Sunday, December 29, 2013

See New York Products at Thruway Service Area in Canastota

From the governor's office:

The newest Taste NY store, located at the Chittenango Service Area in Canastota, has opened.

This latest store is the second location on the New York State Thruway to offer Taste NY products year round. In addition, four new Taste NY storefronts carrying “made in New York” products at Thruway Travel Plazas are now open in Clarence, Pembroke, Seneca and Scottsville. 

Pictures of the Chittenango store can be viewed here:

“With Taste NY, we are giving New Yorkers and visitors alike more opportunities to buy our state’s home grown products ,” Cuomo said. “The food, beverages and condiments our farms and businesses produce are now being sold all along the Thruway, one of our state’s largest and busiest highways. This provides a new market for many our state’s local businesses and lets drivers taste the best New York has to offer.”

In his 2013 State of the State address, Cuomo announced the launch of New York’s largest tourism campaign in decades. Taste NY is a key component of the nearly $60 million plan to grow New York industries, create jobs and attract even more visitors to the Empire State while promoting New York grown or produced products.

A selection of New York state products, including maple syrup, yogurt, cheese and other products, is available for purchase at the Chittenango Service Area inside the service area’s Travel Mart convenience store under the Taste NY banner. The four additional Taste NY storefront displays are also up and running at the other travel plazas.

For more  information go to this link.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dairy Cow Birthing Center, Onondaga Lake Exhibit Honored

From New York State Agriculture and Markets:

The Great New York State Fair earned seven awards in the annual competition operated by the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE), said Acting Commissioner of Agriculture James B. Bays.

 IAFE is the trade group representing more than 1,000 fairs, events, and expositions from around the world. The awards were announced at the event's annual convention in Las Vegas.

"The outstanding efforts of staff, in collaboration with many partners, produced first-class information and entertainment that was rightfully recognized during this national competition," said Acting State Agriculture Commissioner James B. Bays. 

"We are proud of the work that everyone did on these projects and grateful for the recognition. I thank our many partners for their hard work and dedication to providing high-quality exhibits at this year's fair," Bays said.

The fair earned a first place prize for Best Solution-Based Communication Effort for its new exhibit "Onondaga Lake: A Fresh Gateway to the New New York."  

The exhibit, which occupied an entire wing of the Center of Progress Building at this year's fair, showed fairgoers how the work to remediate the lake is creating economic opportunity throughout the region and is helping restore fish and bird species to the lake habitat. 

A committee of more than a dozen non-profit, educational, government, and business organizations worked with the fair to create the exhibit.

"This exhibit was the first of its kind at the fair," said Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., president of State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) and co-chair of the exhibit committee. 

"The New York State Fair partnered with all of us to develop a 2,000-square-foot exhibit that showed New Yorkers how coordinated remediation efforts between state and local partners at Onondaga Lake are changing the region and providing for future economic vitality. It is an extraordinary story of a community coming together to improve not only Onondaga Lake, but the quality of life in Central New York," Murphy said.

Another of the fair's new exhibits also won a major national honor from IAFE. The New York Animal Agriculture Coalition's Dairy Cow Birthing Center earned second place in the agricultural competition for Fair and Sponsor/Partner Joint Exhibit Program.  

The center was packed with fairgoers, anxious to witness a dairy cow giving birth to a baby calf. The center featured 30 births throughout the Fair with farmers and veterinarians on hand to answer questions about the birthing process and dairy farms in general. A live webcam of the birthing center, offered through Cornell University, allowed people at home to share in the excitement.

Jessica Ziehm, executive director of the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition (NYAAC), said, "The production of milk starts with the birth of a baby calf, and so it made sense to us to showcase this phenomenon at the State Fair, as NYAAC works to educate the public about modern dairy farms.

"Fairgoers wowed us with their interest in this exhibit and our farmers were thrilled to share their passion and commitment to the care of dairy cows with the public. We are honored with this recognition and thank the New York State Fair for partnering with us to provide this unique opportunity to the public," Ziehm said.

The fair's advertising and marketing efforts, created by its marketing firm, Pinckney Hugo Group of Syracuse, won several awards, including three first place awards.

  • The fair's television commercials for its advance sale and concert ticket sales efforts won first place in the television category;
  • The fair's e-mail newsletter announcing a special ticket sale for the Toby Keith concert won in the electronic newsletter category;
  • All of the fair's efforts to tie its marketing back to its mobile platform won for best mobile campaign;
  • A full-page newspaper ad touting the availability of advance sale tickets won third place in the color newspaper ads category, and;
  • A full-page magazine ad for advance sale tickets won third place in the magazine ad category.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Remember Those Working Today, Especially Farmers

Even though this is from Michigan, it all holds true here.

