorption while earning a B.A. in dairy management and an M.A. in animal nutrition, both from the University of New Hampshire. Her work on neonatal development, colostrogenesis, colostrum management on dairy farms, gut development in newborn calves and dairy nutrition earned her a Ph.D. in animal physiology from Iowa State University. In addition to the CSF Team, she is active in Annie’s Project and the Women in Ag Learning Network. Email: | Phone: (315) 379-9192.


Field Crops & Soil Health

Dr. Kitty O’Neil works to improve the yield and production efficiency of field crops and forages – a goal that requires smart crop management and a keen understanding of climate-related risks and long-term soil health.  A field crops and soils specialist, she leads the North New York field crops team, which designs crop and soil management programs to serve the region’s farms. Dr. O’Neil’s research has included cropping systems and the effects of soil amendments and cover crops on soil health on potato farms.  She earned a B.S. in animal science from Cornell University, an M.S. in animal nutrition and plant biochemistry, and a Ph.D. in sustainable plant and soil cropping systems, both from Michigan State University. Email: | Phone: 315-379-9192.

Laura McDermott

Small Fruit

Laura McDermott is a regional extension specialist in small fruit production for the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program, who currently serves 17 counties in the Route 87 corridor, where she concentrates on small fruit production and fresh market vegetable production. Her current research projects include low-tunnel strawberry production, resistance management education, and invasive species management. In her 25 years with the Extension system, she has also amassed experience with all types of horticulture, including maple, forestry, and consumer horticulture, and with commercial fruit and vegetable farmer education. A native of Stillwater, New York, she holds a B.S. in plant protection from Cornell University and an M.S. in fruit crops from the University of Florida. Email: | Phone: (518) 746-2562.

Dairy and Farm Planning  

Sarah Ficken is an Agriculture Subject Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County; she focuses primarily on working with farmers to design whole farm plans, mitigate risks related to climate change, and improve record keeping practices. She earned a B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a M.S. in Agriculture from Washington State University. Email: | Phone: (315) 684-3001 x 108


Energy and Community Resilience 

Mary Wrege works as an agricultural energy and emergency preparedness and community resilience educator. She informs farmers, growers and community stakeholders on energy efficiency, energy conservation, and strategies to reduce risks on farms, in homes, and in the community due to extreme weather and variability. Mary holds an A.A.S. in Nursery Management from SUNY Cobleskill, a B.S. in plant protection and M.A.T. in agricultural education from Cornell University, and a M.L. in environmental law from Vermont Law School. Email: | Phone: (315) 736-3394 x 131



Elizabeth Buck is the Fresh Market Vegetable Specialist for the western part of the Cornell Vegetable Program region. Elizabeth offers diversified vegetable experience in the areas of nutritional management, disease control, variety evaluation, surveying, and scouting. She earned a M.S. from the University of Guelph, where she focused on integrated weed management practices in vegetable crops. Email: | Phone: (585) 406-3419