Sunday, June 30, 2013

Horse Slaughterhouse Gets OK from Feds

Go to to see the story.

Stand Up for Agriculture

Check out this video. This is something I have been preaching for a loooooong time. Even though non-farmers far outweigh farmers in numbers, EVERYONE is affected by agriculture.

We must remember this every day.

NYS Companies Exhibiting at Summer FAncy Food Show in NYC

News from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office:

More than 100 New York State companies are participating this week in the Specialty Food Association’s Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.

The companies will be offering samples of their products in a first-of-its-kind “Taste NY Pavilion.” Now in its 59th year taking place, the Summer Fancy Food Show is the largest event of its kind in North America and runs from June 30 through July 2 at the newly renovated Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The “Taste NY Pavilion” is located on the Level 1 show floor in aisle 4,700. Companies participating in the “Taste NY Pavilion” include McMahon’s Farm, Crepini & The Crepe Team, Acme Smoked Fish Company, Michaels of Brooklyn, Amagansett Sea Salt Co., Peeled Snacks, Jake's Grillin Rubs, Little Duck Organics, Inc., Sundaes Best Hot Fudge Sauce, Bobbysue's Nuts!, Field Trip Jerky, Barkeater Chocolates, Icelandic Milk and Skyr Corporation, Morris Kitchen, We Rub You, Rick’s Picks, Jam Stand, Mama O's Premium Kimchi, Hampton Popcorn Co., Damascus Bakery, Spoonable, Joray Candy, Kobu Beverages, Saucy By Nature, Crown Maple, LLC, JoMart Chocolates, P&H Soda Co., Sweet Andy's Cookies, and Kings County Jerky Co.

Other New York exhibitors throughout the show include Roaring Brook Dairy, Sarabeth’s Kitchen, New Hope Mills, Wild Thymes Farm, Hurd Orchards, Cheribundi, Damascus Bakery, Fage Greek Yogurt Empress Chocolates, Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cakes, Tate’s Bake Shop, Raos, Chobani, Sir Kensington’s, Good Groceries and many more.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June is Dairy Month -- Organic Dairies on the Rise

One of the fastest growing segments of dairy in New York state is organic, according to state figures.

A. Fay Benson, of Cornell University and Project Manager for the NY Organic Dairy Initiative, said there are more than 400 certified organic dairies in the state -- about 10 percent of all dairy farms. 

"The dairies are mostly smaller dairies with the average being about 40 cows -- the largest dairy would be around 400 cows," she said. "From 1996 up until this year the organic dairy market has been increasing at a double digit rate. This year it appears to be slowing but still increasing."

It isn't easy to become a certified organic dairy -- it takes a lot of time, energy and paperwork to follow through. Paul and Maureen Knapp, in Preble, Cortland County, shipped their first organic milk in 2001 fromn their Cobblestone Valley Farm to Organic Valley, a cooperative of about 1,650 organic farms.

 They had to switch to organic feed for the cows and getting their pasture land certified as organic (no fertilizers or chemicals used) so the cows can eat in the pasture when the weather is good.
To have their land certified, farmers must prove they've added no fertilizers or chemicals to it for three years. They also have to be sure there is a buffer between the organic land and neighbors farmland, so chemicals used there don't end up on the organic land. And then every year, there is more paperwork to recertify the farm.

A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists called "Cream of the Crop: The Economic Benefits of Organic Dairy Farms," shows the organic dairy sector creates more jobs in rural community and provides more economic opportunity.
“Over the past 30 years, dairy farmers have had a choice: either get big or get out. Dairy farmers either had to expand dramatically and become large industrial operations or they went out of business,” Jeffrey O’Hara, agricultural economist for the Food and Environment Program at UCS and author of the report stated about the study. “However, organic dairy production offers farmers another option – one that is better for the environment, produces a healthier product, and leads to greater levels of economic activity.”

In the study of financial data from 2008 to 2011 in Minnesota and Vermont, the Union of Concerned Scientists study showed organic dairy farms "would be expected to contribute 33 percent more to the state’s economy than conventional farms, and employ 83 percent more workers" in Vermont. "Similarly, in Minnesota, organic dairies would increase the state’s economy by 11 percent more and employment by 14 percent more than conventional dairy farms."

A certified organic farm is one that goes through the certification process with an organization such as NOFA-NY. An exempt organic farm is one that follows National Organic Standards, but is too small to go through the certification process. A certified farm can use the USDA Organic seal on its products. An exempt farm can use the term organic, but cannot use the USDA Organic seal.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture study of organics, that covered the year 2008, shows total organic product sales in the United States of nearly $3.2 billion (that includes all organics, from dairy to produce). New York state registered about $105 million in sales.
Go to to check out the USDA report for the organic dairy market. 

Go to to read the Union of Concerned Scientists study on organic dairy farms.

Congressman Tours North Country Potato Enterprise

Photo from Cornell University
Go to to see the story.

Horse Events Today, Tomorrow at State Fairgrounds

News from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

Two horse events are taking place this weekend at the New York State Fairgrounds in Geddes.

More than 600 horses and 2,000 people are expected for the Syracuse International Horse Show on from 10:30 a.m. today at the Toyota Coliseum at the New York State Fairgrounds. Admission is free. Horses and riders will compete for $50,000 in prize money in scores of classes.