Farmers don't get a day off. Still have chores to do and cows to milk.

Read this blog entry from A Farm

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Empire State Farming!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Check Out the Winter Farmers' Markets

From the governor's office:

Even though it's winter, you still can go to a farmers' market.

The locations of 116 winter farmers' markets --an all-time high number in New York state -- can now be found on the state's open data website at .

This comprehensive data website will help provide New Yorkers with a user-friendly way to search for farmers' markets near their homes this winter.

The number of winter farmers' markets in the sate has grown 190 percent since 2007. 

2007-08 -- 40 winter markets
2008-09 -- 60
2009-10 -- 87 
2010-11 -- 87
2011-12 -- 94
2012-13 -- 110 
2013-14 -- 116

While consumers will have more selection at farmers' markets during the spring, summer and fall growing season, winter markets offer a variety of choices, such as potatoes, onions, cabbage, winter greens such as kale and chard, wreaths and Christmas trees. 

The Winter Farmers' Market Dataset includes information detailing the hours of operation and location of community markets as well as the name and phone number of the manager. 

Winter Farmers’ Markets List:
Winter Farmers’ Markets Map:

To confirm the hours and location before traveling, contact the local market.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Get Your Trees and Shrubs Here!

The annual tree and shrub sale through the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District is here.

Go to  to find the order form.

Farm Bureau Hosts Talk on Oswego County Muck Farms

From Oswego County Farm Bureau:

The Oswego County Farm Bureau will be hosting a series of Coffeecake Meetings on the first Monday of the winter months at 1 p.m. at the Mexico branch of the Oswego County Federal Credit Union on Route 3 (5828 Scenic Avenue). 

The first will take place at 1 p.m. Jan. 6 with special guest speaker, Jim Farfaglia, author of “Of the Earth -- Stories from Oswego County Muck Farms."     

Farfaglia also has agreed to do a book signing and will have books available for purchase. 

These meetings are free and will be open to the public as well as Farm Bureau members. As the name implies, light refreshments will be served. 

Future meeting speakers will include Josh Hornesky, a resource conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.   

Saturday, December 21, 2013

State Will Buy More Local Food Thanks to Bill

From state Sen. Patricia Ritchie:

A bill that seeks to use the tremendous buying power of  state government to boost purchases of locally grown foods for use in state prisons, hospitals and other agencies has been signed into law by the governor. 

Under Senate Bill 4061, officials will be directed to create a list of competitively priced food products available for institutional sale, giving state agencies easy access to farm fresh products. State officials will also be required to regularly update their local food purchasing lists and measure state agencies’ compliance with directives to expand purchases from local food sources.

“Eating local is a big trend right now—and it can mean big business for local farmers and food producers.   This legislation builds upon that movement, seeking to use the purchasing power of state government to help farmers grow,” said state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a sponsor of the bill. 

“Not only will this measure promote nutrition by putting more locally grown foods in our prisons, hospitals and other state facilities, it will also boost the bottom lines of our state’s hardworking farmers.”

Also known as the “Food Metrics Bill” the measure is widely supported by a broad array of groups, from farmers to environmentalists.

The legislation was named a top priority by America’s Farmland Trust, a nationwide organization that promotes eating more local foods as a way to help preserve farmland, farm industry and open space. In addition, the New York League of Conservation Voters recognized Senator Ritchie for her sponsorship of the legislation.

Ritchie also is a sponsor of the “Buy from the Backyard Act” (S.978), which aims to boost local farming by requiring state agencies to purchase 20 percent of their food supplies from New York-based sources.  In addition, she worked to put New York milk back in employee lunchrooms at the Capitol, which serve tens of thousands of state workers and visitors every day. 

Get Out Now For Christmas Trees

Justin Brady, and his son Liam, 2, of West Monroe, pull their Christmas tree out of the woods at Granger's Christmas tree farm in Mexico Saturday Nov. 30. It was the Bradys first time at Grangers. Randy Granger said the farm sells about 150 trees a day when it's busy like it was on Saturday. The farm has been growing trees for 28 years and selling for 17.

Only a couple of days left to get a fresh wonderful Christmas tree grown in Oswego County.

Here is a story I wrote a couple of weeks ago:

The holiday season is here and it’s time to get out to buy a fresh Oswego County-grown Christmas tree.
Buying local not only supports Oswego County farms, but it also assures the freshest tree possible. Fresh cut trees smell better and keep their needles longer.

“If purchased locally, and displayed properly with plenty of water, most real Christmas trees have excellent needle retention,” said Faye Beckwith, of Beckwith Family Christmas Tree Station in Hannibal and former president of the Christmas Tree Farmers of New York State.

