Saturday, February 18, 2017

Morrisville State College Honored With Tree Campus Designation

From Morrisville State College:


MSC students, faculty and alumni plant a tree in the local community.
Photo by Ken Chapman, New Media Strategist

Morrisville State College has been honored again for its commitment to sustainability.

The college received 2016 Tree Campus USA® recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its dedication to effective urban forest management.

Tree Campus USA®, a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and sponsored by Toyota, honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

To be considered for an award, a campus must maintain a tree advisory committee and a campus tree-care plan, dedicate annual expenditures for a campus tree program and conduct an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project.

At Morrisville, students utilize trees for actual learning experiences including pruning, climbing, identifying, inventorying and planting.

“Morrisville’s hands-on approach to learning makes it easy for our students to have a positive impact in our local environment,” said assistant professor Rebecca Hargrave, who has led the efforts of the college’s tree campus advisory committee. “Planting and maintaining trees reinforces what we do in the classroom and Tree Campus USA® recognition is a reflection of that positive student work.”

Members of Morrisville State’s campus tree advisory committee spend months developing a campus tree-care plan which includes policies for planting, care and removal, as well as plans for tree protection and preservation.

“This recognition reflects the importance of the diverse tree collection we now have in our campus landscape with all its educational, environmental and aesthetic benefits,” said Aida Khalil, professor in the horticulture department and member of the tree campus advisory committee. 

Matt Buell, head grounds supervisor, has been instrumental in developing the college’s tree collection.

Morrisville also received Tree Campus USA® recognition in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Cider Event Planned for Feb. 18 in Albany

From state Agriculture and Markets:

In support of New York state’s farm cideries and agricultural producers, State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball and State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley will join Nine Pin Ciderworks at its 3rd annual Gathering of the New York Farm Cideries event Feb. 18 in Albany.
During the event, 15 farm cideries from seven regions across the state invite the public to taste and buy some of their most exclusive products made with New York-grown ingredients. 
The event also marks Nine Pin’s third anniversary as the first licensed farm cidery in New York state under the Farm Cidery Law, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2013.   
The annual Gathering of Farm Cideries event is held at the Nine Pin Ciderworks tasting room and production facility in Albany. Attendees can enjoy up to three hours of free samples of unique ciders made from New York apples and provided by 15 different farm cideries from the Capital Region, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, Mid-Hudson region, North Country, Southern Tier and New York City.  

They also have the option to buy limited-batch ciders by the growler or bottles to go. The event will be split into two sessions: Noon to 3 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for $20. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the New York State Cider Association.  
Tickets are available online by going to this link. 
“I am thrilled to participate in this exciting event and to shine a light on the incredible synergy between the state’s farm cideries and our farms," Ball said. "New York’s craft beverage producers are some of the agricultural industry’s best customers. As their businesses succeed, the demand for agricultural products continues to grow and that’s truly a win for all New Yorkers."

“The Governor’s Farm Cidery Law has led to a renaissance in hard cider sales and production throughout New York," Bradley said. "In addition to creating 28 new manufacturers, farm cideries have driven demand for New York apples, created jobs, helped to protect the environment and increased tourism dollars in our local communities.” 

The craft beverage manufacturing industry in New York state is booming. Regulatory reforms, new legislation and robust marketing campaigns have paved the way for significant growth in the industry, which now has an annual economic impact of $3.5 billion.  

Since 2011, the number of farm-based craft beverage manufacturers in New York state has increased by 197 percent. 

Since the third anniversary of the New York Farm Cidery Law in October, the number of farm cideries has tripled from 8 in 2014 to 24 in 2016. Since then, four new farm cideries have opened, bringing the statewide total to 28.   

In addition, six farm cidery off-site branch stores have opened following changes to the Alcohol and Beverage Control Law last year, helping to boost sales, draw visitors and increase tourism in communities across the state.

New York is also home to 322 farm wineries, 149 farm breweries and 109 farm distilleries.  Twenty-three of those companies also manufacture hard cider.  

To further strengthen the industry, Cuomo’s 2017-18 Executive Budget proposes a new license allowing up to 10 Taste NY store operators to sell craft beverages along with food and souvenir items.  

Currently only vintners, brewers, and distillers that operate Taste NY stores can sell both alcohol and other products. 

Cuomo has also proposed expanding the sale of craft beverages at certain locations such as movie theaters, launching the first-ever New York Craft Beverage Week, and a new grant for craft beverage producers to engage in joint marketing campaigns and enter products in national and international competitions.

Here are the 28 cideries in New York state:
2 Way Brewing Co., Beacon
Bad Seed Cider, Highland
Blackduck Cidery, Ovid
Blue Toad Hard Cider, Rochester
Brooklyn Cider House, Brooklyn
Cider Creek Hard Cider, Canisteo
Clintondale Brewing Co., Clintondale
Cooperatown Beverage Exchange, Cooperstown
Dark Island Spirits, Alexandria Bay
Descendant Cider Co., Maspeth
Embark Craft Ciderworks, Williamson
Fishkill Farms, Hopewell Junction
Graft Cider, Newburgh
Grisamore Cider Works, Locke
Kaneb Orchards, Massena
Little Apple Cidery, Hillsdale
Metal House Cider, Ulster Park
Nine Pin Ciderworks, Albany
Riverhead Cider House, Calverton
Rogers' Cideryard, Johnstown
Saratoga Apple, Schuylerville
Sauvage Beverages, Oneonta
Sterling Cidery, Sterling
Stone Bridge Cider, Hudson
Sundog Cider, Chatham
Thompsons Cider Mill, Croton-on-Hudson
Wayside Ciders, Andes
Westwind Orchard, Accord

Those participating in the Albany event are:
Little Apple
Nine Pin
Saratoga Apple
Stone Bridge
Black Creek 
Blue Toad
Bad Seed
Rogers' Cideryard
Brooklyn Cider House

Friday, February 17, 2017

SnapDragon Apples Sell Out for This Season

Crunch Time Apple Growers’ popular SnapDragon apples have successfully ended their season with retail partners selling out of the last of the 2016 harvest.

Crunch Time’s marketing plan focused on raising consumer awareness of SnapDragon by making it available for consumers to taste. 

SnapDragon apples
“We know that when we get this apple in consumers’ hands and mouths, they sell themselves,” said Robin Leous, Crunch Time’s business manager.

The variety’s season launch included a partnership with the Tri-State Tough Mudder event, where samples were handed out to race participants and spectators and met with enthusiastic reviews.In addition to sampling at the Tough Mudder, Crunch Time also partnered with retailers to offer digital coupons and in-store sampling to their consumers. 

Crunch Time grower and marketing director Mark Russell reports that the 2016 SnapDragon crop was slightly more than twice the size of 2015, and still sold out quickly. 

“Our crop quality was excellent! The fruit was very colorful and offered a superb eating quality,” Russell said.

Created by the apple experts at Cornell University, SnapDragon is grown only by Crunch Time Apple Growers to exacting standards to ensure consumers have a great eating experience.

Crunch Time’s 145 apple growers located throughout New York state began planting their orchards in 2011; with the first SnapDragon arriving in supermarkets in 2014. Production has been increasing rapidly from year to year, as new orchards mature and bear more fruit. 

For more information, visit

Thursday, February 16, 2017

USDA Begins Cash Rents and Leases Survey

From the USDA:

Beginning this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will contact farmers and ranchers to gather land rental rate information for the Cash Rents and Leases survey. 

The results of this survey will serve as a valuable decision-making tool for farmers, ranchers and other landowners and will help shape negotiations for 2018 rental agreements.

“This brief survey is our only source of county cash rental rates,” said NASS’ Northeastern Regional Field Office Director King Whetstone. “By responding, producers help the farming community and ensure USDA bases its decisions on the most accurate data.”

NASS will publish average cash rental rates at national, state and county levels for non-irrigated cropland, irrigated cropland and pastureland Sept. 8, 2017.

More than 15,000 farmers will receive the survey forms. NASS offers the option of responding online via a secure Internet connection. In April, NASS representatives will begin calling and visiting landowners who have not yet responded.

“We guarantee confidentiality of all individual information, regardless of the response method participants choose, as required by federal law,” Whetstone said. “NASS will combine your responses with your fellow producers nationwide, providing the only accurate and comprehensive estimate of U.S. average rent and lease rates,” Whetstone said.

For more information about the Cash Rents and Leases survey, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at (800) 498-1518. All NASS reports and data are available online at

Taste NY Food Truck Competition Expands at New York State Fair

From the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

The Great New York State Fair today (Feb. 15) announced that its Taste NY Food Truck Competition will expand to two days for the 2017 Fair.  

The competition to find the best entrée, served by food truck chefs and made with New York state grown and produced ingredients, will take place Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 2 and 3.  Food trucks entered in the competition will be located around Chevy Court.
“Taste NY represents the very best of New York agriculture and having our food truck chefs cook up exciting, new dishes for our panel of judges and for fairgoers is a great way to promote New York grown and produced foods," said Ag and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball. "With the competition expanded to two days, we look forward to seeing every region of New York state represented.”
“The 2016 competition featured some amazing food and big crowds of people waiting patiently to buy a sample," said Acting State Fair Director Troy Waffner. "We’re expanding the competition to a second day so more people can participate and enjoy some of the best foods grown and made in New York state.”

To take part in the competition, food truck operators design signature entrées using primarily New York state products. A panel of judges made up of food industry experts and enthusiasts will sample the entrees to select a Judges’ Choice winner on both Saturday and Sunday.  

Truck vendors can then sell sample-sized portions of their entrée for $3 to fairgoers, who can cast one vote for the entrée they liked best. Those votes will then be tallied to declare the People’s Choice winners.  

Each daily winner of the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice will receive a $750 gift card to Maines Food and Party Warehouse, while the People’s Choice runner-up will receive a portable generator on each day.
Registration is now underway for food truck operators who would like to take part in the competition.  Visit for details and an entry form.
In 2016, Silo Food Truck of Ovid won the Judges’ Choice award for its Telekinetic Fried Chicken, a fried drumstick over a slaw flavored with peach and raspberry and purple sticky rice, while The Meatball Cup from The Meatball Truck of Rochester won the People’s Choice.  

More than 2,500 fairgoers voted in the competition.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dairy of Distinction Applications Due April 15

The 2017 Dairy of Distinction application deadline is April 15.

The program is more important than ever for rewarding and recognizing New York state dairy farms for their devotion to the industry during difficult economic times and helping build consumer confidence in New York state dairies and agriculture as a whole.

The Dairy of Distinction program received 28 applications last year, and 18 farms were honored with Dairy of Distinction awards.

The program relies on volunteers to keep it running and is always looking for new volunteers, especially for judging the farms in the spring and promoting the program.

Those interested in volunteering can contact Nancy Putman (315-322-5493, or Marylynn Collins, Dairy of Distinction president (315-736-3394, 
ext. 132). Some reimbursement for mileage and meals will be provided.

For more information and to submit an application online, visit Check out New York State Dairy of Distinction on Facebook.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Fisher Honored for His Achievements in Agriculture

Pictured left to right are Kevin Acres, farmer and St. Lawrence County Legislature chairman; Sen. Ritchie; New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher; and Jon Greenwood, farmer and co-chair of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program.

State Sen. Patty Ritchie recently honored New York Farm Bureau’s new president, David Fisher of Madrid, St. Lawrence County, congratulating him on his new role, as well as recognizing him for his contributions to the agriculture industry.

Ritchie, who serves as chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, presented Fisher, a St. Lawrence County dairy farmer, with an official Senate proclamation honoring him for his achievements.