Monday, July 24, 2017

Empire Farm Days 2017 Kicks Off Aug. 8 in Seneca Falls

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine


SENECA FALLS — Lift the hood. Kick the tires. Sit in the cab. Test drive tractors, trucks, applicators, UTVs and construction equipment.

“Come See for Yourself!” is the theme of this summer’s Empire Farm Days event Aug. 8 to10 at Rodman Lott and Son Farms, 2973 State Route 414, in Seneca Falls.

This show is the largest outdoor agricultural trade event in the northeastern U.S.

Here’s a quick look at what’s new at the 2017 show:

Expanded, irrigation-fed field demonstrations include:

** Hard hose reel system irrigation-fed crops

** More pieces of equipment to see and test drive

** Renewed focus on ‘big iron’ operating in real-time field conditions.

** Field demos starting at 10:30 a.m., with support from Morrisville State College and 15 equipment manufacturers: CNY Farm Supply/ROC, Cummings & Bricker/McHale, Dion-Ag Inc., H & S Manufacturing, John Deere, Marloo Equipment/SIP, Meyer Manufacturing, New Holland, Norwood/KwikTill, Oxbo International, Pequea Machine Inc., Poettinger US Inc, Rangeline Group/K-Line, Tigerco Distributing/Reese, and Unverferth Manufacturing.

** 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily: Test drive large applicators with Java Farm Supply/Ag Chem Rogator, John Deere, Monroe Tractor/Case IH, Chandler, Miller and Vector

** 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily: Ride and drive Ford Trucks, Honda, Milton Cat, RAM Trucks, and Yanmar tractors and UTVs.

** 10:30 a.m. daily: Cover Crops Field Demonstration Tour with King’s AgriSeeds and Seedway: Cool and warm season cover crop species/mixes; best seeding methods, timing, and purposes discussions.

Soil Health Center Seminars

** USDA NRCS Northeast Regional Soil Health Specialist Jim Hoorman from Findlay, Ohio, opens the Tuesday programs on fertilizer, manure and nutrient management in cover cropping and reduced tillage systems.

** Hoorman leads Wednesday’s schedule addressing prevention, reduction and mitigation strategies for compaction problems.

** Thursday programs focus on utilizing soil health practices in vegetable cropping systems beginning at 9:30 am with Cornell University Horticulture Professor Dr. Thomas Bjorkman.

** Wednesday, 2 p.m.: “The Living Soil” Keynote Presentation/Demonstration with Conservation Biologist Carmen Greenwood of SUNY Cobleskill. Learn how live soil-dwelling invertebrates, such as soil mites, serve in vital ecosystem roles, provide conservation benefits and act as indicators of soil health.

** Daily: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service intro to Conservation Client Gateway (1:30 p.m. presentation; one-on-one all day), Web Soil Survey, cell phone Soil Web App.

Dairy Profit Seminars

The daily 10:30 a.m. Dairy Profit Seminars are made possible by a collaboration by Cornell’s PRO-DAIRY Program, the Northeast Dairy Producers Association, and Dairy Business and Holstein World magazine.

** The Tuesday, Aug. 8 presentation is on Robotics and Maximizing Milk Per Box: Grouping and Feeding Strategies with Douglas F. Waterman, Director of Technology Application: Dairy for Trouw Nutrition Agresearch.

** The Wednesday, Aug. 9 presentation is on Transitioning to Automatic Milking Systems with farmer panelists, Bruce Dehm of Dehm Associates, LLC, and Cornell Senior Extension Associate Jason Karszes.

** The Thursday, Aug. 10 presentation is called, “Is Your Farm a Member of the 7 Pound Club?” Leading dairy producers delve into the next frontier of maximizing pounds of components produced while maintaining profitability with representatives of Albano Farms, Thornapple Farm, and Hanehan Family Dairy; Bruce Dehm of Dehm Associates; and Dr. Cargill Feed and Nutrition Senior Dairy Specialist Jay Giesy.

New Products

Among the new products in 2017: forage mergers, disc blades, manure spreaders, an on-farm mastitis detection system, a patented metal roofing system, a PTO-driven firewood processor from Finland, an expanded reach skidsteer; mower combination, cover crop seeder, rock picker, mineral feeder, bale grapples, apple grinder, and precision fertilizer application monitoring system.