“Many of our customers report few or no needles on the floor after several weeks in their homes. While most people enjoy the aroma of our farm fresh trees, we also grow a fragrance-free variety that is a favorite with people with sensitive noses,” she said.

“Real Christmas trees are the best choice for both the environment and the economy,” Beckwith said. “Real Christmas trees are a renewable and recyclable resource. They are grown as a crop, by local farmers who provide jobs for others.

“Trees are harvested and replenished annually. As they grow, real trees absorb harmful carbons and produce fresh oxygen,” she said.

Beckwith added “the experience of going to the farm to choose the perfect tree fosters family traditions and creates memories that last a lifetime.”

Cooperative Extnesion supplied this list of Oswego County tree farmers:

Austin Tree Farm – 221 Baldwin Road, Volney
Beckwith Family Christmas Tree Station – 189 Mill St., Hannibal
Bis-Mar Farms – County Route, West Monroe
Chengerian’s Tree Land – Merritt Road,  Lysander
Darling’s Christmas Tree Farm – 280 Blythe Road, Hannibal
Emerald Mist Christmas Tree Farm – 1484 Rathburn Road, Oswego
Finnerty Hill Tree Farm – 3750 County Route, Williamstown
Goodman’s Christmas Tree Farm – 460 Gilbert Mills Road, Phoenix
Grace Farms – 78 Gunther Road, Central Square
Granger’s Christmas Tree Farm – 380 Tubbs Road, Mexico
H & H Trees – 1430 Co Rte 28, Tinker Tavern Road, Pulaski
Hemlock Haven Tree Farm – 460 County Route 22A (Ellisburg Street), Sandy Creek
Leonard’s Evergreens – 70 Dunham Road, Hannibal
Spring Pond Farm – 3439 U.S. Route 11, Mexico
Three Season Farm – 429 Drybridge Road, Mexico
Trust Nursery & Florist – 4347 U.S. Route 11, Pulaski
Whitetail Acres Christmas Tree Farm – 1685 State Route 264, Phoenix

Whole Foods Drops Chobani

Interesting. Not good for Chobani, I would guess.

Read this story from The Washington Post.

Farm Bill Needed for Ag Exports and Trade

Weekly column from Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack:

Over the course of 2013, we’ve seen yet another banner year for U.S. agricultural exports.

Exports of U.S. farm and ranch products reached a record $140.9 billion in 2013 and supported about a million U.S. jobs. In fact, compared to the previous five-year period from 2004-2008, U.S. agricultural exports from 2009-2013 increased by a total of nearly $230 billion.

All told, the past five years represent the strongest five-year period in our nation’s history for agricultural exports.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has focused on two key factors in recent years to help make this success possible. First, an unprecedented effort by USDA and our Federal partners to expand and grow markets around the world. Second, a commitment to make sure our farmers and ranchers have the tools to grow more, even in the face of uncertainty.

Thanks to the Farm Bill, particularly the Foreign Market Development Program and Market Access Program, USDA has been able to work with hundreds of U.S. businesses since 2009 to expand trade. We have led more than 150 U.S. agribusinesses on agricultural trade missions and helped more than 1,000 U.S. companies and organizations promote their wares at trade shows around the world.

Together, these trade promotion programs yield $35 in economic benefits for every dollar invested. Unfortunately, without a new Farm Bill, these programs can’t continue.

The trade promotion programs complement USDA efforts with our Federal partners to expand trade agreements and break down unfair barriers to trade. In the past five years, the Obama Administration has challenged more than 750 sanitary and phytosanitary trade barriers, compared to less than 400 such challenges in the previous five-year period. 

We’ve also helped achieve new trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, along with equivalency agreements for organic products to Canada, the European Union and Japan.

But the Farm Bill stands at the heart of our trade promotion effort, and companies across the nation need a renewed commitment to agricultural trade promotion that only a new Farm Bill can provide.

As we have undertaken record efforts to promote U.S. trade, we’re also hard at work here at home to help America’s farmers and ranchers increase their productivity.

Since 2009, USDA has provided a record number of farm loans – more than 159,000 – to help farmers get started and keep growing. Additionally, using Farm Bill programs that have since expired, we stepped in to help hundreds of thousands of producers facing disaster. 

So, in addition to the many trade-related benefits of the Farm Bill, USDA is awaiting passage of this legislation to continue helping farmers and ranchers grow the food needed to drive exports even higher.  

A new Farm Bill would continue assistance to farm businesses through loans and loan guarantees, while also reauthorizing disaster assistance programs and providing retroactive help to livestock producers who have been hit particularly hard in the past two years.

