Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Morrisville State Places First in Dairy Judging Contest at World Dairy Expo

Cattle judging at the World Dairy Expo. Photo by Nina Linton Photography.
Morrisville State College placed first Monday in the International Post-Secondary Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.

Team member Evan Castrogiovanni took top individual honors.

SUNY Cobleskill came in second place and Alfred State came in sixth.

Here is the news release from the World Dairy Expo:

Morrisville State College placed first in the International Post-Secondary Dairy Cattle Judging Contest held Monday, Sept. 29 at World Dairy Expo. 

The winning team was anchored by first place overall high individual and overall reasons individual, Evan Castrogiovanni. Other team members included Alton Rudgers, Logan Martin, also finishing in the top 10, and Drew Hill, placing 13th overall. 

Aaron Berg, of UW-Farm and Industry Short Course, placed second overall following Castrogiovanni by just one point.

Thirteen Post-Secondary teams competed in the contest which included two portions: a conventional judging contest with evaluation and individual reasons, and a practical segment. The practical contest is a unique contest that includes essential on-farm skills with linear scoring, registered heifer evaluations and commercial heifer evaluations. 
Team and individual results for both portions are as follows:
Overall Top 10 Teams
1. Morrisville State College “A”, 2,169
Team members: Evan Castrogiovanni, Alton Rudgers, Logan Martin, Drew Hill

2. SUNY Cobleskill, 2,104
Team members: Devin Sickles, Tyler Hymers, Kimberly Merlau, Ericka Gogis

3. Modesto Jr. College, 2,089
Team members: Andrew Vaz, Joya Lemos, Mark Vieira, Michael Davis

4. Merced Community College, 2,042
Team members: Anton Fernandes, Clinton Lundell, Wyatt Sherron

5. Michigan State University Ag Tech 1,990
Team members: Allie Elzinga, Allison Pung, Jenna Martin, Rebecca Swartzendruber
6. Alfred State College, 1,981
Team members: Megan George, Oliver Ewell, Nicholas Mears

7. Kaskaskia College, 1,911
Team members:  Caleb Brink, Chelsea Jean, Addy Brennan, Dakota Grayling

8. Lakeshore Technical College “A”, 1,904
Team members:  Evan Schrauth, Drew Buiter, Vanessa Bobzien, Stephanie Baus

9. Zamorano “A”, 1,893
Team members: Camilo Duran, Andrea Rubio, Simon Spragge, Anasthasia Mora
10. Zamorano “B”, 1,859
Team members: Santiago Rosero, Luis Castellanos, Alvaro Tello, Nathaly Montano

Overall Top 10 Individuals
1.  Evan Castrogiovanni, 732, Morrisville State College “A”
2. Aaron Berg, 731, UW-Farm & Industry Short Course
3. Andrew Vaz, 725, Modesto Jr. College
4. Alton Rudgers, 719, Morrisville State College “A”
5. Logan Martin, 718, Morrisville State College “A”
6. Devin Sickles, 718, SUNY Cobleskill
7. Tyler Hymers, 713, SUNY Cobleskill
8. Anton Fernandes, 699, Merced Community College
9. Megan George, 691, Alfred State College
10. Allie Elzinga, 689, Michigan State University Ag Tech
Top 5 Team Reasons
1. Morrisville State College “A”, 538
2. SUNY Cobleskill, 503
3. Alfred State College, 493
4. Michigan State University Ag Tech, 492
5. Modesto Jr. College, 489
Top 10 Individual Reasons
1. Evan Castrogiovanni, 180, Morrisville State College “A”
2. Alton Rudgers, 179, Morrisville State College “A”
3. Logan Martin, 179, Morrisville State College “A”
4. Megan George, 175, Alfred State College
5. Allison Pung, 173, Michigan State University Ag Tech
6. Devin Sickles, 171, SUNY Cobleskill
7. Andrew Vax, 170, Modesto Jr. College
8. Chelsea Jean, 169, Kaskaskia College
9. Tyler Hymers, 168, SUNY Cobleskill
10. Aaron Berg, 165, UW-Farm & Industry Short Course
Top 5 Teams Practical Contest
1. University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 469
2. SUNY Cobleskill, 444
3. Alfred State College, 424
4. Kaskaskia College, 376
5. Modesto Jr. College, 359
Top 5 Teams Linear Contest
1. University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 373
2. Kaskaskia College, 355
3. SUNY Cobleskill, 338
4. Modesto Jr. College, 323
5. Lakeshore Technical College “A”, 269
Top 10 Individuals Linear Contest
1. Allison Quick, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 141
2. Chelsea Jean, Kaskaskia College, 128
3. Andrew Vaz, Modesto Jr. College, 120
4. Tyler Hymers, SUNY Cobleskill, 119
4. Deven Sickles, SUNY Cobleskill, 119
5. Dakota Grayling, Kaskaskia College, 118
5. Brooks Hendrickson, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 118
6. Jacob Leum, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 114
7. Megan George, Alfred State College, 111
8. Michelle Hintz, Fox Valley Technical College, 110
Top 5 Teams Registered Class
1. University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 186
2. Alfred State College, 178
3. SUNY - Cobleskill, 163
4. Kaskaskia College, 123
5. Lakeshore Technical College “A”, 122
Top 5 Practical Commercial Class
1. SUNY Cobleskill, 169
2. Alfred State College, 165
3. University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 159
4. Modesto Jr. College, 158
5. Kaskaskia College, 135

