Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Morrisville State Places First in Dairy Judging Contest at World Dairy Expo

Cattle judging at the World Dairy Expo. Photo by Nina Linton Photography.
Morrisville State College placed first Monday in the International Post-Secondary Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.

Team member Evan Castrogiovanni took top individual honors.

SUNY Cobleskill came in second place and Alfred State came in sixth.

Here is the news release from the World Dairy Expo:

Morrisville State College placed first in the International Post-Secondary Dairy Cattle Judging Contest held Monday, Sept. 29 at World Dairy Expo. 

The winning team was anchored by first place overall high individual and overall reasons individual, Evan Castrogiovanni. Other team members included Alton Rudgers, Logan Martin, also finishing in the top 10, and Drew Hill, placing 13th overall. 

Aaron Berg, of UW-Farm and Industry Short Course, placed second overall following Castrogiovanni by just one point.

Thirteen Post-Secondary teams competed in the contest which included two portions: a conventional judging contest with evaluation and individual reasons, and a practical segment. The practical contest is a unique contest that includes essential on-farm skills with linear scoring, registered heifer evaluations and commercial heifer evaluations. 

Team and individual results for both portions are as follows:

Overall Top 10 Teams
1. Morrisville State College “A”, 2,169
Team members: Evan Castrogiovanni, Alton Rudgers, Logan Martin, Drew Hill

2. SUNY Cobleskill, 2,104
Team members: Devin Sickles, Tyler Hymers, Kimberly Merlau, Ericka Gogis

3. Modesto Jr. College, 2,089
Team members: Andrew Vaz, Joya Lemos, Mark Vieira, Michael Davis

4. Merced Community College, 2,042
Team members: Anton Fernandes, Clinton Lundell, Wyatt Sherron

5. Michigan State University Ag Tech 1,990
Team members: Allie Elzinga, Allison Pung, Jenna Martin, Rebecca Swartzendruber
6. Alfred State College, 1,981
Team members: Megan George, Oliver Ewell, Nicholas Mears

7. Kaskaskia College, 1,911
Team members:  Caleb Brink, Chelsea Jean, Addy Brennan, Dakota Grayling

8. Lakeshore Technical College “A”, 1,904
Team members:  Evan Schrauth, Drew Buiter, Vanessa Bobzien, Stephanie Baus

9. Zamorano “A”, 1,893
Team members: Camilo Duran, Andrea Rubio, Simon Spragge, Anasthasia Mora
10. Zamorano “B”, 1,859
Team members: Santiago Rosero, Luis Castellanos, Alvaro Tello, Nathaly Montano

Overall Top 10 Individuals
1.  Evan Castrogiovanni, 732, Morrisville State College “A”
2. Aaron Berg, 731, UW-Farm & Industry Short Course
3. Andrew Vaz, 725, Modesto Jr. College
4. Alton Rudgers, 719, Morrisville State College “A”
5. Logan Martin, 718, Morrisville State College “A”
6. Devin Sickles, 718, SUNY Cobleskill
7. Tyler Hymers, 713, SUNY Cobleskill
8. Anton Fernandes, 699, Merced Community College
9. Megan George, 691, Alfred State College
10. Allie Elzinga, 689, Michigan State University Ag Tech

Top 5 Team Reasons
1. Morrisville State College “A”, 538
2. SUNY Cobleskill, 503
3. Alfred State College, 493
4. Michigan State University Ag Tech, 492
5. Modesto Jr. College, 489

Top 10 Individual Reasons
1. Evan Castrogiovanni, 180, Morrisville State College “A”
2. Alton Rudgers, 179, Morrisville State College “A”
3. Logan Martin, 179, Morrisville State College “A”
4. Megan George, 175, Alfred State College
5. Allison Pung, 173, Michigan State University Ag Tech
6. Devin Sickles, 171, SUNY Cobleskill
7. Andrew Vax, 170, Modesto Jr. College
8. Chelsea Jean, 169, Kaskaskia College
9. Tyler Hymers, 168, SUNY Cobleskill
10. Aaron Berg, 165, UW-Farm & Industry Short Course

Top 5 Teams Practical Contest
1. University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 469
2. SUNY Cobleskill, 444
3. Alfred State College, 424
4. Kaskaskia College, 376
5. Modesto Jr. College, 359

Top 5 Teams Linear Contest
1. University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 373
2. Kaskaskia College, 355
3. SUNY Cobleskill, 338
4. Modesto Jr. College, 323
5. Lakeshore Technical College “A”, 269

Top 10 Individuals Linear Contest
1. Allison Quick, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 141
2. Chelsea Jean, Kaskaskia College, 128
3. Andrew Vaz, Modesto Jr. College, 120
4. Tyler Hymers, SUNY Cobleskill, 119
4. Deven Sickles, SUNY Cobleskill, 119
5. Dakota Grayling, Kaskaskia College, 118
5. Brooks Hendrickson, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 118
6. Jacob Leum, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 114
7. Megan George, Alfred State College, 111
8. Michelle Hintz, Fox Valley Technical College, 110

Top 5 Teams Registered Class
1. University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 186
2. Alfred State College, 178
3. SUNY - Cobleskill, 163
4. Kaskaskia College, 123
5. Lakeshore Technical College “A”, 122

Top 5 Practical Commercial Class
1. SUNY Cobleskill, 169
2. Alfred State College, 165
3. University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 159
4. Modesto Jr. College, 158
5. Kaskaskia College, 135

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tug Hill Vineyards in Lewis County Receives Funding

From Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand:

A total of $62,924 is being awarded to Tug Hill Vineyards in Lewis County to increase wine production at the facility. 

