Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Documentary Chronicles Beginnings of NY FarmNet

Check out this short documentary on NY FarmNet.

FarmNet officials say they hope to have this ready to go at FarmAid in Saratoga.

A Great Generation of Farmers

Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack tells FFA leaders about the present and future of agriculture. "No one has ever done agriculture as well as we're doing it today," he said.

New York Apple Creations to be Named Today

It's like that special moment when you finally decide what to name your child.

Today, two apple creations made at the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva will be named at 12:15 p.m. today (Aug. 1) during an event at the Ag Station. Formerly known as NY1 and NY2, the apples will receive their formal names and marketing logos for them will be unveiled.

Cornell University officials say one of the apples "is crispy, sweet and fun" while the other "will bring fresh, juicy comfort well into the winter." They were developed by Cornell University Horticulture Professor and apple breeder extraordinaire Susan Brown at the Ag Station, a facility she now helps direct.

According to a Cornell news release, Brown, who brought fruit-loving consumers the highly popular Fortune and Autumncrisp varieties (as well as 10 sweet and one tart cherry varieties), has been developing her newest apples for more than a decade. Conventionally bred, her newest creations promise to excite the palette and soothe the soul, and expand New York’s world-leading apple crop portfolio – a win for both growers and consumers in this region and beyond.

Joining Brown in the naming ceremony will be state Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine, apple grower and vice chair of the board of director of New York Apples Growers Jeff Crist and Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Kathryn Boor.

Cornell officials say the new apple names were developed following extensive consumer research by New York Apple Growers, Cornell’s partner in marketing the new varieties. Taste testing was done to help determine positioning and branding for each variety, and 1,000 consumers were surveyed online to assist in the name selection.

Marketing experts from New York Apple Growers will also be on hand to help explain how NY1 and NY2 (and that’s the last time we’ll use those names) will make their way to select New York Apple Growers farm stands this fall, ahead of their rollout in grocery stores in 2015.

The naming event takes place as part of the 2013 annual Fruit Field Day at the Ag Station. Each year, fruit growers, consultants and industry personnel tour field plots and learn about the latest research and extension efforts being carried out by Cornell.

This year’s event will focus on all commodities of key importance to New York's $350 million fruit industry: apples, grapes, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and other berry crops, plus hops.

National Geographic Takes On Animal Abuse on Farms

OK. Another ag issue is heating up Twitter.

Go to Twitter and search for #insidesecretamerica. Seems National Geographic Channel has a show called Inside Secret America and did a piece called "Animal Undercover" which aired Wednesday night and again at midnight Thursday. 

Twitter is lighting up from farmers across the U.S. ripping the show.

Go to to read about the National Geographic show. Go to to see two videos from the animal show -- one on ag gag laws and one of an undercover investigation.

Here is how the National Geographic website describes the show: "The images are disturbing; animal cruelty and abuse at the hands of food industry workers and research technicians. Van Zeller and Foster first meet with covert animal activists who lead hidden camera exposés that have resulted in increased scrutiny of slaughterhouses, farms and research labs. While activists push for stricter enforcement of animal cruelty laws and increased criminal prosecutions against offenders, industry executives and lawmakers are mounting their own counterattack." 

Here are some tweets about the show:

Tim says: Ok, read some tweets about ...I can assure you my chickens/animals live a better life than I do. 

Compassion 4 Animals says: I love the farmers who say they are against animal abuse. Do you also say you murder your animals with care? 

Jessica Decker says: Best part of that - all the farmers/ranchers offering to open their doors! Take note America! 

Jenni Tilton-Flood says: The only animal "abused"on our family farm is a Deere.

What do you folks think of all this??

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

USDA Works to Rebuild US Economy

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

This past week, President Obama laid out a vision for America’s economic future.

Since day one, the Obama Administration has been focused on our nation’s economic recovery, and over recent years we’ve seen positive signs of growth.

Businesses have created more than 7 million new jobs during the past 40 months. The housing market is coming back. Led by the tremendous productivity of America’s farmers and ranchers, our nation’s exports are growing.

But we also know that much remains to be done, and there’s no excuse for letting up. The President is squarely focused on building a strong middle class. He is committed to ensuring that every American has the opportunity to secure a good job, a quality education, a dependable place to call home, a secure path to retirement and affordable health care with decent benefits.

Those opportunities are just as important for folks who call rural America home. At the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we have laid out a vision to rebuild the rural economy and create a strong middle class in rural America. In recent years we’ve expanded markets for agriculture and rural business, while laying the groundwork for new growth in the coming generation.

With Washington suffering from too much gridlock today, President Obama pledged that he’ll do everything within his executive power to keep making progress. At USDA we’ll continue our own efforts, building on the record results we’ve achieved in recent years.

Meanwhile we will continue to work with Congress to break the gridlock and accomplish big things. For rural America, Congress must act as soon as possible to pass a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill, which is crucial for USDA’s efforts to grow the rural economy and provide new income in rural communities.

Additionally, by fixing America’s broken immigration system, Congress can strengthen American agriculture, grow the rural economy, and create a common-sense system that works for farmers and farm workers alike.

Over the coming months, President Obama will continue to discuss his vision for a strong middle class. He’ll outline steps that can be taken by the administration, by Congress and by other partners to help grow the economy. Folks in our small towns and rural communities can help lead the way on that effort, and USDA will stand with rural America every step of the way.

Cornell University Research Farm Has Open House

Go to to see the story about the open house at Musgrave Research Farm in Aurora, Cayuga County.

FarmAid Gives a Shout-Out to NY FarmNet

Go to the FarmAid website at to see what the folks with this concert event are saying about NY FarmNet, an organization that helps farmers throughout New York state.

Quoted in the article is Ed Staehr, of Union Springs in Cayuga County, who runs Cayuga Pumpkin Farm in his spare time (do farmers have spare time??) and works during the day as NY FarmNet executive director.

For more information on NY FarmNet, check out this story I wrote about the organization in 2010.

Monday, July 29, 2013

New Interactive Ag Kiosk Presented at Tompkins County Winery

News from Frontenac Point Vineyard-Estate Winery:

The New York Farm Bureau Ag Master Kiosk will be available at Frontenac Point Vineyard-Estate Winery through the fall.

The kiosk allows people to test their knowledge about agriculture, watch the process of growing grapes to make wine, juice and jelly, or take a self paced “Visit to a Dairy Farm.” The Ag Master Kiosk can be an interactive “Ag Jeopardy” style game or, if you choose, a informational presentation.

Ag Master Kiosk
People can watch a variety of subjects, including one on the History of New York Agriculture, or play the Ag Master Game. The contemporary template engages youth and adults with customized agricultural visuals, questions and information.

Developed by the New York Farm Bureau, Promotion and Education Program, the Ag Master Kiosk can be found at various locations throughout the year. It will be at Frontenac Point Vineyard – Estate Winery through the fall for anyone to use. 

Farm Bureau states "The interactive display is not only eye-pleasing, but compliments agriculture and relates a true picture and creates an understanding via a first rate presentation."

"The program includes 10 categories (five on-screen for each game) with multiple choice and true-false questions in a “Jeopardy” style format," according to the Farm Bureau website. "Photographs enable the player a clear visual of all the agricultural categories. A rotating database of questions presents tremendous variety and differing game boards. The pictures represent agriculture at its best and supply needed visuals for the consuming public."

The winery, on Route 89 in Trumansburg, Tompkins County, was started in 1982 by Jim and Carol Doolittle and the tasting room is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; noon to 4:30 p.m. Sundays; and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays.

The Ag Master Kiosk if free to use and a fun diversion for people who are too young to taste wine or who do not want to take part in a wine tasting.

Advance Sale Tickets Now Available for New York State Fair

 One-day advance sale tickets for the New York State Fair are available now through Aug. 21.

They are $6, a savings of $4 off the regular one-day price of $10. Tickets are available at the State Fair Box Office weekdays from noon to 4 p.m. or at retail outlets listed at the bottom of this post.

The six-day frequent fairgoer admission book is available for $30 -- a total savings of $30 -- at the State Fair Box Office only. 

Discount Strates Shows Midway Ride FunCards are available for $14, a savings of $10 off the regular price. You get 48 credits per card. All rides require four or more credits.

The Best Bets Bargain Book, Sponsored by Tully’s Good Times, has 100 of the best deals at the State Fair totaling more than $3,000 in valuable coupons on items such as food and beverages, things to buy and things to do.

Fun Cards and Bargain Books are available at:
All New York state Wegmans
All NYS Price Choppers
Tops Friendly Markets in Auburn, Baldwsinville,k Camden, Camillus, Canasota, Cazenovia, Chittenango, Clay, Cooperstown, Cortland, DeWitt, Elbridge, Fayetteville, Jordan, Lowville, Manlius, Mexico, North Syracuse, Owego, Pulaski, Sandy Creek, Sherrill, Skaneateles and Syracuse
Green Hills in Syracuse
Nojaim Brothers in Syracuse and Marcellus
Nichols in Liverpool
Gates Big M, Rochester
CJ's Grocery and Deli, Pennellville
Shurfine in Weedsport and Union Springs
Bob's Supermarket in Wolcott.

FunCard and unlimited ride wristband exclusive online purchasing can be done by going to this link.


Albany / Capitol Region / Catskills / Hudson Valley
    • Price Chopper: Albany, Catskill, Chatham, Clifton Park, Cobleskill, Cohoes, Glenmont, Gloversville, Guilderland, Hudson, Johnstown, Latham, Malta, Mechanicville, Menands, New Windsor, Queensbury, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Saratoga Springs, Saugerties, Schenectady, Scotia, Slingerlands, Troy, Warwick, Watervliet
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Corinth, Greenville, Hoosick Falls, West Coxsackie, Stamford, Tannersville
Amsterdam / Glens Falls
    • Price Chopper: Amsterdam, Glens Falls
Auburn / Aurora / Union Springs / Weedsport
    • Auburn Community Federal Credit Union: Auburn, Weedsport
    • Cayuga Lake National Bank: Aurora, Union Springs
    • Ed & Jean’s Food Market: Port Byron
    • Express Mart: Auburn, Cato, Geneva, Moravia
    • Generations Bank: Auburn
    • Jack’s Reef Market: Memphis
    • SECNY FCU: Skaneateles
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Auburn, Baldwinsville, Camillus, Elbridge, Jordan, Skaneateles
    • Wegmans: Auburn
    • Horizons FCU: Binghamton, Endicott, Vestal
    • Price Chopper: Binghamton, Endicott, Owego
    • Quickway Food Stores: Castle Creek
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Hancock, North Boston, Owego
    • Wegmans: Johnson City
Buffalo / Western New York
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Albion, Alden, Amherst, Arcade, Attica, Batavia, Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Depew, Derby, Dunkirk, East Aurora, Ellicottville, Falconer, Frewsburg, Grand Island, Hamburg, Jamestown, Leroy, Lewiston, Lockport, Mayville, Niagara, Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda, Olean, Orchard Park, Randolph, Silver Creek, Springville, Tonawanda, Warsaw, West Seneca, Westfield, Williamsville
    • Wegmans: Amherst, Buffalo, Depew, Jamestown, Hamburg, Niagara, West Seneca, Williamsville
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Bath
    • Wegmans: Corning
    • Express Mart: Cortland, Dryden, Groton, Homer, McGraw, Moravia, Whitney Point
    • Gregg’s Market Place: Whitney Point, Marathon
    • First National Bank of Groton: Groton, Moravia
    • Price Chopper: Cortland
    • Quickway Food Stores: Tully
    • Summitt FCU: Cortland
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Cortland, Ithaca
    • 7-Eleven: Cortland
Elbridge /Jordan
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Elbridge, Jordan
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Elmira
    • Wegmans: Elmira
    • C & J’s Grocery & Deli: Pennellville
    • Price Chopper: Fulton
    • Struppler’s Shurfine Supermarket: Fulton
    • 7-Eleven: Fulton
Geneva / Canandaigua
    • Bob’s Supermarket: Wolcott
    • Breen’s IGA: Palmyra, Williamson
    • Express Mart: Farmington, Geneva, Manchester, Newark, Palmyra, Phelps, Waterloo, Williamson
    • Lyons National Bank: Clyde, Geneva, Jordan, Lyons, Macedon,  Newark, Ontario, Penn Yan, Waterloo, Wolcott
    • Ovid Big M: Ovid
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Canandaigua, Geneva, Penn Yan, Waterloo
    • Wegmans: Canandaigua, Geneva, Geneseo, Newark
    • 7-Eleven: Phelps
Herkimer / Little Falls
    • Express Mart: Richfield Springs
    • Price Chopper: Palantine Bridge, Richfield Springs
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Bath, Dansville
    • Wegmans: Hornell
    • Express Mart: Cortland, Dryden, Homer
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Cortland, Ithaca, Watkins Glen
    • Wegmans: Ithaca
    • 7-Eleven: Cortland
Northern New York / Adirondack Region

    • Price Chopper: Canton, Champlain, Gouverneur, Granville, Lake George, Lake Placid, Malone, Massena, Ogdensburg, Plattsburgh, Potsdam
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Au Sable Forks, Bolton Landing, Chestertown, Elizabethtown, North Creek, Northville, Peru, Saranac Lake, Schroon Lake, Warrensburg
    • NBT Bank: New Berlin, Sherburne
    • CORE FCU: Morrisville
    • Express Mart: Canastota, Hamilton, Morrisville
    • Morrisville Big M: Morrisville
    • Price Chopper: Oneida
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Canastota, Sherrill
    • Vella’s North Shore Market: Cleveland
    • Express Mart: Richfield Springs
    • Price Chopper: Cooperstown, Delhi, Norwich, Oneonta, Sidney
    • NBT Bank: Earlville, New Berlin, Sherburne
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Cooperstown, Norwich
Orange County
    • Price Chopper: Newburgh, Middletown, Poughkeepsie
Oswego / Mexico
    • Bob’s Supermarket: Wolcott
    • Eastcoast Resorts of America: Parish
    • Hannibal Village Market: Hannibal
    • Paul’s Big M: Oswego
    • Price Chopper: Oswego
    • Quickway Food Stores: Central Square, Parish
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Mexico, Pulaski, Sandy Creek
    • Clifton Springs Big M: Clifton Springs
    • Express Mart: Farmington, Marion, Macedon, Victor
    • Gates Big M: Gates
    • Lyons National Bank: Clyde, Lyons, Macedon, Newark, Ontario
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Albion, Avon, Fairport, Greece, Hamlin, Henrietta, Hilton, Medina, Ontario, Rochester, Spencerport, Warsaw, Wellsville
    • Wegmans: Brockport, East Rochester, Fairport, Geneseo, Penfield, Rochester, Webster
    • Price Chopper: Rome
    • Rome Memorial Hospital: Rome
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Boonville, Camden, Rome
    • Vella’s Market: Constantia
    • ACMG FCU: Solvay, Syracuse
    • Barbagellos Convenience Store: East Syracuse
    • Bristol-Myers Squibb: Syracuse
    • Countryside FCU: East Syracuse
    • Cooper Crouse Hinds FCU: Syracuse
    • CORE FCU: East Syracuse, Morrisville, North Syracuse
    • Crouse Federal Credit Union: Syracuse
    • Destiny USA: Syracuse – At Guest Relations desks on level 1 and level 2 in the canyon
    • Empower FCU: Syracuse
    • Express Marts: DeWitt, East Syracuse, Elbridge, Fayetteville, Jordan, Liverpool, Manlius, Marcellus, Mattydale, Syracuse
    • Family Care Management: Liverpool
    • Focalpoint FCU (NPG): Chittenango, Syracuse
    • Geddes Federal Savings & Loan: Geddes
    • General Electric Employees FCU: Liverpool, Syracuse
    • Green Hills Farms: Syracuse
    • Melissa’s Good News: Syracuse
    • New York State Fair Box Office: Syracuse
    • Nichols Supermarket: Liverpool
    • Nojaim Brothers: Marcellus, Syracuse
    • NYS Fair Box Office: Syracuse
    • Pathfinder Bank: Cicero
    • Price Chopper: Cicero, Clay, Syracuse
    • Quickway Food Stores: Brewerton, Camillus, Central Square, Syracuse, Tully
    • SECNY FCU: Baldwinsville, Destiny USA, Manlius, North Syracuse, Onondaga Hill, Skaneateles
    • SEFCU: Cicero, Syracuse
    • Seneca Knolls Big M: Baldwinsville
    • Solvay Bank: Camillus, Cicero, Fairmount, Liverpool, North Syracuse, Solvay, Syracuse, Westvale
    • Summitt FCU: Syracuse, Cicero, Liverpool
    • Syracuse Firefighters Employees FCU: Syracuse
    • Syracuse University – Schine Box Office: Syracuse
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Baldwinsville, Camillus, Cazenovia, Chittenango, Clay, Cortland, DeWitt, Fayetteville, Manlius, North Syracuse, Pulaski, Syracuse
    • Travel Leaders: Liverpool
    • Vella’s Enterprises: Constantia, Cleveland
    • Wegmans: Camillus/Fairmount, Cicero, Clay, DeWitt, East Syracsue, Fayetteville, Liverpool, North Syracuse, Syracuse
    • 7-Eleven: Fulton, North Syracuse, Syracuse
    • Express Mart: Yorkville
    • Price Chopper: Hamilton, New Hartford, Utica
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Boonville
    • Alex Bay Big M: Alexandia Bay
    • Clayton Shurfine Market: Clayton
    • Price Chopper: Alexandia Bay, Gouverneur, Watertown, West Carthage
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Adams, Lowville, Watertown

Outside of New York State
  • Connecticut
    • Price Chopper: All Locations
  • Massachusetts
    • Price Chopper: All Locations
  • New Hampshire
    • Price Chopper: All Locations
  • Pennsylvania
    • Price Chopper: All Locations
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Canton, Sayre, Towanda, Troy, Wellsboro
  • Vermont
    • Price Chopper: All Locations
    • Tops Friendly Markets: Hardwick, Northfield, Rutland

Destiny USA is selling Advance Sale tickets only, at their Guest Relations desks on level one and level two in the canyon

Canadian Website Writes About Panera Bread Controversy

Go to to see what our neighbors to the North are saying.

Environmental Groups Sue State Over Dairy Farm Regulations

The regs were put in place to bolster the state's growing yogurt industry. But some environmental groups says the regs go too far and violate the Clean Water Act.

Go to to see the story.

Register Now for Fruit Storage Workshop Set for Aug. 6

There's still time to register for the Aug. 6 Fruit Storage workshop at Cornell University.

Go to for more information or to sign up.

Finger Lakes Cheese Festival a Huge Success

Go to to see photos from the second annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival held this past weekend.

Grand Opening Aug. 3 at Apple Country Spirits in Wayne County

Go to to see all the info on apple vodka being made at Apple Country Spirits.

Bee Swarm Kills Horses

Did you folks see this story?

Really scary.

Go to to check it out.

Ontario Farm Market Seeks Vendors

Just found this on Facebook -- thanks to Assemblyman Bob Oaks.

The Ontario Farm Market located at Fresh Roots Natural Foods Co-Op, 1640 Rt. 104 (just east of the Rite Aid store) is seeking vendors.
The market is open from 3 to 6:30 p.m. every Thursday. Pass this along to anyone you feel may be interested. 
No charge for vendor booths. Contact: (315) 524-2238 or email
Oaks said other farmers' markets in Wayne and Cayuga counties also are looking for vendors.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Twitter Still on Fire with Anti-Panera Bread Controversy


Got on Twitter Sunday afternoon after being away for a day and 19 of 50 of the first tweets I see are on the Panera Bread controversy.

Here are some of the tweets:

Ashley Knapton: Anyone else wish they could see the look on the @'s PR's face when they get to work on Monday?

Andrew Goodrich: @ 6 am on a Sunday morning and I'm checking withdrawals on fat cattle. Man I feel lazy.

Shannon: At the farmers market this morning and those lazy farmers were there and set up by 8am. The nerve!

Dianne Bettin: Panera Bread - don't use fear to sell food!

Here is a response from Panera Bread as posted by AgWired:

And here are some of Panera Bread's tweets:

Sorry if you were offended by our EZ Chicken posts, Valerie. We truly appreciate entire farming community & all their hard work.

We never intended to insult anyone with our EZ Chicken posts, especially farmers. We truly appreciate all their hard work.

Go to on Dairy Carrie's blog to see how the whole controversy began.

Read more about the issue by going to Twitter and searching @EZChicken or #pluckEZchicken.

Berry, Fruit Growers Having a Great Year

Go to to see the Associated Press story.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

More and More Women are Heading Farms in NYS

I love this graphic I found this week on Facebook.

And statistics show that the graphic is not only fun, but true.

More and more women are operating farms today than ever before. In the 2007 Census of Agriculture, 30 percent of all farm operators in New York state were women -- a total of 1.008 million. That was up 19 percent from the 2002 Census of Agriculture.

In 2007, 14 percent of principal farm operators were women, up from 11 percent in 2002.

Locally, there also are quite a few women running farms. Here are the stats from the 2007 Census of Agriculture:

Onondaga County -- 157 of 692 farms had women as the principal operators

Cayuga County -- 123 of 936 farms had women as the principal operators

Madison County -- 132 of 744 farms had women as the principal operators

Oswego County -- 141 of 639 farms had women as the principal operators.


Morrisville State's Dairy Judging Team Competes at Scottish Show

 Adam Hill, Scott Smith, Mitchell Ruth, Marshall Hinz, Duncan Bailey
News submitted by Morrisville State College:

Morrisville State College’s dairy judging team recently participated in Scotland’s prestigious Royal Highland Show. 

The five-student team earned a spot in the show, Scotland’s top agricultural event, after placing second at the World Dairy Expo. At the Royal Highland Show, Morrisville’s team judged four classes of cows and gave oral judging in two classes.

Students were scored in pairs with Scott Smith, of South Plymouth, and Duncan Bailey, of Fillmore, placing second overall. Bailey also placed second overall with his individual score.

The Royal Highland Show, which attracts more than 150,000 visitors, featured cows, pigs, sheep shearing, food, cars and salsa dancing. Other core attractions included grand parades of livestock and equestrian events.

“This was truly a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Justine Deming, assistant professor of dairy science, who led the Morrisville dairy judging team. “Opportunities like this enable students to apply theory and classroom learning to real-world situations and also broaden their views on international
agriculture while making connections with actual farmers.”

After the competition, the Morrisville team, along with 50 other 4-H, FFA, and college dairy judging teams from across the United States, toured the Scottish, English, and Irish countrysides.

 The trip also included educational visits to the Scottish Agricultural College dairy facility, Scottish National Museum of Rural Life, and various grass-based dairy farms throughout the UK and Ireland. 

“We came back to the US with a broader knowledge of international dairy production and an appreciation of the UK and Ireland’s ability to have grass-based seasonal dairy systems,” Deming said.

The trip was sponsored by: The Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation, Inc.; Lallemand Specialties, Inc.; Oriona Grove Lodge 229; Poulin Grain; Marshman Farms; the Morrisville College
Foundation; various organizations and donor gifts.

Morrisville State’s team consisted of: Adam Hill, of Corfu, Genesee County, animal science-dairy; Scott Smith, of South Plymouth, Chenango County, agricultural business; Mitchell Ruth, of Spring City, Pa., animal science-dairy; Marshall Hinz, of Fillmore, Allegany County, animal science-dairy; and Duncan Bailey, of Fillmore, Allegany County, animal science-dairy.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Deadline Aug. 1 to Nominate for Farm Service Agency County Committees

News from the USDA:

Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers have until Aug. 1 to nominate eligible candidates to serve on local Farm Service Agency county committees.

"The last day to file your nomination form is about a week away," said Juan Garcia, administrator of the USDA's Farm Service Agency.

"Please get involved this year and nominate the candidate of your choice or nominate yourself to serve on your local county committee," Garcia said. "I especially encourage the nomination of beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as women and minorities. This is your opportunity to have a say in how federal programs are delivered in your county.”

Farm Service Agency county committees help local farmers through their decisions on commodity price support loans, conservation programs and disaster programs, and by working closely with county executive directors.

To be eligible to hold office as a county committee member, individuals must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and live in the local administrative area where they are running. Go to for a complete list of eligibility requirements.

That link also will provide more information about the program and nomination forms. All nominees must sign the nomination form FSA-669A. All nomination forms for the 2013 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business Aug. 1, 2013. Ballots will be mailed to eligible voters by Nov. 4 and are due back to the local USDA Service Centers on Dec. 2.

The newly elected county committee members will take office Jan. 1.

Friends of the Farmer Festival a Big Hit

Go to to see the story from the Hudson Valley.

Open House Saturday at Grindstone Farm in Pulaski

Found this news on Facebook:

Saturday July 27 is Grindstone Farm's annual open house.
Do you have time to come help them celebrate 25 years of certified organic farming? Bring a dish to pass and your own place settings.
Bring your own bucket and pick some blueberries while you are here. U-Pick is $3 a pound.
Anyone interested in a 1/2 barbequed free ranged chicken raised at Grindstone Farm, please pre-order by Friday. Call the farm at 315-298-4139 to reserve your half. The cost is $12 per half.
Bring your swimsuits, towels and life vests for the children who are not yet able to swim. Take a dip in our pond. Feel free to use the zip line, if you are brave enough!

Don't Forget -- Finger Lakes Cheese Festival is Saturday July 27

I love this photo. Perhaps because I can't imagine anyone not loving cheese.

Sure, I understand some people can't eat it due to allergies or digestive issues. Believe me, I feel for these people. But for the rest of us, cheese is one of the true wonders of the world.

What doesn't taste better with a hunk of cheese on it? What's better for a quick snack than a piece of fruit and a piece of cheese?

And, of course, the best cheeses ever are those made locally, by hard-working farmers raising the cows or goats and then taking that milk and making some yummy products.

You can all learn more about the great cheeses made in Central New York by visiting the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail and especially, by going to the Finger Lakes Cheese Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday July 27 at Sunset View Creamery on County Road 14 in Odessa, Schuyler County, just outside Watkins Glen.

This might seem like a hike, but the trip down is beautiful and you'll see some of the most gorgeous parts of New York state. And then, when you get there, you can sample all of the cheeses of the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail, check out the Barnyard Olympics, see goat milking, tour the petting zoo, take farm tours and check out cheese cooking and pairing seminars.

A barbecue, juice, water and local foods will be available for purchase.

Admission is free and parking is $5 per car. Attendees also receive a commemorative gift bag.

Go to to hear a radio interview about the Finger Lakes Cheese Festival that was broadcast about a week ago. You also can go to to see a television interview about the festival.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rants Against Panera Bread Continue on Twitter

Twitter continues with people who are upset with Panera Bread and its recent ad campaign that some believe is anti-farmer and anti-rancher.

Here's some examples:

Ashley Nunnenkamp says We deserve a real apology for the offensive campaign. Until then no more panera.

Ashley also says: @ owes lots of hardworking american farmers a HUGE apology!

Marie Bowers says: If @ thinks farmers are lazy. I gladly invite them out to work harvest with me. Already got 74 hours in this week and Did I mention it's been 90 degrees all week ? 16 hour days are for the lazy farmers....

 Stacy Revels says: Glad to see is backtracking on incredibly stupid campaign. Think they saw what happens when you call farmers lazy.

To see more, go to and search #EZChicken or #PluckEZChicken. 

Here is what Panera Bread said to begin this uproar:!articles/antibiotic_free_answers 

Learn About Madison County Farms at Open Farm Day Event July 27

Anyone who wants to find out about the diversity of agriculture in Central New York needs to go to Open Farm Day July 27 in Madison County.

During the annual event, about 40 farms open their doors, barns and fields to people who want to come in, tour and learn about the various products and animals produced in Madison County.

Farms vary from dairy operations with Holsteins to vegetable and egg farms to places raising beef, pork and lamb to maple, cider, wine and honey to buffalo, elk and alpacas and even a bit of horticulture with plants and flowers.

The event is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday "featuring lots of local food, farm tours, farm rides, free samples and farm animals," according to the website.

Go to to see a list of the 39 participating farms and to print out a passport for the day.

New Study on What's Killing Honeybees in U.S.

Colony Collapse Disorder has been plaguing the bee population for a few years and all sorts of people have been coming up with ideas on why the bees are dying. 

Go to to see a story about a new study done on Colony Collapse Disorder.

Remember, bees not only make honey for us all. Without them, we wouldn't have fruit or vegetables, as the bees are needed to pollinate the flowers of these foods so they will develop and grow.

Swedish Hill Named Best Winery in State Fair Competition

News from Swedish Hill Winery:

Swedish Hill is located near Romulus, between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. Go to for more information on the winery, its wines and special events.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2 NYC Hospitals Offering "Veggie Prescriptions"

Cool story found at

Go to to find more information about Wholesome Wave.

NYS Increases Access to Farmers' Markets for Low-Income Senior Citizens

News from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office:

The state is providing more than $1.8 million to provide low-income senior New Yorkers with access to farmers’ markets across New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the funding will provide more than 100,000 senior citizens with access to healthy food at 470 farmers’ markets through the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. New York state operates one of the largest such programs in the nation.

“The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is an important resource that provides New Yorkers with access to fresh, locally grown produce while also supporting the local economies and agricultural sector,” Cuomo said.

“Through this program, we are connecting more than 100,000 low-income seniors across the state with affordable, healthy food options in their communities and providing a boost to local farmers bringing their products to market in every region of the state," Cuomo said. "I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to take advantage of this program and see what New York’s farmers have to offer.”

More than 100,000 booklets consisting of five $4 checks are being distributed, and can be used to purchase fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables from 950 farmers vending at 470 community farmers’ markets across the state.

The program is administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with the New York State Office for the Aging, New York State Department of Health Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and Cornell Cooperative Extension. Checks can be used at participating farmers markets through Nov. 30.

In Upstate counties, Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program checks are issued by county-based offices for the aging. Eligible recipients must be age 60 or older and meet the income eligibility requirement. Each household must affirm that they are low-income based on one of the following criteria:

Gross monthly income at or below 185 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines:
  • $1,772 per month for a one-person household
  • $2,392 per month for a two-person household
  • $3,011 per month for a three-person household

Currently receiving or eligible to receive one of the following benefits: Supplemental Security Income, public assistance, or Section 8 housing subsidy.

“This initiative to promote healthy products to older New Yorkers will help farmers’ markets expand their customer base and help spur local economies,” said Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Darrel Aubertine.

"A healthy diet consisting of New York grown fresh fruits and vegetables is paramount to one’s health and a contributor to maintaining one’s independence," said Greg Olsen, acting director of the state Office for the Aging. "The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is an important ingredient to help eligible older New Yorkers improve health outcomes, combat obesity and provide support to local farmers."

For more information, call (800) 554-4501. Go to for a list of farmers' markets.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Twitter, Blog-O-Sphere Ablaze with Attacks on Panera Bread

Some folks on Twitter and on blogs and other places on the Internet are taking Panera Bread to task for what they call an attack on farmers and ranchers for their use of antibiotics in animals.

See what Panera is!articles/antibiotic_free_answers saying by going to this link.

Read what Carrie Mess, a dairy blogger (Dairy Carrie) from Wisconsin thinks about this issue by going to this link.

North Country Winery to Serve Wine Slushies at NYS Fair

News from Thousand Islands Winery:

The New York State Fair runs from Aug. 22 through Labor Day at the state Fairgrounds in Geddes, just west of Syracuse.

Happy Ice Cream Month!

From Facebook
While most everyone enjoys great ice cream during July and other times throughout the year, do you know what the most popular flavor of ice cream is in the United States?

It remains vanilla, which I have to agree is pretty darn good.

Read this story from DairyBusiness about Americans' favorite ice cream flavors.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership to Restore Forest Lands, Protect Water

This week's column from Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack:

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior announced a new effort – the Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership – to enhance our forests and protect America’s water supply. 

This is important for anyone who pays a water bill, and it’s important for the future of our environment.

Americans in our cities depend on clean water at the tap, and our farmers and ranchers rely on water to irrigate their crops and sustain livestock. Our public lands are very important in this regard. In fact, our National Forests and interior lands provide water for more than 60 million Americans.

When forests are healthy, they filter rain and snowmelt, regulate runoff and slow soil erosion – delivering clean water at lower cost. But a changing climate threatens a greater risk for severe wildfires that release sediment, debris and ash into streams and rivers. 

Ultimately, these impacts of wildfire make it tougher to clean the water at treatment plants. Water companies are forced to make expensive repairs to equipment and those costs are passed on to water consumers.

The Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership will bring together the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, local partners and private water users to restore forest lands in a proactive way. 

By bringing together land and water managers from across the west, we can increase forest resiliency, improve water quality, and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire. This promises healthier forests, and savings for water users.

The new partnership was highlighted recently in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan – which calls for such proactive measures to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure and reduce the impacts of a changing climate.

This week’s announcement also complements USDA’s many other efforts to conserve America’s natural resources. To ensure strong natural resource conservation in the years to come, USDA will continue to encourage Congressional passage of a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. Farmers, landowners and forest owners need a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill to make effective use of limited conservation funds, while building on record conservation efforts underway today.

USDA is ready to combat the impacts of climate change, and put the environment on track to a healthy future. We’ll keep working together with our partners across the country to protect America’s natural resources – and we will continue to encourage Congress to achieve passage of a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible.

NY Dairy Cows Produce More Milk in June

News from the USDA:

New York dairy herds produced 1.14 billion  pounds of milk during June, according to Blair Smith, State Statistician of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York Field Office.

This is up 3.9 percent from a year earlier.

Dairy farmers in the Empire State received an average of $20.90 per hundredweight of milk sold during June, up 40 cents from May and $3.90 more than June a year ago. Milk production in the 23 major states during June totaled 15.8 billion pounds, up 1.6 percent from June 2012.

The revised production for May is 16.6 billion pounds, up 1.1 percent from May 2012.

What Does this Greek Yogurt Boom Mean to NY Farmers?

This graphic is from Reuters Business
Here's a story by North Country Public Radio about how the Greek yogurt boom is affecting New York farmers.

You also can read the story I wrote on the same subject in 2012 at at this link. And the Associated Press covered the same issue also back in 2012.

Local Sweet Corn Now Available in Some Places

Photo from the USDA
We have now reached that great part of the summer.

During my drive this a.m. to Oswego, I noticed quite a few places already are selling their local fresh sweet corn. This is a highlight of Central New York summers -- getting that first ear dripping with butter and taking a huge bite.

Enjoy everyone! Get out there and get some corn. If you can't get to your local farm, check out the farmers' markets in the area too.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cornell Plans Summer Pasturing Workshops

Go to to find out more about the programs coming up July 31, Aug. 14 and Aug. 21 in Watkins Glen, Lansing and Homer.

Dealing With Death on the Farm or Ranch is Never Easy

Go to to see this story.

Great Fun this Weekend at Wellesley Island's Cross Island Farms

Some goats at Cross Island Farms
There will be "discounted farm tours this weekend" at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Cross Island Farms on Wellesley Island.
Attendees will receive a 20 percent discount on the farmer-led, educational organic farm tours to see the chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, goats, cows, wind and solar energy areas, edible forest garden and the organic vegetable gardens.
Everyone is welcomes to take pictures and ask questions or pet  a farm animal.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Triplet Holsteins Born on Maine Farm

I know this isn't New York, but I just found this super cool.

The people at The Wright Place LLC dairy farm in Maine posted photos on their Facebook page at about the new additions to the farm. They said the chances of triplets are quite rare (1 in 105,000) and this is their second set of triplets in about six years.

The first set was tiny, but farm officials said this trio were all good sized and doing great.

Be sure to go to The Wright Place LLC Facebook page and like them.

Finger Lakes Cheese Festival July 27 Outside Watkins Glen

Go to to hear a radio interview about the Finger Lakes Cheese Festival coming up 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 27 at Sunset View Creamer on County Road 14 in Odessa, Schuyler County, just outside Watkins Glen.

This is the second year for the Cheese Fest, which will include the opportunity to sample all the cheeses of the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail, barnyard Olympics, goat milking, petting zoo, farm tours, cheese making classes (these  require reservations in advance again), cheese cooking and pairing seminars and more.

A barbecue, juice, water and local foods will be available for purchase.

Admission is free and parking is $5 per car. Attendees also receive a commemorative gift bag.

1-Year-old Dies After Fall From Moving Tractor

Let's be careful out there.

Check out this story from AgWeek.

Farm Bureau Legal Counsel Talks About Lawsuit Against EPA

Just what's the latest in the federal Environmental Protection Agency's attempt to open all farm data to the public?

Read this from DairyBusiness magazine.  The American Farm Bureau Federation is taking legal action against the EPA concerning this issue.

Do You Know Where Your Tomatoes Come From?

Check out this story and question and answer section by{%2210151509023671892%22%3A10150962548132196}&action_type_map={%2210151509023671892%22%3A%22og.likes%22}&action_ref_map={} clicking on this link.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Protests in Britain for Higher Milk Prices

I remember covering protests like these in the 70s and 80s right here in New York state.

Check out the protests in Great Britain concerning milk prices.

Do You Want to Thank a Farmer?

OK, everyone.

Check out this Facebook page at

Food and Farm Facts Book Available Now

The Food and Farm Facts book put out by the American Farm Bureau Federation is available now.

The book explains what farmers and ranchers do each and every day to produce food for all of us.

Go to to find out more about the book and how to buy it.

Want a Job? Agriculture Industry is the Place to Be

Go to to see the story from USA Today.

New York Animal Ag Coalition Receives Grant for New Birthing Exhibit at State Fair

News from Farm Credit East:

Farm Credit East, the Northeast’s largest agricultural lender, is pleased to provide a $10,000 grant to the N.Y. Animal Agriculture Coalition. 

These funds will be used to support a Dairy Cow Birthing Center to be exhibited at the New York State Fair. Go to;postID=916876283705658821;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=1;src=postname to see an earlier story about the new State Fair exhibit.

“Farm Credit East is very pleased to support the efforts of the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition to help tell the great story of New York’s animal agriculture industry,” said Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. “Our farmers do a great job of taking care of their animals and this Dairy Cow Birthing Center is an innovative idea that will be a great addition to the New York State Fair.”

The Dairy Cow Birthing Center will debut at the 2013 New York State Fair. Through a combination of live animals and educational displays, this exhibit will allow fairgoers to witness a cow giving birth to a calf.

In addition, the public will have the opportunity to learn more about the dairy industry, animal agriculture, veterinary science and the birthing process. This exhibit is coordinated by the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition and Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.