Thursday, February 28, 2013

USDA Chief Economist Says Production Up, Prices Down

The chief economist with the USDA recently gave his views on crop production and prices at the annual Agricultural Outlook Forum in Washington, D.C.

Cornell University Official Wants More Sharing in the Maple Industry

This has been a long-standing issue in the maple industry and one U.S. Sen.Charles Schumer has fought for for years.

Go to to read all about it.

Entries Needed for Farm Mom of the Year Contest

A farm mom in the United States has the chance to win $10,000 in the 2013 America's Farmers Mom of the Year Contest.

Go to after Feb. 28 to nominate your favorite farm mom. Explain in 300 words or less how she contributes to her family, farm, community and industry.

There will be five regional winners of $5,000 each. All five will be posted on, where voting will determine one national winner of an additional $5,000.

Go to to apply and see rules and eligibility.

Women in Agriculture in Nebraska Tackle Issues

Here's what some ag women in Nebraska are discussing these days.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

'Honeygate' Prompts U.S To Step Up Fraud Investigations

A honeybee does its job

Everyone nowadays is trying to eat better quality food and this often leads to eating locally grown and produced foods.

Well, it sometimes is difficult to do that when things like this are going on.

Go to to read about honey that has been making its way into the U.S. from China and how that honey is raising some eyebrows. 

Amsterdam Man Charged in Dairy Company Scam

This comes from The Times-Union in Albany:

Amsterdam, NY -- A Mohawk Dairy employee who allegedly altered delivery invoices in order to steal $2,000 from the milk producer has been charged with multiple counts of forgery and falsifying business records along with one count of fourth-degree grand larceny, state police said.

Louis Scott, 52, of Amsterdam, is accused of bilking his employer for three months before the company president alerted State Police, whose investigation led to Scott's arrest.

Scott will appear in Amsterdam City Court March 5.

Mohawk Dairy, based in Amsterdam, produces and distributes milk, half & half and cream and operates a dairy store. It was founded in 1932 by Zygmunt Rzeszotarski.

NYS Teacher One of 10 Honored for Agriculture Education

This comes from the American Farm Bureau Federation:

Washington, D.C. – The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture recognized eight teachers and two volunteer educators for their exceptional efforts to encourage agricultural literacy.

One of the teachers is Cathy Carr, Banford Elementary School, Canton. She has been teaching for 25 years and has incorporated agriculture into each of her subjects with her first, second and third grade pupils. She also has partnered with the high school ag program and has started a school garden, developed garden newsletters and created promotional posters with her pupils and created planting grids with her math students. She also gets her pupils involved in a class worm farm during science to learn about ecosystems, life cycles, and healthy soil.

The educators will each receive $1,500 scholarships to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Minneapolis, Minn., in June. The Foundation, through the White-Reinhardt Fund for Education, sponsors the scholarships in cooperation with the American Farm Bureau’s Women’s Leadership Committee.
This year’s other teacher recipients are: Cathy Britts Axen, Central Middle School, North Aurora, Ill.; Sarah Glenn, Huntsville Intermediate School, Elkins, Ark.; Shirley Lettkeman, Watonga Elementary School, Watonga, Okla.; Missy Locke, Richland Elementary School, Lynnville, Tenn.; Raymond Dennis Peavy, Lake Joy Elementary, Perry, Ga.; Andrea Jones Seagraves, Crawford County Eagle’s Nest, Musella, Ga.; and Debra Templin, Prosperity-Rikard Elementary School, Prosperity, S.C.

This year’s volunteer recipients are: Martha Cripe of Vandalia, Ill., and Melvin Grones of Seguin, Texas.

Educators nationwide attend the conference to learn how to incorporate real-life agricultural applications into science, social studies, language arts, math and nutrition lessons.

Scholarship recipients were judged on past use of innovative programs to educate students about agriculture as well as future plans to implement information gained at the Ag In The Classroom conference in their own lesson plans and share the information with other educators.
The Ag In The Classroom conference joins a diverse group of organizations and speakers to address how to improve agricultural education and literacy, showcase successful programs and offer educational materials.

The Agriculture Department coordinates the Ag In The Classroom program with the goal of helping students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and state Farm Bureaus also support and participate in the program’s efforts. The White-Reinhardt Fund for Education honors two former American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee chairwomen, Berta White and Linda Reinhardt, who were leaders in early national efforts to educate about agriculture and improve agricultural literacy.

GOP, Dems Agree Immigration Worker Program Needs to be Revamped

It seems Congress is finally agreeing that the immigration program must be made easier for farmers to obtain the workers they need each year.