Expanded Beef Programs

** Designing cattle handling systems with Runnings.

** Animal ID and pre-conditioning practices.

** Tuesday/Wednesday programs on feeder calf grading and evaluating with NY livestock graders and market news reporter, and how to use blood sampling to check for pregnancy as early as 28 days.

** One-Day-Only Programs with NY Beef Council: Wednesday: Livestock Animal Well Being; Thursday: Beef Quality Assurance Training and Recertification: must pre-register: (315) 339-6922.

** 11a.m. daily: Live Cattle Handling with Cornell Beef Extension Specialist Dr. Mike Baker and representatives of Hi Hog, Priefert and Powder River cattle systems.

Ag Education

** Try virtual reality welders aboard American Welding Society Careers in Welding trailer from Miami, Fla.

** NYS FFA students compete in NYS welding and tractor driving safety contests on Thursday.

** 2017 Cornell PRO-DAIRY Junior DAIRY LEADERS class graduates Wednesday, 1:30 p.m.

** Colleges highlighting agricultural degree programs at Empire Farm Days include Alfred State College, Cornell University, Morrisville State College, SUNY Canton and SUNY Cobleskill.

** Information on national Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program and info on grass-fed milk emerging markets. in Cornell Marketplace Building.

New Craft Beverage Center

** New center to meet needs of emerging micro beverage industry in New York State. According to the state Department of Agriculture, the state has seen an increase from 10 farm distilleries in 2010 to 114 today, along with 163 farm breweries and 34 farm cideries.

** See bottling equipment, hammermills for grain processing, a new apple grinder that converts to milling malted grains, and high-tech filtration, separation and purification systems; talk with manufacturers.

** Tuesday, 9 a.m to 1 p.m., all day Wednesday: Try wine and cider “sniff test” with Cornell University Viticulture and Enology Extension specialists to identify issues and how to avoid them. Learn about Cornell Wine Lab testing and analysis services to help all types of beverage makers.

** Tuesday 1 to 5 p.m., all day Thursday: Talk with Brewmaster Jon Paul Partee and co-owner Craig Partee of Fleur De Lis Brew Works and Hop Yards of Seneca Falls, about hops production and their French style of artisan beer making. Their beer garden has been part of the Partee family farming legacy for three generations.

Farm Safety

** Grain Bin Simulator from National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, Peosta, Iowa, will offer demos and educate show visitors about the four most common ways to become entrapped in a grain bin, the equipment every grain bin operator should have on site, and how to protect yourself form grain dust and mold.

** Special Tuesday evening hands-on safety training session will be available by registration for firefighters. Contact is Jim Carrabba at New York Center for Agriculture Medicine and Health, (800) 343-7572, ext. 2216,

** The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health tent will be offering blood pressure, hearing, vision and skin cancer screenings on Tuesday and Wednesday.

** The winner of the new Fastest PTO Shield Installation contest at the NYCAMH booth will receive a free Bare-Co PTO Shield.

For the Horse Crowd

The rugged horses of the American West and the refinement of dressage riding will be featured in the Equine Round Pen showcases at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily.

** America’s Mustangs: From Wild to Mild will be featured on Tuesday Aug. 9 and Wednesday Aug. 10 with celebrated horse trainers and 2017 Extreme Mustang Makeover regional winners Jack and Emma Minteer of Rose Hill Ranch, Naples.

** On Thursday. Aug. 10, Lucretia Galbraith, raised in a family of Standardbred racing royalty and a lifelong horsewoman, will demonstrate the skills that make her a five-time Western NY Dressage Association Professional Rider of the Year and a United States Dressage Association Bronze Medalist.

Farm Family Fun and Learning

** “Why I Farm,” pumpkin production, and the Chicken Chat large board game are all new attractions at the NY Farm Bureau Family Education Center.

** The Dancing Digger will perform ‘hydraulic handstands’ to music daily.

** The New York State Grange has added quilting presentations to programming at 11:05 a.m. and 2:05 p.m. Dalmatian Sparks and handler Tibbie Dell lead off at 9:30 a.m. with You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks.

** Did you know that in addition to making tractors International Harvester made refrigerators? See tractors, implements and other farm and household items made by agricultural manufacturers at the Old Iron exhibits.

Get in the Farm Pond

Those 10 and older can try a standup paddleboard or kayak with Morgan Marine in the farm pond. Participants must attend a preceding water safety program by New York Sea Grant, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and New York State Parks Marine Services Bureau.

Empire Farm Days show hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $10 per vehicle. 

For daily schedules and more information, visit, check out Empire Farm Days on Facebook, or call 877-697-7837.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Farm Bureau President Comment on Collective Bargaining Lawsuit

From New York Farm Bureau:

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher made the following comments July 21 concerning a lawsuit that seeks collective bargaining rights for farmworkers.

“New York Farm Bureau made a strong case today in State Supreme Court in Albany, NY as to why the Court should dismiss the NYCLU lawsuit that seeks collective bargaining rights for farmworkers. Our attorney argued that our system of government requires that the legislature change state law, not the courts.  Our attorney also argued that the State Labor Relations Act, as written, is constitutional.  

"'We appreciate the opportunity that the Court provided to us to argue the reasons for dismissal, and we are hopeful that we will have a decision in our favor very soon.

"The court previously granted New York Farm Bureau intervenor status to defend agriculture from the lawsuit after New York State abdicated its duty. Our organization had petitioned the court last year to become a defendant only after the Governor and Attorney General refused to uphold and defend the State Labor Relations Act in court.

"New York Farm Bureau has long opposed farmworker collective bargaining for one simple reason. Farms do not have a standard eight-hour workday. This growing season has taught us that. Heavy rains across New York have forced farmers and their employees to get in every dry moment they can in the fields before the next storm cloud arrives. Life inside the barn is no different.  

"For instance, cows need to be fed and milked every day. A farmworker strike or confining work agreements can jeopardize a crop or the health of an animal. Everyone who works in farming understands this. Added regulations will further tie the hands of New York’s farmers and place them in a business environment where it is becoming harder and harder to compete against farmers from out of state and out of the country.

"Farmers have great respect for the people who they employ. If we are to have a vibrant agricultural sector in New York that offers good job opportunities, farms must be able to have a chance to succeed. Collective bargaining will only make it more difficult to do that.

"New York Farm Bureau will continue to stand up for our members, either in court or at the Capitol, to ensure that their voices are heard,” Fisher said.

Friday, July 21, 2017

New Agriculture Exhibits Planned for State Fair

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine:


While the New York State Fair is jam-packed with fun and food, its primary emphasis always has been on agriculture, the biggest industry in New York state.

In fact, the New York State Fair is run by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

So, while running around the fairgrounds this summer checking out musical acts and the sand sculpture, exploring the midway, and scarfing down fried dough and sausage sandwiches, remember to check out the agricultural exhibits.

Vegetables that competed at last year's State Fair
Visit the animals in the barns. See the beautiful flowers, hearty vegetables, sweet honey and maple syrup and crunchy apples in the Horticulture Buildings. Look at the ever-popular butter sculpture and try some New York yogurt and ice cream in the Dairy Products Buildings.

And, as always, see how the entire dairy industry begins in the Dairy Cow Birthing Center.

Here are some new ag exhibits to check out at the 2017 New York State Fair:

** STEAM Exhibit. This is one of the most anticipated new items at this year’s fair and is located in the Science and Engineering Building.

The exhibit will highlight a number of technical careers and trades that are extremely popular today. Many qualified workers are going to be needed to fill these STEAM jobs in the future. Federal government statistics indicate employment in the science, technology, engineering and math fields will grow by 9 million by 2022.

Butter sculpture from a previous State Fair
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. The exhibit will feature hands-on activities, workshops and demonstrations aimed at stimulating creativity in young fairgoers and encouraging them to consider careers in related fields. 

“The technical fields and the arts provide wonderful opportunities for our young people and for our economy while encouraging innovation and creativity,” said Troy Waffner, acting director of the New York State Fair. 

“This is an exciting new exhibit and I encourage everyone to stop by and see the amazing work being done in these industries now and the opportunities for the future.”

Examples of projects and fields to be displayed include drones, medical projects, advanced manufacturing, virtual reality, robotics, citizen science, wearable technology, soldering, 3D-printed prosthetics, architecture, stop-motion animation and more. 

There also will be a special Ag Career Day on Students Day Sept. 1. 
The exhibit will feature an area in which people with enthusiasm for particular topics will create projects as fairgoers watch.

** A number of the animal barns will have special signs this year providing a phone number. Fairgoers will be able to send a text to that number from their cell phones asking questions about anything they are curious about in the animal barns. 

They will immediately get a text back from the barn superintendent or perhaps even the state Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets with an answer to their questions.

“We want the fairgoer to have the right information,” said Mary Ellen Chesbro, New York State Fair coordinator and agricultural manager. “Sometimes they will ask a question out loud and someone standing near them will answer. But that might not always be the right information. With this, they won’t have to hunt down someone to ask — they will be able to get an answer and get it fast.”

So far, the text questions project will be up and running in the goats, sheep, swine and beef barns. Chesbro said she also is trying to get it set up in the dairy barn.

** If you want to know what’s going on during the horse shows in the Coliseum, check out the free headphones. Chesbro said there are 75 headsets available (simply look for the signs inside the Coliseum entrances). There will be an explanation of what is going on during the particular show going on at that time and fairgoers can text questions to the narrator of the horse show.

“We want them to leave not only wondering why, but knowing why,” Chesbro said.

A Holstein at a previous State Fair.
** Mark your calendars. Dairy Day is moving this year.

Usually the first Monday of the fair, the annual salute to everything dairy this year will be Thursday, Aug. 31. 

Chesbro said Dairy Day had to be mooooved because of the extra day at the beginning of the fair (the fair opens Wednesday, Aug. 23, not on a Thursday). This extra day means the dairy cattle would be changing places beginning Monday, Aug. 28, with some moving out and others moving in. This means there would be no dairy cattle in the barn on Aug. 28.

“You can’t have Dairy Day without dairy cattle,” Chesbro said.

All of the popular Dairy Day events will take place, including the parade, celebrity milkshake-making contest, cheese auction and visits throughout the fairgrounds by county dairy princesses and the New York State Dairy Princess. 

One new feature on Dairy Day is guests can enter a drawing to win Taste NY dairy gift baskets by answering trivia questions when they visit three popular dairy attractions on Dairy Day.

To participate, guests can pick up a copy of the questions at any of the fair’s six Guest Relations locations. 

A treat at the Yo2GO Yogurt Bar
They can find the answers by visiting the Milk Bar, Cheese Booth and Yo2GO Yogurt Bar. When a guest has completed the questions, they can drop off their answers at the Dairy Cow Birthing Center where they will be entered to win. Three winners will be selected at the conclusion of Dairy Day.

** There will be a Hot Beef Sundae competition on the dairy building stage at noon Aug. 24. Contestants are being lined up via social media.

** On Beef Day, Tuesday, Aug. 29, people will be able to participate in the Pound Out Hunger event. By paying $2, they will be given three strikes at an old car with a sledgehammer. The money raised through this event goes to a food pantry to buy hamburger for the needy.

** There are some new additions at the Witter Agricultural Museum. There is a beautiful back porch and handicapped ramp for visitors. There also are arbors complete with displays of growing hops and grapes.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Finger Lakes Cheese Festival is Saturday, July 22

Bringing together the best in Finger Lakes produced cheeses from the members of the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance as well as the best in homemade jams, jellies, baked goods, peanut butters, salsas, vegetables, art, wine, beer and cider. 

Live music all day, TONS of food for every palate and LOTS MORE! 

Add to that the ambiance of the farm, self-guided tours, hay rides, games for the kids and you have a fun family event.

Tickets on sale for $5 online until the day of the event, $8 at the door, children under 12 are free.

The event is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sunset View Creamery in Odessa, in Schuyler County. Go to to buy tickets.

Schumer Seeks New Insurance Option for Malt Barley Producers in NY

From U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer:

Schumer during a visit to the 1886 Malt House in Volney
Craft breweries and distilleries are booming this summer, pouring local products onto shelves, increasing tourism and infusing new jobs across Upstate New York.

Because of this U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said last week that it’s imperative that the federal government provides even more support to Upstate New York’s craft beer industry to help new and existing establishments grow.

Specifically, Schumer is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to begin the process of giving New York the Malting Barley Endorsement (M.B.E.), a special federal insurance option, available to only a select group of states that grow malt barley.

Malt barley needs very specific conditions to grow and is susceptible to severe weather and disease, making the M.B.E. insurance option an essential ingredient to further nurturing the growth of this new industry. 

Schumer said this will become more important over the next decade, when New York state will require farm craft brewers and distillers to source 90 percent of their ingredients from local farms and malt houses, and the supply of malt barley will need to increase to meet this demand.

Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., both fought earlier this year to get 44 New York state counties included in the malt barley crop insurance program.

Last year, Schumer successfully pushed the USDA to bring malt barley insurance to four New York counties but argued that with crop insurance now secured, it is time for the USDA to grant Malt Barley endorsement.

“With summer now in full swing, many in Upstate New York and beyond are reaching for ‘Made in New York Craft Beers.’ These beers and spirits represent a new and flourishing industry for New York state, and Upstate New York is increasingly becoming the Napa Valley of craft brewing,” Schumer said. 

“Not only do distilleries and breweries throughout Upstate New York pour local products and jobs into our economy, they also open new tourism opportunities, which is why it is important we continue to support this industry and provide them with all of the available tools needed to succeed now and in the future. New York is on the cusp of a craft brewing renaissance which not only benefits our growers, but all those who call New York State home,” said Schumer.

“That’s why I am calling on the feds to endorse this enhanced insurance protection for malt barley. These breweries are a reflection of New York’s entrepreneurial spirit and must be properly supported by growers who can supply them with the locally sourced resources they need,” he said.

Alongside water, yeast and hops, barley is one of the major components of beer, and of many spirits produced by distilleries. Malt consists of barley that is germinated and then dried under highly controlled conditions. These conditions help to release the enzymes needed to convert the barley starches into sugars.

These sugars are then fed to yeast through the process of fermentation, which ultimately creates the final product -- alcohol. Schumer explained many New York farmers are beginning to grow this barley, which ends up being used to make beer and spirits. 

Malt houses, like the 1886 Malt House at the ethanol plant in Volney, take the barley seed grains and put them through the process of malting; this is so the barley seeds can begin to germinate and thus convert the starches into sugars. This malt barley is then given to brewers and distillers, who have the yeast and fermentation conditions needed to make beer and spirits.

Schumer said malt barley carries greater risks for loss and lower yields than barley grown for livestock feed, because in order to be viable for malting, the grain must meet rigorous quality standards. Many growers, who are covered by malt barley crop insurance, may run into obstacles collecting payments in certain situations. 

Especially, in New York state, which can endure both heavy rains and long dry spells, entire crops may be deemed unusable if malt barley becomes too moist and prematurely germinates in the field, or conversely dries out and is unable to germinate during the malting process. Due to the high risks for growers throughout 

New York state, Schumer said it is critical to allow growers to have the choice of obtaining all available federal crop insurance options as soon as possible.

New York state has 213 craft breweries:
** In the Capital Region there are 29 craft breweries
** In Central New York there are 27 craft breweries
** In Rochester – Finger Lakes region there are 42 craft breweries
** In Western New York there are 24 craft breweries
** In the Southern Tier there are 32 craft breweries
** In the Hudson Valley region there are 36 craft breweries
** In the North Country there are 23 craft breweries

Previously, the lack of crop insurance hindered the rapid expansion of the craft brewing industry and therefore halted job creation in Upstate New York as well. 

Potato Surveys Begins This Month

From the USDA:

Beginning in late July, the Northeastern Regional Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct the annual Potato Processing Survey. 

The results of this survey will be used to establish final USDA statistics about 2016 potato crop processing for official processing states. NASS gathers the data for the survey online, by mail, phone and in-person interviews.

“NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only state- and national-level data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified,” stated King Whetstone, Regional Director, NASS -- Northeastern Regional Field Office.

NASS will compile and analyze the survey information and publish the results in the Sept. 14 annual Potatoes publication. The publication will be available on the USDA-NASS website at 

For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at (800) 498-1518.