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tug Hill Vineyards in Lewis County Receives Funding

From Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand:

A total of $62,924 is being awarded to Tug Hill Vineyards in Lewis County to increase wine production at the facility. 

The federal funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program and will be used to purchase essential equipment needed to efficiently increase wine production at Tug Hill Vineyards.

“This is federal funding is great news for Lewis County and Tug Hill Vineyards,” said Sen. Charles Schumer. “This funding will provide Tug Hill the funds needed to help them to expand and provide more consumers with their quality products. Making sure we support our agricultural businesses in Upstate New York will always be a priority of mine.”

 “New York’s world-class vineyards produce some of the finest grapes, grown by hard-working farm families,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee who wrote to USDA in support of Tug Hill’s project. 

“This investment in the Tug Hill Vineyard will help ensure they get the resources they need to expand their business with the purchase of critical equipment. This will help bring their products to market and continue to drive economic growth in their region.”

“Increasing the diversity of agricultural production and adding value to the crops grown in Lewis County are key components of economic development. The economic impacts associated with Tug Hill Vineyards’ growth and success impacts all of Lewis County,” said Larry Dolhof, president of the  Lewis County Development Corp. “The Vineyard is directly responsible for an increase in local employment, retail sales of wine and berries, and tourism related to the wine industry and the vineyards special events capacity.”

“We are so pleased to receive this funding to support the expansion of Tug Hill Vineyards,” said Sue Maring, owner of Tug Hill Vineyards. “We look forward to procuring state of the art equipment necessary for increased wine production.”

Tug Hill Vineyards was established in 2007 and consists of 20 acres of grapevines on a 40-acre  estate. Tug Hill Vineyards produces red and golden raspberries as well as blueberries in addition to grapes. They also produce a variety of wines both dry and sweet.

USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grants are available to towns, State agencies, tribes and non-profits. They are used to support development of rural small businesses, distance learning networks and adult job training education programs. The RBEG program’s grants finance and facilitate development of small and emerging rural businesses to grow the economy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Farm Bureau, Counties, Towns Oppose Changes to Clean Water Act

From New York Farm Bureau:

In a strong show of support for farmers in this state and their own taxpayers, 35 counties and 17 towns in New York have passed strongly worded resolutions asking the Environmental Protection Agency to withdrawal its proposal to expand the definition of Waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

New York Farm Bureau has challenged the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers on its proposed rule changes that we believe is an overreach of the CWA.  

The confusing and vague language in the new definition opens up the potential for dry land and ditches to now be considered federally controlled waters. The bureaucratic nightmare and costly permitting process that this would create would not only impact agriculture across this state but also local taxpayers and homeowners who would be subject to additional federal regulations, permits and expensive fines.
In response, the large number of county and town resolutions opposing this effort has been forwarded to the EPA, which is accepting comments on the matter through Oct. 20. 