Go to to read an Associated Press story about what Congress has done.

A Gallon of Milk Today ...

Something to think about.

Dairy Industry Proposes Aspartame for Chocolate Milk

Frankly, I find this a bit disturbing.

After watching a documentary last week about how no-calorie sweeteners can lead to people actually eating and drinking MORE calories, this doesn't seem like a good idea.

What do you think? Do we really need to get our children hooked on more sweetened foods?

Go to to read this story about adding sweeteners to flavored milks.

Land, Capital Stumbling Blocks for Young Farmers

Read this story from Western Farm Press about what makes it difficult for young farmers starting out.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Still Time To Be Counted in Ag Census

More from the National Agricultural Statistics Services on the 2012 Census of Agriculture:

Being counted in the Census of Agriculture is an opportunity that comes along only once every five years.

In 2007, 79 percent of farmers and ranchers responded to the Census of Agriculture to ensure their voices were heard. Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is challenging New York’s agricultural community to come together and surpass this response rate for the 2012 Census of Agriculture.

There’s strength in numbers and only those producers who respond to the Census can ensure that the numbers gathered help shape farm programs, boost rural services and grow the future of farming in New York.

For example, published Census data is used by dozens of USDA programs that benefit farmers and ranchers in the state, including the Direct Loan Program, Guaranteed Loan Program, Conservation Reserve Program,
Commodity Outlook Program, Commodity Market Analysis, Extension funding and more.

NASS already has received nearly 57 percent completed Census forms at the national level. The dedication and effort of the many farmers and ranchers who have responded is sincerely appreciated. For those who have not yet completed their form, there is good news – there is still time to be counted.

A second copy of the Census recently was mailed to those who have not yet responded. If you receive a
Census form, complete it as soon as possible. NASS will also begin telephone follow-up and personal
visits to help collect responses. NASS is committed to ensuring that every farm and ranch in New York is
counted to provide the most comprehensive data available for the future of the state’s agricultural industry and rural communities.

Farmers can return their forms by mail or online by visiting a secure website, Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the Census and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential. For more information about the Census, visit or call 1-888-4AG-STAT (1-888-424-7828).

'Locally Grown' Gets Tricky in the Cold

Check out this New York Times story about where restaurateurs turn when they can't get locally grown products in the winter.

Cornell University Professor Named To National Ag Advisory Board

This release comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

Washington, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the appointment of 10 members to the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board. 

The advisory board consists of 25 members and operates under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Research, Education and Economics Mission Area. Each board member represents a specific area of expertise related to agriculture, including farming, ranching, food production and processing, forestry research, crop and animal science, land-grant institutions, food retailing and marketing, rural economic development and consumer interest groups.

The board advises Vilsack and land-grant colleges and universities on top priorities and policies for food and agricultural research, education, extension and economics.

The following members were appointed for a 2- to 3-year term effective Jan. 19, 2013:
  • Patsy M. Brannon, RD, a member of the American Society for Nutrition and a Professor / Nutritionist with Cornell University, will represent National Human Health Associations.
  • Ralph Paige, a member of the National Family Farmers Coalition and the Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund, has been re-appointed to represent National Farm Organizations.
  • Wathina Luthi, farmer/rancher, Luthi Farms in Gage, Okla., will represent Food Animal Commodity Producers.
  • Jeremy Liley, a member of the National Aquaculture Association and the President and Aquatic Biologist for Liley Fisheries and Aquatic Consulting based in Boulder, Colo., has been appointed to a vacant member position to represent National Aquaculture Associations.
  • Charles Boyer, the Dean of the Jordan College of Agriculture and Technology at California State University – Fresno, has been re-appointed to represent Non-Land Grant Colleges or Universities with a Historic Commitment to Research in Food and Agricultural Sciences.
  • Professor Agnes Mojica, Chancellor of the San Germ├ín Campus of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, will represent Hispanic-Serving Institutions.
  • Leo A. Holt, the President of Holt Logistics Corp. based in Philadelphia, Penn., has been re-appointed to represent Transportation of Food and Agricultural Products to Domestic and Foreign Markets.
  • Nancy M. Childs, associated with the Institute of Food Technologists as well as the Food Marketing Institute, and Professor of Food Marketing and Gerald E. Peck Fellow with Saint Joseph's University-Haub School of Business - Dept. of Food Marketing, has been re-appointed to represent Food Retailing and Marketing Interests.
  • Julia Sabin, the Vice President of Industry and Government Affairs for The J.M. Smucker Company based in Orrville, Ohio, will represent Food and Fiber Processors.
  • Steven P. Hamburg, chief scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund, has been re-appointed to represent Private Sector Organizations involved in International Development.
 More information is available at

Get Ready for Maple Season!