American agriculture has been an economic success story in recent years – growing more despite adversity, sending more food around the world and creating more jobs here at home. There is even more success ahead, but we need a new Farm Bill as soon as possible to keep this record momentum going.
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

USDA HAs One-Stop Shop for Organic Info

This is from the USDA:

Looking for USDA programs and services that support the growing organic sector? USDA has created a centralized web resource center at for all the programs, services, and data we have that support organic agriculture.
  • Conservation programs, flexible microloans, and other financial resources for farmers and ranchers.
  • Organic price reports, cost/revenue comparisons, and other economic and market data.
  • Improved crop and livestock insurance and other programs tailored to the organic sector.
  • Production and conservation assistance and research on organic agriculture.
  • Benefits of organic certification and how to get certified.
  • USDA staff at your local field offices and much more!
USDA is committed to helping organic agriculture grow and thrive by removing obstacles for organic farmers and businesses.
Earlier this year, Secretary Vilsack instructed all USDA agencies to incorporate the needs of the organic sector into their programs and services, and asked AMS to lead this effort.
This one-stop shop for organic-related programs and services at is one way we are meeting those needs.

More Money Available for Farmland Protection

News from the governor's office:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the availability of $500,000 to aid farmland protection efforts across New York state. 

Municipalities can apply for grants of up to $15,000 under this new Request for Applications to amend local laws to better protect farmland from being converted to non-agricultural use. Funding is available through the state Environmental Protection Fund and administered by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

This Request for Applications is a non-competitive grant opportunity exclusively for municipalities to either amend local laws to remove unreasonable restrictions on farm operations and agricultural land, or establish implementation-ready Transfer of Development Rights programs to protect farmland from conversion to non-farm use.

This is the first such application being released by New York state in several years.

Application materials and important webinar information for the Round 13 Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Request for Applications are available for download on the Department of Agriculture and Markets website at

Application materials are also available by calling the department directly at 1-800-554-4501.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Navy to Use Biofuels Made of US Homegrown Plants

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus Wednesday announced the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Navy's joint "Farm-to-Fleet" venture will now make biofuel blends part of regular, operational fuel purchase and use by the military. 

The announcement incorporates the acquisition of biofuel blends into regular Department of Defense (DOD) domestic solicitations for jet engine and marine diesel fuels. The Navy will seek to purchase JP-5 and F-76 advanced drop-in biofuels blended from 10 to 50 percent with conventional fuels.

Funds from USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) will assist the effort.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Chance of Doubling Milk Prices in 2014?

This is from me and Cornell University:

A year ago, there was much speculation about what could happen to milk prices if Congress failed to either enact a new farm bill or extend the old one, which included reverting to a law dating from the WWII causing the price of milk to double. 

There were fears of milk prices in the stores doubling. Here's what I wrote about it last year: 

Congress still hasn't passed a Farm Bill. So are we in danger of doubling milk prices in 2014? 

Cornell economist Andrew Novakovic says no.

Novakovic, former chair of the Department of Agriculture’s Dairy Industry Advisory Committee and professor of Agricultural Economics at Cornell University, says Congress will not be foolhardy enough to allow those old laws to come into effect.

“Is there any chance that we will see a doubling of milk prices in early 2014? No!

“This year, Congress seems on the verge of actually completing the task of adopting new farm and food legislation.  Although they won't get that job done until mid-January, they learned from last year that there is nothing to be gained and a good deal of mischief to be wrought by letting those old programs come into effect again.”

Learn to Reduce Mastitis in Dairy Herds at Northern NY Classes

News from the Northern New York Dairy Institute:

The Northern New York Dairy Institute is offering classes to help farmers reduce the incidence of mastitis in their dairy herds.

The class will cover record keeping for mastitis control, the importance of knowing the different strains of mastitis for selecting proper treatment, and the value of records for identifying problem cows and what mastitis may be costing the farm.

Speakers include veterinarian Dr. Jessica Scillieri Smith of the Quality Milk Lab at Canton, George Cudoc with Dairy One’s Dairy Management Resources division, Northern New York Regional Dairy Specialist Dr. Kimberly Morrill, and New York State veterinarians.

The cost is $35 by pre-registration or $50 at the door. Classes will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. class.

The class will be offered:
Jan. 14 at the CCE Extension Learning Farm, Canton
Jan. 15 at the Farm Credit East office, Burrville; and
Jan. 15 at Mo’s Pub and Grill, Malone.

The pre-registration deadline is two weeks prior to the class session. To register for any of the locations, contact NNY Regional Dairy Specialist Kimberley Morrill, 518-564-0498 or 315-379-9192,

The classes are organized by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Northern New York and Quality Milk Production Services in Burrville, Canton and Malone.

Farm Bureau Elects Board of Directors Members

From New York Farm Bureau:

During the New York Farm Bureau State Annual Meeting in Syracuse last week, voting delegates elected representatives to the State’s Board of Directors.

It concluded the annual three-day long meeting where resolutions were discussed and voted on to set NYFB’s 2014 policy agenda.

Re-elected to serve a two year term on the NYFB Board of Directors were Hal Kreher of Clarence Center, NY,  John Sorbello of Shortsville, NY, Darrell Griff of Hamilton, NY, David Fisher of Madrid, NY and Richard Ball of Schoharie, NY.

Three new Board members were also selected at State Annual Meeting.  Robert Nolan of Patchogue, NY was elected to represent Long Island. Phyllis Couture from West Valley, NY was elected as the State Promotion and Education Committee Chair, and Nicole Rawleigh of Horseheads, NY was elected as the State Young Farmer Committee Chair.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Oh No, Not Chores Again

Another great farm parody of a popular tune.


Vilsack Talks About Farm Bill and Conservation

Ag Secretary Thomas Vilsack's weekly column:

America’s farmers, ranchers and landowners have led the way in recent years to conserve and protect our soil, water and wildlife habitat.

With the help of Farm Bill programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has worked with a record number of producers since 2009 – more than 500,000 of them – to get this important work done.

Ever since the Dust Bowl, we’ve known that investments in conservation on working lands and other wild areas is important. And this week, a new report amplified our understanding for the critical importance of the Farm Bill in protecting natural resources in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The report showed that over the past seven years, conservation efforts have reduced the amount of nitrogen leaving fields by 48.6 million pounds each year – about 26 percent – and reducing phosphorus by 7.1 million pounds, or 46 percent.

These conservation practices are also preventing soil erosion, helping to ensure that our farm fields across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed remain vibrant and productive in the years to come. Conservation practices have lowered the estimated amount of eroded soil by about 15.1 million tons every year, or 60 percent. Put another way, that’s enough soil to fill about 150,000 railcars.

In addition to ensuring healthy cropland and clean water, these programs strengthen wildlife habitat that boosts outdoor recreation. From hunting and fishing, to camping and hiking, outdoor recreation adds more than $640 billion in benefits to our economy each year.

The Chesapeake Bay watershed initiative is just one of many landscape-scale initiatives undertaken by USDA in recent years. From the Mississippi River Basin to the Ogallala Aquifer, USDA has worked with producers to enroll millions of acres in targeted landscape initiatives – and today’s report once again highlights the positive impact this work can have across the nation.

From clean soil to healthier water, the benefits of conservation impact every American – and they’re one reason why USDA is pressing Congress this fall to provide a comprehensive, multiyear Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that continues our record conservation efforts.

A new Farm Bill would continue targeted conservation efforts on working lands that ensure soil quality, water quality, erosion control, forest restoration, and wildlife habitat.

It would continue major working land programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program, through which USDA has provided more than 190,000 landowner contracts since 2009, as well as the Conservation Reserve Program under which we have held a signup each year during this Administration. A new Farm Bill would also ensure that tens of millions of acres remain in conservation practices by linking crop insurance compliance to conservation program participation.

Across the nation, our farmers, ranchers and landowners are stepping up to protect our natural resources. They deserve our support – and the most important thing that can happen today is for Congress to achieve passage of a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that stands by producers and continues our long legacy of conservation.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Report Details Work of Senate Agriculture Committee

State Sen. Patty Ritchie has released the annual report of the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture — which she chairs — detailing the activities of the committee in 2013. 

“Agriculture is our state’s biggest industry, and as chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, it’s a priority for me to help support our hardworking farmers in an effort to help the industry grow,” Ritchie said.

“This report details the hard work done by the committee in 2013 and I would like to thank my colleagues, as well as the hardworking members of the agriculture industry whose input allowed us to take significant steps to foster further growth of this vital industry.”

In total, the committee reported 30 bills, five of which were signed into law and eight which are awaiting action by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

Highlights of the 2013 Legislative Session include approval of a 2 percent cap on annual increases in agricultural land assessments and adoption of a budget that significantly increased funding for key agricultural programs. 

The report was first released at a recent meeting of Ritchie’s Agriculture Advisory Council.  The group — which was formed in 2011 — is comprised of leaders in the industry from Central and Northern New York who are tasked with identifying challenges and opportunities for growth in the agriculture industry which can be passed onto the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

In addition to Ritchie’s annual report, the meeting also focused on cutting red tape to encourage younger people to pursue careers in farming

A copy of the annual report of the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture can be viewed on Ritchie’s website by visiting here. 

