Friday, February 27, 2015

Northern New York Agricultural Development Program Posts Economic Impact Report

A total of 29 projects funded by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program are included in the recently released economic impact report for 2014 projects.

The report can be seen at The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program serves Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties and provides help and money for farmer-selected agricultural research and technical assistance projects.

The projects for 2014 focused on dairy and field crops production, crop and livestock pest and disease management, agricultural environmental management, beef production and marketing and fruit and vegetable production.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New York Farm Show Opens Today

Anyone who wants to see the largest and greatest in agriculture should head to Syracuse today.

It’s time again for the New York Farm Show, set for 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. today through Saturday at the New York State Fairgrounds in Geddes.

The show is celebrating its 30th year and this year, there will be more than 215,000 square feet of exhibition space, all indoors in six fairgrounds buildings (Center of Progress, Dairy, Horticulture, International, Art and Home and Science).

In addition to booths and demonstrations of the newest and brightest ideas in agriculture, there also are a number of new workshops and p[roducts being displayed this year.


New ag workshops on Thursday include programs for new and beginning farmers, agroforestry operations and retail and wholesale meat opportunities.

Friday’s new programs will foscus on grants available for ag producers, how to profit from the Dairy Profit Monitor and information form the Dairy Farm Business Management summary.

On Saturday, new programs will be conducted on draft horses as a power source, used tractor buying tips for small farms and reducing heifer raising costs by grazing.


About 420 exhibitors will show new products at the show. Check out the varaious booths in the six buildings to see some of these products on display:

** Automaitc feeding system which works 24/7 to put fresh feed from silos or feed kitchens right in front of dairy cows or heifers.

** Airless ski-steer wheels from Michelin which have greater wear on concrete and asphalt.

** Autodrive, autosteer guidance systems for tractors, sprayers and combines.

** Calf milk taxi that makes calf feeding easier, with larger tanks, new dispensing display monitors, larger wheels, automatic cleaning and LED driving lights for after-dark feeding.

** Compact water drinker made to fill with a nose push from an animal.

** Cow monitoring system using eartag microchip technology

** Dairy waterbed with two isolated chambers, one for the cow’s body and one for her knees and hocks

** Heavy-duty wheel loader which uses 25 percent less diesel fuel

** High-density round baler eliminated the need for a cam track and can roll higher bale densities 4 feet wide and up to 60 inches high

** Italian ryegrass which can produce several cuttings of high-quality forage

** United Wind wind turbine leases for farms

** Loader bucket shoe controls the leading edge of loader buckets and is perfect for moving snow and mulch and keeping the blade from surface digging

** Mobile lagoon agitator eliminates the expense of lagoon or pit cleanout once the pit or lagoon is pumped out

** Neoprene boots keep feet dry

** Organic hybrid seed corn

** Precast pasture bunk made of concrete with ½-inch rebar and 10-gauge wire

** Wide-discharge spreader that provides faster unloading with improved material breakup.


Some of the most popular workshops from years past will be back. Topics include farm safety; woodlot management and other wood issues; daily dairy robotics roundtable discussions; and programs for beef producers.

Tickets to the show are $5 at the door. Children less than age 18 are admitted for free. Free parking and bus shuttles are available.

New York Farm Bureau Lists its National Agenda

While in Washington, DC meeting with members of the state’s congressional delegation, New York Farm Bureau released its national public policy priorities for the year. 

The agenda originated at the grassroots level and is member approved.


Immigration reform remains a top priority for the state’s farmers and their employees. NYFB has long pushed for a flexible guest-worker visa program that addresses both seasonal and long-term needs of New York agriculture.  

There is of special concern as the House of Representatives is looking to move ahead with an enforcement only action that American Farm Bureau Federation estimates could cost the country’s farmers as much as $60 billion and raise food prices by 5 percent to 6 percent. New York Farm Bureau is calling for a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that also takes agricultural labor needs into account.

“We need a stable workforce on our farms that benefits the rural economy and the local food supply,” said NYFB President Dean Norton during the conference call with reporters. “It must be comprehensive. Enforcement-only reforms put the chicken before the egg so to speak. They all need to go together.”


The implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is also a public policy priority. New York’s farmers already participate in a host of food safety programs and audits, but the Food and Drug Administration is instituting new food safety rules. 

This past year NYFB submitted comments to the FDA over its planned rollout of FSMA.  NYFB is pleased many of the concerns were addressed relating to proposed requirements for animal feed and the commodity value threshold that would trigger the new regulations on an individual farm. 

However, there are additional changes that NYFB would like to see before the rules take effect. This includes reworking the unscientific standards FDA has established for irrigation water.  The organization will continue to work with the FDA and fellow stakeholders so the final rules address the real risks that exist and can be successfully implemented on our farms. In the end, both public health and agriculture will benefit.


New York Farm Bureau has long been in opposition to proposed changes to the Clean Water Act that it believe broadens the jurisdiction from navigable waters to dry land. This month farmers had a partial victory in their campaign when the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers withdrew their interpretive rule as mandated by both Congress and the President.  

Contrary to what the agencies had claimed, the farm exemptions provided in the Interpretive Rule actually narrowed “normal farming and ranching” exemptions by imposing burdensome new requirements for farmers and ranchers.

NYFB will continue to advocate for the repeal of the full rule through Congressional action to stop the EPA and the Army Corps from expanding federal jurisdiction onto New York farms.


NYFB has been closely monitoring the USDA’s rollout of the 2014 Farm Bill. It is imperative the new programs and expanded crop insurance follow the intent of the law that was passed.

Nearly half of the dairy farms in New York state have signed up for the new Margin Protection Program. This will offer a safety net should dropping milk prices fall below a selected margin, which is the gap between the price of milk and the cost of feed. Over the past few months, lower milk prices have underscored the need for effective risk management.   

NYFB will work with lawmakers to insure that it is meeting the needs as it was intended.

The organization will also review the development of new and enhanced programs for specialty crops, including the NAP buy-up crop insurance program.


With a growing export market for a number of things that farmers produce in New York, New York Farm Bureau will continue to support the next generation of trade negotiations that remove unscientific barriers and high tariffs and provide new opportunities for our farms.

This includes renewing the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). It is imperative that the White House and Congress be on the same page during trade negotiations.  Swift passage in Congress without additional individual member amendments to already negotiated pacts is essential to having successful trade policy.

NYFB also will continue to oppose limitations based on the use of geographic indicators. New York is a big dairy producing state, but if farms and cooperatives can’t market cheeses based on how they are known around the world, like parmesan for instance, this will put New York products at a serious competitive disadvantage.


NYFB’s final top priority will be to support additional funding for school and local food purchasing programs, food infrastructure initiatives and food-based entrepreneurship programs.  

Funding for these was allocated in the Farm Bill and it serves many important needs. For one, it connects farmers with those who often have limited access to healthy food, including children and seniors in low income communities or urban food deserts. 

Not only do these programs put food on the table but they also support local farms in New York. 

This priority also includes efforts to increase farmer food donations. Last year, New York’s farmers donated a record amount of food, more than 10 million pounds, to regional food banks across the state. NYFB would like to see that climb even higher.

Its members support the Fighting Hunger Incentive Tax Act that would help offset the costs of harvesting, packaging and transporting the food to the donation site. Corporations, like big box stores, receive a similar tax credit for food donations, and they are not the ones actually growing the food.

“We want to encourage greater donations and provide an important source of fresh, local food for low-income New Yorkers who may not have access to this food otherwise,’ said Elizabeth Wolters, NYFB’s associate director of national affairs. “It’s a win-win for our communities and our farms.”

“New York agriculture is a large part of the state’s economy. Over $5 billion in direct farm receipts and more than 200,000 jobs are created by agriculture," said farm bureau President Norton. "These issues are important to us as we strive to move the economy forward. We look forward to working with our congressional representatives to make sure that happens for us on the national level.”

Piglets, Sows Will Return to New York State Fair

From the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

Sow and piglets from a previous state fair
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball and New York State Veterinarian Dr. David Smith today announced the return of the hugely popular piglets and sows exhibit and competition at the 2015 Great New York State Fair.  

In 2014, due to a relatively new virus known as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), which has a high mortality rate among piglets, a decision was made by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to suspend the exhibit to protect the well-being of piglets and their mothers.  

Due to the fact that there were no reported cases at the State Fair as well as county fairs in 2014, coupled with no unusual uptick in cases this winter in contrast with last winter, Commissioner Ball and Dr. Smith have made the decision to allow this exhibit to return in 2015.

“I’ve gotten more questions on the status of this exhibit for 2015 than I can count, and after careful consideration by the one of best animal health experts in the country, we couldn’t be more pleased that this wildly popular exhibit is returning to the Fair in 2015,” said Ball. 

“We are first and foremost an agricultural fair, and we take our responsibility as caregivers to the animals there very seriously," Ball said. "This is great news for fairgoers coming to the premier agritourism location in New York State in 2015.”