It's almost March and that means just one thing -- maple syrup time.

As the temps start to warm, the maple producers will be heading to the woods to tap trees and begin the collection of that wonderful sap. Maple Weekends are March 16 and 17 and March 23 and 24, with many producers across the state opening for tours and pancake breakfasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on those days.

In fact, the FFA at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School already is gearing up for the season and will begin making syrup soon. The students will feature tours of their maple operation and pancake breakfasts on all four Maple Weekend days.

Go to for more information.

Death of the Dairy Farmer?

Check out this report from WBNG in Binghamton.

Horses Found Dead in Town of Onondaga

Go to to read about horses that were found dead on an Onondaga farm.

New York Agri-Women Meet in Western NY in March

A New York Agri-Women program is set for March in western New York.

Check it out at this link.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Twitter: Farm Bill Back on Agenda in April

It's being reported on Twitter that the U.S. Senate will likely move the Farm Bill along beginning in April.

Also, there could very well be another one-year extension of the bill.

Mississippi State Students Sing Cows' Praises

Thanks to DairyBusiness Communications for sharing this.

Another Oscar Win

This is from the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association.

Baldwinsville Man Receives Farmers Co-op Recognition

Go to to see a photo and short caption.

Life on a Dairy Farm

The Los Angeles Times has run a story and video about dairy farming and the need for immigration reform.

Check it,0,6606300.story out here.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hemp Farming Bill Advances

Go to to check out a story from Supermarket News on this legislation in Congress.

Farmer Style (Gangnam Style Parody)

Thanks to Pulaski's Grindstone Farm for posting this on Facebook. Now I'm sharing it with all of you.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's Weekly Column


 Here is Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack's weekly column.

Go to to see it.

Cool Farm Facts

Is this cool or what? Thanks to DairyBusiness Communications for sharing it.

A Ban on Dairy Farming???

This New York Times piece discusses how a dairy farming ban is hurting some farmers in Texas.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Providing Samples Increases Sales at Farmers' Markets

Here's some good info from the University of Kentucky:

Huge Threats to Ag are Manmade, Avoidable

Check out this story from Farm Futures about a recent talk by Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack.

Great Benefits of Eating Apples

Some good news for apple producers.

Drug Residues in Raw Milk Decline

I did a big story about a year or so ago about the pros and cons of raw milk.

Here is a recent story from DairyBusiness Communications about the subject.

Read it at this link.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Blizzard of Oz

Check out this video from YouTube and a farmer in Kansas on the trials and tribulations of having to feed the cattle even during a blizzard.

Thanks to Farm Journal for posting on Twitter.

World's Fruit Growers Flock to Hudson Valley

Fruit growers from around the world come to the Hudson Valley to see how things are done.

Go to this link to read the story from The Poughkeepsie Journal.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Farm Programs Targeted for Federal Budget Cuts

Some farm programs are targeted for federal budget cuts.

Read about it at this link.

You Can Trust Your Farmers

Go to to read an opinion piece about farming.

New York Farm Show Opens Today for Three-Day Run

Geddes, NY --The New York Farm Show opens today at the New York State Fairgrounds outside Syracuse.

Go to to read a story about what the show has to offer.

The show is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Equipment, services and organizations are showcased in five heated buildings on the fairgrounds. There will be about 425 exhibitors with everything from crops to dairy and beef and other commodities.

There also will be chances to learn a thing or two with a host of mini-seminars and workshops being offered..

89th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum Today

This is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will open the 89th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, entitled, Managing Risk in the 21st Century, at 8 a.m. today.

The Agricultural Outlook Forum is one of the industry's preeminent annual conferences. USDA has hosted the conference since 1923 to provide farmers and ranchers, government, and agribusinesses with sound information for decision-making.

A full broadcast will be posted after 6 p.m. at

Here is the agenda:

8 a.m.: Welcome: Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan

8:05 a.m.: Chief Economist Joseph Glauber: Agricultural Economic & Foreign Trade Outlooks. Presentation will be available online at 8:05 a.m. at

8:30 a.m.: Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack: Keynote Address. Speech transcript will be posted online later in day at

9 a.m.: Former Sen. Thomas A. Daschle, Senior Policy Advisor, DLA Piper: Plowing Ahead: Farming, Food Security, and the Future

10:30 a.m.: Panel: Managing Risk in Today’s Markets, Moderated by Mike Adams, AgriTalk Radio Host; Bryan T. Durkin, Chief Operating Officer, CME Group; David Baudler, President, Cargill AgHorizons; Scott H. Irwin, Agricultural Marketing, University of Illinois

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Number of NY Farms Remains Stable; Number Decreases in US

Here is the latest release from the New York office of the National Agricultural Statistics Services. This is good news, considering how the number of farms has decreased in the past:

The number of farms in New York for 2012 remained the same as a year earlier, said King Whetstone, director of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York Field Office.

