Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New York Could Benefit Greatly form the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday put out a fact sheet stating how New York will benefit from the Trans-Pacific Trade agreement.

The fact sheet states New York state has five basic agricultural exports: dairy, fruit and nuts, vegetables, soybeans and feeds and fodder. New York ag exports have a value of about $1.7 billion.

Dairy --Japan will eliminate tariff s on cheese and whey and create tariff -rate quotas (TRQs) for whey, butter, milk powder and evaporated and condensed milk. Malaysia and Vietnam will eliminate tari ffs on dairy products. Canada will eliminate tari ffs on whey and create TRQs for cheese, fluid milk, butter and other products.

Fruits -- Japan, Malaysia, and Vietnam will eliminate tariff s on all fresh and processed fruits, including citrus.

Vegetables -- Malaysia and Vietnam will immediately eliminate all tariff s,and Japan nearly all tari ffs, on fresh and processed vegetables. All three countries will eliminate tariff s on potatoes and
potato products

The fact sheet states "The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will boost demand for U.S. farm and food products among nearly 500 million consumers in 11 countries across the Asia-Pacific region. By reducing tariff s and opening new markets for American agricultural products, the TPP will help increase farm income, generate rural economic activity and support local jobs."
A total of 12,900 jobs in New York state are supported by agricultural exports to other countries.
Also on Wednesday, Andrew Novakovic, a professor in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University, said the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement could result in the opening of Canada as a dairy market for the United States and New York -- a market that has been closed for years.
He issued the following statement on how the Trans-Pacific Partnership will help the New York dairy industry:
“The outlines of the dairy agreement contained in Trans-Pacific Partnership is distinguished not so much by what it did, but rather that it managed to do anything at all. The participants in the trade agreement include the two most protectionist dairy sectors in the world and, arguably, the two most liberal.

The U.S. occupies an intermediary position that was very protectionist 20 years ago, and has become more liberal and more self-assured in world trade.

The breakthrough for the dairy chapter was a Canadian agreement, under heavy U.S. lobbying, to expose their closed system to slightly greater imports, which they cleverly will do within their production quota system.

Under the Canadian system, not only has the trade door been closed, they have tightly managed milk production to essentially assure stable and profitable prices for dairy farmers.

The accumulated effect has been a Canadian dairy industry that in many respects resembles U.S. farming of 40 years ago and prices that are increasingly higher.

From 1991 through 2000, Canadian farm milk prices averaged 18 percent higher than the U.S. Since 2000, they have averaged 62 percent higher. Profitability in Canada is more stable than the U.S., but not dramatically higher.

The implication is that the supply-managed system has, over time, allowed increased costs to be rewarded with increased prices. Eliminating the protection of the Canadian cocoon is a frightful prospect for Canadian farmers and an alluring opportunity for world exporters, including New Zealand and the U.S.

Although Canada apparently has agreed to only permit an amount of dairy product imports equal to 3.25 percent of its total milk supply, this represents a brand new opportunity for the U.S. to develop marketing relationships with Canadian processing and marketing companies and the confidence of Canadian consumers.

This opportunity will be available to any dairy firm in the U.S., but it will be especially enticing to border states, like New York. As a beginning, it is assuredly modest, but what is terribly important is that it is a beginning.”

Ag Commissioner Hosts Taste NY Culinary Tour

From the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

The state’s Taste NY Culinary Tour in the Hudson Valley was conducted Monday by Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball.

The tour provided more than 30 leading restaurateurs and chefs from the Hudson Valley, New York City, Western New York, Central New York and Capital Regions a first-hand look at the quality and diversity of New York agriculture in the region.  
Following two successful Taste NY Culinary Tours in the Finger Lakes and on Long Island in August, Monday’s tour included visits to three farms and processors across Dutchess and Ulster counties. As a result of the three tours, nearly 100 chefs and restaurant owners from across the state have been introduced to some of New York state’s best agricultural food and beverage producers.
The Culinary Tours were organized following the Governor’s Farm to Table Upstate-Downstate Summit in an effort to connect restaurateurs with regional producers and growers, and highlight the many opportunities for the sourcing of local foods.
The Hudson Valley region is known for its strengths in the agricultural industry — its rich soils, abundant water supply and proximity to metropolitan markets.Dutchess County agriculture comprises over 170,000 acres, one third of its total acreage), producing $44.8 million in market value products, a large part of the county’s $438 million tourism industry.  

Agriculture is also the county’s third largest employer. 

Ulster County also has a long agricultural history and is home to a diverse array of agricultural enterprises including fruit and vegetable production as well as dairy and egg.
The three stops on the Hudson Valley Culinary Tour included Hepworth Farms in Milton, Ulster County (vegetables), Bad Seed Cider in Highland, Ulster County (cider), and Hudson Valley Fresh in Wappingers Falls, Dutchess County (dairy farm). 
Hepworth Farms is a seventh generation family farm that produces more than 400 varieties of vegetables using organic practices on its 250 acres of farmland. Produce is sold to restaurants, processors and at farmers’ markets, and the farm works with several local distributors to sell its vegetables in the wholesale marketplace. 

