Friday, December 25, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bugs Bunny Would Love This Machine

Is this the coolest thing in the world or what?

Carrots being harvested. Thanks to Facebook friend Dairy Carrie for posting the video.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

One New Yorker Named to National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board

Nine people -- including one from New York state --  have been named to the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board.

The NAREEE Advisory Board advises the federal Secretary of Agriculture and land-grant colleges and universities on top national priorities and policies for food and agricultural research, education, extension and economics. 

The advisory board's main objective is to contribute to effective federal agricultural research, education and economics programs through broad stakeholder feedback and sound science in its ongoing role as adviser to the Secretary of Agriculture.

The following members have been appointed to a 3-year term expiring Sept. 30, 2018:
  • National Human Health Association – Dr. Patsy Brannon, Professor and Nutritionist at Cornell University, Ithaca
  • National Farm Organization – Don Villwock, Farmer, Villwock Farms and President of the Indiana Farm Bureau, Edwardsport, Ind.
  • Food Animal Commodity Producer – Wathina Luthi, Farmer/Rancher of Luthi Farms, Gage, Okla.
  • Non-Land Grant College or University with a Historic Commitment to Research in Food and Agriculture – Dr. Annette Levi, Professor and Chair, Agricultural Business Department at California State University-Fresno, Fresno, Calif.
  • Hispanic-Serving Institutions – Dr. Agnes Mojica, Chancellor at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, San Germ├ín Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Transportation of Food and Agricultural Products to domestic and foreign markets – Robert Fay, Vice President of Seminole Gulf Railway LP, Fort Myers, Fla.
  • Food Retailing and Marketing Interests –Dr. Molly McAdams, President and Co-Founder of Om3, San Antonio, Texas
  • Food and Fiber Processors – Julia Sabin, Vice President of Industry and Government Affairs of The J.M. Smucker Company, Orville, Ohio
  • Private Sector Organization involved in International Development – Richard Tracy, Vice President of International Programs, Global Cold Chain Alliance, Alexandria, Va.
Each of the 25 NAREEE Advisory Board members represents a specific category of U.S. agricultural stakeholders as outlined in the 2008 Food, Energy, and Conservation Act.

Winter Dairy Programs Set for Northern and Western New York

From Cornell Cooperative Extension:

The Cornell Cooperative Extension associations of Northern New York, Quality Milk Production Services, and Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team are partnering to present winter dairy programs on cattle housing and handling, cow comfort, animal welfare, and communicating positive messages about cattle welfare.

Dairy specialists with the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Vermont Department of Animal and Veterinary Services will speak in programs to be offered from 10am to 3 p.m. on:

** Jan. 12 in Burrville at Farm Credit East
** Jan. 13 at Extension offices in Canton in Northern New York and in Albion, Canandaigua and Warsaw in Western New York and

** Jan.. 14 in Chazy at the Miner Institute.

Speakers at the Jan. 12, 13 and 14 programs are:
Dr. Katie Proudfoot, dairy handling and cow comfort
Dr. Julie M. Smith, animal welfare in the milking parlor
Dr. Kimberley Morrill, calf comfort an cold weather considerations.

Internet broadcasting and webinar technology will make the programs possible in multiple sites.

On Jan. 20, American Dairy Association and Dairy Council and Upstate Niagara Cooperative representatives will present information on the National Dairy F.A.R.M. Program and on communicating positive messages about dairy cattle welfare. The programs will be from 10 a.m. to 3 Burrville, Canton and Chazy in Northern New York and Albion, Canandaigua and Warsaw in Western New York.

F.A.R.M. is the acronym for Farmers Assuring Responsible Management. The National Dairy F.A.R.M. Program is a nationwide, verifiable animal wellbeing program being adopted by dairy producers and cooperatives across the United States.