The number of farms for 2012 is estimated at 36,000. Land in farms was 7 million acres.

Farms with sales more than $500,000 increased by 100 to 1,900 while farms with sales between $250,000 and $499,999 remained at 1,300. The area of land operated by farms in these two
groups totaled 2.55 million acres, up 50,000 from 2011.

The next smaller sales class, farms with sales between $100,000 and $249,999 increased by 300 to 3,500 while land operated by
these farms increased to 1.20 million acres. There were 11,300 farms with sales between $10,000 and $99,999 compared with 10,800 a year earlier.

Land they operated totaled 1.9 million acres. There were 900 fewer small farms with sales between $1,000 and $9,999 in 2012,
at 18,000. Land in farms for this class dropped to 1.35 million acres.

The number of farms in the United States in 2012 is estimated at 2.2 million, down 11,630 farms from 2011. Total land in farms, at 914 million acres, decreased 3 million acres from 2011. The
average farm size is 421 acres, up 1 acre from the previous year.

Farm numbers and land in farms are differentiated by five economic sales classes. Farms and ranches are classified into these “sales classes” by summing sales of agricultural products and
government program payments. Sales class breaks occur at $10,000, $100,000, $250,000 and $500,000.

Farm numbers in the $500,000 and higher sales class increased by 8.6 percent, to 145,190 farms. Higher commodity prices and larger value of sales contributed to changes in the number
of farms within these sales classes.

Meanwhile, the number of farms in the $1,000 - $9,999
sales class decreased by 2.5 percent to 1,172,200. Farm numbers increased slightly in the $10,000 - $99,999 sales class to slightly more than 600,000 farms.

The number of farms in the $100,000 - $249,999 and $250,000 - $499,999 sales classes increased 1.9 and 1.1 percent,

Land in farms increased in the largest sales class while decreasing in all other sales classes. Land operated by farms in the $500,000 and higher sales class increased 3.7 percent, to 317.1
million acres.

Land operated by farms in the $1,000-$9,999 sales class decreased by 3.9 percent, to slightly less than 97 million acres. Land in farms in the $10,000 - $99,999, $100,000 - $249,999 and $250,000 - $499,999 sales classes decreased by 1.4, 2.6 and 2.4 percent

Want Some Fresh Citrus? Check this Out

Go to to see where Central New Yorkers can get some fresh citrus right from Florida.

Serbia Withdraws Suspected Toxic Milk

The Associated Press has moved this story about some suspected bad milk being taken off shelves.

Bill Introduced to Repeal Health Insurance Tax

Go to to find out about federal legislation to repeal the Health Insurance Tax.

Schumer Calls for U.S. to Protect Region's Dairy Sector

Go to to read a Rochester Business Journal story about U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer's concerns on trade barriers and western New York milk and yogurt companies.

Conference Welcomes National Farm Figure

Go to this link to read about a conference scheduled for Feb. 23.

The conference is titled Farming Our Future -- Growing Food, Farms and Community.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rensselaer County Dairy Princess Wins State Dairy Princess Crown

This news comes from the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council:

Courtney Luskin from Rensselaer County, was crowned the 2013-2014 New York State Dairy Princess Tuesday night at the Holiday Inn in Salina.

First Alternate State Princess was Meghan Rohe, of Onondaga County, while Second Alternate State Princess was Claudia Hauslauer of Livingstone County.

Rohe is the sister of Caitlin Rohe, who was state Dairy Princess in 2006-07. 

Having served as the county Dairy Princess since spring of 2012, Luskin will devote an additional year promoting milk and dairy products with the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc. As state princess, Luskin receives a $1,200 scholarship and will represent the dairy association and dairy farmers at county dairy princess pageants, farm meetings and a variety of special events.

In addition, she will help train new county promoters at seminars and workshops.

Sponsored by ADADC, the 50th annual coronation completed the yearlong reign of Emma Andrew, of Newark.

Rohe and Hauslauer will help Luskin with her work throughout the state. Rohe will receive a $700 scholarship and Hauslauer a $600 scholarship.

All three young women were named as speech winners. Rohe and Hauslauer also received top marks on a product knowledge exam.

