Friday, February 5, 2016

Money Available for Organic Dairy Farming

The New York Organic Dairy Program has partnered with the New York Farm Viability Institute to make grant money available for organic dairy producers to participate in the Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary program and select a project for immediate attention through a modified Dairy Profit Team approach.

Farms participating in the Dairy Farm Business Summary and those that have not completed a Dairy Farm Business Summary before are both eligible for grants. Priority for grants will be given to certified organic dairies, however, farms in transition to become organic are encouraged to apply.

Farmers may first apply for funds to:
** Work with a qualified farm business consultant to upload the operating and financial information for the individual farm into the Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary,

** or, if the farmer has completed a 2016 Summary, to work with the consultant to review the data to select a short-term project that will benefit the farm. Varying levels of funding are available for this initial step.

Money is also available for farmers to work with a consultant on a project that will help the business better meet its goals. Applicants for a project grant must first complete a 2016 Dairy Farm Busines Summary.

Farmers requesting project funds will be required to work with the New York Organic Dairy Program to document their desired goal and projects must be achievable within 18 months of the formation of the consultant ‘team.’ 

Examples of projects include, but are not limited to, developing a business plan, enhancing transitioning practices and constructing facilities. The New York Organic Dairy Program will provide up to $1,500 for the consultant and team to complete its project work.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Wendy's Addresses Antibiotic Use in Beef Production

A good read.

Check it out at

Farming Is a Public Service

Check out this story everyone.

Go to to see the story.

Cornell Officials Visit First Ag Committee Meeting of Year

In its first meeting of 2016, the state Senate Agriculture Committee was joined by special guests from Cornell University who spoke about new opportunities, as well as new challenges involving the state’s agriculture industry.

Hosted by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie, the meeting featured Dr. Kathryn Boor, Dean of the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who touched on accomplishments of the past year involving Cornell-run programs like Harvest NY and PRO-DAIRY.

The meeting’s second speaker, Dr. Lorin Warnick, interim dean of the Veterinary School at Cornell University, discussed the college’s work in the area of disease surveillance, in particular, rabies.

At the meeting, guests from Cornell discussed a number of new efforts to encourage the growth of New York agriculture, including a new program aimed at reducing costs for those pursuing degrees through the University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and a first of its kind initiative that seeks to provide education, training and support to New York military veterans interested in careers in agriculture and farming.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Man Charged In Horse-Killing Case

Man arrested in agriculture case.

Go to to see the story.

FreshConnect Checks Can Be Used at Winter Farmers' Markets

Consumers are being reminded that FreshConnect Checks are being accepted at participating winter farmers' markets for the first time.

The program, which increases the purchasing power of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits used at farmers' markets, was extended yearround and now provides low-income families the chance to use the checks 12 months a year.

Twelve winter markets are participating in the FreshConnect program, with more expected to join in coming weeks.

**   Ithaca Farmers’ Market (Tompkins County)

**  Otsiningo Farmers’ Market  (Broome County)

**  Kingston Farmers’ Market (Ulster County) 

**  Schenectady Greenmarket (Schenectady County)

**  Veggie Mobile (Capital Region)

**  SUNY Plaza Farmers’ Market (Albany County)

**  Empire Plaza (Albany County)

**  Oneida County Public Market (Oneida County)

**  Foodlink  (Monroe County)

**  Rochester Public Market (Monroe County)

**  South Wedge Farmers’ Market (Monroe County)

**  Brighton Farmers’ Market  (Monroe County)

More than 150,000 checks already have been issued to 180 sites across the state to help eligible New Yorkers access healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, during the 2015 traditional farmers' market season.

Additional checks will be issued through the winter so even more consumers can be reached..

The FreshConnect Checks program encourages recipients to use their SNAP benefits at participating farmers' markets. The checks provide $2 incentives for every $5 in SNAP benefits spent, increasing the purchasing power of SNAP consumers by 40 percent.

In 2014, more than $3.2 million in SNAP sales occurred at farmers' markets throughout the state.

The FreshConnect Program was launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2011 and is administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.  FreshConnect-funded projects aim to ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of income, have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Gotham Greens Opens New Facility in Queens

From Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office:

Gotham Greens, a global pioneer in the field of urban agriculture and a leading regional producer of local vegetables and herbs, opened its newly built 60,000-square-foot facility located on Jamaica Avenue in the Hollis section of Queens.  
The massive facility nearly triples the amount of award-winning, local produce Gotham Greens can provide to New York Tri-State area consumers, and together with its new, nearly 2-acre rooftop greenhouse in Chicago, it represents an almost 400 percent expansion of Gotham Greens’ business overall.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided $1 million towards the project to expand the greenhouse and help Gotham Greens reduce its energy consumption. This money helped pay for the installation of high-efficiency lighting, cooling and automated crop production systems. 

New York State Empire State Development is also providing Gotham Greens with up to $152,000, in Excelsior Jobs Program Tax Credits in exchange for Gotham Greens’ commitment to create and sustain a minimum of 46 full-time jobs through 2024. They are currently at 40 full-time jobs and expect to exceed more than 50 in the next few months.