While at Hepworth Farms, participants had the opportunity to tour the packinghouse and get a firsthand look at operations. 
Participants also visited Bad Seed Cider in Highland, which makes its cider with 100 percent fresh pressed apples, some of which are grown at neighboring Wilklow Orchards. Manhattan Beer sells the cider wholesale throughout the Hudson Valley and New York City area.   
At Stormfield Swiss in Wappingers Falls, one of the dairy farms in the Hudson Valley Fresh cooperative, participants toured the farm, learned about the dairy cooperative enterprise, and sampled various dairy products. Hudson Valley Fresh produces whole, skim, low-fat and chocolate milk along with half and half, heavy cream, yogurt, ice cream mix and sour cream. Milk is locally sourced, processed and distributed to local businesses.
“We feel it is important to provide these tours so that the consumer has the opportunity to see firsthand where their product comes from. They also see the care that goes into a product which they use every day," said Jennifer DeForest, owner of Stormfield Swiss, one of nine farms producing Hudson Valley Fresh milk.

Amy Hepworth, owner of Hepworth Farms, said, “Anytime anyone in the food industry knows more about agriculture as it pertains to their food and food supply, the better. It’s very important for chefs and others to understand agriculture first hand and this is what this opportunity presents.Chefs influence people," said Amy Hepworth, owner of Hepworth Farms.

The Taste NY Culinary Tour concluded with a tour of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. A reception to kick off Hudson Valley Restaurant Week capped off the evening with more than 300 guests.  

Harvest NY Program Expanding to Northern New York

From the office of State Sen. Patty Ritchie:

Cornell Cooperative Extension's “Harvest NY,” a program that works to strengthen the agriculture industry by supporting farmers in the areas of dairy processing, food safety, local food distribution, marketing, dairy modernization and profitability, is being expanded to Northern New York.

Established in 2012 and serving 16 counties in Western New York, the expansion was made possible through money in the state budget.

“Harvest NY is an innovative extension initiative, the first of its kind in the country," said Kathryn Boor, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. 

"By maximizing the connections that farmers and producers have to the research and resources of Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell is providing unparalleled leadership in economic development in New York’s food and agricultural sectors which has become a model for other states.”

As a result of the expansion, Harvest NY specialists in the following areas will be based in the North Country:

**  Dairy Value Added Processing and Marketing;
**  Agricultural Business Development and Marketing; and
**  Livestock Processing and Marketing

Experts in these positions will work closely with Cornell faculty members, as well as local and regional Extension Staff to bring new information and agricultural resources to the region. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

New York to Get Federal Money for Chesapeake Bay Watershed Conservation Work

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Thursday (Oct. 1) announced it will commit $4 million in a first round of funding to help state in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The money will go to New York, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia to help agricultural landowners with accelerating stream and riverbank tree plantings that can reduce soil sedimentation, field and animal waste runoff, improving water quality.

Each state has been approved for an additional $1 million under the USDA Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program to increase or maintain acres enrolled in Chesapeake Bay Riparian Forest Buffer conservation. 

USDA challenged the states to craft a proposal during a Chesapeake Bay summit in Washington, D.C. last summer. In addition to the increased incentives for landowners, Farm Service Agency offices in Maryland and Pennsylvania will receive support to partner with stakeholders for improved outreach and technical assistance.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Grand Opening for St. Lawrence County Wine Trail Set for Oct. 8

The St. Lawrence County Wine Trail is ready to officially open.

Go to this story to check it out.

Results of Northern New York Beef Survey Unveiled

From the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program:

Results of a beef industry survey in Northern New York have been released.

To assess the current state of the Northern New York beef industry, the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program funded a regional survey of cow-calf farmers in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. 

The results of the survey will help guide regional beef industry educational programming and Northern New York Agricultural Development Program-funded research projects for the next five years.

Results are posted in the Livestock section at 

A snapshot of survey results shows:

** 96 percent of the NNY beef producers surveyed plan to expand or maintain their current size
** The predominant breed of beef cattle raised in Northern New York is Angus
** 52 percent of those surveyed sell direct to consumers by freezer trade
** 48 percent of those surveyed sell direct to a cattle buyer
** 8 percent of those surveyed sell breeding stock
** Increasing numbers of beef farmers are developing relationships with a veterinarian to help maintain herd health and quality beef production.

Cow-calf farmers in NNY maintain the permanent breeding herds that are the foundation of the beef industry. Cow-calf operations supply 500 pound to 800 pound calves to feedlots that grow them out for beef processors, sell breeding stock to other producers, and package beef for direct sale to local consumers and food buyers.

Beef producers in Northern New York are increasingly interested in research and educational opportunities to help them improve herd management, farm efficiency and profitability. 

Agricultural educators locally and at Cornell University are using the survey input to guide their extension and outreach efforts, says Northern New York Regional Livestock Team Leader Betsy Hodge, a livestock specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County.

Funding from the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has provided regional farmers with access to the expertise of Cornell University Beef Extension Specialist Mike Baker. 

His recent efforts helped NNY producers develop better consistency in the cattle they raise and secured U.S. Department of Agriculture funding to help regional beef producers pool cattle to better meet buyer demand for supply and quality. 

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is a farmer-driven research and technical assistance program serving Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. 

Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the state Senate and administered through the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.