New York Farm Bureau has also released a new video highlighting the real concerns farmers have about the EPA’s potential land grab.  You may view the video here: http://youtu.be/s85XUF1QEvw

Monday, September 22, 2014

It's National Farm Safety and Health Week

From New York Farm Bureau and NYCAMH:

New York Farm Bureau and the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health are recognizing “National Farm Safety and Health Week” which runs Sept. 21-27

The theme this year is “Safety Counts: Protecting What Matters.”  It serves as a reminder for the nearly 36,000 farms in the state that strive to provide a safe workplace environment for their family members and employees.

Dean Norton
“We encourage all of our farmer members who are especially busy with harvest this time of year to think of safety first. Farming can be a dangerous occupation, but great strides have been made in New York to reduce risks on the farm," said Farm Bureau President Dean Norton.

"It is important that our farms review their safety protocols and 'protect what matters' this week and all year long,” he said.

This sentiment is also shared by Sam Parks, NYCAMH’s promotion coordinator.

“There is no greater reward than to work with the people that help to feed us three times a day. Often their struggles go unnoticed as they work day to day," Parks said. "Although farm work comes with some risks, much has been done in the New York farm community to address workplace hazards. 

"Despite the challenges in farming, agriculture is a great way of life and is filled with many rewards. During this week we salute our farmers and encourage them to take some time to celebrate their hard work, and think about ways to create a culture of safety on their farm,” Parks said.

Webinars Tuesday on Margin Protection Program

Cooperative Extensions across the state are hosting webinars or informational meetings Sept. 23 concerning the new Margin Protection Program.

USDA New York State Farm Service Agency Executive Director James Barber encourages dairy producers to attend one of several statewide informational meetings or webinars. Webinar participants will learn about MPP-Dairy from milk marketing expert, Dr. Andrew Novakovic, of Cornell University. 

Novakovic has been part of a national dairy markets and policy team, developing materials to assist farmers in understanding the new MPP-Dairy program. The presentation will detail program guidelines and demonstrate resources that producers can use to weigh the benefits of different participation options. 

Farm Service Agency employees will be on hand at several of these meetings to answer questions related to program policy USDA also launched a new Web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under MPP-Dairy that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions.

Visit http://www.dairymarkets.org/MPP/Meetings/New%20York%20Extension.pdf for a list of scheduled webinars and meetings.

MPP-Dairy is a voluntary risk management program authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill). MPP-Dairy offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. 

This program is designed to protect dairy producers from the volatility of milk, grain and forage production prices. MPP-Dairy sign-up opened Sept. 2 and ends Nov. 28, 2014,for the 2015 program year.

The online resource, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, allows dairy producers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone, tablet or any other platform, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information about the MPP-Dairy program, contact your local FSA Office or review the Fact Sheet: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/mpp_dairy.pdf

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Deadline Sept. 22 to Sign Up for Fruit Disaster Program

From the USDA:

The enrollment period for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program ends Sept. 22.

USDA New York Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director
James Barber said the assistance is offered for losses to bush or
tree fruit crops due to frost or freeze during the 2012 crop year. The program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides supplemental NAP payment to eligible producers.

Farmers who did not have access to crop insurance and are in primary and adjacent counties that received a Secretarial disaster designation because of frost or freeze in 2012 are eligible for NAP
assistance. Losses due to weather damage or other adverse natural occurrences may also qualify.

“Fruit producers who experienced significant financial losses from weather-related damages in 2012 are encouraged to visit a local FSA office to enroll in the NAP Program," said Barber. "This disaster program will provide producers with long awaited disaster relief."

To expedite applications, producers who experienced losses are encouraged to collect records documenting these losses in preparation for sign-up. 

Producers also are encouraged to contact their FSA county office to schedule an appointment prior to the Sept. 22, 2014 deadline. Limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and beginning producers are eligible for premium reductions and also may be eligible for fee reductions.

The following counties are eligible for NAP frost/freeze assistance: Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, Oswego, Cortland, Madison, Wayne, Jefferson, Lewis, Seneca, Albany, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Essex, Fulton, Genesee, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Livingston, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Steuben, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren, Washington and Wyoming.

Further information on NAP is available on FSA's website http://www.fsa.usda.gov/nap   or by

contacting a local FSA office: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=ny&agency=fsa

Hey Ladies, Go Eat an Apple

Check this out -- http://www.wwnytv.com/features/interviews/Study-Says-Apples-Can-Help-Womens-Sex-Life-274770891.html

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dairy Sale Sept. 20 at Morrisville State College

From Morrisville State College:

Morrisville State College will have its 32nd annual Autumn Review Sale Sept. 20.

The sale, run by the Morrisville State Dairy Club, will start at 11 a.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building on Eaton Street in Morrisville. A total of 101 lots will be sold on consignment at the sale. 

The majority for sale are Holstein (calves, cows, embryos and picks), in addition to two Jerseys and two Milking Shorthorns.

The sale catalog can be viewed at http://www.cattlexchange.com/sales.htm and up-to-the-minute information will be posted on Facebook at “MSC 32nd Autumn Review Sale.”

There will also be a silent auction that will include dairy supplies and collectibles, feed and forage and baked goods.  Morrisville Fresh LLC will also be selling their products, including lettuce and cheese curds, and the Collegiate FFA will be selling food.

The Morrisville State Dairy Club enhances students’ knowledge of the dairy industry through participation in activities like the annual Autumn Review Sale and field trips.

Run by Morrisville State’s faculty and students in dairy production classes, and the college’s dairy clubs, proceeds from the sale support dairy club trips, the dairy judging team, academic programs, and various activities and events.

Does the School Year Calendar Have Anything to do With Farming?

Interesting story http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/debunking-myth-summer-vacation/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=pbsofficial&utm_campaign=newshour about agrarian society and the school year calendar.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Harvest Dinner in Oswego County Set for Oct. 3

Onions, apples, meats and more, all grown in Oswego County, will be featured during the upcoming Harvest Dinner on Oct. 3 at the American Foundry in Oswego.

To celebrate the rich bounty of local food Oswego County produces, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County is holding the fifth annual Oswego County Harvest Dinner beginning at 6:15 p.m. The event will showcase the quality and diversity of agriculture in Oswego County by featuring food grown and sourced from local farmers and agriculture businesses.

Tickets for the event are $35 for one or $65 for two and must be purchased ahead of time. Prepaid reservations can be made by sending payment to CCE of Oswego County, Harvest Dinner, 3288 Main St., Mexico, NY 13114. No tickets will be sold at the door. 

As in the past the event is expected to sell out, so make your reservations now!

The evening will start with a social hour, including appetizers and a sampling of Oswego County beverages. Guests will be served a six-course meal showcasing the delicious and diverse agricultural products produced in Oswego County, followed by guest speaker Terry Ettinger, the host of "Garden Journeys" on Time Warner Cable News television.

There also will be raffle baskets featuring Oswego County’s finest agricultural products and more. 

For more information on the Oswego County Harvest Dinner please call 315-963-7286 or e-mail LKW39@cornell.edu.

Farm Bill's Effects on New Farmers Subject of Sept. 9 Program

The USDA is conducting a discussion at 3 p.m. Sept. 9 on how the Farm Bill is affecting new and beginning farmers and ranchers.

Check out a story about the program at http://ruralcommunitybuilding.fb.org/2014/09/04/the-farm-bills-impact-on-new-farmers/ this link.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Retaining Youth to Work in Ag in Upstate NY

Interesting read on retaining youth in ag careers in Upstate New York.

Go to http://www.thedailynewsonline.com/lifestyles/article_9aa93186-325a-11e4-b5d4-001a4bcf887a.html to check it out.

How to Make the Perfect Milkshake

From the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council:

Postage Stamps Honor Farmers Markets

From the USDA:

Four postage stamps honoring farmers markets were unveiled at a farmers market near the White House this week.
Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack said the stamps will help keep farmers markets on people's minds.
"A lot of folks have talked about the benefits of farmers markets and that’s certainly true. This postage stamp will give us the opportunity to focus on those benefits. It’s been mentioned that it obviously is access to great food and I’d encourage everybody to spend a few bucks while you’re here," Vilsack said.
Vilsack said the stamps are coming out at a great time as farmers markets are very popular these days. "We’ve seen a dramatic increase in farmers markets across the United States. A 76 percent increase and today we have over 8,268 markets throughout the United States," he said.
The artist who created the stamps said she was inspired by farmers markets she attends.
"They show some of what you can get there and the freshness and the spirit of the market. They’re a community gathering spot. They’re a wonderful place to get good, fresh food, and you get to meet your farmers," said Robin Moline, farmers market stamp illustrator.
To find a market in New York state, go to the Farmers Market Federation of New York website at  http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/farmers-market-profiles/markets/markets.html

Stay Away from Those Action Dramas

From Cornell University:

Can watching dramatic television make you fat? 

Yes, according to a new Cornell Food and Brand Lab study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine. 

The study finds that fast-paced television programs might lead people to eat twice as much food.

“More stimulating programs that are fast paced and include many camera cuts, really draw you in and distract you from what you’re eating,” said lead author Aner Tal, post-doctoral researcher at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. “They can make you eat more because you’re paying less attention to how much you are putting in your mouth.”

In the study people snacked on chocolates, cookies, carrots and grapes while watching 20 minutes of different television and movie genres. Those who watched an action movie ate almost twice as many snacks – 98 percent more – than those watching a news talk show.

“The good news for action movie lovers, is they can choose to eat healthy foods while watching their favorite shows,” according to co-author Brian Wansink, Professor of Marketing and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, “Take advantage of this!”

To see a video explaining the research, go to http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/OP/watch-what-you-eat

File Now for Disaster-Related Losses

From the Farm Service Agency:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014.

Anyone who has not filed by that date may see congressionally mandated payment reductions.

Livestock producers who have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible.

The Budget Control Act passed by Congress in 2011 requires USDA to implement reductions of 7.3 percent to the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) in the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2014

However, producers seeking Livestock Forage Disaster Program support who have scheduled appointments with their local FSA office before Oct. 1, even if the appointment occurs after Oct.1, will not see reductions in the amount of disaster relief they receive.

USDA is encouraging producers to register, request an appointment or begin a Livestock Forage Disaster Program application with their county FSA office before Oct. 1, 2014, to lock in the current zero percent sequestration rate. 

As an additional aid to qualified producers applying for LFP, the Farm Service's Agency has developed an online registration that enables farmers and ranchers to put their names on an electronic list before the deadline to avoid reductions in their disaster assistance. This is an alternative to visiting or contacting the county office. 

To place a name on the Livestock Forage Disaster Program list online, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster-register.

Producers who already contacted the county office and have an appointment scheduled need do nothing more.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Interest Rates Announced for Commodity Credit Corp.

From the USDA:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corp. this week announced interest rates for September 2014. 

The CCC borrowing rate-based charge for September is 0.125 percent, unchanged from 0.125 percent in August.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during September is 1.125 percent, unchanged from 1.125 percent in August.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for September are as follows, 2.125 percent with seven-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.125 percent in August; 2.500 percent with 10-year loan terms, down from 2.625 percent in August and; 2.625 percent with 12-year loan terms, down from 2.750 percent in August. 

The interest rate for 15-year Sugar Storage Facility Loans for September is 2.750 percent, down from 2.875 percent in August.

Further program information is available from USDA Farm Service Agency's (FSA) Financial Management Division at 202-772-6041.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Get Out and Get Your NYS Apples

OK. I said it earlier this week, but now I'm going to say it again.

It's apple time.

Here is the post from the New York Apple Association on Facebook:

Now that New York's apple harvest is underway, we know you’ll want to go apple picking, or to find a farm market or cider producer near you. Our beautiful website’s new locator maps make that really easy! Just type in your ZIP code to find producers near you. You’ll even get a map and directions. Check it out at: http://www.nyapplecountry.com/find