Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Idea for Regional Food Hub to Be Explored Through Pilot Projects

To check out the story, go to this web site.

Cool Temperatures, Rain Delay Planting in Some Parts of NYS

The cool temperatures and rain have delayed planting in many parts of the state.

Here is a story from the North Country.

Read it at this link.

Market Your Products to Customers Subject of Thursday Forum

From the office of state Sen. Patty Ritchie:

State Sen. Patty Ritchie is encouraging those in the food, beverage and agriculture industries from throughout Central and Northern New York to attend a free event that will help connect them to resources that will help grow their businesses. 

Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Empire State Development, state Department of Agriculture and Markets and Cornell University Cooperative Extension, “Access to Capital” will take place 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, May 25 at Jefferson Community College in Watertown. 

Participants will get an inside perspective from experts and lenders during three different panel discussions on a variety of topics, including financing, lending, alternatives to traditional bank loans and access to training and technical assistance.

“This event is the perfect way for those in agriculture-focused industries to learn about the tools and assistance available to them to help their business grow,” said Ritchie, who serves as chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “I encourage anyone who is just starting out, or looking to expand their business to attend this event.”

“Access to Capital” will take place at the Jules Center Amphitheater, located at Jefferson Community College. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to attendees.  

Following lunch will be a “resource expo,” featuring nearly 20 participants from local, state and national organizations, including area banks, the USDA, Cornell Cooperative Extension Association and the Development Authority of the North Country.

Registration is required.  To do so, go to this link.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Commission Formed To Look At Food, Nutrition Security

Cornell University


With the world facing a vast array of food and nutrition security challenges that pose significant humanitarian, environmental and national security risks, a national commission that included leaders from Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences announced May 16 a comprehensive, coordinated effort to solve these problems.

The Challenge of Change Commission comprises prominent university, government, nongovernmental organization and business leaders.

The report from the commission — which includes Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Mike Hoffmann, executive director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions and professor of entomology; and Per Pinstrup-Anderson, professor emeritus in nutrition and economics — emphasized a transdisciplinary approach leveraging the role of public research universities to solve food security issues.

Max Pfeffer, international professor of development sociology and CALS senior associate dean, served as an invited expert on the commission.

“Food insecurity is one of the most daunting issues that we face today. The challenges will only intensify without coordinated efforts by public and private partners,” said Boor. 

“Harnessing food systems expertise at Cornell and other land-grant universities will enable bold action to protect the health and well-being of people around the globe. The steps outlined by the commission provide a path forward for scientists and policy experts as we work together to achieve food and nutrition security,” Boor said.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, launched the commission in 2016.

The commission’s report recommends four key steps:

** Create a major, sustained effort by the more than 230 public research universities and university systems in the U.S., Canada and Mexico that comprise APLU, including further developing recommendations to reduce institutional barriers to cross-disciplinary research.

** Encourage multiple federal departments and public agencies to work to achieve domestic and global food security by mobilizing private sector and foundation resources to address the challenges.

** Urge governments of the U.S., Mexico and Canada to together sponsor collaborative research partnerships with universities and their partners to advance the report’s recommendations.

** Encourage public universities and their partners to identify challenges and related activities they might 
undertake, including partnering with public and private entities in agriculture, public health, nutrition and health care.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities said food security problems — hunger, obesity, malnutrition, low crop yields, inadequate food storage, poor sanitation, and the political instability they create — are poised to intensify unless there is a deliberate effort to create true global food and nutrition security. 

The report calls for the academic, research and leadership capabilities of public research universities to address food and nutrition security.

“Public universities possess enormous capacity across many disciplines — from plant breeding to the social sciences — to respond to global challenges,” said Hoffmann.

The commission defined seven challenges: increase yields, profitability and environmental sustainability simultaneously; develop varieties and breeds needed for sustainable food systems; decrease food loss and waste through more efficient distribution systems; create and share resources that serve all populations; ensure inclusive and equitable food systems; address undernutrition and obesity to ensure full human potential; and ensure a safe and secure food supply that protects and improves public health.

Cornell researchers took part in interdisciplinary groups to provide subject expertise for the report. Rachel Bezner Kerr, associate professor in the Department of Development Sociology, joined with the Sustainable Production Systems working group to identify ways to increase plant and animal agricultural production yields, enhance and maintain soil health, and use water sustainably and efficiently.

Miguel Gómez, associate professor at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, focused on challenges across the food supply chain domestically and globally as part of the working group Supply Chains, Distribution, Loss and Waste in Food Systems.

Pinstrup-Anderson, the 2001 World Food Prize winner, said: “Universities are uniquely positioned to provide the science-based knowledge required to guide public and private sector action to help assure healthy diets for all. Scientific discoveries combined with enlightened policies for our food systems can make nutrient deficiencies and obesity a thing of the past.”

Friday, May 19, 2017

Students Excel at New York State FFA Convention

From Morrisville State College:

FFA members work on a fence-building workshop during the FFA state convention at Morrisville State College
Future agricultural leaders honed their skills on the Morrisville State College campus during this year’s New York State FFA Convention May 11-13.

More than 1,000 of the best and brightest high school students fro across New York flocked to campus to gain hands-on experience in their future agricultural career fields during the event. 

Hailey Mason, in her fifth year with FFA, credits the organization with inspiring her to pursue a career as an agriculture teacher. After visiting campus, she now hopes to fulfill that career path at Morrisville someday.

“I love this place,” exclaimed Mason, 15, of the Greenville FFA Chapter located southeast of Albany. “It feels like everyone here is in to seeing the students succeed.” 

The convention featured a lineup of motivational and informational presentations, as well as competitions for participants that tested their knowledge of subjects such as agricultural communications, veterinary science, food science and agricultural issues.

The event also helped students gain a better understanding about personal growth and career success while teaching them job interview skills, public speaking skills and team building.
Campus and industry tours also offered educational experiences. In addition to experiencing Morrisville’s campus operations, including the college’s dairy incubator and aquaculture center, students had the chance to visit the nearby Fenner Renewable Energy Education (FREE) Center, a goat dairy, a mushroom farm and a worm farm. 

Munnsville resident Rebecca Ax, 14, who hopes to become a therapeutic riding instructor, loved the college's equine rehabilitation center.

Now in her fourth year in FFA and serving as the junior high reporter for the Stockbridge Valley chapter, she said the convention would help her gain "more knowledge of agriculture and learn things I can show to other people."

Presenters from all over the country spoke, including Morrisville alumna Ashley Willits, Eastern Region vice president for the National FFA organization.
Willits, a 2016 agricultural business grad, is the first female member from New York to be elected as a national FFA officer. In her role, she leads personal growth and leadership training conferences throughout the country and helps set policies that guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.
“It’s pretty powerful and has something for everyone,” said Christopher Roman, 15, of Verona, a member of the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill (VVS) FFA Chapter. “It’s more than just agriculture; you gain leadership skills out of this, too.”

The event provided students with the opportunity to explore a career show, view an array of exhibits and attend leadership and career workshops. Among them was a fence-building workshop, presented by Jim Costello and John Leva of the college’s wood products technology program.

“It’s providing me with hands-on experience and exposing me to things I need to use in life,” Isabel Van Tassel said of the convention.

Van Tassel, 17, of the Cazenovia FFA Chapter, became interested in agriculture while raising a pig to show at a fair. “That sparked my interest in so many other things, like how to build a fence,” she said.

Students also investigated soils for agricultural productivity and learned how to effectively lobby legislatures, organizations and other groups in support of agriculture.

"I love this; it's beautiful here in Upstate (New York)," said Wanbesly Nacelus, of Queens, who is in his second year in the John Bowne FFA chapter. "Because I'm an FFA member, I'm part of something much bigger."

FFA members, who commanded the campus with their widely recognized blue corduroy jackets with gold lettering, also completed service projects during their stay. They built a willow hut, filled sand boxes and built vertical gardens at the on-campus Childcare Center and also painted around campus.

“This is giving me a lot of experience,” said VVS FFA member Cody Minckler, 16, of Verona. “I have made so many new friends through FFA.”

Most attendees earned their way to the convention competing at local, regional and sub-state levels. The top students from the state convention competitions will go on to represent New York at the national competition.