Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Birds Will Be Back at State Fair and County Fairs This Summer

An exhibit at the State Fair in 2014
News from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball on May 31 announced the end of the ban on all live fowl competitions and exhibits at the Great New York State Fair and at all county fairs in New York.  

The first poultry show at the state Fairgrounds since the ban took place will be at the fairgrounds this coming weekend.

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets issued the ban in June 2015 to prevent the spread of strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which killed millions of birds across the country in 2014-2015 and was confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as being the worst outbreak of HPAI in U.S. history.   
“New York took an aggressive approach to preventing the spread of avian influenza and it paid off,” Ball said. “I am very proud to say that thanks to the cooperation of farmers, suppliers, distributors, and live bird markets, as well as the hard work of the Department’s Division of Animal Industry, the outbreak did not affect a single bird in the state and we look forward to their return at fairs this summer.”

“Lifting this ban was possible due to the efforts of the poultry industry, here in New York and throughout the U.S., to stop the spread of HPAI and to improve biosecurity practices. We are indebted to state and federal animal health officials who contained HPAI in the Midwest," said state Veterinarian Dr. David Smith.

"While we are confident the threat has diminished and bird competitions can resume, it’s important to note that the virus causing HPAI may arise any time, so our producers must remain vigilant and continue to adhere to the best practices for preventing the spread of this disease,” Smith said.

The Great New York State Fair is accepting entries for its poultry competitions and exhibits.  Exhibitors can register their animals by going to http://nysfair.ny.gov/competitions/how-to-enter/ this link.

In 2014, about 1,200 poultry and pigeons were brought to the fair for various competitions and exhibits. The ban has also been lifted for all chartered county fairs and youth fairs in New York State. 

There are 45 county fairs and six youth shows for the fair season, which runs from June through October. 

Oswego County Fair President Carol Sweeney said the poultry will be back at the annual county fair in Sandy Creek, but birds will be checked out and tested by a vet before entering the fairgrounds.

“Our fairgoers and our exhibitors look forward to these competitions every year and we are excited to bring them back. They are not only fun, but also an important educational opportunity for thousands of Fair visitors each year," said Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner.

For more information, visit the state Department of Agriculture and Markets website at www.agriculture.ny.gov

Saturday, May 28, 2016

It's National Hamburger Day!!

A cheeseburger.
What better time to celebrate the hamburger than during Memorial Day Weekend.

National Hamburger Day is today -- celebrated each year on May 28. This day is set aside to honor a classic sandwich, the hamburger.  

National Hamburger Day is part of National Hamburger Month.
For Some Fun Hamburger Trivia See:  http://www.foodreference.com/html/fhamburgers.html

According to the National Calendar Day website: "It is most likely that the hamburger first appeared in the 19th or early 20th centuries and there is much controversy over it’s origin. The true origin might not ever be identified with certainty. Over the years, the hamburger has become a culinary icon in the United States."

"From early on, the hamburger was prepared with all of the now typically characteristic trimmings. including onions, lettuce and pickles.

"Since the beginning, many different variations of the hamburger have been created, some of which have become very popular.  Much of this diversity comes from restaurant chains that have tried to reproduce the success of other very famous and extremely successful hamburger chains," the website states.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Innovative New Yorkers Prominent in Dairy History

June is Dairy Month, so how better to celebrate than to look at the lives of some prominent New Yorkers who changed the dairy industry. Here is my story from the June issue of Empire Farm & Dairy magazine:

Empire Farm & Dairy


There are quite a number of New Yorkers who have provided notable inventions or knowledge to the dairy industry.
Without some of them, the industry would be quite different today.
Sit back and read about some of these historic dairy New Yorkers:

Horace Backus (1927-present)
Backus, 88, is often referred to as the “dean of pedigrees” for his work in Holstein genetics.

A long-time resident of Mexico, Oswego County, Backus is widely known and respected across the country for his knowledge of Holstein genetics and lifetime of experience in the dairy sales arena.

