Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Buy Local Onondaga Grown Campaign Kicks Off

Onondaga County Legislature chair Ryan McMahon and Legislator David Knapp kick off the Buy Local Onondaga Grown campaign at Reeves Farm Wednesday morning.

The Onondaga County Agriculture Council kicked off the county's "Buy Local. Buy Onondaga Grown" campaign Wednesday morning at Reeves Farm in Lysander.

The campaign will help educate the public on all that Onondaga County has to offer through its agriculture industry. 

The county's more than 700 farms each year pumps about $152 million into the local economy, preserves pristine farmland for all the enjoy and provides consumers with the freshest vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meats, poultry and eggs, honey, maple, flowers and Christmas trees than they can find anywhere.

"What sets this campaign apart is that it provides a direct link between what the community will hear on local media and what they will see at retailers across Onondaga County," said county Legislator David Knapp, who also is co-chair of the Agriculture Council. 

The campaign includes billboards, radio spots, a blog on I Heart Radio stations ( and stickers boasting the Buy Local. Buy Onondaga Grown. on produce and products at area grocery stores. 

Since now is the middle of strawberry season, the kickoff event includes Reeves Farm strawberries served over Byrne Dairy ice cream.

To keep engaged with the Buy Local. Buy Onondaga Grown. campaign, go to Twitter at, Facebook at or to the website at 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

National Dairy Board Chairman Shot in Head

Zach Myers
Sad news out of North Carolina:

Go to to check it out.

Empire Winefest This Weekend at State Fairgrounds

The Empire Winefest is scheduled for 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, and 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the New York State Fairgrounds. 

Sample wines, go to the "paint while you drink wine party" (free!), stomp grapes with your bare feet (free!), play Giant Jinga, Yard Scrabble and Cornhole (free!) with your friends or spread out a blanket and listen to music. 

The food lineup is fantastic and you can see this and more on the event website: . There also is A Safe Ride Home Program being offered for $25. Go to the website for the program.

Tickets for the event can be purchased on the website or at any Wegmans. The group discount is available on the website only.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Madison County Day Camp Focuses on History of Farming

Children ages 9 to 12 can learn more about farm life in years past at the Madison County Historical Society’s Charles E. Page Summer History Camp.

The camp is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 13 to 15 at the historical society in Oneida.The lessons and workshops include learning about farming practices, cross-stitch, basket weaving and baking.

The cost is $35 for historical society members and $45 for nonmembers. No refund will be given to those who withdraw after the first day of camp. Children must bring their own lunch each day. Snacks will be provided.

The historical society is offering a scholarship to the day camp valued at the enrollment fee of $45. To qualify for the scholarship, the child must be a Madison County resident between the ages of 9 and 12 years and must submit a 100-word or less essay about where their food comes from and the types of food their family eats daily. 

Essays may be typed or handwritten.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Second Morrisville College Horse Wins at Finger Lakes Racetrack

Submitted by Morrisville State College:

Morrisville State College equine students had a lot to cheer about last week when a second horse claimed victory at the Finger Lakes Racetrack.

The most recent win, June 12, went to Hot Idea, a brown mare trained by Clyde Cranwell, associate professor and director of the college’s thoroughbred program.

It’s the college’s second win of the season. The first win on June 9, went to Don’t Back Down, a bay gelding trained by Cranwell.  

The college has 11 horses in training for the 2015 season; four stalled at Finger Lakes Racetrack and seven more being trained at the college to compete.

“Our students and staff work very hard with these horses,” Cranwell said.  “It is very gratifying to see them cross the finish line.”

A unique feature of the college’s thoroughbred program is a summer option where students can gain actual experience racing horses at the Finger Lakes Racetrack with Cranwell. The college has been racing at Finger Lakes Racetrack since 2007. 

Information Session on Solar Energy June 20 in Spafford

Come to Solarbration from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday June 20 at Fesko Farms, 1181 Woodworth Road, in Spafford.

The event is being held for farmers and business owners so they can learn how solar power can reduce energy costs. Topics include construction, financing, incentives and sustainability.

In addition to information on solar, there will be locally made cheeses and other products and New York wines available.

The event is free.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Angry Orchard Breaks Ground on Expansion

Angry Orchard Cider Co. officially broke ground on construction of its new cidery, tasting room and hard cider research-and-development center, at its 60-acre apple orchard in the village of Walden, Orange County. 

State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball joined Angry Orchard and local and community leaders in raising a glass in celebration of the new facility.

“New York state has an abundance and variety of both apples and ingenuity, and with the Mid-Hudson’s cluster of wineries, breweries, and cideries, I can think of no better place for Angry Orchard to grow,” said Empire State Development President, Chief Executive and Commissioner Howard Zemsky.

First launched in 2012, Angry Orchard is the number-one selling hard cider in the US, where cider consumption has nearly quintupled since 2010.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Price Chopper To Match "Great American MIlk Drive" Donations at its Stores

The Great American Milk Drive comes to Price Chopper supermarkets this week with a special event planned for today (June 16).

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball is visiting the Price Chopper on Altamont Avenue in Schenectady to publicize the milk drive campaign. 

At Price Chopper's 135 stores, tear pads for $2 and/or $4 donation are available on the dairy cases adjacent to the milk. Shoppers can bring a tear page to the checkout to make a donation. Donations benefit the Feeding America Food Banks so low-income people can obtain milk when they visit area food banks.

Price Chopper will match all donations made at its stores up to $10,000.

More than 22 million children may miss out on milk’s nutrition in the summer months when schools are closed and they lose access to free or reduced-price meal programs. This summer, America’s dairy farmers and milk companies are on a mission to bring more fresh, nutritious milk to children in need.

New Program Would Tell Consumers What is "Grown in New York"

Visitors to a Central New York farmers' market

The State Senate today approved a bill to help push more locally grown food onto consumers’ plates with a marketing campaign aimed at making them aware that products are “Grown in New York.”

The bill creates the “Grown in New York” marketing program, which sets standards for producers who want to label their foods as local.

The measure is part of state Sen. Patricia Ritchie’s plan to help meet consumers’ demands for locally-grown food, support local farmers in their efforts to provide quality, fresh products, and strengthen rural communities.

The “Grown in New York” promotional campaign is designed to complement the state’s “Taste NY” and “Pride of New York” programs, by:

** Creating a specific “Grown in New York” logo to identify locally grown and produced goods, as well as to be used in marketing and social media campaigns;

** Building a “Grown in New York” website that links consumers and local producers;

** Providing educational and training programs to help consumers learn about the values and benefits of buying local;

** Finding opportunities for farmers and agribusiness owners to expand their markets; and

** Highlighting food and cultural tourism trails — like the local wine trails in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, and those that link New York’s 400 other wineries.

Passage of the measure builds on recent efforts to put more locally grown and produced foods on the tables of New Yorkers across the state.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Chocolate Milk Recalled Downstate

Downstate consumers are being alerted that chocolate milk produced by Edgwick Farm LTD, located at 348 Angola Rd., Cornwall, is being voluntarily recalled due to improper pasteurization.  

Proper pasteurization heats milk in order to effectively eliminate all pathogenic bacteria, such as listeria and salmonella. No illnesses have been reported to date to the Department in connection with this problem.

The recalled chocolate milk product was sold at several Hudson Valley Farmers’ Markets in the last week.  The product was sold under the name Edgwick Farm Chocolate Goat Milk.  

It was packaged in a half-gallon plastic container bearing the container code of:  060415 BEST BY 061815. 

A routine pasteurizer Inspection conducted by a state Department of Agriculture and Markets Milk Control and Dairy Services inspector revealed that this lot of product was improperly pasteurized.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Deadline is June 29 for FFA Students to Enter Tractor Driving Safety Contest

The deadline is June 29 for FFA students to enter the New York State FFA Tractor Driving Safety Contest at the 2015 Empire Farm Days at Rodman Lott & Son Farms in Seneca Falls.

The competition will be held Thursday, Aug. 13 as part of the Northeast’s largest outdoor agricultural trade show.

Students complete a written safety exam, a parts identification task, and driving courses with 2-wheel and 4-wheel wagons. The Junior division is open to 14-16 year olds; the 16-18-year-old Senior division winner will compete at the Big E Exposition in Springfield, Mass., in September.

“This annual competition at Empire Farm Days encourages students to learn proper tractor operation and to make safety on the farm a priority,” says New York State FFA Tractor Driving Safety Contest Coordinator Jon Clayson.

To pre-register, contestants may submit their name and age division by June 29 to Walk-up registrations will be accepted the day of the contest.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Budget Money Will Help Low-Income Seniors Buy Food at Farmers Markets

Customers peruse vegetables and fruits and a local farmers market
Money included in this year’s state budget will provide free farm-fresh fruits and vegetables from area farmers markets to 110,000 seniors from across the state.
The money will also help area farmers by allowing them to sell more products and will help the seniors eat healthy and boost their nutritional intake.

As part of her “Grown in New York” initiative, state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, sought the new funding to expand the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which gives $20 coupons to low-income seniors that can be redeemed at Farmers Markets across the state. 

“We are all living longer, and good nutrition is important to a healthy lifestyle. But studies show that only one in three seniors are regularly buying and eating fresh, quality produce, like that which is grown by local farmers and available right now at area Farmers Markets,” Ritchie said.

“That’s why I worked this year to expand the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program so that more seniors, living on fixed budgets, won’t have to choose between healthy eating and balancing their checkbooks.

Coupon booklets will be made available over the next few weeks through local county Offices for the Aging. The coupons can be redeemed for purchases at local farmers markets.

Ritchie has published a full schedule of local markets on her website— —and distributed more than 60,000 printed copies, as part of her continuing effort to connect consumers and local farmers, and support the Northern and Central New York agriculture economy.

The new funding in this year’s budget allows 110,000 low-income seniors to access the Senior Farmers Market Nutritional Program statewide.

Eligible seniors can earn up to $1,800 a month, or $2,426 for a couple.

Barrel Horse Show Set for July 12 in LaFargeville

A barrel horse show is set for 10 a.m. Sunday, July 12 at the Northern New York Agricultural Historical Society Museum, 30950 Route 180, LaFargeville.

Camping available. All ages of competitors will be on hand along with a flea market. The museum gift shop will be open. 

Free admission.

For a vendor application, call 658-2353. Information go to or call Amy Galway, 264-6840.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Morrisville State College Horse Wins at Finger Lakes Racetrack

One of Morrisville State College’s thoroughbreds raced its way to victory at the Finger Lakes Racetrack June 9.

The win went to Don’t Back Down, a bay gelding trained by Clyde Cranwell, associate professor and director of the college’s thoroughbred program, for a $9,000 purse.   

The horse, purchased as a yearling, was broke and trained with students in Morrisville State College's thoroughbred racing program.

Don’t Back Down sprinted to the lead, increased his margin while never being challenged, then drew off in the stretch, according to the Finger Lakes Gaming Racetrack website.

It’s the college’s first win of the season at the track, located in Farmington.  

A unique feature of the college’s thoroughbred program is a summer option where students can gain actual experience racing horses at the Finger Lakes Racetrack with Cranwell. The college has notched several wins there in the past. Their season typically begins in May.

Naples High School Senior Wins Potato Growers Scholarship

Jacob Rathbun on his family farm
Jacob Rathbun of Naples, has been named the 2015 Empire State Potato Growers Association Scholarship winner.

The Empire State Potato Growers Association annually selects an undergraduate student residing in and attending college in New York to receive a $500 scholarship per academic year for up to four consecutive years of agricultural education.

Rathbun will graduate from Naples High School in June and then study for a degree in viticulture at Finger Lakes Community College. He plans to transfer to Cornell University to complete his bachelor's degree in viticulture and enology. 

His career goal is to start his own grape farm and winery and grain production enterprise.

Rathbun was raised on the family farm in Naples, where he has helped fit ground, plant, hill and harvest 350 acres of potatoes. This spring Jacob and his father Charles Rathbun planted 50 acres of their first crop of barley to sell to the craft brewing industry. 

He has a hobby planting of grapes on the farm. This summer he will visit vineyards and wineries in Italy. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

One Dead in Silo Accident

Horrible farm accident in Pennsylvania.

Go to to see the story.

Nomination Period Opens Monday for Farm Service Agency County Committees

From the USDA:

The nomination period for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees begins Monday, June 15.

“Through the county committees, farmers and ranchers have a voice. Their opinions and ideas get to be heard on federal farm programs,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “It is important for county committees to reflect America's diversity, so I encourage all eligible farmers and ranchers, including beginning farmers, to get involved in this year's elections. We’ve seen an increase in the number of nominations for qualified candidates, especially among women and minorities, and I hope that trend continues.”

To be eligible to serve on a FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in an agency administered program, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area where they are nominated.

Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. 

To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at

Nomination forms for the 2015 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 3, 2015.

FSA will mail election ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 9. Ballots will be due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by Dec. 7. Newly elected committee members and alternates will take office on Jan. 1, 2016.

Bill Would Help NY Dairy Farmers Become Energy Efficient

News from state Sen. Patricia Ritchie:

The state Senate has approved a bill that would provide grants and low interest loans to dairy farms that make energy efficient improvements. 

The measure, Senate bill 2984, is part of Sen. Patricia Ritchie’s “Grown in New York” plan, a multi-part initiative designed to help meet consumers’ demands for locally-grown food, support local farmers in their efforts to provide quality, fresh food, and strengthen rural communities.

“Controlling energy costs on the farm is one of the keys to being successful in the agriculture industry, especially for dairy farmers,” said Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, who chairs the Senate’s Agriculture Committee. 

Under the measure, dairy farmers will be able to apply for grants or loans of up to $100,000 for cost effective investments that reduce energy use including the installation of solar technology and construction of new digesters. 

According to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, milk is New York’s leading agricultural product, with sales accounting for one-half of total agriculture receipts.  In 2012, production was 13.2 billion pounds with a preliminary value of $2.56 billion.

The measure was sent to the Assembly, where its sponsored by Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair William Magee, D-Nelson.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Happy National Cheese Day

Sorry this is late, but today (June 4) is National Cheese Day.

Enjoy these photos at

Cornell Study: Pesticides, Fungicides Used in Apple Orchards Threaten Wild Bees

News from Cornell University:

A new Cornell study of New York state apple orchards finds that pesticides harm wild bees, and fungicides labeled “safe for bees” also indirectly may threaten native pollinators.

The research, published June 3 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, finds the negative effects of pesticides on wild bees lessens in proportion to the amount of natural areas near orchards.

Thirty-five percent of global food production benefits from insect pollinators, and U.S. farmers have relied exclusively on European honeybees, whose populations have been in decline for decades due to colony collapse disorder. 

“Because production of our most nutritious foods, including many fruits, vegetables and even oils, rely on animal pollination, there is an intimate tie between pollinator and human well-being,” said Mia Park, an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota and the paper’s first author, who worked on the study as a Cornell entomology graduate student. Co-authors include professor Bryan Danforth and associate professor John Losey, both in entomology.

“With honeybee numbers in decline, relying on wild pollinators and encouraging the services they provide seem very important,” Park said.

The researchers studied 19 New York state apple orchards over two years, 2011 and 2012. They determined the health of bee populations by analyzing the numbers of wild bees and honeybees and the number of species for each orchard. They also created an index of pesticide use from low to high use, then quantified the amount of natural areas that surrounded each orchard.

“We found there is a negative response of the whole bee community to increasing pesticide use,” Park said, adding that fungicides also are contributing to the problem.

The effects of pesticides on wild bees were strongest in the generation that followed pesticide exposure, Park said, possibly suggesting pesticides affect reproduction or offspring. Park said her research only looked at one generation to the next, and more study is needed. 

The study found no effect of pesticides on honeybees, but European honeybee hives are brought in to an orchard for short periods during blossoming then removed. In addition, growers are careful not to spray while honeybees are in the area. “Honeybees may have shown a response if they were allowed to stay,” Park said.

“Our studies of wild bees in apple orchards are showing how important wild bees are for apple pollination in the eastern U.S.,” said Danforth. With more than 20,000 known bee species, native bees are abundant and diverse in many agricultural habitats, and likely pollinate watermelons, squashes, blueberries and other orchard crops, he said.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

New Regulations Restricting Movement of Poultry Announced

News from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced new regulations restricting the movement of poultry into the state to prevent the spread of strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in poultry flocks in New York state.  

The rapidly expanding viral outbreak has already affected nearly 50 million birds in the Midwest and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed the current outbreak is the worst in U.S. history.

The new regulations require that all live poultry moved into New York must be:
  • From a source flock in which 30 birds were tested for avian influenza within ten days prior to entry into New York State; or
  • From a source flock that  has been certified by the state of origin as an Avian Influenza Monitored Flock; or
  • From a source flock certified as clean of HPAI under the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP). 
All hatching eggs and day-old chicks imported into New York must be from a source flock certified as clean of HPAI under the NPIP.

“The U.S. is in uncharted waters with this disease, and we need to exercise every bit of caution to minimize the incidence of avian influenza in our state’s poultry population,” Commissioner Ball said.  “New York’s poultry industry is an important part of the state’s agriculture economy and this regulation will build on the proactive measures already taken  — from the ban of all fowl exhibits and competitions at fairs to rigorous testing of birds moving into the marketing system — to continue to safeguard our flocks.” 

According to the USDA, 10 percent of the egg-laying hens in the U.S. have already been lost as well as over 6 percent of the nation's live turkey inventory. States such as Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska have sustained the greatest damage to their poultry farms.  

The virus has not been found in poultry flocks in New York state or in neighboring states, though it has been found in two flocks in the Canadian province of Ontario.

Agriculture officials such as Department of Agriculture and Markets State Veterinarian Dr. David Smith recognize the threat to farm livelihoods posed by this disease. With a total domestic poultry population of about 7.5 million birds, New York’s poultry industry generates roughly $150 million in sales annually.

"HPAI can wipe out an entire egg-laying flock in less than a week and we still don't fully understand how it spread so quickly from farm to farm in the Upper Midwest,” Dr. Smith said. “While we hope hot, dry summer weather will slow down the virus spread, that is by no means certain.  We encourage everyone who keeps poultry to be very careful about minimizing their birds' exposure to avian influenza.”

The Department today also released publications intended to raise awareness about biosecurity measures and help poultry farms and visitors to poultry farms learn how to prevent the introduction and spread of HPAI. The fact sheets (available at created by Dr. Smith and his staff provide information on best practices farmers and visitors can use to avoid carrying the virus into or out of farms.

Among the practices outlined in the fact sheets are tips for poultry farms:
**   Require all visitors to use covers on their footwear and to disinfect all footwear.
**   Lock all entrances to chicken houses after hours.
**  Ask all visitors if they have had any contact with any kind of bird in the past five days.
**  Forbid from entry employees and visitors who own any kind of fowl.
** Discourage unnecessary visitors and use biosecurity signs to warn people not to enter buildings without permission.

Among the tips for visitors:
**   Never enter a farm without permission.
**   Wear clean clothes and shoes for any visit to a farm.
**   Stay in the parking lot on arrival and call for an escort onto the farm.
**   Do not touch animals unless it's part of your job.
**  Report anything unusual, especially sick or dead birds.

While experts are concerned about the avian flu's impact on farms, they also emphasize that the virus subtypes that are causing the current outbreak are not a threat to the public. Officials stress that chicken and eggs are safe to eat. 

Avian influenza outbreaks are not uncommon, but the current outbreak is particularly deadly to birds.The outbreak is concentrated in two strains of influenza – H5N2 and H5N8. Influenza has been found in birds on more than 210 farms in 15 states and in wild birds in five more states in the West, Midwest and South, and two Canadian provinces.  

In addition to this new regulation and the recent ban of fowl exhibits at the New York State Fair, all county fairs held in the state, and all chartered youth fairs, New York is taking a strongly proactive stance with suppliers, distributors and live bird markets in attempting to prevent the spread of avian influenza and prevent birds with influenza from crossing into the state. 

Bird flocks intended for the live bird sales market must test negative for avian influenza before they can move into the marketing system. Once birds are in the marketing system, state officials verify test records and monitor sanitation levels at the live bird markets.

In addition, employees of the Department’s Division of Animal Industry routinely test poultry in live bird markets for avian influenza. In 2014, approximately 35,000 birds in the New York live bird marketing system were tested for the disease. Any bird that tests positive is traced back to its original flock to address possible infections.

An Avian Influenza Biosecurity Brochure is also available at and on the Department’s Facebook page.    

For more information, please visit the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets website at

Ag Secretary Comments on Third Quarter Agriculture Outlook

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently made the following statement on the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's third quarter Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade.

"The strong pace of American agricultural exports continues, with a trade surplus of more than $23 billion, a $1 billion increase from earlier projections for fiscal year 2015. Fiscal years 2009 to 2014 represent the strongest six years in history for U.S. agricultural trade, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling $771.7 billion. 

For many American products, foreign markets now represent more than half of total sales. U.S. agricultural exports now support more than one million jobs here at home, a substantial part of the 11.7 million jobs supported by exports all across our country. Expanded U.S. trade overall has added roughly $13,000, on average, to every American family's income. 

Fiscal year 2015 exports are now forecast to be the third-highest on record, led by a strong performance in bulk commodities such as grains, animal feeds, and oilseeds.

"This most recent forecast also underscores how free trade agreements have benefitted the American economy through farm goods. In the combined 20 countries where the United States has free trade agreements, agricultural exports have remained relatively steady so far this fiscal year. 

Exports to countries where the United States lacks the assurances offered by trade agreements have declined this year, highlighting why it is so important for Congress to act and pass strong trade promotion authority legislation.

"Every day without trade promotion authority, American agriculture suffers as competitors negotiate their own agreements and lower global standards when it comes to environmental impact, consumer safety, and working conditions. USDA will continue to fight to get the best deal for farmers and ranchers, but our ability to open new markets and create new customers is limited without Congressional action."

To find the entire report for the third quarter outlook, go to this link

Then click on the PDF file.

Learn About Robotic Milkers June 14

Anyone who wants to learn more about robotic milking systems should attend an upcoming program.

The Lyme Heritage Center will sponsor a program on modern dairy farming with robot milkers with presenters Paul and Elaine Mason of Mason Farms in Cape Vincent from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, June 14 from 2 to 4 at the old Grange Hall in Three Mile Bay.  

There is no charge. For information, call Phyllis at 778-5180.