“We’ve been monitoring this situation with respect to PEDv very closely since its outbreak almost two years ago,” said Dr. Smith. “Our staff was at every agricultural fair in New York state last year monitoring animal health and no evidence of the virus was reported.  Vaccines were also made available to pork producers last year with some success."

A welcome home party for this popular exhibit will take place during the Fair’s media preview day Wednesday, Aug. 26. At any given New York State Fair, there are between four and six sows with eight to 12 piglets each. Fair officials estimate that as many as half of all fairgoers visit the swine-and-piglets exhibit during the 12-day extravaganza.  

New York had 70,000 hogs on Dec 1, 2014, up from 66,000 on Dec. 1, 2013. 

Ed Dutton, owner of Churchill Farms in Holland, NY, said, “As a longtime exhibitor, I think this is great news for fairgoers because seeing piglets with their mothers up close is always one of the most positive experiences at the Fair.” 

Dr. Smith encourages exhibitors at every agricultural fair in the state to practice sound biosecurity to protect their animals, including:

  • 4H-ers purchasing feeder pigs for their fair projects should only acquire their feeders from reputable farms. If they’re from out of state ask to see the certificate of veterinary inspection.
  • All swine should be examined closely before taking them to the fair.  Exhibitors should take their animals’ temperature prior to the trip to the fair. Swine with temperatures over 102.5 should be left home.
  • If any of your pigs have diarrhea, no pigs from the affected farm should go to the fair.
  • All exhibitors should practice a high level of sanitation at every fair, including avoiding unnecessary contact with other swine and other exhibitors’ equipment.
  • Left over feed and bedding are best discarded at the fair and not brought home, since these materials are very difficult or impossible to disinfect.
  • Isolate all pigs after returning home for at least 2 weeks. Observe pigs closely during this period and consult a veterinarian if any become sick
Hand sanitizers will again be used at barns located throughout the 12-day fair.

PEDv is relatively new to the US, first appearing in the Midwest in May 2013 and has taken a heavy toll on the nation’s hog farmers, having caused the death of millions of piglets since its outbreak. When sows and litters become infected, PEDv kills nearly 100 percent of piglets less than 10 days old, while pigs older than 10 days tend to recover.

New Network Planned for Women in Agriculture

Go to to check out the story.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Happy FFA Week!

It's National FFA Week.

Here is something about it from the FFA website:

"Each year, FFA chapters around the country celebrate National FFA Week. The week-long tradition began in 1947 when the National FFA Board of Directors designated the week of George Washington's birthday as National FFA Week in recognition of his legacy as an agriculturist and farmer. The first National FFA Week was held in 1948. Today, FFA Week always runs Saturday to Saturday and encompasses Feb. 22, Washington's birthday."

NY Milk Production Up in January

New York milk production during January 2015 totaled 1.18 billion pounds, up 3.7 percent from last January 2014, Blair Smith, state statistician of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York Field Office, said Monday.

Production per cow averaged 1,910 pounds in January, 65 pounds more than January 2014. The number of milk cows on farms in the state was 616,000 head, 1,000 head more than January 2014, and 1,000 more head than December 2014.

The average milk price received by New York farmers in December 2014, at $22.30 per hundredweight (11.6 gallons) was down $1.50 from November and 90 cents from December a year ago.

Dairy of Distinction Applications Due April 15

From the Dairy of Distinction website:

Applications for the Dairy of Distinction Program are due April 15.

"Established in 1983, the Northeast Dairy Farm Beautification Program recognizes the hard work and dedication of dairy owner / operators who have attractive, well-kept farms and promote a good dairy industry image," states the website. "All active dairy farms in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Vermont are eligible to apply for the Dairy of Distinction award."

Winning farms receive the special Dairy of Distinction roadside sign for their farmstead.

The Dairy of Distinction Program is based on the concept that attractive farmsteads enhance consumer confidence in the dairy industry. The award also recognizes the hard work and efforts of all Northeast dairy farmers.

 “This grassroots recognition has been the key to the program,” said William Underwood, New York’s first president and farmer from Tully, Onondaga County. “This is one way dairy farmers can directly promote their industry.”

To apply for the award, an application must be submitted to the secretary for your state by April 15. The New York state secretary is Nancy Putman, 80 Chipman Corners Road, Lisbon, (315) 322-5493,

Roadside farm judging takes place in May and is based on the condition of the farm and livestock.Winning farms will be notified in late May or June. Winners are re-judged every year to ensure they maintain the high standards of the award.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Milk is Always Checked for Antibiotics

Check out this video.

Go to to check it out.

Program on Research Results Set for Feb. 27 in Chazy

From the North Country Agricultural Development Program:

North Country farmers will hear the results of on-farm research funded by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program at 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27 at the Miner Institute in Chazy.

