Wednesday, November 25, 2015

USDA Awards Grants for Obesity, Nutrition Education Research

From the USDA:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture Tuesday awarded $2 million in grants to support research on nutrition education and obesity prevention for disadvantaged children and families.

The research will take place at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Utah State University. The money will help create two additional Regional Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Centers of Excellence, established through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Morrisville State College Installs New President

David E. Rogers
From Morrisville State College:

David E. Rogers was formally installed as the eighth president of Morrisville State College during a ceremony Nov. 20.

Special guests at the installation included delegates from more than 20 colleges and universities, members of the Morrisville State College Council and Foundation Board, alumni, Ronald Ehrenburg, trustee of the State University of New York, former Morrisville President Raymond W. Cross, state Sen. David Valesky, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.

President Rogers was joined by his wife Jan, their children, relatives, family and friends in the audience. Also gathering to show their support were Morrisville students clad in apparel bearing the names of their sport, student clubs and organizations. 
The historic inaugural event was preceded by a week of celebrations in which students, faculty, staff and community members came together for dinners, receptions and a tree-lighting ceremony to honor the college’s Founders’ Day.

A long-standing leader whose commitment, scholarship and philanthropy to Morrisville State have taken the college to new heights, Rogers’ inaugural address highlighted his plans to build on the qualities enshrined in the college’s mission.

“I am excited to begin this new journey for us all. I look forward to working with you and writing our next chapter,” he said.

Danielle Gauthier, president of the Morrisville Student Government Organization, offered remarks on behalf of MSC students.

“The things that will allow you to be the best at your job are what we already see in you,” Gauthier said. “We are very lucky to have you as our president.”  

Immediately following the ceremony, guests streamed into the John W. Stewart Center for Student Activities for an elaborate reception that featured hors d’oeuvres made by the college's hospitality students and Kerry Beadle, executive chef at the Copper Turret, a college-run restaurant, and chair of Morrisville State College’s Hospitality Technology Department.

About the president

During his tenure at Morrisville, Rogers has worn many hats including provost, dean of the college’s School of Business, from 1999 to 2010, and interim dean of the Norwich Campus and the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Prior to Morrisville, Rogers was the director of Institutional Research and Planning at Onondaga Community College. He has held faculty positions at Ithaca College, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Le Moyne College.

An active leader in the national higher education community, he has served on numerous campus committees and community and college boards. He is vice president of the Madison County IDA and chair of its Governance Committee; a member of the Cornell Cooperative Extension Advisory Board and serves on the board for Community Memorial Hospital, and Health Workforce, New York.

Rogers earned his Ph.D. in labor economics, collective bargaining, and econometrics from the SUNY College of Industrial Labor Relations at Cornell University. He also holds a master’s degree from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts.

Croghan-Based Maple Minis Offer Unique Way to Enjoy Maple

Great story by colleague Steve Virkler.

Go to to check out the story.

Taste NY Thanksgiving Photo Contest Underway

A special Taste NY Thanksgiving photo contest to promote New York’s food and beverage producers and the agricultural industry is on now through Dec. 1.

The contest encourages New Yorkers to submit photos of their favorite Thanksgiving dish, beverage or entire holiday meal made with New York products and ingredients to the website at or post to Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #TasteNYThanks. 

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball, New York State Chief Digital Officer and Deputy Secretary for Technology Rachel Haot, and distinguished culinary experts from the New York Wine and Culinary Center and The Culinary Institute of America will judge the entries and select five winners.
The contest started Nov. 20 and runs through midnight Dec.1. All entries will be judged on the overall appeal of the finished product, quality of the image, and representation of the New York-produced or sourced ingredient or food or beverage.  

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets will announce the winners of the contest Dec.9 on the Taste NY website and social media channels, where the winners’ photographs and names will be displayed. 

The five entries that receive the highest overall scores will also win Taste NY gift baskets.

Check Out This Meal

A lamb stuffed inside a pig stuffed inside a cow. What a creation!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Real Christmas Trees Clean the Air

Jack Beckwith trims a tree during the summer of 2014.
A great column from the Christmas Tree Farmers of New York State. This ran in the December issue of Empir Farm & Dairy magazine:

Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York

Take a walk on (or near) a Christmas tree farm.

What’s the first thing you notice? Take a deep breath … Can you smell it? It smells different, doesn’t it?

It’s not just the fragrance of pine, spruce or fir you smell. It’s much more than that. As trees absorb pollutants and carbons from the air in the photosynthesis process, they produce oxygen — pure, unpolluted oxygen.

And, real Christmas trees are among the greatest producers of oxygen in our environment. So, inhale deeply.

Scientists tell us Christmas trees may produce higher levels of oxygen in the early years of growth, thus removing more pollutants from the air as they mature. This is good news because trees are continually being harvested and replanted as they grow to market size.

Many people are not aware that most Christmas trees are grown as crops, much like grapes, corn, wheat, oats, etc. They just take longer (7-plus years) to mature to harvest size.

Very few Christmas trees are taken from the forests, especially here in New York. Those that are cut from forests are likely to contribute to good forest management.

When a tree is harvested, generally two or three more are planted in its place, thus continuing and expanding the cycle of oxygen production. Evergreens that are not harvested as Christmas trees grow to become timber for future generations’ home construction.

Additionally, real Christmas trees are recyclable; and, however they are disposed of, they eventually return to the earth. This is in sharp contrast to the foreign-produced plastic artificial trees that may never decompose in landfills.

Are artificial trees pretty? Sometimes they are, making it tempting to go fake. Remember that local Christmas tree farmers pay sales tax, provide employment and otherwise contribute to the local economy.

These factors provide strong evidence that real Christmas trees are the environmentally best choice for families. Varieties are available that have little or no needle drop. Other types are perfect for allergy sufferers.

Check out a real Christmas tree farm near you.

Ask the farmer what species he/she grows that resolve these issues. Take a walk on, or near, a real Christmas tree farm.

The fresh air may compel you to choose a real tree for your family.

Faye L. Beckwith is president of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York and runs Beckwith Family Christmas Tree Station with her husband Jack in Hannibal, Oswego County.

Here are places to buy or cut your own Christmas trees in Central New York: 
Central New York
Romagnoli’s Christmas Tree Farm at Oneida Valley Acres, 8498 Oneida Valley Road, Canastota, 697-9498

Toth Tree and Shrub Farm, 6833 Forbes Road, Canastota, 697-3550

Critz Farms, 3232 Rippleton Road, Cazenovia, 662-3355

Page’s Christmas Trees, 3270 Oran Gulf Road, Manlius, 682-7309

Rocking Horse Farm, 3736 Apulia Road, Jamesville, 492-1100

Mary Christmas Tree Farm, 1490 Dutch Hill Road, Tully, 696-0121

Cedarvale Maple Syrup Co., 3769 Pleasant Valley Road, Onondaga, 469-6422

Syracuse Christmas Tree Farm, 4809 Beef St., Syracuse, 673-0998

Chuck Hafner Farms, 8500 Green Lakes Road, Kirkville, 458-2231

Chengerian’s Tree Land, 84 Merritt Road, Lysander, 678-2046

Potter Tree Farm, 1229 Kingdom Road, Baldwinsville, 638-0222

Cross Lake Farms, 7681 Tater Road, Memphis, 420-8141

Luchsinger's Christmas Trees, 1155 Lucky Lane LaFayette, 696-6856

Three B Tree Nursery, 124 Clinton Road, Jordan, 263-2108

Grace Farms, 78 Gunther Road, Central Square, 668-1195

Goodman’s Christmas Tree Farms, 460 Gilbert Mills Road, Phoenix, 695-3576

Stony Hill Acres, 1685 State Route 264, Phoenix, 593-0684

Granger Tree Farm, 380 Tubbs Road, Mexico, 963-3480

Three Seasons Farm, 429 Dry Bridge Road, Mexico, 298-6332

Ontario Orchards, 7735 State Route 104, Oswego, 343-6328

Beckwith Family Christmas Tree Station, 189 Mill St., Hannibal, 564-5479

TriStar Tree Farm, 13952 Shortcut Road, Sterling, 564-5125

Berndt Christmas Tree Farm, 1512 Finches Corners Road, Martville, 564-6616


Saturday, November 21, 2015

More Ag Teachers Needed in New York State

Another of my stories from the December issue of Empire Farm & Dairy magazine:

Empire Farm & Dairy

Agriculture is a growing industry in the United States.

And along with that, agriculture education is also expanding.

Studies done in 2015 by Purdue University in Indiana and the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that agriculture and food production is a growing field in need of workers. 

The study shows close to 60,000 jobs being created each of the five years through 2015 in the agriculture, food and natural resource sectors and there are not enough workers to fill these jobs.

A study by the International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences says more food will be needed by 2050 to feed earth’s increasing population, which means more people with expertise in agriculture will be needed.

To meet that need, the U.S. must churn out more ag teachers to help middle schools and high schools get students interested and involved in the field early on.

That is happening in various spots around New York state, including the north country. During the 2014-15 school year, students at the Northwest Technical Center at the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES resurrected its FFA chapter after an eight-year absence. The BOCES center now offers two full years of agriculture education and FFA.

“We adhere to the three-circle model of agriculture education,” said Northwest Technical Center ag teacher Patricia Gilbert. “FFA, classroom instruction and SAE (Supervised Agriculture Experience).”

Gilbert said all three components equip students with the basics of agricultural education along with leadership skills, planning skills and management skills.

Numerous national magazines and publications have published stories in the past year about the increase in popularity of ag education throughout the country.

And ag jobs aren’t just running a dairy or crop farm. Job titles are many and diverse, ranging from forestry (including maple production, forest management and logging), horticulture (including floral design, landscaping and greenhouses), sales of seed, feed and farm equipment, food production, food nutrition research, food safety, farm equipment maintenance, veterinarians and vet assistants, animal nutrition, soil management and alternative energy sources.   

“No longer just about cows and plows, the modern agriculture industry encompasses subsectors such as urban forestry and agricultural biotechnology, which includes the genetic engineering of crops,” stated a recent story in U.S. News and World Report. “As the industry has grown, so has the interest in teaching teens more about it.”

This is exactly what Gilbert is doing.

The first year of the Northwest Tech program is about forestry. She said students learn about forest ecology, chainsaw safety, harvesting, anatomy and physiology of trees, tree identification, Christmas tree management and managing a sugarbush.

“I have quite a few students who want to go on to Paul Smith’s (College) or the Wanakena Ranger School (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry) for forestry studies,” Gilbert said.

Alyssa Gagnon, 17, a senior at Madrid-Waddington Central School in St. Lawrence County, is a member of the Northwest Tech FFA and attended the FFA national convention in Louisville, Ky. in October. 

She is looking at a conservation or forestry management career, possibly with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and plans to attend Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smiths, Franklin County.

“At first, I was skeptical about joining FFA, because I play sports and it’s hard to keep up with everything,” she said. “But I’ve met so many people and learned so much — communications skills, leadership and through the classes, I’ve done maple syrup tapping, working with the DEC on projects, ran a chainsaw and learned over 40 types of trees and why they grow where they do.”

“It’s opened my eyes to what the world really is,” Gagnon said of FFA and her ag education.

About 15 percent of the U.S. workforce works in agriculture-related careers, according to statistics from the American Farm Bureau Federation. 

Gilbert said the big draw to FFA and ag classes in school is the hands-on experience the students receive. Gagnon said she never would have had the chance to tap a maple tree or operate a chainsaw if not for FFA and her ag classes.

Shayla Peters, a senior at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School in Oneida County and president of the V-V-S FFA chapter, said she had the chance to experiment with grains to find out which ones are digested best by cows. She put grains into the first stomach of a cow and was able to compute the rate of digestion of the various grains she tried by testing through a blood-sugar monitor.

This was especially interesting to Peters, who wants to study dairy management at Morrisville State College leading to a career as a livestock nutritionist or dairy feed sales consultant.

Of course, a problem with starting ag education classes or FFA chapters is money. In these days of school budget cuts and scaling back on programs, education about agriculture at times seems to be something kids can do without.

But can it?

The National Association of Agricultural Educators has stated students in ag programs and FFA not only learn about agriculture and ag careers, but also step deeply into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields and also expand their English concepts.

Jay Jackman, the association’s executive director, said students are able to put the math and science they learn to use when studying agriculture.

“Rigor without relevance is just noise,” he said. “If a student takes algebra, he learns the phythagorian theorum. But put him into an ag mechanics class, and now he uses A-squared plus B-squared equals C-squared to square a frame on a door or put a roof on a barn. It’s meaningful to the student.”

Jacksman said students use chemistry, biology, language arts and math in their hands-on agriculture classes.

“We make it meaningful for them,” Jackman said. “Agriculture education enhances their understanding of math and science.”

There are a few colleges in New York that offer agriculture education teaching degrees. Cornell University and Ithaca College recently joined forces to offer a Master of Arts in Teaching program to help meeting the growing demand for qualified agriculture teachers. The first group in this new program will begin classes in May 2016.

SUNY Oswego also offers a master’s in education degree with a major in agricultural education.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Onondaga County Farm Bureau Has New Leader

Go to to check out the story.

University Does Study on Farmers Coverage Choices

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is conducting a study to learn more about farmers' and land owners' decision processes.
Researchers will be looking at the tools and resources used by producers when they make Agriculture Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage programs choices.
About 1.7 million agricultural producers have enrolled in the new safety-net programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. 
The 2014 Farm Bill also authorized USDA to work with qualified universities to conduct outreach and education on the new programs, and to develop web-based tools to help producers with understanding the options offered by ARC and PLC before making their selection. 
Participation in the study will assist the University of Illinois on how its USDA-funded decision tool assisted with your selection of ARC or PLC, where the tool was helpful, or where the tool needs improvement. 
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the academic institutions involved in developing the educational tools for the programs.
Participation in the study is voluntary and confidential.  Any data collected by the university will be averaged and reported in aggregate only. Individual information and responses will not be made public.
To participate in the study, click on this link --

Sheep and Goat Week Program Set for Early December

NNY Sheep and Goat Week programs are scheduled for the first week of December.

The schedule is:

** 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1, CCE Jefferson County office, Watertown, $5 per farm, contact Ron Kuck, 315.788.8450,
** 7 p.m. Dec. 2, CCE St. Lawrence County Extension Learning Farm, Canton, $5 per farm, contact Betsy Hodge, 315.379.9192,
** 6 p.m. Dec. 3, youth meeting (info on breeds and general animal care), 7 p.m. adult meeting, CCE Clinton County office, Plattsburgh, free, contact Sara Bull, 518.561.7450,

Dr. tatiana Stanton of the Cornell University Sheep and Goat Program will present a detailed update on parasite control research funded in part by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program. 

Field trials were conducted at the CCE St. Lawrence County Extension Learning Farm in Canton and at Asgaard Farm and Goat Dairy in AuSable Forks, Clinton County.

"Producers at these December programs will learn how the use of birdsfoot trefoil as a pasture based means of parasite control worked in real-life situations under our regional conditions," says Cornell Cooperative Extension Northern New York Regional Livestock Specialist Betsy Hodge.

Funding from the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program supported the first-ever research trial of birdsfoot trefoil as a natural parasite control practice for sheep and goat farmers in the NNY region. 

The NNY trials are part of a four-year project being conducted by Cornell University, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, the University of Rhode Island, Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, and the University of Wisconsin.

At the Dec. 1, 2 and 3 programs, Hodge will also present information on winter feeding basics, including when and what feed products to use to supplement sheep and goat diets through the cold weather season. She will cover how to evaluate the content and quality of hay and forage and related feeding program adjustment options.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Petition Wants Walmart to Stop Selling Toy LIvestock Truck


I've seen just about everything now!

Go to to see the story.

FDA OKs Genetically Modified Salmon for Consumption

From the Associated Press:

The federal Food and Drug Administration Thursday approved genetically modified salmon, the first altered animal for human consumption in the United States.

The Obama administration has stalled for more than five years on deciding whether to approve a fast-growing salmon.

By altering genetic materials, scientists have proposed and in some cases, actually created animals that would be bred to be disease-free, cleaner in their environments or grow more efficiently.

Opponents of the technology have taken advantage of increasing consumer concern about genetically modified foods and have urged several major retailers not to sell it.

Developer Receives Grant to Study Meat Packing Plant

Go to to see the story.

Grange Continues to Work for Farmers, Local Communities

One of my stories from the December issue of Empire Farm & Dairy:

Empire Farm & Dairy

Long before New York Farm Bureau, New York Farmland Protection or New York Farm Viability Institute were serving farmers, the New York Grange was at the forefront of helping the state’s agrarian society grow and proper.

And though today it is overshadowed by some other organizations, the New York Grange is growing and still influencing agricultural society.

In 2015, the Grange added a new chapter in Albany, said state Master/President Stephen Coye, of Ravena, Albany County.

“That chapter is right inside the city of Albany,” Coye said. “There aren’t many farms in Albany, but we have a new Grange chapter there.”

That shows the essence of the Grange — an organization that fights for farmers and doesn’t require that someone be a farmer to join.

“There are 187 Granges in the state and some don’t have a farmer in them,” Coye said. “But they are Grange members because they want to address situations in their communities. What I always say is ‘the Grange is what it needs to be where it is.’”

The Grange begins

The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry (the full name) was founded in 1867, making it the same age as Cornell University’s land-grant agriculture college. 

The Grange was started in the aftermath of the Civil War as farmers in the Midwest realized they needed to band together to work on issues of concern in rural areas.

A group of men — Oliver H. Kelley, William Saunders, Aaron B. Grosh, William M. Ireland, John R. Thompson, Francis McDowell and John Trimble — wanted to advocate for rural America, educate farmers and others about rural life and agriculture and help their neighbors thrive. The men were assisted in their work by Caroline Hall, who was later named an honorary eighth founder of the Grange, according to information on the Grange website.

The Grange is a fraternal organization (like the Masons), with rituals it continues to this day. But through the years, the National Grange stood up for farmers and rural communities.

Bryan Marchefsky, communications manager for the National Grange, said the Grange was in the forefront of fighting railroad monopolies in the early years of its existence, hellbent to stop the high prices the railroad companies charged to ship farm goods. 

The Grange grew quickly in these early years as farmers from across the country banded together to fight the railroads — a fight that went on for more than 10 years.

In fact, encyclopedia Brittanica says during the railroad fight heyday in 1870, Grange membership soared to 800,000 and there was a Grange chapter in every state. 

The Grange website says the organization continued to play a role in politics for many years and even helped create the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, which called for the first federal regulation of railroads to control unfair shipping rates.

“In decades to come, politicians took a cue from the Granger Laws and created controls over many big business industries, from meatpacking to drug making, on the grounds that governmental regulations were essential to protect the interests of all the people, not just farmers,” according to the Grange website.

Grange later worked on getting mail delivery, telepphone lines and electricity into rural areas, Marchefsky said.

Grange issues today

Today, members in the 250 Community Granges and Junior Granges in New York state are pushing a number of issues on the state and national levels. 

Grange voting members statewide recently gathered for their annual convention Oct. 24 through 27 in Auburn and discussed legislative issues to work on in the coming year and some to send to the National Grange for action at its national convention held Nov. 10 through 14 in Lincoln, Neb.

“We have a legislative person in the state Grange who spends a great deal of time working with state legislators and developing position papers on issues,” Coye said.

Coye himself makes trips to Albany (he is a retired state Senate staffer and began his career with former Senate majority leader Warren Anderson) and Washington, D.C. to speak about issues important to farmers and rural residents.

“One of our big issues right now is rural broadband,” Coye said. He said so much farm work is done on the Internet today that it is imperative for farmers and others in rural areas to have high-speed Internet access. But cable or telecommunications companies usually demand high density of residences before they will expand cable lines. In rural areas, there can be miles between houses. 

“I realize it’s an economic issue for the cable companies,” he said. “For the big companies like AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner, it’s not part of their business model. But for us, rural broadband is as important as rural electrification was in the 1930s.”

The Grange’s activism in the past has led to the formation of other organizations that still exist today, such as Cooperative Extension, 4-H and FFA. These groups continue with Grange’s focus of education and advocating for farmers.

New members welcomed

Another large issue for the Grange today is recruiting new members. Coye said just like many other service organization, the Grange is losing its older members and needs to add to its rosters to remain viable.

Matthew Horton, who lives in Schuyler County near Painted Post in the Southern Tier, is a member of the Steuben County Grange. He is one of the younger members and works with youths to get them involved in the organization.

“I came into Grange as a Junior Granger at 18 and liked it. I could come here to see all my friends and and we got to travel, going to Northeast Youth Conference and the National Grange convention,” he said. “If we aren’t getting young people to join, then we will be in trouble.”

He emphasizes to youth groups that Grange “has more of a family feel to it,” but it also is a great way to get involved and do good things for the community.
“We put on a dairy festival in Bath each year, put on displays at the county fair and at Empire Farm Days,” Horton said. He also has worked as a camp counselor at Grange camp.

In addition to its work with farmers, rural life and education, the Grange helps local communities in many ways. Many rent out their Grange halls to other groups. They also put on special events for the community or raise money to give to local organizations.

Alma Jean Heidenreich, who has been a Grange member for more than 50 years, said the Taft Settlement Grange in North Syracuse makes candy poppers that are put in the military courtesy room at 
Hancock International Airport for veterans and their families. 

Horton said his Grange offers baked goods and coffee at the rest areas on Route 86.

“Our main focus is to help communities — helping communities at the local level,” Marchefsky said.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Specialty Crop Projects in NY Get Funding

From the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

Awards totaling $1.2 million for 10 projects to grow New York agriculture through research, protection and promotion of the state’s specialty crops were announced last week.

Projects for specialty crops, which rank highly in the nation in terms of both production and economic value, will receive money through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to provide assistance for research and grower education projects to boost competitiveness of New York farms and enhance long-term viability of agri-businesses.

Specialty crops include a wide range of agricultural products, including fruits and vegetables, herbs, flowers, shrubs and commercially-grown trees. 

Six grants for research and grower education projects based at Cornell University will help provide innovative solutions for a number of critical pest, disease and other profitability challenges to help New York’s farmers improve their practices, enhance operations and remain competitive.

In addition, the Department of Agriculture and Markets will implement four statewide initiatives that will benefit a broad spectrum of specialty crop commodities by providing increased sales and marketing opportunities, and support economic development in local communities throughout the state.

Funding for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help states improve the competitiveness of specialty crops. The Department of Agriculture and Markets administered the program in cooperation with the New York Farm Viability Institute, which evaluated proposals in the areas of food safety, research and grower education, and marketing. 

The following six research and grower education projects based at Cornell University were awarded funding:

** $105,568 to increase consumer demand for fresh, local vegetables year-round by supporting farmer entrepreneurs with the necessary business analysis tools to successfully enter the emerging field of controlled environment agriculture.

** $51,916 to help growers reduce pesticides by 30 to 40 percent and improve growers’ profitability by offering a series of one-day, in-depth training courses on state-of-the-art spray application techniques.

** $112,149 to evaluate management strategies of leafroll viruses and develop a comprehensive, integrated pest management (IPM) program to be disseminated to the local grape community to increase the overall quality of production and vineyard profitability.

** $111,561 to find better ways to fight the damaging Cercospora leaf spot disease, which affects beets.  New York is the nation’s second largest producer of table beets for the fresh and processing markets, and demand is likely to continue to rise with the opening later this year of Love Beets USA, LLC’s new beet processing and packaging plant in Rochester.  Efforts will include research to find a more effective fungicide, as well as developing optimum methods for rotating crops and disease and weed management strategies;

** $108,977 to reduce the impact of leaf mold in tomatoes produced in high tunnels (covered structures where tomatoes grow horizontally on tall trellises.)

** $109, 829 to help New York apple growers adopt precision management techniques to reduce loss and ensure that a higher percentage of Honeycrisp apples meet the quality criteria necessary for the fresh market. Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Lake Ontario Fruit Program will coordinate this project.

The following four promotion and marketing projects were awarded funding:

** $280,000 to educate consumers about the many environmental, economic, and health benefits of specialty crop consumption.
** $100,000 to increase the capacity of schools to procure and serve locally-produced specialty crops and help schools in carrying out their farm-to-school plans and initiatives.
** $90,000 to assist specialty crop industry groups in providing information, raising awareness and promoting the state’s specialty crops to buyers and sales leads at the New York Produce Show in New York City.
** $58,241 to assist consumers and commercial buyers to more easily search for and locate sources of specialty crop products by expanding the Pride of New York database and its functionality.