Economics of Future Farming in New York Topic of Forum Today at Cornell

From Cornell University:

The economic future of agriculture in New York and the Northeast – from dairy and feed grain to fruit ­– will be revealed at Cornell University’s annual Agribusiness Economic Outlook conference from 10 a.m to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 (today) in Room B-25, Warren Hall on the Cornell campus.

Experts will provide predictions and perspective on the national economy and agriculture, the implications of immigration reform on farm staffing, and outlooks for specific commodities, including dairy products, grains and feed, fruits and vegetables, as well as wine, grapes, and ornamentals. 

The full itinerary and registration information is available online at

Tribute To A Fallen Farmer

Wonderful story by Modern Farmer.

Sometimes We Are Mean to Our Cows

Here's another great blog entry from Dairy Carrie in Wisconsin.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Breakfast On the Farm

Here's a great photo from friends at Cross Island Farm on Wellesley Island.

David Belding and Dani Baker posted this on their Facebook page and titled it "Bacon and Eggs Eating Breakfast" as their pigs and chickens all dined on the same organic grain.

Check it out.

Corn Growers Head to Washington to Protest Ethanol Proposal

News from the National Corn Growers Association:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to cut the amount of corn ethanol required under the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard by 10 percent will affect corn prices and rural economies, farmers plan to tell the agency at a hearing set for Thursday outside the nation’s capital.

More than 30 corn farmers and their allies from around the country are traveling to Washington for the important public hearing. 

Growers from NCGA will be present representing 13 states -- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

“It’s great to see so many people willing to leave their farms at this time of year for an important opportunity to give the EPA a piece of their mind,” said NCGA First Vice President Chip Bowling, a Maryland corn grower scheduled to speak at the hearing. 

“This has already had a negative effect on our farms, and if the EPA gets its way, it could cause serious harm to the rural economy – not to mention cutting the environmental benefits of domestic, renewable ethanol,” he said.

For 2014, the EPA has proposed a 1.4 billion gallon reduction in how much corn ethanol will be required under the RFS, the federal law that requires the blending of domestic, renewable, cleaner-burning corn ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply. 

Because of the record crop, growers are already seeing corn prices falling below the cost of production, and due to the planting cycle are having to buy inputs such as fertilizer, seed and fuel at much higher prices, Bowling said.

NCGA strongly urges all its members to comment directly to the EPA about this issue before the Jan. 28 deadline. More information about how farmers can do this is available online at

I Cried Over a Cow

Great post from The Farmer's Daughter blog.

Check it out here. Even though it's from Oregon, farmers throughout NY share the same sentiment at one time or another.

Why New York Needs a Farm Bill Now

This op-ed piece was written by the New York state directors of USDA Farm Service Agency and USDA Rural Development:

This fall, Congress has an important opportunity to create jobs and grow the economy by passing a long-term, comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. The Farm Bill impacts every American, every day by providing a wide range of programs that strengthen our nation.

The Farm Bill is crucial to maintaining a strong agriculture sector and an abundant food supply that benefits all Americans. Over the past two years, producers have faced a multitude of disasters – from drought, to flooding, to blossom-killing or late spring freezes.  

These events demonstrate how important the safety net is to keeping producers going strong. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) was able to provide $4.3 million dollars in disaster assistance to New York farmers using Farm Bill programs.

A new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would provide a strong crop insurance program, reauthorize the now-expired disaster assistance programs, and provide retroactive assistance for livestock producers. By reforming the safety net to eliminate the direct payment program – which pays producers whether or not they are in need of assistance – the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would also save billions of dollars in the next decade.

Farm Service Agency State Executive Director James Barber said “A successful Farm Bill helps safeguard our food supply and provide stability to the rural economy by providing stability to the agricultural community. Agriculture is the economic engine that drives the rural economy; and farmers in NY would greatly benefit from the Farm Food and Jobs Bill that recognizes the importance of both commodity and non-commodity crops and supports the efforts of those embarking on a career in agriculture.”

A new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would help Main Street businesses grow and hire more, strengthen infrastructure in our small towns and provide new opportunities in natural resource based businesses and renewable energy. 

For example, in New York, USDA has provided more than 300 projects totaling more than $16 million since 2009 to help farmers, ranchers and rural businesses save energy through the Rural Energy for America Program. This and many other efforts could continue with a new Farm Bill.

“Without question, passage of this bill would be an invaluable investment in our state,” said Lee Telega, USDA Rural Development State Director. “We would see communities benefit through continued support for rural educational, housing, public safety and infrastructure projects. We would also see funding for continued use in renewable energy sectors, rural broadband expansion, access and adoption as well as economic opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business owners. 

"Rural Development remains committed to assisting our rural partners wherever and however we can. We work collaboratively with our colleagues at the state and local level to find those vital linkages to maximize resources to make important projects happen,” he said.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a vital component of our nation’s poverty safety net. Last year more than $70 billion assisted with the food bills of low income families and individuals, veterans, seniors and children nationwide. In 2013, over 3 million New Yorkers relied on and received this critical nutrition assistance. 

The $5 billion of SNAP assistance that NY received also serves as an economic stimulus -- if more food is being purchased, more food has to be stocked, shelved, packaged, processed and trucked from farm to market. SNAP is a program that is important not only to people, but to states and certainly the country as a whole.

A new Farm Bill would enable USDA to continue our work with more than 500,000 producers and landowners throughout the nation to conserve the soil and water. It would undertake new strategies to improve agricultural research, and it would ensure an abundant, safe food supply. 

In addition, it would allow USDA to continue export promotion efforts that have led to the best five-year period in agricultural trade in American history. Foreign markets are a new frontier for some of our NY producers.  A new Farm Bill will provide FSA and RD with the tools to extend additional farm and food business credit in New York to meet the growing worldwide demand for safe, nutrition US-produced food.

All of these efforts strengthen our nation. A new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would continue the job growth we’ve seen in recent years and help grow New York’s rural economy. That’s why President Obama has identified passage of a new Farm Bill as one of his top three legislative priorities this fall.

This is a prime opportunity to give America’s farmers, ranchers and producers the certainty they need about the next five years of U.S. farm policy, while investing in the rural communities that stand at the heart of our values.

The Farm Bill has stood as a model of bipartisan consensus for decades and it is high time that both Democrats and Republicans come to a compromise on this new Farm Bill.  It is our hope that Senate and House conferees will reach a consensus quickly and move a Farm Bill forward as soon as possible.

To learn more about the USDA Rural Development or Farm Service Agency available programs, funding or eligibility criteria log on to: or Or contact us by phone or E-mail at our New York State Office, located in Syracuse, NY at: Farm Service Agency 477-6300 or Rural Development 477-6400.

James Barber                         
State Executive Director                                                                             
USDA NY Farm Service Agency                                                          

Lee Telega
State Director - NY
USDA Rural Development         

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New York Farm Bureau Donates Food, Money

From New York Farm Bureau:

New York Farm Bureau members, along with the Feeding America NYS Food Banks, are once again showcasing their partnership.

The giving nature of the NYS agricultural community is demonstrated with this year’s total of almost 8.4 million pounds of food donated by New York Farm Bureau members. 

In addition, NYFB also handed over a nearly $1,000 cash donation from nine County Farm Bureaus within the Food Bank of Central New York’s 11 county geographic area in conjunction with New York Farm Bureau’s 2013 State Annual Meeting in Syracuse. 

Members and agricultural partners give as part of a yearlong effort to feed the hungry across the state.

The food is collected through the “Harvest for All” donation program, a nationwide annual farm donation partnership linking the Farm Bureau and Feeding America in each state. 

With a few weeks left in 2013, it is expected that the incredible farmer food donations will climb even higher. Since the Harvest for All program began 10 years ago, New York farmers routinely rank at the top of the list among states for their generosity.
In New York, NYFB’s Young Farmers Committee and the Food Bank Association of New York State administer the statewide donation partnership.  Under the project, NYFB members donated excess farm products to the 10 New York State Feeding America food banks located across the state. 

USDA Providing Money to Rural Electric Cooperatives

From the USDA:

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA will take new steps to save consumers money on their energy bills in partnership with rural electric cooperatives.

USDA plans to provide rural electric cooperatives up to $250 million to lend to business and residential customers for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems.

"Energy efficiency retrofitting can shrink home energy use by 40 percent, saving money for consumers and helping rural utilities manage their electric load more efficiently," said Vilsack. "Ultimately, reducing energy use helps pump capital back into rural communities. This program is designed to meet the unique needs of consumers and businesses to encourage energy efficiency retrofitting projects across rural America."

Vilsack noted the Energy Efficiency and Loan Conservation Program, by promoting energy savings in rural areas, is another step by which USDA is supporting President Obama's Climate Action Plan. The program will help build a cleaner and more sustainable domestic energy sector for future generations by reducing barriers to investment in energy efficiency and potentially cutting energy bills for American families and businesses in the process.

Although energy efficiency measures can reduce home energy use considerably, many consumers and businesses do not invest in them because they lack the capital or financing to do so. Consistent with President Obama's Climate Action Plan, this program will reduce barriers to these investments by making financing more available.

Funding will be provided to rural electric cooperatives and utilities – the majority of which already have energy efficiency programs in place – who will then re-lend the money to help homeowners or businesses make energy efficiency improvements. In addition to energy audits, the loans may be used for upgrades to heating, lighting and insulation, and conversions to more efficient or renewable energy sources.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New York Farm Bureau Presents Awards

From the New York Farm Bureau:

New York Farm Bureau presented a number of awards at its Tuesday night awards banquet to those members and counties that have excelled in the Farm Bureau mission to “serve and strengthen agriculture.”

The dinner, sponsored by Farm Credit East and a part of the state annual meeting being held in Salina, announced awards for Young Farmers, Promotion and Education and Membership.

The Young Farmer program handed out three awards for their annual contests. Winners of these awards will represent New York at the American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting this January in San Antonio, Texas. 

The New York State Discussion Meet champion was Stuart Ziehm from Washington County, the Excellence of Agriculture award was presented to Jennifer Karelus from Lewis County and the 2013 New York State Achievement Award winner was Zachary DeBadts from Wayne County.

Membership is a crucial part of Farm Bureau and many individuals took an active role in the campaign to increase numbers. Many individuals worked tirelessly to recruit new members and almost 30 people were awarded for their efforts.

Those who signed up five or more new members received a Farm Bureau Carhartt jacket. Ashur Terwilliger of Chemung County was recognized for signing up 18 new members, the most of anyone in Farm Bureau. 

Lastly, the Farm Bureau awards the “Farm Bureau key” to counties that excel in overall program accomplishment. Four counties won the 2013 Gold Key Award. They are Schuyler, Chemung, Franklin and Long Island Farm Bureaus.

Sorbello Farms Loses Most of this Season's Onion Crop in Fire

A huge fire in Granby has destroyed a packing, sorting, grading and storage building at the Sorbello and Sons onion farm.

Morris Sorbello said he was called at about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday about the fire. Sorbello is an Oswego County legislator representing the Granby area and had been in Oswego for a legislature committee meeting.

"The most important thing is no one was hurt," he said Wednesday morning.

Sorbello said he lost most of this year's onion crop that was being stored in the building -- about 115,000 50-pound units. The building, which is actually three buildings hooked together by tunnels, also is a loss.

He said firefighters still are at the scene Wednesday morning and the fire is still smoldering.

He also lost equipment in the building used for the sorting and grading of onions. He is insured.

An exact cause of the fire has not been determined, but Sorbello said it may have been electrical. He said his son had been in the building at about 4 p.m. and had hooked up an electrical charger to a machine and that may have malfunctioned.

80-Year-Old Byrne Dairy in Syracuse Markets Across U.S.

Go to to check out the story.

North Country Farmers Pool Beef Cattle to Compete with Midwest

Now this is cooperation.

Gotta hand it to farmers to find a way to compete with the big boys.

Read this story at this link.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

State Assembly Looks at Equine Impact

The New York State Assembly will hold a public hearing at noon today (Dec. 3) to examine the equine industry and discuss the economic benefits and numerous job opportunities that are related to the industry’s presence in our state.

Racing and Waging Committee Chair J. Gary Pretlow will take testimony on the equine industry’s current role in the state's economy and what could be done to enhance the industry’s growth.

According to the 2012 New York State Equine Industry Economic Impact Study, the industry generated $4.2 billion statewide in 2011, which was about $92,100 per horse in both direct and indirect impacts. The study also noted that the equine industry provides roughly 33,000 full-time jobs, which is an estimated 80 jobs per 100 horses.

The horse industry is a critically important sector of New York’s economy, providing many employment opportunities throughout the state, including such jobs as breeders, trainers, backstretch workers, hay farmers and veterinarians.

Among those scheduled to testify are Jeffrey A. Cannizzo, executive director, NYS Thoroughbred Breeders; Rick Violette, president, NY Thoroughbred Horsemen Association; Joseph Faraldo, president, Standardbred Owners of New York; and Susan McDonough, board member, NYS Humane Association.

Also expected to testify are Marsha Himler, president, NYS Horse Park; Colleen Segarra, Mid-Hudson Regional Director, New York State Horse Council; and Alice Allen, Redemption Acres.

Love of Farming Continus After Dairying is Done

This story is from Minnesota but I'm sure there are many farmers in New York who feel the same way.

In fact, if you know of someone in New York, especially CNY, who fits the bill, send me a message.

Here's the story at this link.