Speakers at the January 20 program are:Beth Meyer, Vice President for Industry Communications with the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council
Sara Gillette, a Senior Animal Well-Being Specialist and Area Manager with the Upstate Niagara Cooperative, and a certified National Milk Producers Federation trainer and evaluator..

The fee to cover two programs in Northern NY is $75 if you preregister by Jan. 4 or $95 at the door. Contact 315-379-9192 or go to

Registration for two programs in Western NY is $75 for those enrolled in the Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crop Team program, $95 for non-enrollees. For more information or to register, call 585-786-2251 or go to

Grants Available for Organic Agriculture Research and Outreach

More than $17 million is available to support research and outreach activities that will help growers, producers and processors find innovative ways to improve organic agriculture. 

The grants are being funded through the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), a program that is administered by USDA’s National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

Funded projects will aid farmers and ranchers with whole farm planning by delivering practical research-based information and will improve the ability for growers to develop the Organic System Plan required for certification.

Applications are due March 10. Please go to to see specific program requirements. 

This is What You Should Know Before Becoming a Farmer

Good blog post from the National Young Farmers Coalition.

Go to to check it out.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Congress Approves Hard Cider Bill

From the New York Apple Association:

New York state’s apple industry is applauding approval in Congress of an overhaul of how hard cider is taxed that will allow New York state hard ciders to be more competitive in the marketplace.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the measure as part of the so-called tax extenders bill approved Thursday, while the U.S. Senate approved it today (Friday, Dec. 18) as part of a combined tax and government funding bill.

The House and Senate bills included language from bills introduced in both chambers earlier this year to level the playing field regarding how hard cider is taxed relative to other alcoholic beverages such as champagne, wine and beer. 

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced the “Cider Investment and Development through Excise Tax Reduction (CIDER) Act of 2015” with five bipartisan cosponsors in May.

New York’s U.S. Rep. Chris Collins (R-27) introduced similar bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives in January with Oregon’s Rep. Earl Blumenauer. 

Several U.S. representatives from New York subsequently co-sponsored that House bill: Richard Hanna (R-22), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-18), Charles Rangel (D-13), Elise Stefanik (R-21) and Paul Tonko (D-20).

“As the second-largest apple producing state in the country, New York should be the core of hard cider boom we are seeing now. With this sensible change, our hard cider makers can sell more cider and grow their businesses – and that means our apple growers can sell more apples to those cider makers,” said New York Apple Association President Jim Allen.

Under current federal law, depending upon its alcoholic content hard cider can be taxed at same rate as wine, $1.07 per gallon – and depending upon its carbonation, it can be taxed at the even higher champagne rate of $3.30 per gallon. 

The CIDER Act provision included in the tax extender bill changes the definition of hard cider to tax it at $.23 per gallon, equivalent to beer.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

Fresh New York State Christmas Trees Being Shipped to NYC

From New York state:

Fresh Direct, a leading fresh food Internet grocer that delivers to residences and offices in the New York City metropolitan area,has added farm-fresh, New York grown Christmas trees to its lineup of products available for sale to its customers.  

Empire State Development and the state Department of Agriculture and Markets have been working to promote the use of locally grown Christmas trees across the state, and helped facilitate this new partnership to bring greater exposure to and increase the purchase of New York trees in the New York City marketplace.  

Fresh Direct is sourcing locally grown, live potted trees from Dutch Church Farm in Amsterdam. The farm is making Fraser firs available for delivery throughout New York City, and so far has made two deliveries of a large number of trees downstate.  

The ‘Berries and Bows’ trees are two-foot Fraser firs that come pre-decorated with colorful berries and festive bows. They are available online now at

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Celebrate Maple Syrup Day!

Today, Dec. 17, is National Maple Syrup Day.

Go to to read more about it.

Oh, hail maple syrup!!!!

Virtual Farming Online Atlas Benefits Those in Agriculture

Interesting opinion piece from the Watertown Daily Times.

Check it out at this link.

Listeria Found in Raw Milk in Allegany County

Consumers in Allegany County and the surrounding area have been warned not to consume “unpasteurized” raw milk from the Gerald E. Snyder Farm, due to possible Listeria contamination.  

The Snyder Farm is located at RD#1, 1444 Randolph Rd., Alfred Station. To date, no illnesses are known by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to be associated with this product.
A sample of the milk, collected by an inspector from the department, was discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. On Dec. 4, the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result and declined to suspend sales during confirmatory testing.  

Further laboratory testing, completed on Dec. 9, confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the raw milk sample. The producer is now prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that the product is free of harmful bacteria.
Department officials recommend any consumers who purchased raw milk from the Snyder Farm immediately dispose of it and call the department at (518) 457-1772 if they have any questions.

Criteria for $25 Million Southern Tier Agricultural Industry Enhancement Program Announced

From the state of New York:

Program criteria for the $25 million Southern Tier Agricultural Industry Enhancement Program were announced this week.

The eligibility requirements are now available online by going to The program will provide money for projects designed to help farms and agribusinesses expand and grow their operations, as well as increase environmental enhancements in Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins and Tioga counties. 

Applications will be available beginning Jan. 19.
Eligible projects will increase agricultural production on farms and improve profitability, as well as support farmers in better managing and enhancing environmental resources. 

Projects awarded state money may receive up to $100,000 to help with expenses associated with construction, renovation, irrigation, drainage, environmental enhancements, fencing, trellis systems and greenhouses. 

Eligible applicants that demonstrate an exemplary commitment to protecting or enhancing natural resources, may also be entitled to an additional $10,000 toward their project.
The Department of Agriculture and Markets will work in coordination with the County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) to administer the program. The SWCDs will pre-qualify projects and oversee the implementation of awards. 

Awards will be made on a semi-annual basis for a period of two years or until funding is depleted. Applications will be available and filed locally through each respective county SWCD. 

To find a list of the SWCDs, click  on this link.

Applicants must meet the department’s definition of a farm operation and meet additional criteria as outlined in the program criteria, including participation in the New York State Agricultural Environmental Management program within the past three years, or a commitment to participate in the program prior to being awarded.

A Look Back at Agriculture in 2015

The USDA Week in Review discusses agriculture in 2015.

Why Was Agriculture Left Out of the Paris Climate Deal?

Another take on the Climate Action Plan agreement from Paris and agriculture.

Go to to see the story.

Paris Climate Agreement Unlocks Opportunities for Food and Farming

Here is a take on the Climate Action Plan from Paris from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Read it at

Agriculture and the Climate Control Summit Report

Go to to check it out.

New York Ag Receipts Outpace National Averages

From New York state:

The growth of agricultural sales in New York outpaced the national average, with cash receipts up 36 percent across the state and only 32 percent nationally. 

In 2014, farmers in New York state also set a new record for sales with $6.36 billion in cash receipts, up from $4.7 billion in 2010, representing a nearly $1.7 billion increase in gross income from sales of crops, livestock and other products.

New York has seen a surge in average gross income and a significant increase in sales of many of the state’s top commodities. Since 2010, the following commodities have shown the greatest increases:
· Poultry and eggs up 63 percent to $206 million; · Peaches up 80 percent to $12.6 million; · Honey production up 59 percent to just under $9 million; · Cattle production up 132 percent to $415 million; and · Hay up 173 percent to $147 million.
The national estimates for the same commodities for the same period are:
· Poultry and eggs up 39 percent; · Peaches up 2 percent; · Honey production up 38 percent; · Cattle production up 59 percent; and · Hay up 63 percent.
The New York dairy industry also saw record high dairy prices in 2014, constituting about half of the state’s agricultural receipts.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

State Fair Cookbook, Ornament Ready for Holiday Gift Giving

News from New York State Fair:

Gift-givers now have that perfect something to put under the tree this year – or on it – to please fans of the Great New York State Fair.  

The fair is selling copies of its Blue Ribbon Recipes book and both of its annual tree ornaments featuring classic State Fair buildings. Order forms are at

Blue Ribbon Recipes was compiled from entries in the fair’s annual culinary competitions that won their categories and were entered in the Grand Champion competition that takes place on the Fair’s final day. These are the very best entries, going back several years.  The 100-page cookbook is spiral-bound for easy use in the kitchen.

The fair’s annual Christmas tree ornament series, now in its second year, features representations of the Horticulture and Center of Progress buildings in a high-quality oval setting made of pewter, perfect for a place on any Fair fan’s tree. 

The cookbook sells for $15 and the ornaments are $8 each. Payments can be accepted via credit card, cashier’s check or money order. No personal checks can be accepted. Shipping will add $3 to $5 to the final cost.  

Questions can be directed to the Entry Department at 315-487-7711, extension 1337.

New Law Cuts in Half Fee for Registering Agricultural Trailers

From state Sen. Patricia Ritchie:

A bill has been signed into law that will save farmers money by cutting fees to register trailers used for transporting produce, livestock and other items. 

The bill written and sponsored by state Sen. Patty Ritchie and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther will cut the trailer fees in half. Now, trucks used for farming activities can be registered for a lesser fee than those used for other purposes but there is no reduced fee for agricultural trailers.  

Under the measure (S. 4241-B), trailers used for farming purposes will be charged a smaller fee, bringing the cost in line with trucks used for agriculture. 

“Farming isn’t just a land intensive businesses, it’s a transportation intensive business, with agribusiness professionals logging countless miles annually to move produce, livestock, supplies and other goods,” said Ritchie.

“By lowering the registration fee for agricultural trailers, we are cutting costs for farmers, which in turn, will allow them to further expand their businesses and support the continued growth of New York’s leading industry.”

“Agriculture contributes over $37 billion to New York’s economy," said Gunther. "While this measure may seem small, it will result in more money being invested into farming and will stimulate other areas of the economy as well.”

Currently, the fee to register a trailer is $5.39 per 500 pounds.  Under the new law, the registration fee for agricultural trailers will be reduced to $2.50 per 500 pounds.

New York Wines Win at California Competition

From Jim Trezise of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation:

The recent Grand Harvest Awards held in Sonoma, Calif. once again yielded some more New York Gold, including four Best of Class, three Double Gold, and eight Gold medals.
Best of Class awards went to Dr. Frank 2014 Dry Riesling (also a Double Gold and Best of Finger Lakes AVA); Heron Hill 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling (also Gold and Best of New York State AVA); Liberty Vineyards 2014 Traminette (also Gold and Best of Lake Erie AVA); and Thirsty Owl 2014 Diamond (also Gold).

Additional Double Gold medals went to Swedish Hill 2014 Late Harvest Vignoles and Thirsty Owl 2014 Gewurztraminer.  And other Golds went to Dr. Frank 2014 Gruner Veltliner; Heron Hill 2012 Cabernet Franc, and 2013 Semi-Sweet Riesling; Liberty Vineyards 2014 Reds, Whites & Blues Rose; and Swedish Hill 2013 Blue Waters Pinot Noir.

Monday, December 14, 2015

New Fund Started to Help Farmers Be Safe

From the New York Center of Agricultural Medicine and Health:

A new fund to help keep farmers safe on the farm was announced Dec. 14 in Saratoga Springs.

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York Farm Bureau and New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health joined together at Turning Point Farm to announce the establishment of the John May Safety Fund to enhance safety on the farm.

 “We’re excited to integrate this program into the portfolio of health and safety services we offer to the agricultural community,” said New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health Director Dr. Julie Sorensen. “The John May Safety Fund fills a gap in services to small farms, where slim profit margins often make it difficult to do more than what is needed to keep the farm running every day”.

The Safety Fund set up by NYCAMH honors the organization’s co-founder and long-time director Dr. John May and will assist New York farmers who need financial help improving safety on their farms. As the first program of its kind in New York state, this cost-sharing program will allow farmers to make lifesaving safety upgrades.

NYCAMH offers safety inspections on farms throughout the state, but sometimes farmers do not have the money to make recommended changes. This is especially true today on dairy farms as the price farmers receive for their milk has plummeted in the last year.

National Safety Council statistics show agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the country in terms of work-related fatality rates.

Agriculture had the highest such rate two years ago, at 23.2 deaths per 100,000 workers. The work-related rate for all U.S. industries for 2013 was 3.3 deaths per 100,000 workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

NYCAMH reported 22 farm fatalities in New York state in 2014.

“With the continued growth of the agricultural industry and our efforts to encourage the next generation of farmers, it’s even more important than ever that we support farm safety programs like the John May Safety Fund,” state Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball said. “It is our hope that this grant fund administered by NYCAMH will bring attention to the importance of much needed safety projects and upgrades, and we encourage the agricultural community to take advantage of these newly available resources.”

The new program will become available beginning in January to the state’s farmers who meet the application guidelines. The program will be geared towards smaller farms with fewer than 400 animals.

Applications to the program may be submitted at any time and may be obtained by calling NYCAMH at (800) 343-7527 or emailing The number of awards and the award amount will be determined by NYCAMH on a first-come, first-served basis.

“NYCAMH provides an essential service for farms across New York. The efforts to improve safety and working conditions for both farmers and their employees has, no doubt, saved lives and reduced the number of injuries," said Steve Ammerman, New York Farm Bureau manager of public affairs.

"New York Farm Bureau is a strong supporter of NYCAMH’s work and is hopeful our members will take advantage of the new grant program to make farms in this state even better places to work,” he said.

Since it’s founding in the early 1980s, NYCAMH has established a farmers’ clinic to help diagnose and treat farm-related injuries and illnesses, developed a NYS ROPS (Rollover Protective Structure) Rebate Program that has retrofitted more than 1,400 tractors, and performed hundreds of on-farm safety trainings to thousands of farm workers. 

Dr. May co-founded and directed NYCAMH from the early ‘80s through 2015 and his work in promoting safety measures has given him a national reputation in his field. Even as he prepares to retire, Dr. May receives glowing remarks on his work within this industry.

“Dr. May has become an icon in the field of agricultural health and safety and is nationally recognized for his dedication and passion for improving the health and safety of farmers,” said Dr. Sorenson, who is taking over daily responsibilities at NYCAMH.

“Turning Point Dairy strives for a safe environment on the farm. This is not an easy task,” said Marty Hanehan, co-owner of Turning Point Dairy in Saratoga Springs where the announcement was made. 

“With NYCAMH and the help they have offered our farm, we have become a more safety conscious farm. NYCAMH has also helped us with our OSHA training and compliance. We wish to thank NYCAMH and their staff and hope they can continue to offer this invaluable service.”

NYCAMH was established in the early 1980s by Dr. John May and Dr. David Pratt, pulmonologists at The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, Otsego County. 

Initially known as the Bassett Farm and Safety Health Project, it officially was designated the New York Center for Agriculture and Medicine in 1988 with a mission of enhancing agricultural and rural health by preventing and treating occupational injury and illness.

For more information, visit

Lucki 7 Livestock Hits the World Stage

Great story in the Watertown Daily Times by my colleague Chris Brock.

Read it at

Friday, December 11, 2015

Muller Yogurt Plant in Batavia Closes

A yogurt plant in Batavia that opened to great hoopla and was one of the plants in the yogurt boom in New York state is closed.

The Associated Press reported PepsiCo Inc. and German dairy giant Theo Muller Group ended production Thursday. The plant opened in 2013.

Officials said the plant didn't meet expectations in a competitive and dynamic marketplace.

The Associated Press states national milk marketing cooperative Dairy Farmers of America has agreed to purchase the Muller Quaker Dairy, co-op spokeswoman Monica Massey said Thursday. She said the cooperative is exploring several milk handling and manufacturing options for the plant.

The Associated Press says about 64 of the plant's 170 jobs are expected to be cut and transition assistance will be offered. He said the others are expected to be retained by the dairy cooperative.

New York has been the top U.S. yogurt producer for several years because of the booming Greek yogurt sector. Other plants in the state are run by Chobani, Fage and Byrne.

The Muller plant was mentioned as one of the success stories in the Finger Lakes region proposal for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recent economic development competition called Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

It was announced Thursday -- the same day the plant closed -- that the Finger Lakes region was one of three winners in the state economic development competition. The region will receive $500 million over five years for projects in the area.

Muller yogurt has been a popular brand in Europe for more than a century. Muller products including dessert-inspired flavors like Raspberry Brownie Supreme and Dulce de Leche Delight will disappear from U.S. shelves after current stocks are sold, the PepsiCo spokesman told the Associated Press.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Firefighters Receive Training on Farm Grain Bins

Good story.

Check it out at

Vernon Center Farmer Loses Battle with Cancer

A young farmer in Vernon Center has passed away after a battle with cancer.

Here is the post on the Stoltzfus Family Dairy Farm Facebook page:

"Today's update comes with great sorrow and a heavy heart. Last night, Marvin went to be with the Lord surrounded by his loving family.
We ask that you keep The Stoltzfus Family in your prayers during their time of grief.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." - Revelation 21:4

Rest in peace Marvin."

A gofundme page had been set up to help the family with medical expenses. You can access the page at

Here is an excerpt from the gofundme page:

"Marv and his family are now at risk of losing their family farm, source of income and family home, threatened by the growing mountain of medical bills, Marv’s inability to work, rising farm expenses, and severe decreases in milk prices.

As a self-reliant and devout man of faith, Marv has privately struggled for the past three years. The support of his family, friends, and church has been overwhelmingly supportive. Sadly, even with the outpour of encouragement, he and his family still stand at risk of losing everything they have worked for. Without a change in their situation, Marv and the Stoltzfus family will ultimately be forced to liquidate and sell their home and farm." 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Big Food Feels Threat of Climate change

Good story from National Public Radio about how climate change affects the food being grown and produced by farmers:

Go to to read or listen to the story.

Tips for Selecting the Best Real Christmas Tree

A family picks out a tree at Granger's in Mexico.
From Cornell University:

Tips for selecting the best Christmas tree: 
  • Don’t be afraid to handle and bend the branches and shoots. Green needles should not come off in your hands. Also, the shoots should be flexible. Avoid a tree if the needles are shed or if the shoots crack or snap with handling.
  • Look for a tree with a good solid green (or blue green for some species) color. Needle yellowing or a slight brown speckled color could indicate there was a pest problem and could lead to early needle drop.
  • Have fun looking over all the types of trees. New York growers are producing a wider variety of trees compared with past years. One can find New York grown firs such as Fraser, Balsam, Douglas and the bluish tinted Concolor fir. Spruces and old-fashioned pines can also be found. Each variety tree offers its own shape, color, fragrance, and branch stiffness for holding needles.
  • Christmas trees should smell good. If there isn’t much fragrance when you flex the needles, it may mean that the tree was cut too long ago.
  • If possible, make a fresh cut on the bottom so the tree’s vascular tissue (pipe work) is not plugged and so the tree can easily take up water. Then, if you’re not bringing it into the house right away, get the tree in a bucket of water outside.
  • Once you move your tree gets inside the house, don’t locate it next to a radiator, furnace vent or other heat source. And always remember to keep water in the tree stand topped off, so it never goes below the bottom of the trunk.
  • County Cooperative Extension offices often have lists of local Christmas tree growers. You can also check the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York website at