Registration is not required to attend.

The afternoon program is expected to have presentations on:

** The Juneberry ‘superfruit’ nursery established with Northern New York Agricultural Development Program funding at the Willsboro Research Farm,
** The latest corn grain variety trials results,
** An update on the Northern New York corn and soybean disease survey and database results which has identifying emerging and potentially new challenges for regional crop producers,
** How evaluating alfalfa-grass crops before and after harvest can improve forage quality,
** Mastitis-causing pathogens that are becoming more prevalent in NY dairy herds,
** Parasite management strategies for sheep and goat producers, and
** Update on how the long-term Northern New York Agricultural Development Program funding that successfully developed a biocontrol for managing alfalfa snout beetle is paying off with extension of the protocol to manage pests in other agricultural systems in Northern New York and statewide.

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is a farmer-driven research and technical assistance program serving all sectors of the agricultural industry, from dairy and crops to livestock, maple and horticultural production, in Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton and Essex  counties.

Learn more and find research reports posted online at

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Winter Dairy Management Meeting March 2 in Mexico

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County will host the 2015 Winter Dairy Management Workshop via webinar from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, March 2 at its office on Main Street, Mexico.

Speakers will focus on improving milk components to increase profit. The cost is $15 and includes lunch. Call 963-7286 to register.

Days Agenda:

9:30 a.m. – Registration & Sign-up for FSA Borrower Training Credits

9:45 a.m. - Introductions & Introductory Points

10 to 10:30 a.m. - Impact of Milk Components on the Milk Check
Jason Karszes, Cornell PRO-DAIRY Program

10:30 to 11:15 a.m. - Understanding Income over Feed Costs and its Impact on Profitability
Betsey Howland, Cornell PRO-DAIRY Program

11:15 to noon - Nutrition’s Impact on Milk Components Part 1
Dave Balbian, Cornell Cooperative Extension

Noon to 1 p.m. - LUNCH - Registration includes light lunch

1 to 1:45 p.m. - Nutrition’s Impact on Milk Components
Dave Balbian, CCE (continuation of morning presentation)

1:45 to 2:30 p.m. - Case Farm Example
Producer story of increased profitability through improved milk components

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lowville Academy Grad Finishes Strong at National Competition

Ashley Willits, a Morrisville State College student from Copenhagen, Lewis County, earned a spot in the "Sweet 16" as one of the top finishers in the Collegiate Discussion Meet at the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference in Nashville.

Willits, who represented the New York Farm Bureau, was one of 47 participants in the meet. She is a freshman in the agriculture business program and qualified for the national competition after placing first at the New York State Collegiate Discussion Meet competition held at Morrisville State.

During the three-day leadership and development conference in Tennessee, Willits participated in many educational sessions where she learned about the Farm Bill, growing trends in the agricultural industry and how to be a better leader.

The Collegiate Discussion Meet is a competition in which four contestants simulate a committee meeting where they discuss rising issues in the agricultural industry and develop possible solutions for these problems, taking into account how the problems change across state boundaries. 

Judging is based on contestants’ constructive criticism, cooperation, and communication while analyzing agricultural problems and developing solutions.

Willits has extensive experience in the agriculture industry, having served as the 2013-2014 president of the New York State FFA Association and as chapter reporter and secretary and the District VI President on the 2012-2013 State Officer Team. 

She was a state finalist in 2012 and 2013 in the Prepared Speaking and Job Interview Career Development Event and was a national finalist in 2010 for the FFA Creed Speaking Career Development Event. She also was a member of the National Poultry Judging Team in 2011 and was the recipient of the 2014 Empire State Potato Growers Association Scholarship.

She also has traveled with the National FFA Organization to South Africa as a part of the International Leadership Seminar for State Officers. The two-week long trip gave participants the opportunity to volunteer in a South African community, meet agricultural leaders, explore South African agriculture, and gain a better understanding of the global marketplace.

Willits, a 2014 graduate of Lowville Academy and Central School, is the daughter of Jennifer and Melvin Phelps of Copenhagen.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Grapes, Apples Still Strong in NY Agriculture

New York once again ranks second in the country in apple production and third in the country in grape production, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

New York growers produced about 1.26 billion pounds of apples and 188,000 tons of grapes last year. 

With these estimates, only California and Washington exceed New York in grape production and only Washington produced more apples than the Empire State last year. 

New York was named "Wine Region of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in October. The growth of the state's wine industry -- more and more wineries are opened in the state each year -- was cited as a reason why New York garnered the wine region title.

"The 2014 New York grape crop turned out a lot better than many people expected after the extreme cold of three 'polar vortex' events Upstate during the winter, followed by a relatively cool spring and summer," said Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation.

"But September turned out to be pure magic for ripening, so the quality was superb and the quantity was larger than envisioned earlier," Trezise said. "Tonnage was 9 percent below the previous year, but that's because 2013 was the largest harvest on record. All in all, it was a very good year."

"We might be number two in national apple production, but New York has the best growing conditions and best tasting apples in the country," said James Allen, president of the New York Apple Association. "That puts us number one in the hearts of consumers from around the world. Snow may be on the ground, but New York apples, ciders and other apple products are available at food establishments throughout the year."

According to USDA Statistics Service, New York is home to 40,000 acres of apple orchards. Apple growers produced an average of 31,500 pounds per acre of apples. Last year's crop totaled $289 million, a 22 percent increase from 2013. 

New York is also home to 37,000 acres dedicated to the production of grapes. In the wake of a very harsh winter following the best crop in the state's history, grape growers produced 5.08 tons per acre of grapes in 2014 with crop production totaling $69.4 million.
New York apples have year-round availability in more than 20 varieties, including Cortland, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, RubyFrost and Zestar.


According to a recent economic impact study commissioned by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the grape, grape juice and wine industry has a $4.8 billion economic impact and attracts 5.3 million tourists annually to the New York state. The industry supports 25,000 full-time jobs with wages amounting to more than $1.4 billion. 

New York has ranked second in apple production every year since 1996 and third in grape production every year since 1987, with an exception in 1996 when the state ranked second. New York state also traditionally ranks in the top 10 nationally in the production of blueberries, peaches, pears, strawberries, sweet cherries and tart cherries. 

In 2014, the state ranked fourth in pear production, fifth in tart cherries, eighth in sweet cherries, ninth in strawberries and 11th in peaches and blueberries.

Extension to Hold Winter Dairy Management Workshops on Milk Components March 18 and 20

Dairy farmers will be able to learn how to make more money on the milk they produce at the Winter Dairy Management workshops scheduled for March 18 in Carthage and March 20 in Malone.

The workshops will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will focus on how farmers can improve the production of milk components, such as butterfat and protein, that generate premium income. The agenda at each location includes the experience of a local dairy operator who increased farm profitability by raising milk components by applying nutrition and dairy environment practices that encourage quality milk production.

The workshop fee is $35 before March 8, $50 at the door; lunch and materials included.

To register for the Carthage workshop at the Carthage Elks Club, go online to or contact Ron Kuck at CCE Jefferson County, 788-8450, or Terri Taraska, CCE Lewis County, 376-5270,

To register for the Malone workshop at Mo’s Pub and Grill, go online to or contact Kim Morrill, CCE St Lawrence County, 379-9192,

Workshop presentations by Cornell University PRO-Dairy faculty will include how milk components impact milk check income, how managing income over feed costs impacts farm profitability and how feeding programs and dairy cow nutrition influence milk component production.

Presenters include Cornell PRO-Dairy Director and Animal Science Professor Tom Overton, dairy business management specialist Jason Karszes and Dairy Profit Discussion Groups Leader Kathy Barrett.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Applications Being Accepted for Food Program Grants

News from the USDA:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is seeking application for money to assist low-income people and communities for developing local and independent food system.

The USDA announced Thursday the availability of $9 million. The National INstitute of Food and Agriculture is funding grants through the Community Food Projects program (CFP), authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill).

Grants are intended to help eligible, private, nonprofit entities in need of a one-time installment of federal assistance to establish and carry out multipurpose community food projects. Projects are funded from $10,000 to $300,000 and up to 36 months. 

All grants require a dollar-for-dollar match in resources.

Applications are due March 1. Click here  request for applications for specific program requirements.

"Community Foods Projects provide the opportunity for low-income communities to become more self-reliant and take control of their own food systems," said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. "These projects create food systems that are economically equitable and socially and environmentally sustainable, providing real solutions for communities most in need."

Community Food Projects involve the entire food system. Projects assess strengths and establish connections among existing food systems, resulting in improved food systems that support self-reliance.

CFP is an important part of USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, which works to strengthen and support local and regional food systems. More information on the initiative, including an interactive map of CFP and other federally-supported local food projects, can be found at:

The primary goals of the Community Food Projects program are to:

(1) meet the food needs of low-income individuals; 
(2) increase the food self-reliance of low-income communities; 
(3) promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm and nutrition issues; and 
(4) meet specific state, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs, including needs relating to infrastructure improvement and development, planning for long-term solutions and the creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers.

Since 2009, NIFA has provided more than $28 million to 154 Community Food Project awards in 48 states to help communities improve access to healthy, local food. 

Past projects include Philadelphia Green, which supports small-scale growers in their efforts to bring fresh, locally grown produce to the Philadelphia metro area, and RootDown LA, which is engaging Los Angeles-area youth in community gardens.

Funding for the CFP program is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. 

For more information, visit

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Planting Surveys Headed Out to Farmers

From the USDA:

What is on the horizon for U.S. farmers in 2015 as they finalize
plans for planting this spring? 

The March Agricultural Survey conducted by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey about 82,000 farmers to determine their plans for the upcoming growing season.

“Each year, the agriculture industry eagerly awaits USDA’s Prospective Plantings report, which provides the first survey-based estimates of U.S. farmers’ planting intentions for the year,”
said NASS’s Northeastern Regional Director, King Whetstone. 

“The March Agricultural Survey provides the factual data that is the basis of these projections, making it one of the most important surveys we conduct each year,” he states.

NASS will mail the survey questionnaire in late February, asking producers to provide information about the types of crops they intend to plant in 2015, how many acres they intend to plant, and the amounts of grain and oilseed they store on their farms. 

NASS encourages producers to respond online or by mail. Those producers who do not respond by the deadline may be contacted for a telephone or personal interview.

NASS will compile and analyze the survey information and publish the results in the annual Prospective Plantings report and quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released March 31.

As with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential, as required by federal law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. 

These and all NASS reports are available online at 

For more information call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at (800) 498-1518.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Saratoga County Dairy Princess Named State Dairy Princess

Stephanie McBath, NYS Dairy Princess

Stephanie McBath, the Saratoga County dairy princess, was named the New York State Dairy Princess for 2015-16 Tuesday night.

Courtney Dearnley
McBath, 17, a senior at Schuylerville High School, will serve as the primary spokesperson for the dairy industry throughout the state for the next year. She was chosen after a two-day event in which 22 county dairy princesses competed.

Victoria Treadwell
The girls took tests to judge their dairy knowledge and writing skills, had intensive interviews with the three judges, had to given both impromptu and prepared speeches and also were judged on their informal interaction with others. Judges evaluate contestants on communication skills, knowledge of the dairy industry, poise and personality.

The first alternate state princess is Victoria Treadwell, 19, of Herkimer County, a freshman at Mohawk Valley Community College. The second alternate is Courtney Dearnley, 17, of Columbia County, a senior at Taconic Hills High School.

The top seven in the pageant were McBath, Treadwell, Dearnley, Franklin County Princess Errolynn Bradley, Cayuga County Princess Taylor Gilbert, Cortland County Princess Courtney Randall and Ontario County Princess Samantha Wheeler.

Miss Congeniality was Samantha Wheeler of Ontario County. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Jefferson County's Casey Porter to Crown New State Dairy Princess

Here is my story from the Watertown Daily Times on the current state dairy princess who will crown the next princess on Tuesday night:

Casey Porter knew she was making a difference in the dairy world after an encounter with a father and son at the Jefferson County Fair.

“This father and son were looking at our calves at the fair,” Miss Porter reminisced. “The father told the little boy, ‘We need to have one of these for our home because then we could have fresh milk anytime we want.’”

Casey Porter before being crowned state princess
Miss Porter explained to the man that calves don’t give milk — cows must be grown and give birth to a calf of their own before they will give milk, the same as a woman who provides milk to a newborn baby.

“Oh, I didn’t realize that,” the man said.

In the past year, Miss Porter, 18, of the town of Rodman, has answered many queries and had a number of exchanges like this one in her role as New York state dairy princess. She has traveled the state from corner to corner representing the dairy industry since last February and will relinquish her crown Tuesday when a new state dairy princess is named at the Holiday Inn in Salina, north of Syracuse.

“My job has been to educate people on what really goes on in the dairy industry,” she said.

Miss Porter is the fourth generation of Porters on Porterdale Farms, which is run today by her father Gregory and his cousin Stephen Porter. They milk 1,850 cows, raise young stock and plant and grow corn and hay for animal feed.

Miss Porter is a freshman at Cornell University, Ithaca, majoring in animal science with a focus on dairy. She hopes someday to run Porterdale Farms.

Her days as princess are winding down, but she has fond memories of all she’s done over the past year.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” she said. “I met so many wonderful farm families and loved talking to people about dairy.”

Beth Meyer and Dawn Houppert, vice president of communications and program coordinator, respectively, for the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, have worked with Miss Porter throughout her year as dairy princess. They have been impressed with her poise, knowledge and willingness to talk to people during her appearances.

“She is a very easy girl to have around,” Ms. Houppert said. “She is pleasant and is not at all shy talking to people.”

“She has gained more confidence through the course of the year,” Mrs. Meyer said. “One of the things I love about Casey is she is smart, very talented and just really a neat kid. She is a wonderful, sweet, young girl.”

The American Dairy Association and Dairy Council sponsors the dairy princess contests in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Some of the places Miss Porter has made appearances during the year include all of the New York county dairy princess contests, the state pageants in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, a number of Fuel Up to Play 60 events, product demonstrations at various grocery stores, Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls and of course, the New York State Fair.

“Dairy Day (at the state fair) was incredible,” Miss Porter said. “We (she and other county dairy princesses) were going from 6 in the morning on.”

On Dairy Day (always the first Monday of the state fair), the state princess does numerous television, radio and newspaper interviews, helps judge the Celebrity Milkshake Making Contest, works in the dairy products building handing out dairy items and is a team member during the cow milking contest in the afternoon.

She especially enjoyed her day at the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse in Orchard Park for a Fuel Up to Play 60 event, a program begun by the National Dairy Council and National Football League to empower children to eat good foods to supply them with the fuel they need to play or exercise for at least 60 minutes a day. Bills player C.J. Spiller was on hand for the Buffalo event.

“I worked with a local farmer to talk to students about farming and how he cares for his animals,” Miss Porter said. “There were about 150 to 200 fourth through eighth graders there.”

She was accompanied to Buffalo by her mother, Lisa, a huge Buffalo Bills fan. Miss Porter said even with all the chores at the farm, her mom “cleared her schedule” so she could go to this event.

In all, Miss Porter couldn’t recall any strange or unusual questions she’s been asked in the past year. 

“As a whole, a lot of what I think is common knowledge really isn’t’ she said. “For me, being able to represent New York state’s dairy farmers — the hardest working group of people there is — has been an honor. I tried to put the dairy industry into the most positive light possible.”

And thinking ahead to her coming years running a Jefferson County dairy farm, she said her year as state dairy princess has trained her well.

“I am going to promote dairy for the rest of my life,” she said.

New York Agri-Women Plan Retreat in Chazy in late March

From New York Agri-Women:

Women involved in agriculture from around New York state will meet at the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy Friday, March 27 and Saturday, March 28 for a mid-year retreat. 

The group will learn about William Miner, his contributions to agriculture and the lasting impact of his vision 85 years after his death.

The keynote speaker for the meeting is Heather Dann, a research scientist at Miner Institute and the 2014 recipient of the Cargill Animal Nutrition Young Scientist Award. Dann will give a talk on the importance of agricultural research and highlight the research program at Miner Institute.

Other topics on the meeting agenda include:

** An informal reception with Clinton County farmers

** Bonnie Collins, resource educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County and co-coordinator of Annie’s Project, will give a talk on building connections for the wellness of women

** The group will tour Miner Institute’s dairy and equine facilities and visit the Miner sugarhouse and hear about maple production from Robert Atwood.

Women play a significant role in New York agriculture, which was valued at $5.7 billion in 2012. Just less than 20 percent of New York farmers are women, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture. 

Members of NY Agri-Women are involved with numerous facets of New York agriculture, including dairy farming, vegetable production, wine production, agribusiness, extension and maple production.

For more information about NY Agri-Women or attending the retreat at Miner Institute, contact Rachel Dutil at or call 518-846-7121, ext. 115.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fifth Annual Food from the Farm Tasting Event Set for March 7

News from the North Country:

The public will be able to meet Northern New York farmers, food processors, wine and cider makers and chefs at the fifth annual Food from the Farm event from 2 to 5 p.m. March 7 at the Plattsburgh Recreation Center gym.

Visitors will be able to sample and buy locally-grown or produced foods, wine and cider; pick up recipes and gardening tips; meet local food producers, and support the local economy and food industry. Products for sale may include crops such as carrots, beets and potatoes; winter greens, frozen meat, maple, honey, wine and hard cider.

Anyone who would like a supply of fresh local food throughout the growing season will be able to meet farmers offering Community Supported Agriculture subscriptions and purchase a membership for 2015.

This family-friendly event includes Cornell Cooperative Extension nutrition educators providing tips on using local food year-round, and 4-H Youth doing cooking demonstrations sponsored by the Produced in New York Project.

Food from the Farm is coordinated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Clinton County, Adirondack Harvest, and Master Gardener volunteers. Unlimited sampling, door prizes and helpful information are all included in the admission of $5 per adult, $20 per family, 5 years and under free. 

Tickets are available in advance on the CCE website at, at the CCE office in Plattsburgh, or at the door.

For more information contact CCE at 518-561-7450 or email Amy Ivy at Cornell Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Report: NY Unfriendly to Farmers

A recent report lists New York as extremely unfriendly to farmers. In fact the state ranks 49th out of 50 for friendliness toward the agriculture industry.

Go to to see the story.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Oneida County Seeks Members for Ag and Farmland Protection Planning Task Force

Here's a press release from Oneida County:

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is seeking members for a new Agriculture and Farmland Protection Planning Task Force.

With the support of the County Legislature, Picente has directed Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County to lead the process of developing an updated Agricultural & Farmland Protection Plan for consideration and adoption by the Agricultural & Farmland Protection Board appointed by the County Legislature.

Oneida County residents with an interest in helping to contribute to this planning process --- including farmers, farm landowners, municipal officials, business owners, and other interested residents --- are encouraged to contact Cornell Cooperative Extension to express their interest in being considered for appointment by the County Executive to the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Planning Task Force. 

Task Force members will be asked to make a significant commitment of time over a period of approximately one year to contribute to the development of a thoughtful and useful document for formal adoption by the Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board.

According to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture (2012), Oneida County’s 1,066 farms generated more than $113 million in annual sales and occupied more than 25 percent of the county’s total land area.

Planning for the long term success and growth of the farm economy is a top priority, Picente said.

To indicate your interest in participating in the Task Force, please contact:
Jim Manning
Cornell Cooperative Extension – Oneida County
Ph. (315) 736-3394 ext. 129

Expressions of interest received by Feb. 20 will be passed to Picente, who will announce the final composition of the task force shortly thereafter.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Farmer Insurance Program Feb. 9

There is will be webinar on insurance for farmers who grow grains and oilseeds from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9 at Farm Credit East, 25417 Route 12, Burrville.

For information, call 782-6050.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Program on Dairy Operator Management Skills to be held in Malone, Canton

A program on performance management for dairy operators is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 18 in Malone and Feb. 19 in Canton.

Dairy operators will be able to learn more about leadership styles and qualities and how to put them to work to attract the right employees.  Presenters are Tom Mahoney with the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University and University of Vermont Professor Emeritus Rick LeVitre, who is now executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension Franklin County.

Workshop participants will discuss how to prepare a job description to attract the desired workers as well as techniques for documenting and positively disciplining problem employees. An Employee Handbook authored by Mahoney will be available for $7.

The Malone workshop is at the 911 Emergency Services Building on Bare Hill Road; the Canton workshop is set for the St. Lawrence County Extension Learning Farm.

The cost is $30 per person, which includes lunch. To register, go to

For more information, contact NNY Dairy Specialist Kim Morrill at 315-379-9192, or Rick LeVitre at 518-483-7403,

New Lewis County Maple Trail App Leads to Sweet 2015 Maple Weekend Sites

News from Northern New York:

People with a love for maple will have an easier time finding it in Lewis County this year.

Anyone with a smartphone or tablet can download the new Lewis County Maple Trail app, which is part of the mobile app titled "Adirondacks Tug Hill Region Our Backyard, Your Adventure."

The Adirondacks Tug Hill Region Our Backyard, Your Adventure app is available in winter and summer editions with cultural and history sites as well as outdoor recreation, ATMs, Wi-Fi locations, and camping opportunities. Trail options also include routes for driving, hiking, ATV and horseback riding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. 

People who already have downloaded the winter or summer Adirondacks Tug Hill app will have the maple app included.

The Lewis County Maple Trail is the latest addition to the app. Five sugarhouses -- Moser's Maple in Croghan; Moser's Mapleridge Farm in Copenhagen; Oswegatchie Educational Center in Croghan; Swiss'er Sweet Maple in Castorland; and Yancey's Sugarbush in Croghan -- and the American Maple Museum are participating.

The sites will offer tastings and tours during Maple Weekend March 21 and 22 and March 28 and 29. The American Maple Museum in Croghan will serve Maple Weekends pancake breakfasts. Check the app or link at for days and hours of availability.

The maple app, developed by the Lewis County Maple Producers Association and Lewis County Planning Department, also works without cell phone reception to lead visitors to the Lewis County Maple Producers Association member sites.

The Lewis County Maple Trail is the latest addition to the instant info available by app for activities, shopping options, restaurants and accommodations in Lewis County.

Waypoint and GPS features enhance usability of the new app. Learn more at or contact the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce at 376-2213, 800-724-0242.