The American Saddlebred Horse Association of New York, which is hosting the competition, will donate proceeds from a silent auction to The Upstate New York Hospice Alliance, Inc. 

Also, in the 4-H Arena, the Miniature Horse and Shetland Pony Show takes place today and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The show features competitions for several varieties of Miniature and Shetland horses. Admission is free.


Friday, June 28, 2013

June is Dairy Month -- Cooperatives Play a Big Role in New York State Dairy

Most dairy farmers don't have the time to go out and sell their milk and dairy products to stores or manufacturing plants.

That's where dairy cooperatives come in. And some of the top dairy cooperatives in the United States are here in New York or handle milk from New York farms.
Photo from Wikipedia

One of the biggest -- often coming in at number 5 on Hoard's Dairyman's list of the top 50 cooperatives -- is Dairylea, right here in Syracuse. Others that make the list are Upstate-Niagara, Agri-Mark (Cabot Creamery Cooperative), Organic Valley/CROPP, Lowville Producers Dairy Cooperative and Cortland Bulk Milk Producers Co-Op.

The largest cooperative is Dairy Farmers of America, which has its Northeast office in East Syracuse. According to its website, the Northeast area consists of 1,467 member dairy farms, handles 3.1 billion pounds of milk annually and provides milk to customers such as Chobani, Hershey Foods, HP Hood, Great Lakes Cheese, Kraft Foods, Leprino Foods and Sorrento/Lactalis.

According to a 2007 study of cooperatives in New York done by now-retired Cornell Senior Extension Associate Brian Henehan, cooperatives have a long history in New York state, dating to the 1800s when a group of dairy farmers in Orange County got together in 1844. 

"The Orange County Milk Association was organized to represent members in bargaining for prices received for their milk from cheese processors," Henehan wrote in his story. 

Henehan said in 2007, there were 64 milk cooperatives in the state -- the most of any state. In 2003, New York accounted for 32 percent of all the dairy cooperatives in the United States, Henehan said in his study.

While most cooperatives still market farmers' milk to milk and dairy product manufacturing plants, Henehan said there are different types of cooperatives.

Photo from Cornell University
According to Henehan's study, Services and Bargaining coops offer products and services to members, while Export Cooperatives export bulk, dry milk products to other countries. Operating coops manufacture finished, branded consumer products such as cheese or fluid milk while Bargaining coops negotiate prices, coordinate collection and hauling of milk and negotiate terms of delivery of milk.

So, during Dairy Month, we all should not only thank the farmers, but also give a shout out to the cooperatives who move the milk, make sure it gets to a place to be made into milk to drink or fabulous cheese, yogurt or ice cream to eat and work to get the best price they can for their member farmers.

Go to to see the Hoard's Dairyman most recent list (October 2012) of the top 50 dairy cooperatives in the United States.

Some Farms Need Donation Help for Projects

Here's something I pulled off Facebook from Farmshed CNY:

Three regional farms with very worthy projects are currently raising money through crowd-funding campaigns.
Main Street Farms is raising $10,000 to complete an urban farm in Cortland, and currently has $1,400; Fruition Seeds is raising $25,000 to build a seed storage and processing barn on their farm, and still need to raise more than $10,000 to meet their goal.
Both of these campaigns are on Kickstarter and will get funded only if their funding goals are met.
And Cayuga Pure Organics, one of the foundational farms in this region, has raised only $44,000 of the $238,000 they need to rebuild after their farm burned down.

Main Street Farms' Kickstarter campaign: Go to

Fruition Seeds' Kickstarter campaign: Go to

Cayuga Pure Organics' IndieGoGo campaign: Go to

Investors Needed for Aquaponics Business in Sherrill

Go to to see the story.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Automatic Milking Use Low in U.S.

Henk Hogeveen, Wageningen University, gave a presentation Thursday at the U.S. Precision Dairy Conference in Rochester, MN.

During it, he reported from 15 percent to 30 percent of Northwestern Europe dairy farms use automatic milking. In the U.S., that number is 1 percent. Hogeveen also told those at the conference that the motivation to use auto milking systems is not in the economics and farmers should look at the other benefits

Anyone have a clue why automatic milking use is so low in the United States?

Farmer-Poets Find Inspiration in the Fields

This is just a really cool story.

Go to to see the story.

Farming in Beantown

This is great news for people in and near Boston.

Go to to see what's going on.

June is Dairy Month -- Lowville Cooperative Mascot Enjoys Dairy Goodness

Lady LeWinDa Milkzalot licks the Schulz's ice cream cone

Well, Lady LeWinDa Milkzalot is at it again.

During the winter, I ran a photo of her bundled up in a scarf and ear stockings as she stood proudly in her spot at the Lowville Producers Dairy Cooperative in the Lewis County village of Lowville, near the Kraft plant.

Now that the sultry summer breezes are here, the dear Lady is donning cute sunglasses and taking a large lick of a gigantic chocolate-vanilla twist ice cream cone.

And not just any cone, mind you. That is the cone that has graced Schulz's restaurant in Croghan, Lewis County, for years. But the cone was missing last year, stolen from outside the restaurant.

The Watertown Dairy Times reported in October that the 8-foot-tall fiberglass cone was stolen in September and was found in late October along the banks of the Beaver River. The Times report stated the cone had been secured onto a wooden base in the Schulz's parking lot with cables and the cables were still attached when it was found.