Nineteen county dairy princesses from throughout New York competed in the state pageant, including a personal interview, an impromptu and prepared adult speech, a product knowledge exam, writing skills test and informal interaction with others.

Judges evaluated the contestants on their communication skills, knowledge of the dairy industry, poise and personality. Pageant judges were Junia Isiminger, dairy farmer from Wind Swept Dairy; Andy Orr, layout and graphic designer from Dairylea Cooperative Inc., and Raechel Sattazahn, marketing officer with AgChoice Farm Credit.

Other award winners were:

Written communications, in no particular order:
Emily Calkins, Wyoming County
Gabby Domagala, Lewis County
Allyson Augur, Cortland County

Product Knowledge:
Meghan Rohe, Onondaga County
Claudia Hauslauer, Livingston County
Emily Calkins, Wyoming County

Miss Congeniality: Gabby Domagala, Lewis County

Other top finalists (in addition to Luskin, Rohe and Hauslauer)
Katrina Nickerson, Chautauqua County
Hannah Douglas, Herkimer County
Allison Fobare, St. Lawrence County
Gabby Domagala, Lewis County       

The American Dairy Association & Dairy Council, Inc. is the local promotion and management organization funded by dairy farmer checkoff dollars.

Farm Bureau Issues Its National Ag Priorities

Here is a release from New York Farm Bureau:

New York Farm Bureau and its President, Dean Norton, unveiled the major priorities it will advocate for in Washington, D.C. this year.

Speaking to reporters during a press conference call this morning, NYFB outlined three key areas it is targeting including the passage of a new Farm Bill, substantial immigration reform that recognizes New York’s farm needs and funding for disaster assistance.

Norton said it is imperative to get a successful Farm Bill through both houses of Congress before the current extension expires in September. With no action once again, it will leave New York’s farmers in limbo unable to truly plan for the year ahead without knowing if adequate insurance programs will be in place or if conservation programs will be available to make the land more productive and improve environmental stewardship.

New York Farm Bureau is also concerned additional cuts could be made to the billions already trimmed from the 2012 Farm Bill that never made it to the House floor for a vote. While New York’s farmers are willing to do their part in reducing the country’s deficit, NYFB will work to protect its farmers from further unreasonable cuts in funding.

“We can’t afford to nickel and dime our way into food insecurity in this country.  The food supply and the people who grow it are worth the investment whether on the farm side of the Farm Bill or for the supplemental nutrition programs,” Norton said.

Norton highlighted some key programs in the Farm Bill that are especially important to New York farmers.

They include having a proper transition program to the new margin insurance dairy safety net being proposed that offers a more risk based approach to dealing with volatile milk and feed prices as opposed to the current Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program.

New York Farm Bureau also supports full funding for conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Farmland Protection Program that assist farmers on being good stewards of the land.

Finally, there is strong support for new, enhanced specialty crop insurance programs. Many of these were negotiated into the unsuccessful 2012 Farm Bill, and NYFB will fight for their inclusion in a new bill during this Congress.

“This is so important for New York and our specialty crop growers,” said Norton. “We have very diverse crops in this state from fruits and vegetables to honey. You name it. We want to maintain that diversity in New York.”

New York Farm Bureau also is focusing its advocacy work in making sure New York’s farmers are represented in any immigration reform package that works its way through Washington.

NYFB is promoting changes that address both short- and long-term farm labor needs in this state. New York’s growing season is unique.  It is shorter than many states, especially those out west, and therefore demands some flexibility that may not be needed elsewhere.

However, the state’s dairy farmers do need a consistent workforce year round. It is imperative New York’s farmers have access to a steady, legal supply of employees.

“Immigration is a key issue for NY farms and employees and for consumers who want to continue to enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products,” said NYFB Public Policy Director Julie Suarez. “Without a stable workforce, food doesn’t get picked, cows don’t get milked and farms don’t have products to take to market.”

NYFB is pushing for a program that provides legitimate visa status for workers already here but may sometimes have questionable documentation and who are willing and able to do the work farmers depend on. These are workers who come from other countries for jobs that farmers try to fill first with local employees but are often unsuccessful.

These reforms should include both contract and non-contract options to assist in the flexibility that farmers and farmer workers need for labor protections, especially for the state’s fruit and vegetable growers.

