Willsboro Research Farm


This 352-acre farm is located along Lake Champlain at the base of Willsboro Point, in Northern New York. The farm has both clay and sandy soils, permitting a range of field experiments for optimizing management of agricultural resources. Fifty-two specially constructed field-scale drainage plots provide researchers with a unique opportunity to develop and test crop fertilizer application practices that are agriculturally, environmentally and economically sound. In support of the region's important dairy sector, several studies are designed to improve forage production systems.

Organic Agriculture at Willsboro

Since 1993, six acres have been dedicated to organic research, certified by 'Vermont Organic Farmers, LLC' in 1996.

Willsboro Research Farm utilizes these acres primarily for organic grain trails, incorporating spring and winter wheat rotations, with soybeans, flax, spelt, alfalfa and timothy hay. The farm team established a five year rotation plan, which provides ideal ways to build and enrich the soil and improve soil tilth naturally.


The farm was donated in 1982 by E. Vreeland Baker to Cornell University for agricultural research, and was formerly known as Cornell E. V. Baker Research Farm.

Research project highlights

pallet of strawberries

Sorghum variety trials

This research team is evaluating the performance and suitability of forage sorghum varieties and sorghum sudangrass varieties as forage crops for New York dairies. Researcher: Tom Kilcer, Michael Davis

Minimizing erosion and nutrient losses

Best management practices are continually updated to optimize crop productivity and soil health while minimizing erosion and nutrient losses to neighboring waterways and groundwater. The farm's proximity to Lake Champlain underscores the importance of this research. Researcher: Harold van Es

Crop variety trials and management systems

Field trials identify crop varieties and management systems that perform well in the soils and climate that are unique to Northern New York.

Neonicotinoid seed treatment alternatives

The New York State legislature is considering banning the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the state because it may have a detrimental effect on native pollinator populations. This project is evaluating the efficacy of two neonicotinoid alternatives, diamide and spinosad, as a corn seed treatment to control seed corn maggot. Researcher: Ken Wise

Season extension with high tunnels

High tunnels can substantially extend New York's short growing season. This project assesses, which fruit and vegetables do particularly well in high tunnels, and under which conditions, for example, identifying growing requirements and best practices for winter greens and cantaloupe. Researcher: Elisabeth Hodgdon

Strawberry variety trials

This strawberry research project tests different production methods and overwintering systems, such as the use of row covers instead of mulch. Researcher: Elisabeth Hodgdon

Specialty Fruit Trials

Large-scale specialty fruit trials include wild and cultivated varieties of juneberries, aronia berries, honeyberries, and elderberries. Researchers evaluate which varieties perform best in Northern New York and how to optimize growing conditions. 

All four of these ‘super fruits’ are valued for their high phytonutrient and antioxidant content, and together, they provide continuous fruit crops from early June to late September.

Specialty Fruit Trials


Honeyberries are extremely cold-hardy, and shrubs can withstand temperatures of -55F. They flower early and berries are ripe in June. The trials include numerous cultivars with large, exceptionally flavorful fruit. In Japan the tasty berries are known as haskaps - elixir of longevity.

Specialty Fruit Trials


Juneberries will ripen in July. The juneberry trials, established at Willsboro Research Farm in 2013, include 13 wild variety lines grown from seed, along with commercial cultivars. This blueberry look-alike is praised for its flavor, nutritional value and commercial potential.

Specialty Fruit Trials

Aronia berries

Aronia berries produce an abundance of fruit in August and September. They are more pest resistant than other berries and are exceptionally nutritious. The astringent berries are best used as an addition to smoothies, jams and juices. Consumer demand for aronia has grown rapidly in recent years.

Specialty Fruit Trials


Elderberry trials include American and European varieties. Fruit ripens in late summer/fall. The great majority of elderberries consumed in the U.S. are currently imported from Europe, presenting an opportunity for growers in the Northeast to build a substantial domestic market.

A researcher holding a clipboard examines bushes of juneberries.
A hand holding honeyberries on a shrub
Juenberries ripening on the shrub
Hand holding ripe aronia berries still on the shrub
Elderberries and a glass of elderberry juice


Willsboro Research Farm Staff

Michael Davis

Farm Manager, Willsboro Research Farm

Cornell AES

Michael Davis
Adam Sayward

Field Assistant, Willsboro Research Farm

Cornell AES

Adam Sayward