Here is Lady LeWinDa Milkzalot with her winter wear
Kent Widrick, manager at the Lowville Producers Dairy Cooperative, said once the cone was recovered, it was refurbished and now it is spending some down time with Lady LeWinDa Milkzalot. "We're going to keep it here for a while," Widrick said.

The Lowville Producers Dairy Cooperative is one of the top 50 cooperatives in the United States, according to a list compiled annually by Hoard's Dairyman. Widrick said it takes in milk from more than 200 farm families in Lewis Jefferson and Oneida counties -- a total of about 20 to 22 loads of milk a day (one load consists of 50,000 pounds of milk or 5,800 gallons). 

The cooperative,which has been in business since 1936, also operates a cheese store which sees about 200 customers a day. It features squeaky cheese curds and cheeses up to 9 years of age. The store is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Go to to check out the cheese store website and place an order.

Farm Bureau, USDA Speak on Immigration Reform Bill Passed by U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate today passed its bill on immigration reform.

Yahoo! News reports the following:

The Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill on Thursday afternoon, after a recently hashed-out compromise on border security helped convince a total of 14 Republicans to vote for the measure. The bill, which passed 68 to 32, could face a steep uphill climb in the Republican-controlled House.

The vote brings Congress a step closer to passing its first major immigration reform since the 1986 amnesty bill that legalized more than three million immigrants under President Ronald Reagan.

Moments before the vote, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) said on the Senate floor that the "historic legislation recognizes that today's immigrants came for the right reason, the same reason as the generations before them...the right to live in a land that's free."

Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa spoke against the measure on the floor, arguing that it does not do enough to increase interior immigration enforcement. "The bill won't ensure that a future Congress isn't back here in 25 years dealing with the very same problems," Grassley said.

The "Gang of Eight," a bipartisan group of senators who drafted the bill, had hoped to get 70 out of 100 senators to vote to pass the bill and send a strong signal to the Republican-controlled house that the legislation is bipartisan.

The bill fell just two votes short of that goal. Republican Senators Lamar Alexander, Kelly Ayotte, Jeffrey Chiesa, Susan Collins, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, Lindsay Graham, Orrin Hatch, Dean Heller, John Hoeven, Mark Kirk, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Marco Rubio joined the entire Democratic caucus in voting for the measure.

The reform will implement a mandatory, national employment verification system, allow for more legal immigration of low- and high-skilled workers, beef up border security and eventually give green cards to most of the nation's 11 million unauthorized immigrants who pass background checks and pay fines.

Here is a statement from New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton on the bill passage:

“Today’s passage of comprehensive immigration reform is a major milestone for New York’s farmers. It addresses critical short and long term needs that will better provide a stable workforce on our farms.

"Those needs include allowing employees who are already skilled and working in this state to stay here and eventually obtain legal status. It’s gratifying to see the hard work New York Farm Bureau has demonstrated on behalf of our farm families result in real movement on this issue for the first time in years.

"Currently, our farms face serious challenges in hiring the amount of workers required to plant and harvest the crops and milk the cows. While they always look locally, farmers often turn to migrant workers who are willing to perform jobs that Americans choose not to take.

"Also, there is a fear that if workers have fraudulent documentation, the employees could be detained and deported at a moment’s notice. Losing that productivity can place the future of the family farm in jeopardy if the food is literally left to rot in the fields.  That too puts our local food supply at risk.
"Migrant labor is a critical component of our farmers’ ability to supply consumers with the food they want at a reasonable price. NY Farm Bureau has already seen some members scale back production or move to less labor intensive crops because of concerns they have about a lack of labor.

"By limiting the growth of our family farms, we also limit the growth of our rural economies. Immigration reform will help spur agricultural economic development throughout the state.

"There is still a long fight ahead in the U.S. House, but we remain hopeful that the importance of this issue for New York’s farmers and farm workers will be the incentive lawmakers need to do what is right,” Norton said.

Here is a statement from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack:

"Today's strong bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate to fix America's broken immigration system is good news for farmers and ranchers, good news for farm workers, and good news for rural America.

"The Senate plan would ensure the stable agricultural workforce that U.S. producers need in order to remain competitive with other nations and maintain our abundant, affordable food supply. For millions of farm workers who today live in the shadows, it will provide an appropriate opportunity to earn legal status by contributing to America's agricultural economy.

"In addition to being a strongly pro-agriculture bill, the Senate plan would grow the U.S. economy, strengthen the Social Security system and reduce our deficit.

"Following today's strong bipartisan vote by the Senate, the House of Representatives must continue the momentum toward passage of comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible."

USDA: Healthier Snacks Coming to Schools Across the Country

Check out this video on how kids will see only healthy snacks at schools from now on.

Beer Ice Cream Combines Two Summer Favorites

When Mercer's in Boonville perfected wine ice cream a few years ago, you had to think that perhaps this would be coming soon.

Go to to read a New York Times story about beer ice creams that are popping up across the country.

Mercer's Wine Ice Cream comes in many flavors -- Cherry Merlot, Port, Chocolate Cabernet, Riesling, Red Raspberry Chardonney and Peach White Zinfandel. The ice cream is 5 percent alcohol. Check it out sometime. I've found the pints locally at Byrne Dairy and Green Hills market in Nedrow.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cartoon Character Debuts to Promote REAL Seal

Go to to check out the story.