Finally, during the conference call with reporters, New York Farm Bureau stressed the strong need to have properly funded disaster assistance programs in place. The hurricanes, frost, and drought New York farmers battled through the past two years demonstrated the devastating blows Mother Nature can deliver. However, the federal disaster assistance programs need to be more responsive and efficient in order to protect our farms and our food supply.  Washington must adequately fund the Emergency Conservation Program and the Emergency Watershed Program

“As we saw with the great delays in Congress with Hurricane Sandy, sometimes funding is left to the whim of politics, and we would like to see a more reliable funding stream protecting the businesses, the farms and the communities that rely on disaster assistance after a storm or natural disaster,” said Kelly Young, NYFB’s Senior Associate Director of National Affairs.

In addition, NYFB supports the addition of tax free savings accounts at the federal level for farmers to pull from when they are in need.  The risk management tool will give farmers the incentive to save and allow them to be more self-reliant during the bad years. 

And NYFB is working with lawmakers to properly fund important disaster programs that offer assistance for the state’s tree growers and livestock farmers. The programs were included in the Farm Bill extension, but no money was appropriated, leaving many of New York’s farms with little protection should disaster strike yet again.

“New York Farm Bureau has strong relationships with members of our congressional delegations, and we will be working with both sides of the aisle to protect agriculture and the thousands of jobs it provides in this state,” Norton said. 

New State Dairy Princess to be Chosen Tonight

A new dairy princess for New York state will be crowned tonight.

The 50th anniversary New York State Dairy Princess Pageant is going on all day today at the Holiday Inn on Electronics Parkway in Salina. Today is the second day of competition and girls from throughout New York state are vying for the top award.

Beth Meyer, speaking for the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, said all contestants have promoted milk and dairy products as county dairy princesses at the local level since spring of 2012.

They are judged in a variety of categories, including performance on a written communications test, product knowledge test, prepared adult speech, impromptu questions, and informal interaction with others.

One state princess and two alternates will be selected. They will represent New York’s dairy farmers throughout the next year at promotions, interviews and other events such as the New York State Fair.

The new princess should be crowned about 9:30 p.m. Check back here later on for the latest news.

Tips for Survivors of Barn Fires

Fires on the farm are one of the most devastating things that can happen.

I have talked to farmers who went through this tragedy and, while buildings were rebuilt and burned equipment replaced, the sense of loss and terror remain for years.

Go to to read a story from the Dairy Herd Network on tips to help barn fire survivors.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Have You Thought about Your Meat's Phosphorus Footprint?

Here's an interesting story by National Public Radio.

DairyBusiness Weekly is Out

Go to to see this week's issue of DairyBusiness Weekly.

Fire Kills Thousands of Hens at Downstate Farm

Go to to read an Associated Press story about the fire.

Supreme Court to Hear Monsanto Case

The Chicago Tribune has done a story,0,5697047.story here about the case of a 75-year-old Indiana grain farmer versus giant agricultural seed company Monsanto.

The outcome of the case could affect various parts of agriculture.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Vilsack Talks about State of the Union Address

Here is Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack's column for this week:

This week, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out his plan to make America a magnet for jobs in the generations to come, and further strengthen the middle class.   He stressed that in the wealthiest nation on earth, we must build up ladders of opportunity – to ensure that folks who work hard and play by the rules have a chance to get ahead.

The values the President spoke of in his address are shared by many across Rural America. Our farmers, ranchers, rural businesses and families are committed to the value of hard work. They agree that we owe today’s young people the opportunity to get ahead. They know that we must continue working to alleviate rural poverty to build up the middle class across our nation.

The President’s first priority is to make America a magnet for jobs – and when it comes to job creation, there’s no place like rural America.

Our farmers and ranchers support one in 12 American jobs today, with unlimited potential in the years ahead as we grow and export more. Exports of quality U.S. agricultural products already support more than a million jobs here at home, and USDA will continue working with the President to open new markets for U.S. agriculture in Europe, Asia and around the world.

Homegrown energy already supports hundreds of thousands of rural jobs. We’ll need rural America to lead the way in meeting the President’s goal to further cut reliance on foreign oil, while doubling renewable energy production in America once again. President Obama has proposed a new “Energy Security Trust” that will enable additional research of advanced technologies, including homegrown biofuels, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

The manufacturing jobs of the future aren’t just in our cities. Rural companies are leading the way to produce thousands of amazing new biobased products. There is unlimited opportunity for rural America to produce even more of these products from homegrown sources, creating millions of jobs in the process.

And if we are to undertake a unified effort to rebuild the nation’s aging infrastructure, which President Obama proposed this week, we’ll need folks across rural America to help get the job done.

All of us are blessed to call this nation home, and President Obama knows that together we can achieve even more. Rural America can lead the way, making sure that America leads the world in job creation, while building up new ladders of opportunity for the next generation.

Celebrate National FFA Week

Hey, all.

