Thursday, April 30, 2015

Comment on New York State Fairgrounds Renovation Project May 6

News from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

The Great New York State Fair will host a public workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. May 6 at the state Fairgrounds as it begins the process of determining elements that will be part of the first major renovation of the fairgrounds in a century, acting Fair Director Troy Waffner said.

The workshop will take place in the Martha Eddy Room at the Art & Home Center on the Fairgrounds. The public is invited.

“We are committed to an open and transparent process in order to determine how to best use the land we have to accomplish Governor Cuomo’s goals of better promoting New York agriculture and increasing tourism at the Fairgrounds year round.   The Fair means so much to so many people and it’s important that their voices are heard.  I look forward to hearing from our constituency at this event and can’t wait to get the ball rolling on this once-in-a lifetime project,” said Waffner.

The meeting will be conducted by the lead consulting firm in charge of the project, M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying of Clifton Park. There will be a brief overview of the process to be used, followed by the listening session.  

It will begin with formal comments from stakeholder groups. Public comments will take place after the completion of formal comments. Members of the public who wish to speak will be asked to sign up at the door.  

Speakers will have three minutes to offer comments. The meeting will end promptly at 8 p.m. 

Members of the public who wish to comment on the project but cannot attend the hearing are welcome to send their comments to

The fairgrounds hosts more than 100 private and public events each year, including large trade shows, vehicle and equipment sales, and equestrian and other animal-related events run by private vendors.

This will be the largest project carried out at the fairgrounds since the construction of its historic central buildings in the early 20th Century. A key goal is to attract more people to the annual 12-day event, which is already one of the largest state fairs in the nation.  

The fairgrounds have called 375 acres of land in the Onondaga County town of Geddes their home since 1890.

The New York State Fair, operated by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs this year from Aug. 27 to Sept. 7.

In addition to the annual New York State Fair, the Fairgrounds host dozens of agricultural events throughout the year, including some of the Northeast’s most prestigious horse and livestock shows.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Food for Thought

Dairy Carrie has written a wonderful blog entry about labels and misinformation at the grocery store.

Go to to read the blog entry.

Sheep, Goat Seminar Scheduled for May 5

A workshop titled Raising Sheep and Goats 101 is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 5 at Chicks and Hens, 3150 Erie Blvd East, Syracuse.

Anyone with any interest in learning how to raise sheep or goats should attend. The cost is $10 per family.

For information, call Erin Hull at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County at 424-9485, ext. 224 or email 

Website Available for Buying, Selling Hay

Do you have hay to sell?

Do you need to buy some hay?

Producers throughout New York state are encouraged to use Hay Net on the Farm Service Agency website to sell or buy hay.

The website is

This online service allows producers with hay and those who need hay to post ads so they can make connections.

Hay Net is a popular site for farmers and ranchers who have an emergency need.

Individual ads can be posted free of charge by producers who complete a simple online registration form the first time they use the site.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Draft Horse Pull Sunday in Lewis County

There will be a draft horse pull at noon Sunday, behind the Copenhagen Fire Hall, 9950 Main St. 

There will be two weight classes: lightweight class up to 1,700 pounds and heavyweight class over 1,700 pounds. 

Parking is behind the fire hall and on Washington Street.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Farm Stands Now Can Take Part in WIC Program

News for people with Farm Stands:

Individual farm stands in New York this year for the first time will be able to join farmers' markets and participate in the federal Women, Infant, Children program.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball and Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker said changes in federal regulations allow farm stands to take part in WIC. This means people in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program will be able to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at farm stands this summer and fall.

“Hundreds of farmers at traditional farmers’ markets already participate in the WIC Vegetables and Fruits Check program, and this new innovation will allow individual farm stands to reach a new audience with world class, locally-produced fruits and vegetables,” said Ball.  “Farm stands have flexible hours and can provide other opportunities such as ‘pick your own’ operations for WIC families.”

“The WIC program ensures that mothers and their young children have access to the food and resources essential to healthy living,” said Dr. Zucker. “This partnership gives more families the ability to eat well, and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the farm.”

The state Department of Health recently announced that children, and pregnant or breastfeeding women participating in WIC will receive an increase in the amount of fruit and vegetables that they can purchase each month. Through federal funds, WIC currently provides $8 per month for children and $10 per month for women to purchase fruits and vegetables of their choice. 

Beginning in March 2015, the Health Department will use state funds to increase the benefit by $4 per check per month through September 2015.

At farm stands, vouchers may be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers. 

Farmers operating farm stands who are interested in becoming authorized to participate in the WIC Vegetables and Fruits Check program can obtain information by visiting the Department of Agriculture and Markets’ WIC Vegetables and Fruits Check program webpage and registering for an upcoming farmer training webinar at:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Farm Service Agency Loan Program Handbook Updated

The full version of Farm Service Agency Farm Loan Programs Handbook 2-FLP (Rev. 1), Guaranteed Loan making and servicing, has been updated and made available for download.

Amendment 32 to the FSA Farm Loan Programs Handbook 2-FLP was recently issued and included many changes and updates. The current handbook, which includes the last Amendment 32, is available at:

World's Tallest Cow is in Illinois

Go to to check out the story.

Dairy Challenge Academy This Weekend at Holiday Inn, Salina

In addition to the Spring Dairy Carousel at the New York State Fairgrounds, there is another dairy event in Syracuse this weekend.

The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge is hosting the Dairy Challenge and Dairy Challenge Academy through Saturday at the Holiday Inn on Electronics Parkway in Salina.

The event will draw 285-plus dairy students and a large number agribusiness professionals to the Syracuse area.

Here is a brief schedule:

·      Friday, April 10
o    Morning: Contest and Academy students visit host farms for evaluation
o    Afternoon: Contest and Academy students work on presentations, and Contest students have farm interviews
o    Evening: Sponsor dinner and then evening at Wonderworks
·         Saturday, April 11
o    Morning: Academy presentations
o    All day: Contests presentations, corporate technology presentations, career and innovation fair
o    Evening: Awards banquet

Farms May Shut Down Due to Milk Glut in NYS

Check out this story at

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Watch the Spring Dairy Carousel Online

You can watch all the action from the many shows at the Spring Dairy Carousel online.

Go to and click on the show you want to watch. 

It's that simple!

Here are the shows that will be online:

9 a.m. April 11, junior Holstein show  
1 p.m. April 11, Ayrshire show
1 p.m., April 11, Guernsey show
4 p.m., April 11, Holstein sale
8 a.m. April 12, Red & White show
9 a.m. April 12, Milking Shorthorn show
12:30 p.m. April 12, Jersey show (ring 1) and Brown Swiss show (ring 2)
 8 a.m. April 13, International Spring Holstein Show

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Marketing on the Internet Focus of Cooperative Extension Workshops

Workshops titled Internet Marketing 101 and 102 are being offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 21 at the Fulton campus of Cayuga Community College, computer lab F162.

Farmers will learn how to connect with customers and potential customers online by improving their farms web presence.

Two workshops are being offered. In the morning session, farmers will learn how to build and launch a farm website. In the afternoon, the focus will be on social media platforms to promote a farm operation. 

Producers can choose to come to one workshop or both. The first workshop is 10 a.m. to noon and the afternoon one is 1 to 3 p.m.

The cost for one workshop is $15 or or two for $30. Register by April 20 by calling 963-7286. Space is limited.

Monday, April 6, 2015

State Budget Includes $35 M for Protecting Farmland

The recently passed New York state budget for 2015-16 includes
$35 million for protecting working farmland. 

“We greatly appreciate the leadership of Gov. Cuomo and the state Legislature for making the biggest investment in the state’s history in protecting working farms”, said David Haight, New York State Director for  American Farmland Trust. “This record level of funding places New York among the top five states in the nation in annual state farmland protection funding.” 

The state budget includes $15 million in funding for New York’s Farmland Protection Program from the Environmental Protection Fund and $20 million in a special allocation for the permanent protection of farmland in the Hudson Valley.  

Our goal is to keep New York a national leader in state funding for protecting farmland,” Haight said.

New York state has lost nearly half a million acres of farmland to real estate development since the 1980s, threatening the state’s important agricultural economy and food security.

In 2016, New York will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its agricultural conservation easement grant program, launched in 1996 by then-Gov. Mario Cuomo. Since its inception, the program has granted $134,476,261 to permanently protect 56,331 acres on 226 farms. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

New York Post Slams Money for Agriculture in State Budget 
This story just shows the disconnect between Downstate (or more appropriately, New York City) and Upstate.

Where do the knuckleheads at the NY Post think onions, wine, beer, Christmas trees and honey come from? Are they like the little boys who were fighting in the cafeteria in their elementary school where my mom worked years ago -- one yelling at the other because Boy #1 said milk came from cows? Boy #2 said that can't be because his mom buys it at the store.

Perhaps we should propose that everyone in New York City go without onions, beer, wine, maple syrup, honey, etc. for an entire week. What would life be like? 

Sure, you might be able to get these items elsewhere, but do you really want old onions or vegetables or Christmas trees grown in another state, harvested God knows when and then shipped here???

That's what is great about New York -- we can get onions, beer, wine, honey, maple syrup, vegetables, Christmas trees, etc. grown and produced right here. In good ol' New York soil. Right down the road. By your neighbor, perhaps.

They are fresh. They were harvested a couple of hours ago. 

The money you spend on them stays here in New York -- most often it stays right here in your hometown. Some counties depend on the production of various crops as a major part of their economies, such as apples in Wayne County, onions in Oswego County or milk in Wyoming County.

And it's proper for a little money here and there from New York taxpayers to help producers make better syrup, or bigger more tasty onions, or pest-free vegetables, or perfectly shaped Christmas trees. 

C'mon New York Post. Think a little. And remember -- no onions on your burgers for a week

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spring Dairy Carousel April 8 through April 13 just outside Syracuse

The annual Spring Dairy Carousel is set for April 8 through April 13 at the New York State Fairground in Geddes, just west of Syracuse.

New York Spring Dairy Carousel is recognized as the most prestigious and largest spring dairy event in North America. All seven major dairy breeds are represented in eight shows, five sales and several junior activities. 

In 2014, more than 1,000 animals from 20 states and Canada attended the show and sale and several thousand people attended the four-day event. 

The event is open to the public and admission and parking are free. Food is available. Exhibitors and staff are happy to answer questions about cattle and the dairy industry. 

Here is the schedule of events and competition:

8 a.m. April 8, barns open and cattle may move in
7 p.m. April 9, all cattle must be in place
9 a.m. April 10, exhibitors meeting
11 a.m., April 10, junior showmanship
2 p.m., April 10, junior judging contest and Purebred Dairy Cattle Association judging conference
6 p.m., April 10, protein breeds sale
9 a.m. April 11, junior Holstein show
1 p.m. April 11, Ayrshire show
1 p.m., April 11, Guernsey show
4 p.m., April 11, Holstein sale
8 a.m. April 12, Red & White show
9 a.m. April 12, Milking Shorthorn show
12:30 p.m. April 12, Jersey show (ring 1) and Brown Swiss show (ring 2)
 8 a.m. April 13, International Spring Holstein Show