June is Dairy Month -- Cornell, Wegmans Join Forces in Cheese Making

Cheese lovers in New York, you're in luck.

An agreement announced Wednesday between Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Wegmans markets will lead to more and more artisan cheeses created right here in New York state and sold at Wegmans.

This is great news not only for the local cheesemakers, but also for cheese lovers, local dairy farmers and the economy, as more local milk will be used to make these artisanal cheeses. three cheese manufacturers

Some cheeses from Goats and Gourmets in Westerlo.
Early participants in the program include Keeley’s Cheese Co. (King Ferry, Cayuga County), Danascara Artisan Cheese (Fonda, Montgomery County), Sprout Creek Farm (Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County), Goats & Gourmets (Westerlo, Albany County) and Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. (Old Chatham, Columbia County).

Some of their cheeses will be featured at Wegmans' Pittsford store, and then rolled out later to other Wegmans locations across the state.

Also Wednesday, Wegmans CEO Danny Wegman announced his store chain is beginning to have its store-brand cheddar made in New York state instead of in Canada. Great Lakes Cheese in Adams, Jefferson County, Yancey's Fancy in Corfu, Genesee County and Beecher's in New York City.

Here is Cornell's news release on the Wednesday event:
From a semi-soft washed rind cheese aged in a King Ferry root cellar to a buttery sheep and cow’s milk Camembert created in the Hudson Valley, a host of new New York cheeses will be featured at Wegmans Food Markets.

Products from five artisan cheesemakers were debuted Wednesday at Wegmans Pittsford store, outside Rochester.

The event also highlighted a unique collaboration between Wegmans and Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences that was touted as the first step in the next revolution of New York’s dairy industry.

As part of the partnership, Wegmans is providing $360,000 in funding for a three-year pilot program at Cornell that includes the hire of an artisan cheese extension associate position in the CALS Department of Food Science who will create a training curriculum that is supported by focused standard operating procedures (SOPs) which will serve both entrepreneurs as well as the state’s larger cheese producers.

Dean Kathryn Boor samples some Danascara cheese.
It will focus on the skills required for both basic and advanced cheesemaking through hands-on workshops and coursework. Beginners will start with the basics of dairy microbiology and sanitation, while more advanced cheesemakers can train in molding, brining and curing, and quality assurance.

The program will enhance Cornell’s existing strength in dairy development, education and extension, which also includes certificate programs in cheesemaking, fluid milk processing, yogurt and fermented products.

Cornell dairy extension specialist Rob Ralyea said artisan cheesemaking is a growing niche that could have great market potential if given the proper support.

“Making a great, aged artisan cheese is an art that takes practice, science and know-how,” Ralyea said.

Early participants in the program include Keeley’s Cheese Co. (King Ferry), Danascara Artisan Cheese (Fonda), Sprout Creek Farm (Poughkeepsie), Goats & Gourmets (Westerlo) and Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. (Old Chatham), each of which was represented at Wednesday’s event.

A selection of their cheeses will be featured at the Pittsford store, and rolled out later to other Wegmans locations across the state.
Wegmans CEO Danny Wegman also announced that the retailer has begun sourcing its store-branded cheddar cheese from New York cheese makers, after years of marketing cheeses manufactured in Canadian dairies.

Its mild cheddar is now at Great Lakes Cheese in Adams, while its medium cheddar is made by Yancey’s Fancy in Corfu and its intense cheddar hails from New York City’s Flatiron District, where it is made by Beecher’s.

“It is our goal to help grow the artisan cheese business by bringing unique and different cheeses to our customers,” said Cathy Gaffney, Wegmans director of cheese and deli departments. 

“They have asked for more local selections," Gaffney said. "By combining the milk quality produced in New York state, our truly passionate cheesemakers, and Cornell University, we have all the components to take the industry to the next level while listening to our customers’ requests.”

“Our goal is to support the next revolution in New York’s dairy industry,” said Kathryn Boor, dean of Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“In addition to boosting both large and small-scale cheesemakers, this partnership will provide increased economic opportunity for dairy farmers and cheese manufacturers and new high-quality products for consumers," Boor said. "It will also lead to significant improvements in efficiencies and production costs, which benefits both businesses and consumers.”

Two photos supplied by Cornell University. The Great Lakes logo is from

Program on Selling Farm Products to Businesses, Institutions Coming in July

An important program on selling farm products to businesses is coming up next month.

Cornell Cooperative Extension and Foodlink are hosting the program titled "Selling Your Farm Produts to Local Businesses and Institution" from 9 a.m. to noon July 15 at the Foodlink Distribution Center,
1999 Mt. Read Blvd., Rochester.

According to a news release, the program is aimed to give farmers "the practical facts about how to plan for marketing relationships with businesses and institutions, maintain the supply contacts, and other important factors, like risk and profitability."

Attendees will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of small-scale wholesale, pricing and crop planning and will be able to tour Foodlink’s new food hub distribution center and learn its role for farmers in marketing. There also will be an official from an area institution on hand to talk to farmers about the possibility of purchasing food directly from the farm.

The cost is $10. To register or for more information, call Cornell Cooperative Extension at 585-394-3977 ext. 427 or email Nancy at with your name, address, and phone number.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Buy Local Everyone!