It's National FFA Week.

Taken from the FFA website: "FFA Week gives members a chance to educate the public about agriculture. During the week, chapters host teacher appreciation breakfasts, conduct 'Ag Olympics' competitions, speak to the public about agriculture, volunteer for community service projects and more.

"The week of George Washington’s birthday was designated as National FFA Week in 1947 at a National FFA Board of Directors meeting. FFA Week always runs from Saturday to Saturday, and encompasses Feb. 22, Washington’s birthday."

There are many FFA chapters in New York state. Go to this link to learn more about FFA in New York.

State officers are: president, Amanda Rhodes, Belleville-Henderson FFA, Jefferson County; vice president, Paige Levandowski, Albion FFA, Orleans County; secretary, Leann Green Jasper-Troupsburg FFA, Steuben County; treasurer, Ryan Willits, Lowville FFA, Lewis County; reporter, Marcie Hauri, Cattaraugus Little Valley FFA, Cattaraugus County; sentinel, Kaylin Broadwell, Hamilton FFA, Madison County; district 2 president, Brady Rogers, Tri-Valley FFA, Sullivan County; district 5 president, Heather Staelens, Madison FFA, Madison County; district 6 president, Ashley Willits, Lowville FFA, Lewis County; district 9 president, Adam Eick, Medina FFA, Orleans County; and district 10 president, Ivy Jean Reynolds, Cuba-Rushford FFA, Allegany County.

The FFA website also states there are 557,318 FFA members, aged 12‒21, in 7,498 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

** 44 percent of FFA members are female; women hold about 50 percent of state leadership positions.

** 73 percent of FFA membership is white; 15 percent is Hispanic/Latino; 7 percent is Black/African-American; 5 percent is American Indian, Asian or Pacific Islander.

** 9 percent of FFA members are enrolled in grades 6-8; 87 percent of FFA members are in grades 9-12; 4 percent already have graduated from high school and may be engaged in postsecondary studies.

** FFA chapters are in 18 of the 20 largest U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.

**   The top five membership states are Texas, California, Georgia, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Local Grain Production Increases in Upstate NY

Here's a great story from the Albany newspaper about locally grown grains.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Get Tickets Now for Finger Lakes Wine, Cheese Event

OK, I posted something a few days ago about the delight that is cheese and wine.

Now I'm doing it again.

The Finger Lakes Cheese Trail, along with the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, is hosting Preferred Pairings on Feb. 23. There is only one week left to get tickets. 

Go to,com_eventbrite/eid,16/view,event/ this link for more information and to buy tickets.

Sign Up Now for Oneonta Farmers Market

Application deadline is March 15 to sign up for the Oneonta Farmers Market.

The market is open May to October and is open Saturdays at the Kim Muller Plaza on Main Street.

Emai Dana LaCroix at for an application.

Cornell Helps Maple Producers Tap into Some New Sources

Check out this story from the Cornell Chronicle about how the Cornell Maple Program is helping producers tap into some unlikely syrup sources.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Farm Viability Institute Gives Presentation in Albany

The New York Farm Viability Institute, based in Syracuse, gave a presentation to the state Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday.

Go to the above link to check it out.

Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil Tasting Friday

Go to this Facebook link to read about a tasting coming up for Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil.

"Buy Local" Bill Passes State Senate Ag Committee

Go to this link to read about what happened in the Senate Ag Committee today.

There Still is Time to File Ag Census Form

The deadline to file your Census of Agriculture form has passed, but the government is giving everyone who missed the deadline a second chance.

Those who have not responded will receive a second copy of the form in the mail to give them another opportunity. Farmers can return their forms by mail or online by
going to this link.
Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the
Census and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.

“Every New York farm and ranch is important and needs to be counted in the 2012 Census of Agriculture,” said King Whetstone, director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York Field Office. “Whether you operate on two acres or 2,000, the information gathered from all producers is important, so it can provide a true picture of U.S. agriculture today and help everyone plan appropriately for tomorrow’s needs.”

Conducted only once every five years by NASS, the census provides detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture at the national, state and county levels. It looks at land use and ownership, production practices, expenditures and other factors that affect the way farmers do business

Decision makers and commodity groups at the local and state level use the Census of Agriculture to make decisions that directly impact New York farmers, their businesses and their communities.

Anyone with questions about the census or who need help filling out your form, should go to  this link or call  1-888-4AG-STAT (1-888-424-7828).

Research Shows Pasture Cheeses are Different

Thanks to Meg Schader at Wake Robin Farm for hooking me up to the Cheeseunderground website at

Here's a story from there today. Go to to find out about pasture cheeses.