The federal funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program and will be used to purchase essential equipment needed to efficiently increase wine production at Tug Hill Vineyards.

“This is federal funding is great news for Lewis County and Tug Hill Vineyards,” said Sen. Charles Schumer. “This funding will provide Tug Hill the funds needed to help them to expand and provide more consumers with their quality products. Making sure we support our agricultural businesses in Upstate New York will always be a priority of mine.”

 “New York’s world-class vineyards produce some of the finest grapes, grown by hard-working farm families,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee who wrote to USDA in support of Tug Hill’s project. 

“This investment in the Tug Hill Vineyard will help ensure they get the resources they need to expand their business with the purchase of critical equipment. This will help bring their products to market and continue to drive economic growth in their region.”

“Increasing the diversity of agricultural production and adding value to the crops grown in Lewis County are key components of economic development. The economic impacts associated with Tug Hill Vineyards’ growth and success impacts all of Lewis County,” said Larry Dolhof, president of the  Lewis County Development Corp. “The Vineyard is directly responsible for an increase in local employment, retail sales of wine and berries, and tourism related to the wine industry and the vineyards special events capacity.”

“We are so pleased to receive this funding to support the expansion of Tug Hill Vineyards,” said Sue Maring, owner of Tug Hill Vineyards. “We look forward to procuring state of the art equipment necessary for increased wine production.”

Tug Hill Vineyards was established in 2007 and consists of 20 acres of grapevines on a 40-acre  estate. Tug Hill Vineyards produces red and golden raspberries as well as blueberries in addition to grapes. They also produce a variety of wines both dry and sweet.

USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grants are available to towns, State agencies, tribes and non-profits. They are used to support development of rural small businesses, distance learning networks and adult job training education programs. The RBEG program’s grants finance and facilitate development of small and emerging rural businesses to grow the economy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Farm Bureau, Counties, Towns Oppose Changes to Clean Water Act

From New York Farm Bureau:

In a strong show of support for farmers in this state and their own taxpayers, 35 counties and 17 towns in New York have passed strongly worded resolutions asking the Environmental Protection Agency to withdrawal its proposal to expand the definition of Waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

New York Farm Bureau has challenged the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers on its proposed rule changes that we believe is an overreach of the CWA.  

The confusing and vague language in the new definition opens up the potential for dry land and ditches to now be considered federally controlled waters. The bureaucratic nightmare and costly permitting process that this would create would not only impact agriculture across this state but also local taxpayers and homeowners who would be subject to additional federal regulations, permits and expensive fines.
In response, the large number of county and town resolutions opposing this effort has been forwarded to the EPA, which is accepting comments on the matter through Oct. 20. 

New York Farm Bureau has also released a new video highlighting the real concerns farmers have about the EPA’s potential land grab.  You may view the video here: http://youtu.be/s85XUF1QEvw

Monday, September 22, 2014

It's National Farm Safety and Health Week

From New York Farm Bureau and NYCAMH:

New York Farm Bureau and the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health are recognizing “National Farm Safety and Health Week” which runs Sept. 21-27

The theme this year is “Safety Counts: Protecting What Matters.”  It serves as a reminder for the nearly 36,000 farms in the state that strive to provide a safe workplace environment for their family members and employees.

Dean Norton
“We encourage all of our farmer members who are especially busy with harvest this time of year to think of safety first. Farming can be a dangerous occupation, but great strides have been made in New York to reduce risks on the farm," said Farm Bureau President Dean Norton.

"It is important that our farms review their safety protocols and 'protect what matters' this week and all year long,” he said.

This sentiment is also shared by Sam Parks, NYCAMH’s promotion coordinator.

“There is no greater reward than to work with the people that help to feed us three times a day. Often their struggles go unnoticed as they work day to day," Parks said. "Although farm work comes with some risks, much has been done in the New York farm community to address workplace hazards. 

"Despite the challenges in farming, agriculture is a great way of life and is filled with many rewards. During this week we salute our farmers and encourage them to take some time to celebrate their hard work, and think about ways to create a culture of safety on their farm,” Parks said.

Webinars Tuesday on Margin Protection Program

Cooperative Extensions across the state are hosting webinars or informational meetings Sept. 23 concerning the new Margin Protection Program.

USDA New York State Farm Service Agency Executive Director James Barber encourages dairy producers to attend one of several statewide informational meetings or webinars. Webinar participants will learn about MPP-Dairy from milk marketing expert, Dr. Andrew Novakovic, of Cornell University. 

Novakovic has been part of a national dairy markets and policy team, developing materials to assist farmers in understanding the new MPP-Dairy program. The presentation will detail program guidelines and demonstrate resources that producers can use to weigh the benefits of different participation options. 

Farm Service Agency employees will be on hand at several of these meetings to answer questions related to program policy USDA also launched a new Web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under MPP-Dairy that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions.

Visit http://www.dairymarkets.org/MPP/Meetings/New%20York%20Extension.pdf for a list of scheduled webinars and meetings.

MPP-Dairy is a voluntary risk management program authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill). MPP-Dairy offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. 

This program is designed to protect dairy producers from the volatility of milk, grain and forage production prices. MPP-Dairy sign-up opened Sept. 2 and ends Nov. 28, 2014,for the 2015 program year.

The online resource, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, allows dairy producers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone, tablet or any other platform, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information about the MPP-Dairy program, contact your local FSA Office or review the Fact Sheet: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/mpp_dairy.pdf