A story about the importance of buying local.

Go to to read and/or listen to the story.

Farm Aid Performers Announced

It was announced here on this blog last week that Farm Aid is coming to SPAC.

Go to to see the lineup of performers for Farm Aid at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The concert is Sept. 21.

June is Dairy Month -- YNN Begins Weeklong Dairy Series

YNN in the Watertown area is running a series titled A Day on the Farm to celebrate Dairy Month.

Each part of the series deals with a different aspect of dairy farming.

Go to to see and hear Part 1 of the series the story.

The stories -- which all focus on dairy farming in the North Country --  will run for the next few days. This first one ran Monday. Go to to see the second part of the series.

To see the rest of the series, go to 
and scroll down a bit to the A Day on the Farm series on the left side of the page.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

U.S. Senator Wants More Cuts to Ag Budget

OK, everyone, what do you think of this?

If what he says is true, should more cuts be made to the Agriculture Department? Should these cuts be made instead of cuts to more important programs?

Go to to see the story.

Choosing Farming Over College

As students here in Central New York celebrate their high school graduations, read this to see what other student are choosing for their future.

Check out the story here

June is Dairy Month -- Dairy Farming Huge Boost to the State's Economy

With the dairy industry, New York state would be hurting financially.

A Cornell University study on the economic impact of dairy states direct cash receipts on New York milk alone were $2.2 billion -- Yes that's BILLION with a B -- in 2010. Another 81 cents for each dollar goes out into the local community. That computes to $1.782 billion in the state economy just for milk sales.

The Cornell study states more money is made for the state through dairy processing plants and manufacturers. Another $2.26 for each dollar generated by milk cash receipts pumps another $4.972 into the state's economy.

Dairy farming and processing combined impacts the state economy to the tune of $8.9 billion. Not shabby.

Also, the Cornell study states 1.24 jobs are created for every one job on a dairy farm.

In addition to the money pumped into the economy, dairy also generates money in other ways. Steve Ammerman, public affairs director for New York Farm Bureau, said dairy farmers are creating more economic opportunities by agri-tourism, selling their own dairy products made on the farm and simply adding to the beauty of the state's open land that tourists and others love to see.

"Dairy farms are a great economic driver in their communities because it has been shown time and time again that the money earned mainly stays local," Ammerman said. "Not only in terms of wages they pay their employees, but also in spinoff spending. Farmers rely on local suppliers for seed, equipment, repair work, fertilizer and other services and products they need on the farm."

"We are also seeing farms selling valued-added products like cheese and ice cream with milk that originates from their farms," Ammerman said. "This can bring in additional tourism for people who come from the outside of the community to purchase products at farm markets and local stores."

Ammerman added farmers also pay taxes, which support local schools, roads and services. "For every dollar they pay in local taxes, they receive only a quarter of that back in services," he said. "While homeowners get back more than a dollar in services. Without the productive farms in rural areas, taxes would be higher for the rest of the residents."

Ammeriman also said "dairy farms help preserve open space and prevent it from being developed. Once it is lost to a parking lot or housing development, that farm land is gone forever along with the land's ability to produce local food. ... That is something worth investing in."

Nationally, about 97 percent of all dairy farms are family owned with an average herd size of 115 cows. According to Dairy Management Inc. and the National Milk Producers Federation, a dollar's worth of milk generates $3 in economic activity and every $1 million of U.S. milk sales generates 17 jobs.

The U.S. dairy industry is estimated at $140 billion in economic output, $29 billion in household earnings and more than 900,000 jobs.

New York State Malthouses Look to Supply Booming Microbrewing Industry

Check out|newswell|text|New%20York%20news|p this story about the beer industry.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

St. Lawrence Brewing Co. Opens

Go to to check out the story.

Geneva Has Become a Haven for Foodies, Thanks to Ag Experiment Station

Great story about the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva and how its affects business and tourism in that Finger Lakes city.

Go to to check it out.

Finger Lakes Rieslings Big on the International Front

Here is news from Jim Trezise of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation:

        I'm sorry if my frequent mentions of Finger Lake Rieslings sound like a broken record, but the fact  is that they have become internationally recognized for quality, and have really put the Finger Lakes on the world wine map (like Oregon Pinot Noir or Napa Cabernet Sauvignon).

Most recently, the current edition of Wine & Spirits features the "Year's Best Riesling" with a listing of 26 American Rieslings rated 90 or above, of which 16--nearly two-thirds--are from the Finger Lakes, including 5 which received the highest rating (93) of any wines.  Washington had 5 wines, Oregon 4, and Idaho 1.  In addition, 5 Finger Lakes Riesling were designated as "Best Buys".
Wines with scores of 93 include Hermann J. Wiemer 2011 Finger Lakes Dry Magdalena Vineyard Riesling and 2011 Finger Lakes Dry HJW Vineyard Riesling; Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2010 Finger Lakes Homestead Reserve Riesling; Lamoreaux Landing 2011 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling (Best Buy); and Red Newt 2011 Finger Lakes Lahoma Vineyards Riesling.

Those rated 92 are Hermann J. Wiemer Finger Lakes Late Harvest Riesling and 2011 Finger Lakes Reserve Dry Riesling; and Lamoreaux Landing 2011 Finger Lakes Red Oak Vineyard Risling.  Scores of 91 include Anthony Road 2011 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling (Best Buy); Hermann J. Wiemer 2011 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling; Lamoreaux Landing 2011 Finger Lakes Semi-Dry Riesling (Best Buy); and Red Newt 2011 Finger Lakes Sawmill Creek Vineyards Riesling.

Wines scored at 90 are Damiani Wine Cellars 2011 Finger Lakes Semi-Dry Riesling (Best Buy); Fox Run 2011 Seneca Lake Reserve Riesling; Tierce 2010 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling; and Wagner Vineyards 2011 Finger Lakes Semi-Dry Riesling (Best Buy). 

Politics Killed the Farm Bill

Another good story on the Farm Bill.

Go to to check it out.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Farming Out the Milking Chores

Go to to check out the story.

Monsanto Suggests GMO Wheat Found in Oregon was Sabotage

Go to to see the story.

June is Dairy Month -- How Does Dairy Impact the Weight of Youths?

A New York college is studying the impact of eating dairy products on the weight of youths.

Go to or go to to read about the study.

The Women's and Children Health Network states on its website (from January 2013) that three servings of dairy a day is needed for youths age 12 to 18 for bone growth and strength. But it will be interesting to see what this D'Youville College study says dairy does to weight.

Follow along here at Empire State Farming for future reports about this study. 

Farm Bureau Reacts to Farm Bill Defeat

Here is a statement from New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton on the defeat of the 2013 Farm Bill:

"It is with great disappointment that we watched House lawmakers defeat the 2013 Farm Bill. The farmers in this state deserve a reasonable farm policy that has been delayed for far too long. 

"While there were concerns over certain provisions of the bill, we were hoping its passage and a vigorous debate in conference would reach an appropriate compromise that would provide a fair safety net for the people who produce healthy, local food and the consumers who need help putting it on their dinner tables.

" New York Farm Bureau will continue to work hard with the state’s Congressional delegation to do what is right for our farm families."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Monsanto Wins Food World 'Oscar'

Eyebrows have been raised over Monsanto's winning of the World Food Prize, which many consider the agriculture industry's equivalent to an Oscar.

While this is undoubtedly good public relations for Monsanto, those who oppose genetically engineered or modified foods are shaking their heads in disbelief. 

Check out this story about the whole issue from the New York Times. Let me know where you stand.

June is Dairy Month -- Dairy Packs a Powerful Punch of Nutrition

Dietitians throughout the country, state and even locally believe dairy products are a good source of nutrition in a healthy diet.

But, local dietitian Linda Quinn, of Syracuse, said most favor eating lowfat versions of dairy, since many dairy products can be high in fat and calories.

She said people should opt for skim milk instead of whole milk, lowfat ice cream, ice milk or frozen yogurt instead of regular ice cream and lowfat yogurt and cheese.

Dairy products include lots of calcium, protein, potassium (especially yogurt and fluid milk) and Vitamin D. Quinn also said yogurt, which is all the rage today, also includes probiotics, bacteria that live in our guts and help keep our digestive tracts healthy and operating at peak efficiency.

Quinn also said most dietitians in the United States believe in the "3 Every Day" mantra of people eating at least three portion of dairy a day.

But people should watch their portions. According to, a portion of cheese is only 2 ounces or one-third of a cup of shredded cheddar. An 8-ounce cup of milk or yogurt is one serving and one 8-ounce cup of frozen yogurt or a scoop of ice cream is one serving.

Quinn said while it's good to get those servings of dairy, the thing to remember is all in moderation -- don't go hog wild and eat too much dairy. 

Here is some more nutritional info from Michelle Barber, dietitian with the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council:

8 oz. cup of skim milk = 83 calories, 0 fat
8 oz. cup of whole milk = 149 calories, 8g fat
8 oz. cup of yogurt = (lowfat, fruit variety) = 238 calories, 3g fat; (nonfat, fruit variety) 233 calories, 0g fat
1 oz. lowfat cheese (Monterey, low fat) = 87 calories and 6 g fat
4 oz. ice cream (soft serve, chocolate)=191 calories, 11 g fat
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2012.

Farming Takes Off in Canada

Go to to see the story.

Ag Officials On Watch for Aggressive Bees

This story is frightening.

Read it here.

More About Farm Bill Defeat in House of Representatives

More on the Farm Bill defeat in the House of Representatives:

Go to for a report from Farm Journal.

House Votes Down its Version of the Farm Bill

Thursday afternoon, the House of Representatives voted down its $940 million Farm Bill.

Go to to see the story.

USDA: Growing Rural Economies, Creating Jobs

Go to to check out the USDA blog entry.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

White House Threatens to Veto House Version of Farm Bill

How much longer is this Farm Bill debate going to go on?

Go to to see the story.

Immigration Issue Affects Both Dairy Farmers and Their Workers

Great story from North Country Public Radio about the immigration issue.

Go to to check it out.

June is Dairy Month -- Do You Know Where Your Milk is From?

Have you ever wondered exactly where your milk came from?

No, I'm not talking the cow. Of course, that's where it started.

But once it comes out of the cow it goes to a milk plant. So how do you know what plant or dairy your milk came from.

Go to and fill in the code on your milk carton ( the link will help you find the code on your carton or bottle of milk). The click on the Find It button and it will tell you where your milk was processed.  

You also can use this for yogurt, coffee creamer, cottage cheese and ice cream. 

Check it out.

Learn About Soybean Contracting, Crop Insurance at July Workshop

A soybean workshop called "Soybean Marketing 1010" is scheduled for late July.
The workshops are designed to help growers new to the soybean industry learn about grain contracting and purchasing crop insurance while under contract.
There will be two sessions of the workshop. The first is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. July 24 at the Carolina House, 59 Broad St., Kinderhook. Dinner will be served at this meeting. The second is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 25 at the Hilton Garden Inn off Arsenal Street in Watertown. This program includes lunch.
Two grain marketing experts, Karen Thorp of DeLong Grain Co., and Jeremy Forrett of Crop Growers, Farm Credit East, will present information at the workshops. Thorp will discuss the benefits of grain contracting and how it can improve a farm operation's bottom line. Forrett will talk about how forward contracting and crop insurance work together.
Those who plan to attend must RSVP by July 19 to Julia Robbins at (315) 583-5296 or
Attendance at a "Soybean Marketing 101" meeting also will include a complimentary ticket to the New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association summer crop tour Aug. 13 at Du Mond Farm in Union Springs, Cayuga County. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June is Dairy Month -- Just What Can One Cow Do??

For today's June is Dairy Month feature, I found this great graphic that explains just what one dairy cow does for all of us.

It produces food and nutrients for us, deposits nutrients into the soil for other crops grown for people and animals, saves items from being deposited in landfills and even helps produce electricity.

That's a lot to ask from one bovine. And according to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, there were more than 600,000 dairy cows in New York state.

Peterson Farm Brothers Take on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Another farm song parody, this time to the theme from Fresh Prince of Bel Air.


Updating the Beef Ad Campaign

Remember that catch phrase -- "Beef. It's What's for Dinner?"

Well, the Beef Council is trying to update its ad campaign to appeal more toward young people who are concerned about nutrition.

Go to to see what they're doing with the advertising campaign.

NYS Assembly Passes Agricultural Land Assessment Cap Bill

Dean Norton
News from New York Farm Bureau:

Farmers in this state just received a big boost to help contain rising property taxes, with the state Assembly's unanimous passage of a bill that will cap agricultural land assessment increases at 2 percent a year.

The state Senate already has passed the legislation. The bill now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signature.

This bill has been a top priority for New York Farm Bureau this legislative session.There has been great concern among our farmer members who have seen rising land values push up property tax bills for farmland in recent years, essentially doubling since 2006.

Agricultural land assessments are dictated by a complicated formula that takes into account national production value statistics and soil type.Currently, New York farmers pay $38.41 per acre in property taxes, according to Farm Credit East. That is the second highest rate in the country and eats up 15 percent of a farm’s net income.  This puts farmers in this state at a clear competitive disadvantage.

“The passage of the 2 percent cap on agricultural assessments is welcomed news on farms all across New York," said New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton. "Not one has been immune to the skyrocketing property taxes that make it more difficult to provide local food and products to their communities. ... We are hopeful Governor Cuomo will sign off on the legislation that will go a long way to keep New York families on their farms.”

While the legislation will address the immediate needs of farmers, New York Farm Bureau also is advocating for the establishment of a working group comprised of stakeholders and experts to address the long term problem of agricultural assessment valuation.

Weather Causes Problems for Farmers Across NYS

The weather has been tricky for farmers in the last few weeks, with days and days of rain and not much sun.

Here's what the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Services reports for the week of June 10-16:

WEATHER:  The week was rather active across New York state, with various types of weather affecting the area.  High pressure controlled the weather across the region on Sunday and Monday. A low pressure system brought locally heavy rain to the region from Tuesday through early Wednesday, with rainfall accumulations reaching between a half inch and two inches.

Another low pressure system came into the region with later in the week with more locally heavy rain late Thursday into early Friday. Rainfall accumulation from Thursday into Friday totaled another half inch to 2 inches across the region. Temperatures for the week were generally below normal, with highs in the 70s to around 80 on dry days, and temperatures ranged from the upper 50s to the upper 60s on rainy days.

CROPS:  There were 2 days suitable for fieldwork.  Soil moisture was rated 30 percent adequate and 70 percent surplus. Condition of oats was 20 percent fair, 68 percent good, and 12 percent excellent.  Winter wheat was rated 1 percent poor, 15 percent fair, 65 percent good, and 19 percent excellent.  Hay crops were 7 percent poor, 25 percent fair, 54 percent good, and 14 percent excellent.

The first clover timothy cutting was 60 percent complete compared to 66 percent in 2012.  The first alfalfa cutting was 74 percent complete compared to 78 percent in 2012.  The first cutting of grass silage was 75 percent complete compared to 84 percent last year. Corn was 93 percent planted compared to 97 percent in 2012 and behind the 95 percent five year average. Potatoes were 90 percent planted compared to 96 percent in 2012 and was below the five year average of 97 percent. 

Soybeans were 68 percent planted compared to 92 percent in 2012 and behind the five year average of 87 percent.  

In Madison County, wet weather prevented field work, and many low, poorly drained areas were under water. Earlier planted corn looked good, while corn planted later did not. Some second cut grass stands in the northern part of Madison County were ready to be harvested.