Taking Care of Business Course Available for Beginning Farmers

Go to this link  at the Northeast Beginning Farmers Project for some information about courses to help beginning farmers.

Enterprise Budgets Offer Clear Picture of Farm Expenses

Here's a good financial story from Southeast Farm Press.

Thanks to FarmNet for bringing it to my attention.

Winter Dairy Management Program set for March 15

This comes to us from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County:

The Cornell Cooperative Extension associations in Cayuga, Onondaga and Oswego counties are joining with Cornell Pro-Dairy to bring dairy farmers the Winter Dairy Management program from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 15 at The Red Mill Inn  4 Syracuse St.,  Baldwinsville.

The cost is $20 and includes lunch. The program will begin at 9:30 a.m. and run until 2:30 p.m.

The deadline to preregister is March 8. To register, call 963-7286 and send payment to Oswego CCE, 3288 Main St., Mexico, NY 13114.

The program focuses on helping dairy farmers stay afloat in tough financial times and capitalize when milk prices are high.

Here is an overview of what the presentations will cover:

·          Is Your Repro Program the Most Profitable Alternative?
Because of the wide array of reproductive management strategies available, the ability to predict the future reproductive and economic performance of herds is a valuable tool to dairy producers and consultants.         
·          Dairy Modernization - Factors Affecting Profitability to Consider. 
Merging the research and educational outreach of Cornell Extension and the vast network of existing support industries to identify and implement progressive herd and crop management strategies. 
·          Paying Attention to Forage Quality Can Improve Net Farm Income.
Retaining crop nutrients grown and fed is influenced by harvest quality and silo management. Harvesting forages at proper maturity, SiloStop/FeedFresh-Too good to pass up; inoculants: Insurance or Strategy; shredlage-what do the feed trials say?      
·          LED Lighting-Field Research Results.
LED lighting technologies and products are rapidly changing and evolving. New fixtures are available and being used by dairy producers. Proper lighting is important for optimum cow performance and providing a safe and pleasant work environment.  
·          Optimizing Cow Comfort throughout the Barn. Cow Comfort Impacts Profit!
Productivity increases in dairy production can be obtained in three ways: genetics feeding management and cow comfort or handling improvements. An investment in cow comfort pays in sound returns.
For more information, call 963-7286 or go to this link

Monday, February 11, 2013

Learn New Corn Harvesting Technique at Program This Week

Farmers in Northern New York will be gathering for the annual North Country Crop Congresses Feb. 12 and 13.

The latest and most up-to-date information for producing corn – including a new harvesting technique - will be presented along with an agribusiness trade show. The Feb. 12 event is at the Ramada Inn in Watertown and Feb. 13 at the Miner Institute in Chazy.

Dairy Science Professor Randy Shaver of the University of Wisconsin will present information on the potential of corn shredlage to be the new corn silage option for Northern New York dairy producers. Corn shredlage involves chopping the corn silage to longer length, and ripping and tearing the valuable dairy forage crop. Shaver has studied the impact of feeding corn shredlage to lactating dairy cows.

The speakers‘ roster at each Crop Congress also includes Russ Hahn of Cornell University providing the latest research data for controlling weeds in corn, Bill Cox of Cornell University sharing the latest results of corn production research trials on farms in New York, and an update on crop insurance options for crop growers.

The Crop Congress in Watertown costs $25 at the door. Call Mike Hunter at Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County at 788-8450.

There is no cost for the Chazy crop congress; lunch will be available for $5. Call Eric Young at (518) 846-7121, ext. 113.

Survey Indicates Ag Producers to Use New Cropping Practices and Technologies in 2013

Go to this link to check out a story from AgConnect concerning new practices and technologies farmers will use in 2013.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Three Cornell University Officials Honored by Weed Science Society

This comes from the Weed Science Society of America:

This week the Weed Science Society of America honored nearly two dozen individuals for their outstanding contributions to the field of weed science.

The awards were presented during the organization's annual meeting, held this year in Baltimore, Md.

"These are true innovators from academia, government and private industry who are making a significant mark on our profession through their research, teaching, publishing and outreach," said Rodney Lym, president of WSSA and host of the award ceremonies.

Among the award winners were three from Cornell University. They are:

  • Glenn J. Evans, Robin R. Bellinder and Russell R. Hahn who were honored for their published paper in Weed Technology: "An Evaluation of Two Novel Cultivation Tools." Evans is director of agricultural operations for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. Bellinder and Hahn work in research and extension at Cornell University.
The Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society, was founded in 1956 to encourage and promote the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment.