Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Farmers Work Every Day -- Even Christmas

I put this on my Facebook page this morning, but also wanted to put it on here.

I was at Stewart's in Adams getting a coffee this morning and a gentleman came in after me, also getting a cup of coffee. 

The employee was pleasant and wished us a Merry Christmas. Then she asked the man if he had to work tomorrow. 

He said "I work every day." She said "what do you do?" He said "I'm a farmer." 

God bless the farmers and remember them tomorrow as you are relaxing around your tree. They are probably out milking cows or doing some other chore. 

A farmer's work is never done.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New York Farmers Did Well in 2013

In case you needed it, here's more proof that New York IS agriculture.

New York's farmers set record sales in 2013.

The state's farmers brought in nearly $5.7 billion in 2013, compared to $5.5 billion in 2012.

Cash receipts for crops, livestock and other raw agricultural products were up, according to numbers calculated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

More than half of the receipts were for livestock, dairy and poultry items, with the rest coming from the sale of crops such as corn, fruits and vegetables.

The numbers don't include sales of products derived from New York agriculture, such as cheese, wine or cider.

Overall receipts in the U.S. were down slightly in 2013 to $401 billion from nearly $405 billion the year before.

“The newly released USDA sales numbers for 2013 are proof of the value of agriculture to New York state," said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau.

"Hard work, farmer innovation, world markets, and a commitment from New York state have boosted overall farm sales yet again. The new numbers reveal cash receipts for last year total $5.67 billion, up more than $200 million from the previous year. This is money that goes right back into the rural communities supporting local jobs," Norton said.

Monday, December 22, 2014

New Members Named to National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection

The following are new members of the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection  for the 2014-2016 term:

Dr. Michael Crupain, Consumer Product Safety and Sustainability; George Wilson, Wilson & Associates, LLC; Dr. Tanya Roberts, Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention; Kurt Brandt, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union; Dr. Dustin Oedekoven, South Dakota Animal Industry Board; Dr. Krzysztof Mazurczak, Illinois Department of Agriculture; Michael Frances Link Jr., Ohio Department of Agriculture; Dr. Manpreet Singh, Purdue University; Dr. Randall K. Phebus, Kansas State University; Dr. Patricia Curtis, Auburn University; Brian Sapp, White Oak Pastures, Inc.; Sherri Jenkins, JBS, USA, LLC; Dr. Betsy Booren, American Meat Institute; Dr. Alice Johnson, Butterball, LLC.

Returning members are: Sherika Harvey, Mississippi Department of Agriculture; Dr. Carol L. Lorenzen, University of Missouri; Dr. Michael L. Rybolt, Hillshire Brands Company; Dr. John A. Marcy, University of Arkansas; and Christopher A. Waldrop, Consumer Federation of America.

Established in 1971, the 17-member advisory committee meets on food safety concerns and advises the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on matters affecting federal and state inspection program activities. It also contributes to USDA's regulatory policy development.

The new members were announced by Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Time is Running Out to Find that Perfect New York Christmas Tree

Only seven days (counting today) to get out and buy that fresh, New York-grown Christmas tree.

There are many Christmas tree farms throughout the state and buying local not only supports local farm businesses, it also assures you have the freshest tree possible. Fresh cut trees smell better and keep their needles longer.

“If purchased locally, and displayed properly with plenty of water, most real Christmas trees have excellent needle retention. Many of our customers report few or no needles on the floor after several weeks in their homes. While most people enjoy the aroma of our farm fresh trees, we also grow a fragrance-free variety that is a favorite with people with sensitive noses,” said Faye Beckwith from Beckwith Family Christmas Tree Station in Hannibal, Oswego County.

“Real Christmas trees are the best choice for both the environment and the economy. Real Christmas trees are a renewable and recyclable resource," she said. "They are grown as a crop, by local farmers who provide jobs for others. Trees are harvested and replenished annually. As they grow, real trees absorb harmful carbons and produce fresh oxygen. “

Buying a fresh and local Christmas tree is also a great bonding experience for families. 

“The experience of going to the farm to choose the perfect tree fosters family traditions and creates memories that last a lifetime," Beckwith said. "We have several four generation families who come annually to ride the tractor-drawn wagon to the fields - in search of the perfect tree.”          

To find a Christmas tree farmer near you, go to  

Then click on Real Trees at the top of the page and then go to Find a Tree.

New York Agricultural Society Meets Jan. 8

   The annual forum for the New York State Agricultural Society is set for Jan. 8 at the Holiday Inn in Salina, outside Syracuse.

Nearly 500 people are expected to attend. This year's forum theme is "Diversification for Success: Strategically Positioning You and Your Business for the Future."

Keynote speaker, Dr. David Kohl, will address a number of questions concerning diversification and  more, engaging forum attendees in a dynamic and informative program. He is professor emeritus of agriculture and applied economics at Virginia Tech and is known as “The Road Warrior of Agriculture,”having traveled almost 9 million miles and conducted more than 6,000 workshops for diverse agricultural audiences throughout his career.  

Following his keynote address, Kohl will moderate a discussion with several New York farmers who have their own unique diversification stories to share.

Other conference highlights include recognition of Businesses of the Year, Bicentennial and Century Farm Families, Agricultural Journalism Awards, FFA Chapter of the Year, Ag Promotion Awards, Farm Safety Recognition, and the Society’s lifetime of Distinguished Service Citation.  

All meals, breaks and reception feature New York produced food and beverages, and allow time for networking with exhibitors and attendees. Following the evening banquet, NYS Agriculture Commissioner, Richard Ball, will present the State of the State’s Agriculture Address.

All are invited to the New York State Agricultural Society’s Forum and special pre-forum events.  Early registration is strongly encouraged, and discount applies for registrations received before Dec. 19. 

For complete meeting details, visit: To register online, visit:

Officer, Directors Elected for New York Farm Bureau

Officers and board members were elected during the recent annual meeting of New York Farm Bureau in Rochester.

Dean Norton, who has been president of Farm Bureau for the past six years, was re-elected president for a fourth two-year term. The Norton family has owned Oak Orchard Dairy in Elba, Genbesee County, for five generations.

Eric Ooms, who operates a dairy farm in Chatham, Columbia County, was re-elected vice president. District Director races resulted in the re-elections of Ashur Terwilliger of Lowman, Chemung County, in District 4 and Dean Casey of Schaghticoke, Rensselaer County, in District 8.

New board members elected were Patrick McCormick of Java Center, Wyoming County, in District 2, Jake Schieferstine of Vernon, Oneida County, in District 6 and Chris Kelder of Accord, Ulster County, in District 10.

Phyllis Couture of West Valley, Cattaraugus County, was re-elected as the State Promotion and Education Committee chair and Nicole Rawleigh of Horseheads, Chemung County, was re-elected as the State Youth Farmer Committee chair.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Happy National Maple Syrup Day

Buckets capture sap from maple trees from the 2014 sugaring season.
Hey, everyone.

It's National Maple Syrup Day.

Celebrate with a stack of pancakes, some fluffy French toast or other maple convection for lunch or dinner. Or pour some maple syrup on ice cream for dessert or eat some maple candy.

What isn't good about maple -- so let's celebrate!!!!

New York Certfiied Organic to Talk Small Grains at Winter Meetings

The winter meetings for New York Certified Organic will be Jan. 13, Feb. 10 and March 10.

During these meetings, attendees will receive information to help grain and dairy farmers throughout the state.

The free New York Certified Organic meetings begin at 10 a.m. in the Jordan Hall auditorium at the state  Agricultural Experiment Station, 614 W. North St., Geneva.

The 2015 meetings will address a variety of topics including the increasing demand for NY-grown organic small grains.
Klaas Marten, a New York organic grain producer who also operates an organic grain mill in Penn Yan, will be among those discussing soil health for organic growers and the new Soil Renaissance Initiative that is drawing attention nationwide.

Additional topics for the meetings include why good forage quality is not a matter of luck and the perennial issue of weed control for organic crop growers.

The meetings also include question and answer session for brainstorming.

NYCO has received support funding from the New York Farm Viability Institute. 

"Forums such as those held by the New York Certified Organic group for more than 20 years now directly answer the needs and opportunities identified by the growers for critical attention," said Farm Viability Managing Director David Grusenmeyer.

Registration is not required; participants bring a dish to pass for the potluck lunch. For more details, contact Fay Benson at (607) 753-5213 or

Monday, December 15, 2014

Apple Harvest Didn't Meet Forecasted Numbers but Quality was Superb

The New York apple harvest for this year was good, with lots of great quality apples for people to enjoy.

New York Apple Association officials said growers throughout the state produced more varieties of apples, especially more of those consumers want, like Honeycrisp and Gala.

"That's in addition to producing the traditional New York state favorites such as McIntosh and Empire," said Julia Stewart, speaking for the apple association.

Exact numbers for the harvest will be available next year. Association President Jim Allen said

harvest numbers "will be less than 2013 and may not reach our five-year average of 28 million. But the quality is excellent and good size so that provides more fruit to market."

The 2013 harvest boasted a record of 32 million bushels of apples. The original harvest forecast for 2014 was 30 million, according to the apple association.

NYS Chosen to Participate in Farm-To-School Project

From the Associated Press:

New York is among eight states chosen to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's pilot project supporting the purchase of locally sourced produce by school lunch programs.

Rep. Chris Gibson, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, advocated for inclusion of the farm-to-school initiative in the federal Farm Bill. He said he'll work with farmers and educators in the Hudson Valley and Catskills to establish new farm-to-school partnerships in the coming year.

The state Office of General Services will administer the procurement project, which allows school districts to use a portion of their USDA Foods program funding to purchase unprocessed fruits and vegetables directly.

Other states participating are California, Connecticut, Michigan, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

NY State Farm Bureau Selects Award Winners

Left to right, Farm Bureau award winners Sarah Blood, Stuart Ziehm and Johanna Fox-Bossard

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

The dinner, sponsored by Farm Credit East, announced awards for Young Farmers, Promotion and Education and Membership.

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

The New York State Discussion Meet champion was Sarah Blood from Schoharie County, the Excellence of Agriculture award was presented to Johanna Fox-Bossard from Madison County and the 2014 New York State Achievement Award winner was Stuart Ziehm from Washington County.

Membership is a crucial part of Farm Bureau and many individuals took an active role in the campaign to increase numbers. Many individuals worked tirelessly to recruit new members and over 40 people were awarded for their efforts.

Lastly, the Farm Bureau awards the “Farm Bureau Key” to counties that excel in overall program accomplishment. Farm Bureaus in Chautauqua, Schuyler, Tompkins and Wyoming counties won the 2014 Gold Key Award.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 

And please, as you count your blessings, be sure to thank the farmers who toil every day for every morsel of food you enjoyed today.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Farm Bureau Reacts to Western NY Snow

Statement from New York Farm Bureau president on snow in Western New York:

“Our immediate concerns are with those farms that are dealing with the devastating impacts of the record snowfall," said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau.

"The snow load weighing down the roofs of barns and greenhouses remains a serious concern, and we encourage all farmers to keep a close watch on the conditions and prepare to move people, animals and equipment to a safer location if need be.

Dean Norton
"New York Farm Bureau is working with New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the rest of the team with the State Office of Emergency Management and Cornell Cooperative Extension to monitor the damage and response," he said. 

"In addition, we have been in touch with our Congressional delegation as well concerning needs and resources. We greatly appreciate everyone’s hard work in this emergency situation. New York Farm Bureau will assist our members to navigate any disaster assistance should it become available,” Norton said.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Southern Tier Farmer Takes His Tortilla Chips to the Shark Tank

Cameron Sheldrake, a farmer from the Southern Tier (near Newfield), is going to the sharks to get his business funded.

He will be seen on Shark Tank tonight as he moves forward in his Off the Cob Sweet Corn Tortilla Chips business.

To hear more about the business, go to this link to see his Kickstarter page and watch a video by Cameron. Or got to

Shark Tank is on at 9 p.m.

Massive Snowstorm Hampers Milk Collections

Yes, that killer storm out in Western New York is affecting farmers.

Read the story at this link.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Magazine Names NY "Wine Region of the Year"

From Jim Trezise of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation:

     When Wine Enthusiast magazine this week announced that New York state was chosen of "Wine Region of the Year"-- ahead of Champagne, Chianti, Sonoma, and Washington -- it was a long-awaited and fitting tribute to the hundreds of people in our industry who have worked so hard for so long to get better every day.

      It was also a tribute to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has created the best business climate in history for our industry; to former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who rescued a dying industry through legislation allowing us to grow; to the many legislators who have been a key part of our success; and to numerous organizations which have been such valuable partners for decades.
     On Valentine's Day of 1982, I left a secure and lucrative corporate job in Philadelphia and U-hauled my family and furniture to Penn Yan through a blizzard to become Executive Director of the New York State Wine Grape Growers.  The landscape was bleak: abandoned vineyards, padlocked wineries, ramshackle farms, zero hope.
     Today the Finger Lakes has well over 100 wineries, an international reputation for quality wines (especially Riesling), and consistent recommendations as one of the world's top wine country travel destinations.  The landscape has changed.

      Other regions, from Long Island to Lake Erie and even North Country, have had different evolutions but the same basic result: beautiful landscapes with passionate people making wonderful wines.

      Quality and cooperation have been key to New York's success.  We are so fortunate to have Cornell University and Cooperative Extension as our partners, and to also have so many grape growers, winery owners, and wine makers who, while technically competitors, cooperate in so many ways.

      Diversity is our strength; Unity is our power.  Excelsior!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

You Think Whole Milk is Bad for You? Read This

Great story.

I've known this for years, but so many consumers don't. They won't buy "whole" milk because they think it's loaded with fat. In fact, whole has only a little bit more fat than 2 percent and 1 percent.

Check this out by clicking on the link.

Program Set for November on Land Plans

Everyone should have a plan on what to do with his or her land in the future.

If you don't know how to get a plan going, plan to attend an upcoming seminar put on by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County.

Go to for more information.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hulu Streaming "Farmland"

In case you missed Farmland in theaters, the film is now available for streaming on Hulu

You can watch it at home, on a tablet or mobile device, on your computer and more, by going to

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nutrition Educators at Price Chopper This Friday

Want to get the most out of your grocery store visits?

Then check this out --

Great even coming up Friday at Price Chopper.

Oswego County Holiday Farmers Market Dec. 6

From Oswego County Cooperative Extension:

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County is putting on its sixth annual Oswego County Holiday Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6 as part of the “Christmas in Mexico” festivities. 

Attendees will be able to find great holiday gifts, decorations and food from local farmers. There is no better way to support the local economy than buying local.

In addition to finding local goods, customers have the opportunity to speak directly with the agricultural producers present at the market. This popular event usually draws a large crowd of more than 500 people. 

The Oswego County Holiday Farmers Market will be held at the Mexico VFW at 5930 Scenic Ave. (State Route 3) just north of the village of Mexico. Free coffee and hot chocolate will be provided and Santa Claus will make an appearance. 

For more information, call Lynnette Wright at 963-7286 ext. 203 or visit the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County website at

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Farmers Grant Fund Announced

Go to to check out the news.

Yogurt and Dairy Summit Today at Cornell

Dairy farmers, industry leaders and state officials are at Cornell University today (Oct. 15) for the 2014 Yogurt and Dairy Summit.

Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau, also will join dairy industry personnel in a discussion about a partnership to grow the dairy economy. Norton also participated in the “2012 Yogurt Summit.”

“New York Farm Bureau is once again looking forward to sitting down with the governor’s administration to discuss significant ways the state can support our dairy industry," Norton said. 

"From the family farm to the yogurt maker, each performs a vital role in our state’s rural economy.  By partnering together, we can develop new avenues to support this critical agricultural sector that drives job creation and produces local food across upstate New York,” he said.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Vilsack Discusses Bioproducts Shown at Showcase

Weekly column by Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack:

Today, small businesses and global companies alike have harnessed the power of America’s farms to create new biobased products that are used all around the world. 

Everything from cleaning products to packing peanuts originates in rural America, and the potential to create even more new products derived from the crops grown in rural America is nearly limitless.

Yesterday, I visited the first-ever Bioproducts World Showcase, hosted by the Ohio Bioproducts Innovation Center at Ohio State University. At the Showcase, I had the opportunity to see the latest and greatest in cutting edge innovation in the bioeconomy and speak with leaders across the bioeconomy about emerging opportunities and challenges in the bioeconomy.

In conjunction with the event, USDA also released a new report, titled Why Biobased?. The report is a precursor for a more comprehensive economic study to be released in the coming months that will capture the full economic impact of the biobased products industry in the United States.

Results from the new report show that the potential for future growth in the bioeconomy is significant. For example, two-thirds of the total volume of chemicals — more than 50,000 products and a $1 trillion annual global market — could be produced from biobased material. 

Recognizing this, many companies are forging ahead with the integration of biobased products into their market and product development design strategies. Estimates indicate that U.S.-based jobs for the renewable chemicals sector alone will rise from about 40,000 jobs in 2011, which represents 3 percent to 4 percent of all chemical sales, to over 237,000 jobs by 2025. 

This employment level would represent approximately 20% of total chemical sales.

The expanding bioeconomy means more than just additional choices for customers or new growth opportunities for companies along the supply chain — it also means new jobs. For example, shifting just 20 percent of the current plastics produced into bioplastics could create about 104,000 jobs. 

The U.S. Office of Science and Technology has projected that the economic growth associated with just one application – cellulose nanomaterials in the paper industry – could create as many as 425,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2020. Potential applications of nanocellulose particles include recyclable electronics, biobased plastics, paper and packaging materials with improved surfaces, flexible cement, automotive and aircraft components, and protective armor.

USDA has supported the growth of the bioeconomy through a variety of efforts. 

For example, our BioPreferred program, designed to help companies market biobased products, is now featured on more than 1,940 products sold in stores across the country. The 2014 Farm Bill expanded the BioPreferred program to include mature market wood products and other materials. 

Companies in more than 40 countries on six continents are now participating in the BioPreferred program. Under President Obama, the Federal Government has prioritized these biobased products for procurement and use. 

Later this week, USDA will launch a new prize competition for developers, institutions, organizations and design teams competing to demonstrate the architectural and commercial viability of using sustainable wood products in high-rise construction. 

The competition will help spur increased sustainability in construction and will give priority to applicants that source materials from rural domestic manufacturers and domestic, sustainably-managed forests.

These are some of the many ways USDA is helping to revitalize the economy and create jobs in small towns across America. Collectively, these efforts help to support an innovative biobased economy in rural America, which supports agriculture, helps reduce our dependence on oil and ultimately creates job opportunities and supports economic development in rural America.

November Event Draws Support to FFA in Jefferson County

Do you want to support FFA?

Then check out this link about an upcoming event in Jefferson County.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Oswego County Harvest Dinner Tonight in Oswego

We'll be celebrating all that's great in agriculture in Oswego County tonight at the annual Harvest Dinner at the American Foundry in Oswego.

It's Still Apple Season

Remember to get out there and get your New York apples and cider.

Event Coming Up Oct. 9 in the Hudson Valley

From American Farmland Trust:

An announcement concerning the new Hudson Valley Farmlink Network is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 9 at the Wright Family Farm, 329 Kings Highway, Warwick, Orange County.

The Hudson Valley Farmlink Network is a new partnership dedicated to connecting farmers and owners of agricultural land and strengthening opportunities for agriculture and land conservation in the Hudson Valley.  

The network offers new resources for senior farmers, next generation farmers and non-farming owners of agricultural land – and features the new Hudson Valley Farmland Finder website, which will help connect farmers looking for land and landowners seeking to sell or lease their land for farming. 

Attending the Oct. 9 event will be farmers, local, state and federal officials such as Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, land conservation and agricultural organization representatives such as James Delaunes of the Orange County Land Trust and David Haight, state director of American Farmland Trust.

More information about the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network can be found 

The Hudson Valley Farmlink Network is funded thanks to the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The network is coordinated by American Farmland Trust and includes the following partners:

·         Agricultural Stewardship Association
·         Catskills FarmLink
·         Columbia Land Conservancy
·         Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County
·         Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County
·         Dutchess Land Conservancy
·         Glynwood
·         GrowNYC
·         Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York
·         NY FarmLink
·         Orange County Land Trust
·         Saratoga PLAN
·         Stone Barns Center
·         Westchester Land Trust