In Cayuga County, fields were flooded and wet conditions delayed spraying. Field work came to a halt in Cortland County due to wet conditions.  The soil was too saturated to support equipment without damaging the field.  Plowing continued between periods of rain to turn over hay fields after first cutting.

Corn planting intentions in Jefferson County changed every day due to wet conditions. Many hoped to finish planting soybeans as soon as the weather cooperated. With well over 5 inches of rain for the month, farmers in St. Lawrence County had few opportunities to make first cut hay silage and little opportunity to make dry hay. No additional crops were planted in Seneca County due to an additional 2 inches of rain. The lack of dry weather created additional problems.

FRUIT:  Apple conditions for the week were 23 percent fair, 53 percent good, and 24 percent excellent.  Peaches were 17 percent fair, 80 percent good, and 3 percent excellent.  Pears were 14 percent fair, 79 percent good, and 7 percent excellent.

Sweet cherries were 6 percent poor, 22 percent fair, 68 percent good, and 4 percent excellent. Tart cherries were 8 percent poor, 39 percent fair, 52 percent good, and 1 percent excellent. Grapes were 6 percent fair, 86 percent good, and 8 percent excellent.

VEGETABLES:  Sweet corn was 73 percent planted, compared to 79 percent in 2012, and was below the 88 percent five year average. Sweet corn was 38 percent fair, 58 percent good, and 4 percent excellent.  Onions were 22 percent fair, 71 percent good and 7 percent excellent.

Snap beans were 38 percent planted, compared to 64 percent in 2012, and behind the 66 percent five year average. Cabbage was 83 percent planted, compared to 89 percent in 2012, and below the 86 percent five year average.

In Cayuga County, flooded fields prevented farmers from planting corn and beans.

LIVESTOCK:  Pasture was rated 3 percent poor, 18 percent fair, 60 percent good, and 19 percent excellent.

Horse Show This Weekend at the State Fairgrounds

This news comes from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

Bridle Path Manor Stables presents the Classic Horse Show series at 8 a.m. June 22 and June 23 in the 4-H Rings and Stables at the New York State Fairgrounds in Geddes.

The Bridle Path Manor Classic Horse Show is part of the local Classic Horse Show Series, featuring several divisions of horses and riders competing in two rings simultaneously. Each division in the show features high point prizes for the day towards year end awards. Admission to the horse show is free.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Webinar Set on Selling Produce to the USDA

Want to learn how to sell produce to the USDA?

Go to to find out about a webinar coming up next week on the topic.

June is Dairy Month -- Giving Thanks to Our Nation's Dairy Industry

I've been trying to write all new items during Dairy Month, but this one was too good not to pass on.

Go to and check out this blog item from the USDA.

State: Vaccinate Horses Now Against West Nile, EEE

Information from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

State officials are urging horse owners to get their horses vaccinated against Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.

State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine, State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah and State Gaming Commission Acting Director Robert Williams said no horses have been confirmed yet this year to have the diseases. But in 2012, two cases of EEE were reported in horses in New York state, as well as seven West Nile cases.

“Every year in New York, cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus pop up in horses across the state – diseases which are largely preventable,” said Aubertine. “Good prevention programs are a key component to any animal health plan and I encourage horse owners across New York to take the necessary precautions and vaccinate their horses against these diseases today.”
While it is preferable to vaccinate horses against these diseases in the spring before the mosquitoes that transmit them are active, early summer is not too late, since New York often has mosquito activity into the month of November.

Vaccines for EEE and West Nile can be effective for six to 12 months, and horses should be re-vaccinated at least annually. In an area where the diseases occur year round, many veterinarians recommend vaccinations every six months.

For the vaccine to be effective, it must be handled and administered properly, prior to an anticipated increase in mosquito activity in a local area.  For these reasons, state veterinarian David Smith recommends that the vaccines be administered by a veterinarian. 

Other prevention methods include eliminating standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, using insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually from dusk to dawn.  In addition, water in water troughs should be changed at least twice a week to discourage mosquito breeding.

There is no human vaccine for EEE or West Nile. EEE is rare but serious and can affect both horses and people. Five cases have been diagnoses in humans in New York since 1971 and all, including an Oswego County girl in 2011, have been fatal. 

West Nile is more common than EEE and can cause serious illness and, in some cases, death.
Horsepersons working at New York racetracks, where large concentrations of horses are stabled, should especially heed the recommendation to have horses vaccinated and take necessary precautions to reduce the risk of EEE or West Nile.

The New York State Gaming Commission’s on-track staff is monitoring facility conditions and working with track management to reduce mosquito-infested areas. 

Humans cannot become infected by handling or being exposed to an infected horse. Horses cannot spread either virus to or from other horses, people or pets.  From a veterinary perspective, mosquitoes transmit both diseases from birds to horses.

Typical symptoms of EEE in equines include staggering, circling, depression, loss of appetite and sometimes fever and blindness. Clinical signs of West Nile in horses include lethargy, weakness in the hind quarters, stumbling, lack of awareness, head tilt and head twitching, convulsions, circling, partial paralysis and coma. 

Horses exhibiting neurologic signs like those listed above need to be promptly reported by veterinarians to the State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Division of Animal Industry at (518) 457-3502 in addition to the local health department.  

For more information on EEE and West Nile Virus in horses, please visit: