Friday, February 27, 2015

Northern New York Agricultural Development Program Posts Economic Impact Report

A total of 29 projects funded by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program are included in the recently released economic impact report for 2014 projects.

The report can be seen at www.nnyagdev.org. The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program serves Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties and provides help and money for farmer-selected agricultural research and technical assistance projects.

The projects for 2014 focused on dairy and field crops production, crop and livestock pest and disease management, agricultural environmental management, beef production and marketing and fruit and vegetable production.
 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New York Farm Show Opens Today

Anyone who wants to see the largest and greatest in agriculture should head to Syracuse today.

It’s time again for the New York Farm Show, set for 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. today through Saturday at the New York State Fairgrounds in Geddes.

The show is celebrating its 30th year and this year, there will be more than 215,000 square feet of exhibition space, all indoors in six fairgrounds buildings (Center of Progress, Dairy, Horticulture, International, Art and Home and Science).

In addition to booths and demonstrations of the newest and brightest ideas in agriculture, there also are a number of new workshops and p[roducts being displayed this year.

NEW WORKSHOPS

New ag workshops on Thursday include programs for new and beginning farmers, agroforestry operations and retail and wholesale meat opportunities.

Friday’s new programs will foscus on grants available for ag producers, how to profit from the Dairy Profit Monitor and information form the Dairy Farm Business Management summary.

On Saturday, new programs will be conducted on draft horses as a power source, used tractor buying tips for small farms and reducing heifer raising costs by grazing.

NEW PRODUCTS

About 420 exhibitors will show new products at the show. Check out the varaious booths in the six buildings to see some of these products on display:

** Automaitc feeding system which works 24/7 to put fresh feed from silos or feed kitchens right in front of dairy cows or heifers.

** Airless ski-steer wheels from Michelin which have greater wear on concrete and asphalt.

** Autodrive, autosteer guidance systems for tractors, sprayers and combines.

** Calf milk taxi that makes calf feeding easier, with larger tanks, new dispensing display monitors, larger wheels, automatic cleaning and LED driving lights for after-dark feeding.

** Compact water drinker made to fill with a nose push from an animal.

** Cow monitoring system using eartag microchip technology

** Dairy waterbed with two isolated chambers, one for the cow’s body and one for her knees and hocks

** Heavy-duty wheel loader which uses 25 percent less diesel fuel

** High-density round baler eliminated the need for a cam track and can roll higher bale densities 4 feet wide and up to 60 inches high

** Italian ryegrass which can produce several cuttings of high-quality forage

** United Wind wind turbine leases for farms

** Loader bucket shoe controls the leading edge of loader buckets and is perfect for moving snow and mulch and keeping the blade from surface digging

** Mobile lagoon agitator eliminates the expense of lagoon or pit cleanout once the pit or lagoon is pumped out

** Neoprene boots keep feet dry

** Organic hybrid seed corn

** Precast pasture bunk made of concrete with ½-inch rebar and 10-gauge wire

** Wide-discharge spreader that provides faster unloading with improved material breakup.

POPULAR WORKSHOPS

Some of the most popular workshops from years past will be back. Topics include farm safety; woodlot management and other wood issues; daily dairy robotics roundtable discussions; and programs for beef producers.

Tickets to the show are $5 at the door. Children less than age 18 are admitted for free. Free parking and bus shuttles are available.

New York Farm Bureau Lists its National Agenda

While in Washington, DC meeting with members of the state’s congressional delegation, New York Farm Bureau released its national public policy priorities for the year. 

The agenda originated at the grassroots level and is member approved.

IMMIGRATION REFORM

Immigration reform remains a top priority for the state’s farmers and their employees. NYFB has long pushed for a flexible guest-worker visa program that addresses both seasonal and long-term needs of New York agriculture.  

There is of special concern as the House of Representatives is looking to move ahead with an enforcement only action that American Farm Bureau Federation estimates could cost the country’s farmers as much as $60 billion and raise food prices by 5 percent to 6 percent. New York Farm Bureau is calling for a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that also takes agricultural labor needs into account.

“We need a stable workforce on our farms that benefits the rural economy and the local food supply,” said NYFB President Dean Norton during the conference call with reporters. “It must be comprehensive. Enforcement-only reforms put the chicken before the egg so to speak. They all need to go together.”

FOOD SAFETY

The implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is also a public policy priority. New York’s farmers already participate in a host of food safety programs and audits, but the Food and Drug Administration is instituting new food safety rules. 

This past year NYFB submitted comments to the FDA over its planned rollout of FSMA.  NYFB is pleased many of the concerns were addressed relating to proposed requirements for animal feed and the commodity value threshold that would trigger the new regulations on an individual farm. 

However, there are additional changes that NYFB would like to see before the rules take effect. This includes reworking the unscientific standards FDA has established for irrigation water.  The organization will continue to work with the FDA and fellow stakeholders so the final rules address the real risks that exist and can be successfully implemented on our farms. In the end, both public health and agriculture will benefit.

CLEAN WATER ACT EXPANSION

New York Farm Bureau has long been in opposition to proposed changes to the Clean Water Act that it believe broadens the jurisdiction from navigable waters to dry land. This month farmers had a partial victory in their campaign when the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers withdrew their interpretive rule as mandated by both Congress and the President.  

Contrary to what the agencies had claimed, the farm exemptions provided in the Interpretive Rule actually narrowed “normal farming and ranching” exemptions by imposing burdensome new requirements for farmers and ranchers.

NYFB will continue to advocate for the repeal of the full rule through Congressional action to stop the EPA and the Army Corps from expanding federal jurisdiction onto New York farms.

FARM BILL IMPLEMENTATION

NYFB has been closely monitoring the USDA’s rollout of the 2014 Farm Bill. It is imperative the new programs and expanded crop insurance follow the intent of the law that was passed.

Nearly half of the dairy farms in New York state have signed up for the new Margin Protection Program. This will offer a safety net should dropping milk prices fall below a selected margin, which is the gap between the price of milk and the cost of feed. Over the past few months, lower milk prices have underscored the need for effective risk management.   

NYFB will work with lawmakers to insure that it is meeting the needs as it was intended.

The organization will also review the development of new and enhanced programs for specialty crops, including the NAP buy-up crop insurance program.

TRADE

With a growing export market for a number of things that farmers produce in New York, New York Farm Bureau will continue to support the next generation of trade negotiations that remove unscientific barriers and high tariffs and provide new opportunities for our farms.

This includes renewing the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). It is imperative that the White House and Congress be on the same page during trade negotiations.  Swift passage in Congress without additional individual member amendments to already negotiated pacts is essential to having successful trade policy.

NYFB also will continue to oppose limitations based on the use of geographic indicators. New York is a big dairy producing state, but if farms and cooperatives can’t market cheeses based on how they are known around the world, like parmesan for instance, this will put New York products at a serious competitive disadvantage.

LOCAL FOOD AND SCHOOL PROGRAMS

NYFB’s final top priority will be to support additional funding for school and local food purchasing programs, food infrastructure initiatives and food-based entrepreneurship programs.  

Funding for these was allocated in the Farm Bill and it serves many important needs. For one, it connects farmers with those who often have limited access to healthy food, including children and seniors in low income communities or urban food deserts. 

Not only do these programs put food on the table but they also support local farms in New York. 

This priority also includes efforts to increase farmer food donations. Last year, New York’s farmers donated a record amount of food, more than 10 million pounds, to regional food banks across the state. NYFB would like to see that climb even higher.

Its members support the Fighting Hunger Incentive Tax Act that would help offset the costs of harvesting, packaging and transporting the food to the donation site. Corporations, like big box stores, receive a similar tax credit for food donations, and they are not the ones actually growing the food.

“We want to encourage greater donations and provide an important source of fresh, local food for low-income New Yorkers who may not have access to this food otherwise,’ said Elizabeth Wolters, NYFB’s associate director of national affairs. “It’s a win-win for our communities and our farms.”

“New York agriculture is a large part of the state’s economy. Over $5 billion in direct farm receipts and more than 200,000 jobs are created by agriculture," said farm bureau President Norton. "These issues are important to us as we strive to move the economy forward. We look forward to working with our congressional representatives to make sure that happens for us on the national level.”

Piglets, Sows Will Return to New York State Fair

From the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

Sow and piglets from a previous state fair
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball and New York State Veterinarian Dr. David Smith today announced the return of the hugely popular piglets and sows exhibit and competition at the 2015 Great New York State Fair.  

In 2014, due to a relatively new virus known as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), which has a high mortality rate among piglets, a decision was made by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to suspend the exhibit to protect the well-being of piglets and their mothers.  

Due to the fact that there were no reported cases at the State Fair as well as county fairs in 2014, coupled with no unusual uptick in cases this winter in contrast with last winter, Commissioner Ball and Dr. Smith have made the decision to allow this exhibit to return in 2015.

“I’ve gotten more questions on the status of this exhibit for 2015 than I can count, and after careful consideration by the one of best animal health experts in the country, we couldn’t be more pleased that this wildly popular exhibit is returning to the Fair in 2015,” said Ball. 

“We are first and foremost an agricultural fair, and we take our responsibility as caregivers to the animals there very seriously," Ball said. "This is great news for fairgoers coming to the premier agritourism location in New York State in 2015.”

“We’ve been monitoring this situation with respect to PEDv very closely since its outbreak almost two years ago,” said Dr. Smith. “Our staff was at every agricultural fair in New York state last year monitoring animal health and no evidence of the virus was reported.  Vaccines were also made available to pork producers last year with some success."

A welcome home party for this popular exhibit will take place during the Fair’s media preview day Wednesday, Aug. 26. At any given New York State Fair, there are between four and six sows with eight to 12 piglets each. Fair officials estimate that as many as half of all fairgoers visit the swine-and-piglets exhibit during the 12-day extravaganza.  

New York had 70,000 hogs on Dec 1, 2014, up from 66,000 on Dec. 1, 2013. 

Ed Dutton, owner of Churchill Farms in Holland, NY, said, “As a longtime exhibitor, I think this is great news for fairgoers because seeing piglets with their mothers up close is always one of the most positive experiences at the Fair.” 

Dr. Smith encourages exhibitors at every agricultural fair in the state to practice sound biosecurity to protect their animals, including:

  • 4H-ers purchasing feeder pigs for their fair projects should only acquire their feeders from reputable farms. If they’re from out of state ask to see the certificate of veterinary inspection.
  • All swine should be examined closely before taking them to the fair.  Exhibitors should take their animals’ temperature prior to the trip to the fair. Swine with temperatures over 102.5 should be left home.
  • If any of your pigs have diarrhea, no pigs from the affected farm should go to the fair.
  • All exhibitors should practice a high level of sanitation at every fair, including avoiding unnecessary contact with other swine and other exhibitors’ equipment.
  • Left over feed and bedding are best discarded at the fair and not brought home, since these materials are very difficult or impossible to disinfect.
  • Isolate all pigs after returning home for at least 2 weeks. Observe pigs closely during this period and consult a veterinarian if any become sick
Hand sanitizers will again be used at barns located throughout the 12-day fair.

PEDv is relatively new to the US, first appearing in the Midwest in May 2013 and has taken a heavy toll on the nation’s hog farmers, having caused the death of millions of piglets since its outbreak. When sows and litters become infected, PEDv kills nearly 100 percent of piglets less than 10 days old, while pigs older than 10 days tend to recover.

New Network Planned for Women in Agriculture

Go to http://farmprogress.com/story-usda-plans-new-network-women-ag-8-124382 to check out the story.