He began working in his father’s Backus Pedigree Office at age 15, and kept learning about the field until he stepped into the box as a pedigree reader for the first time 10 years later, filling in for his ill father, R. Austin Backus.

Following his father’s retirement, Horace and his brothers formed a company to continue the sale and pedigree business with the same values and integrity their father had instilled in them.

The business was sold in 1983, and Horace continued, as he does today, as a freelance pedigree reader. In total, he estimates he has read pedigrees at more than 3,000 sales and assisted with the preparation of more than 5,000 catalogs, each sale receiving the same special care and attention as the one before it.

Backus is also respected as an author, having written several books throughout the years, telling the story of many prolific breeding operations and providing his personal insights on the Holstein industry.

Backus has never shied away from becoming involved with organizations and causes he is passionate about. In addition to groups in his hometown, he also was elected to the Holstein Association USA board of directors in 1987, a seat which he held until 1995, and has also been involved with the association’s audit committee, and served as a delegate for New York for several years.

He has received numerous honors, such as being named World Dairy Expo’s 2010 Industry Person of the Year, and being inducted as an honorary member of the Klussendorf Association in 2003.

He also was the first-ever recipient of the Pennsylvania Holstein Association’s Distinguished Supporter Award and received the 2013 Distinguished Leadership award at the Holstein Association USA convention.

Also, a scholarship for young dairy producers to attend the Holstein Foundation’s Young Dairy Leaders Institute was created in Backus’s name about three years ago.

Former HolsteinWorld publisher Joel Hastings summed Backus up this way: “A case can be made that Horace Backus, more than any other single individual, has contributed to the growth in value of Registered Holsteins throughout his career as a sales manager, pedigree expert, association leader and adviser to hundreds in the industry.

“He is the epitome of all that is positive in our business, knowledge, respect and enthusiasm, with unwavering integrity in every single instance.”

To hear Backus speak about some well-known Holsteins, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSMaYzFamoU.

William Dempster Hoard (1836 - 1918)
The name William Dempster Hoard is well-known to all in the dairy industry.

The namesake of Hoard’s Dairyman, the first national dairy magazine in the United States which still publishes today,  Hoard was born and raised in Stockbridge, in Madison County east of Syracuse. He was the son of a farmer and Methodist minister and worked throughout his boyhood on the dairy farm.

He left New York and moved to Wisconsin as an adult and became an advocate for that state’s agriculture industry. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, he was responsible for making those in Wisconsin aware of dairy and eventually turning Wisconsin into the dairy power it is today.    

“In 1870, Hoard launched a weekly newspaper, the Jefferson County Union, in Lake Mills, but moved the operation to Fort Atkinson (where it remains to this day) three years later,” according to the Wisconsin Historical Society. 

“At the same time, Hoard began a vigorous campaign to improve and grow dairy farming, asserting that Wisconsin was particularly well suited to the industry. He crusaded to get farmers who were losing money due to poor soil and crop yields to switch to dairying."

According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, in 1872, Hoard organized a dairying convention in Watertown, Wis. where he founded the State Dairyman’s Association, the first of its kind in the nation. Hoard became president of the Northwestern Dairymen’s Association in 1876. His crusade for a prosperous dairy industry prompted the founding of Hoard’s Dairyman, the national dairy farm magazine, in 1885.

He eventually became governor of Wisconsin. He also financed the first cow census, recommended the making of hay silage for feeding cattle and introduced the first youth organization for rural children, the precursor of today’s 4-H and FFA.

He continued to work for daily farmers after being governor. Today, he is remembered with a marble and bronze statue on the campus of the University of Wisconsin.

Gerrit Smith Miller (1845-1937)

Without this Madison County resident, Holstein herds possibly wouldn’t exist in New York state.

Miller, grandson of famed Madison County abolitionist Gerrit Smith, brought in the first herd of Friesan-Holstein breed cattle that survived and multiplied in the United States. 

He then began keeping track of the characteristics of each cow and how much milk she produced in order to figure out which cows to breed with which bulls for maximum production.

Today, farmers look at long forms filled with statistics when it comes time to breed their cows. They want to match the best characteristics of cow and bull to produce new cows that will produce more milk for more years. Gerrit Smith Miller, of Peterboro, was a first to keep track of how much milk a cow produces and the names of each cow’s sire and dam.

Another Madison County native, Solomon Hoxie (1829-1917), also began in the 1800s keeping track of cows’ physical traits. The information kept by Miller and Hoxie were combined to come up with the advanced registry and the classification registry used by Holstein farmers today to decide which bulls should mate with which cows.

Stephen Moulton Babcock (1843-1931)

Babcock, courtesy Cornell University
Without Stephen Moulton Babcock, farmers wouldn’t have a way to know the fat content of their milk.

While he was a professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, he invented a test to measure butterfat content. This allowed farmers to produce cheese, cream, butter, ice cream and other dairy products that met the dairy industry standards.

Babcock was born and raised in Bridgewater, in Oneida County and received his bachelor’s degree from Tufts College in 1866. He was studying engineering at  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute when his father died and he had to leave school to manage the farm.

He eventually did return to school, receiving a doctorate in chemistry in 1879. He taught at Cornell University in 1881 but left in 1882 to become chief chemist at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. After about six years there, he left for a similar position at the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station.

Babcock’s butterfat tester was introduced in 1890. He used sulfuric acid to release the fat and by doing so, was able to measure directly the percentage of fat by observing it in the neck of a specially designed test bottle.

Babcock also is credited with working with bacteriologist Harry L. Russell to develop a process for cold curing of cheese, which led to an improvement in the quality of cheese.

Maurice S. Prescott (1892-1976)

Maurice Prescott, of Sandy Creek, Oswego County, was an early partner in Holstein-Friesian World magazine and was editor for 60 years, putting the publication in a preeminent spot in the Holstein and dairy industry. 

He was born on a dairy farm outside Lacona, graduated from Sandy Creek High School, attended Cornell University and then began working with E.M. Hastings on the staff of Holstein-Friesian World.

He became editor in 1918 and served in that post until his death. He owned a publishing company in Sandy Creek for many year, the Corse Press, which also published the local newspaper.

As editor of Holsein-Friesian World, he founded the popular All-American contest, a photo competition at the conclusion of each cattle show season that has since been adopted by all breeds.  He advocated successfully against the use of retouched photos in promotions and advertisements.  He co-authored and published several editions of Holstein history notably the 1960 edition of Holstein-Friesian History. 

He was recognized in 1963 by the National Dairy Shrine with its “Guest of Honor” award for being a contemporary dairy leader with outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the dairy industry. He also was honored by the World Dairy Expo. 

Hervey Thatcher (1835-1925)

In 1884, Dr. Hervey D. Thatcher of Potsdam invented three items that were important to the dairy industry.

His most famous was the milk bottle. While running a store in Canton and working as a pharmacist in Potsdam, he was watching some women come to a milk delivery truck to fill their buckets with milk using a ladle kept on the truck.

He thought there had to be a better way to deliver milk — one that would keep out contaminants and not affect the quality or taste of the milk.

He came up with the glass milk bottle.

He eventually sold off the milk bottle making business to others. But Thatcher Manufacturing Co., which had a factory in Elmira for years, was once the largest manufacturer of milk bottles in the country. The business died off with the popularity of the paper milk carton.

His other inventions were a device called a Milk Protector, that helped keep dirt and other residue out of milk when it was being collected from the cow. The other was the coloring that makes butter look yellow. A story about Thatcher called it the best butter coloring of that day and said evidence shows it was the first butter coloring used in the United States.

William H. Miner (1862-1939)

It’s hard to believe a person who started life in Wisconsin and lived a good part of his life in the Midwest would be so influential to New York agriculture.

But that’s the case with William H. Miner.

His early working days were spent as a machine shop apprentice with the Wabash Railway Co. After he invented and received a patent for a rigging device that provided reliable shock protection for refrigerated rail cars, he founded his own company — W.H. Miner Company — making draft riggings for railway cars. He soon was a multimillionaire.

But as a biography of him states: “He made his money in the bustling metropolis of Chicago, but put his heart in the rural life of New York’s North Country.”

Miner, who descended from men who owned farmland in Chazy, Clinton County, was left land by a deceased relative and returned to Chazy in 1903. He and his wife Alice owned more than 15,000 acres and Miner dived feet first into dairy farming, including installing one of the first vacuum milking systems in North America.

Eventually, Heart’s Delight Farm would be selling meat, eggs, dairy, fruit and vegetables to customers large and small, including some well known hotels in New York City and Chicago.

Today, Miner can be thanked for the William H. Miner Foundation, which funds the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute (or Miner Institute), “for the operation and maintenance of an experimental farm, for training young men and women in practical and theoretical farming,” according to a description of the institute.

Ezra Cornell (1807-1874)

Ezra Cornell, courtesy Cornell University
On the 200th anniversary of Ezra Cornell’s birth, the Cornell alumni magazine stated: “He went from bankruptcy to great wealth within a few days.”

This wealth gave Cornell pause as he labored to decide what to do with the money. He once wrote: “My greatest care now is how to spend this large income, to do the most good.”

What he did is establish Cornell University, one of the foremost colleges in the United States and a top university for study in agriculture.

“While the Morrill Land Grant College Act mandated support for the teaching of agriculture and engineering, Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, of Syracuse, considered it essential that these studies be integrated with a broad liberal education,” according to a story in the Cornell bicentennial birthday exhibition.

Said Cornell himself during his speech at the opening of the university Oct. 7, 1868: “I hope that we have laid the foundation of an institution which shall combine practical with liberal education, which shall fit the youth of our country for the professions, the farms, the mines, the manufactories, for the investigations of science, and for mastering all the practical questions of life with success and honor. . . . I trust we have laid the foundation of an university — ‘an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.’”

Jesse Williams (1798-1864)
At one time, New York state was the king of cheese.

And it got that way thanks to a man named Jesse Williams.

Williams, of Rome, Oneida County, is credited with opening the first cheese manufacturing factory in the state. Before that, most farmers made cheese on their individual farms.

But Williams opened this first cheese factory in Rome in 1851, taking in milk from area farmers. Within 15 years, there were 500 cheese factories in New York state.

During the 100th anniversary celebration of the founding of the cheese factory, John H. Kraft, president of Kraft Foods, said “pioneers like Jesse Williams … (fathered) the ideas and tools that have made America great. He exemplified the spirit which has made the dairy industry the largest agricultural industry in America.”

Williams also was instrumental in founding the New York State Cheese Manufacturers’ Association and then the American Dairymen’s Association.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

John Schueler, Flower Farmer, Dies

A long-time educator who also ran a flower farm has died.

Go to http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2016/05/todays_obituaries_john_t_schueler_founded_phoenix_flower_farm_after_serving_scho.html to read the obituary for John Schueler.

Very true, very true.

From Chris Rock. I totally agree.

National Wine Day is Today!!

Grapes at Thousand Islands Winery
Today is National Wine Day.

This is not to be confused with National Drink Wine Day, which is celebrated in February.

Today, May 25, we will celebrate wine and those who make it, especially all those vintners in New York state. New York is the second largest producer of wine in the country after California and New York producers make top notch wine that constantly win national and international wine contests. 

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits -- in fact there are wines made from fruits such as apples, pears and cherries made right in New York state.

So on National Wine Day, enjoy a glass of their favorite wine with dinner, for dessert, with friends, at a restaurant, at home or at a wine-tasting event.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Western New York Farm Wins Sustainability Award

News from the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council:

Seen holding the award is Chris Noble with his wife Jennifer, family members Rob and Terri Noble (far left), and Sustainability Award host Phil Lempert
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has recognized Noblehurst Farms Inc. in Linwood, Livingston County, with an award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships as part of the organization’s fifth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards. 

The awards program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose sustainable practices positively impact the health and well-being of consumers, communities, animals and the environment.

Noblehurst Farms was recognized with the community partnership award for its food waste cooperative, which was created by Chris Noble. Noble represents the seventh generation of leadership at Noblehurst Farms, where he holds the title of vice president. 

Noble had the vision to do the right thing with food waste by getting it out of landfills and back into the system. Through the cooperative, food waste and scraps from Wegmans Food Markets stores, as well as universities and schools, are gathered and delivered to a digester at the dairy farm that harvests methane gas from the food scraps and manure to create electricity, liquid fertilizer for crops, and dry materials that can be used for animal bedding. 

The collaborative effort not only keeps tons of food waste out of landfills, but also provides enough energy to power the entire dairy. 

“We started collecting food waste from six Wegmans grocery stores a little more than two years ago,” Noble said. “While Wegmans does a simply phenomenal job with its food donation program, in the end, there’s still food that can’t be eaten by people – things like melon rinds or orange peels. That’s where we come in.

"Currently we’re taking in food waste from more than 30 Wegmans stores throughout Western and Central Through its food scraps collection affiliate Natural Upcyling, Noblehurst Farms and its food waste recycling partners divert 500 tons of waste from local landfills per month, eliminating 409 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of taking 1,046 cars off the road.

“We truly value our partnership with Noblehurst and all the benefits it offers to everyone involved and throughout the community," said Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans sustainability manager. "The process is easier, safer and more efficient for our people, it reduces carbon emissions generated by landfills, helps farmers in our community achieve their sustainability goals, and creates a whole new business model for farmers and food waste haulers, adding jobs to our region."

“This is the very definition of sustainability and a project that the whole community can feel good about,” Wadsworth said.

“This year’s honorees have truly integrated sustainability into their businesses to achieve not only economic success, but also to support the well-being of their communities and our planet,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center. “Their achievements throughout the value chain, both large and small,
significantly advance the dairy community’s leadership in sustainable business practices.”

For more information about Noblehurst Farms, visit www.linwoodag.com/noblehurst.html. 

To learn more about the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, the winners and the best practices in place at their operations, The Innovation Center, established under the leadership of dairy farmers, aligns the collective resources of the industry to offer consumers nutritious dairy products and ingredients, and promote the health of people, communities, the planet and the industry.

American Dairy Association North East promotes dairy and its nutritional benefits to 50 million consumers within a six-state region including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia and four counties in northern Virginia. 

Established in March 2016, through the consolidation of
American Dairy Association and Dairy Council Inc., Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program, the organization represents the collective power of more than 13,500 dairy farm families to market their products in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Cayuga Milk Ingredients Helps Boost Nutrition With Protein

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine:



The outside of Cayuga Milk Ingredients in Aurelius
If you’ve ever eaten a protein bar, or a smoothie enriched with protein powder or even a protein shake, you may have been fortified with a product made just outside Auburn.

At a large dairy factory in the town of Aurelius, just to the west of this Cayuga County city better known for Harriet Tubman, William Seward and a state prison, nearly 2.3 million pounds of milk a day is processed, much of it into milk protein isolate.

The milk from 29 area farms that are part of the Cayuga Marketing cooperative comes together and is put through high-pressure filtration to end up with this milk protein used in many manufactured food products.

The waste product, mostly lactose and minerals, is used to make calf and lamb milk replacement used by farmers.

It’s quite an operation, sitting toward the end of Eagle Drive out in a rural area of what was formerly farmland. While Cayuga Marketing has been around for about 30 years (begun by eight local farmers who wanted a better way to bargain for higher milk prices), this manufacturing operation, called Cayuga Milk Ingredients, is fairly new, springing up about nine years ago when the farmer-owners in Cayuga Marketing began thinking about milk processing.

“The group was trying to obtain some savings on (milk) hauling,” said Kevin Ellis, Cayuga Milk Ingredients chief executive officer.

Most people remember 2007 and 2008 as when the national recession took hold of the economy. For farmers, it also was the time of high diesel fuel prices reaching more than $4 a gallon. Farmers were looking at anything they could do to cut their transportation costs.

The inside of the Cayuga Milk Ingredients plant. Photo supplied by the company.
For the farmers in Cayuga Marketing, it was trying to use their milk to make a product in their area. Ellis said all of the farmers in Cayuga Marketing farm within 40 miles of the present processing site and a majority are within 20 miles.

Ellis said they looked at making fluid milk, commodity and special cheeses and specialty milk proteins.

“The big question was ‘what type of product should we make?’” Ellis said. “We had to build a business plan, we had to build a business from the ground up. It kind of forced us to look at everything.”

After nearly three years of discussions, meetings, research and travel, it was decided to focus on the milk proteins and to build the plant on the site in the town of Aurelius.

“OK, we’re going to build something,” Ellis said of the decision.

It was a bold move.

Not many dairy farmers, who are experts at the business of farming, cows, feed and growing crops, tend to wander into the business of processing milk on a grand scale. Some farmers use their own milk to make cheese or yogurt for retail sale on their own farms. But this was something on a larger, grander scale.

“This was a big risk, but it was the next thing for us,” said Dirk Young, who milks 1,200 cows each day at his Twin Birch Farm in the town of Skaneateles, Onondaga County.

“And I think this is just the first step,” Young said, noting Cayuga Milk Ingredients may jump into the consumer dairy market in the future.

Ellis said right now, there are only a few operations making milk protein concentrate, which contains up to 85 percent milk proteins. He said there are plants making concentrate in Batavia in Genesee County, and in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Washington and Idaho.

The Cayuga Milk Ingredients plant makes milk protein isolate, which is more than 85 percent milk proteins. 
“There are only a handful of plants anywhere making isolate,” Ellis said.

The American Dairy Products Institute lists four plants in the U.S. making milk protein isolate: Cayuga Milk Ingredients; Idaho Milk Products in Jerome, Idaho; Dairy Products of America in Kansas City, Mo.; and Milk Specialties Global in Eden Park, Minn.

The plant makes 28,000 pounds of milk protein isolate a day.

Just think of everything you see in a grocery store that lists extra protein on the package. Items like yogurt, protein bars and shakes, nutritional foods and supplements and protein powders contain milk protein isolates.

In fact, a website called newhope.com featured an article about what is called “the new protein explosion.” It stated estimates from the Nutrition Business Council for 2013 showing the sale of sports nutrition powders brought in $3.41 billion and protein powders brought in $2.9 billion.

The article goes on to say: “Protein is top of the mind for almost every consumer today. Numerous surveys and polls indicate that consumers desire, and, often go out of their way, to find products where protein is the primary ingredient. Essential to human health, protein makes up about 16 percent of total bodyweight, including structures like hair, muscles, fingernails, and so on.”

This is great for Cayuga Milk Ingredients. Ellis said the plant has “maxed out” of its protein products for a year.

But, this isn’t an end-fall for the farmers who supply milk to Cayuga. In times like now, when we’re at the bottom of another milk price cycle, Cayuga Milk Ingredients also is paying its farmers competitive amounts for their milk. This means the Cayuga Milk farmers also have seen their prices plummet in the last year.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, milk prices paid to farmers in New York in March 2014 ranged from $23.82 a hundredweight to $24.22 a hundred. In March 2016, the prices were more than $10 a hundred less — ranging from $13.66 a hundred to $14.06 a hundred.

And Ellis doesn’t see these prices getting any better any time soon. He said while most milk price market cycles usually last about eight months, this one is already at 17 months “with no recovery in sight.”

So how does having Cayuga Milk Ingredients help the farmer?

“It makes us more secure. We know we have a market for our milk,” said Young. “And we have a little more control over some costs like hauling,” noting he knows he is paying only to ship his milk the short few miles to Aurelius each day.

But what Young likes best about Cayuga Milk Ingredients is what he calls pride.

“I have pride in knowing where my milk goes each day,” he said. “Before, I didn’t have pride because I didn’t know where my milk would go or what it was being used for from day to day. The protein isolates seems to be a growing market and there’s a certain amount of pride that we’re supplying milk for this product.” 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

From Dairy Farming to "Buy Local'

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine



The outside of Bailiwick Market & Cafe on Route 5, Elbridge
An old rundown farm on Route 5 in Elbridge, Onondaga County, has been rejuvenated into a market and cafe showcasing the hard work of other local farmers.

The Bailiwick Market & Cafe opened in May in the gateway to the Finger Lakes — just six miles north of Skaneateles and a couple of miles west of Elbridge.

A magnificent building with a rustic feel, it measures 40 feet wide and 180 feet long with 24-foot high cathedral ceilings, a wall of windows opening on lush tillable soil and filled with the scents of baked goods, fresh soups, sandwiches, coffees and even homemade ice cream.

Nancy Hourigan, who has been dairy farming in Elbridge with her husband John  for more than 50 years, was given a blank canvas and told to come up with something for it.

Making espresso at Bailiwick Market & Cafe in Elbridge
“We bought this old farm and there were a couple hundred acres for farmland,” Hourigan said. “My husband was going to farm the acres and he said to me ‘see what you can do with the open space in the front.’”

The front was filled with a “broken-down old barn,” rundown house and old silo. Nothing was salvagable except some boards and pieces of wood here and there.

In stepped friend and fellow Elbridge-area farmer Meg Schader. She and her husband Bruce have a dairy with Jersey cows near the village of Jordan where they make their own cheese and yogurt from that higher-butterfat Jersey milk.

“We thought if someone like her could sell her products here at a site on the main road that would be great,” Hourigan said of Schader, whose Wake Robin Farm is a bit off the beaten path instead of on a main highway like Route 5.

Then Hourigan and Schader thought further — what about selling other local products and foods?

The idea snowballed and today more than two-dozen local folks and farmers are involved selling their items at the market and cafe. In addition to foods, there are knitted hats, metal items and other types of art. The coffee is fresh from farmers in Guatamala and Ethiopia and then ground at Kubal Coffee Roaster in Syracuse.

“It’s always fresh,” Hourigan said, noting the ground coffee and beans are never more than two weeks old at the cafe.

According to its website, “Bailiwick Market & Cafe is a community gathering space offering food, art, and fresh air. It is a place for people to connect with their friends, loved ones and the land over fresh food and coffee inspired by local products, artwork by local artists and craft-workers, and events for the whole family.
Enjoy the bounty of CNY at Bailiwick Market & Cafe.”

The site had a soft opening in April and opened with a full menu and ice cream May 1. Its official grand opening was May 15.

Hourigan said chef Susanne “Cookie” Wheeler, formerly of Pumpkin Farm Bistro in Aurora, Cayuga County, is coming up with delectable recipes using all sorts of local vegetables, fruits, grains and meats. As various items come into season, check out the menu for those items.

Ten flavors of homemade ice cream will be sold, made with fresh ingredients. Think strawberry ice cream with locally grown berries. There also will be local fruits and other items for sundae toppings.

Farmers from throughout the area will sell their goods on site during their particular seasons. From maple syrup to asparagus to strawberries to veggies to corn to pumpkins and back again, just about everything fresh and local will be found at Bailiwick Cafe & Market.

Friday, May 20, 2016

How to Introduce School Officials to Ag-Related Careers

From New York Farm Bureau Foundation

Do you want to make a difference for the next generation? 

Have you brought The Food & Farm Experience information to your local school counselors, Board of Education, or Superintendent?

If not, do it now and be part of the force that will introduce counselors to more than 300 ag-related careers for their students.  

The participants will meet with industry experts, employers, and post-secondary educators.  A two-day in-depth experience tailored as an agricultural education encounter has been created for this specific audience.  

Participants will be selected via nomination/application.  Food, lodging, and workshop material costs are covered by the Foundation.

The Food & Farm Experience is scheduled for Oct. 19-21 in Batavia, during which participants will have the opportunity to share with individuals representing agriculture. Participants will visit and tour a variety of stops along the journey from farm to fork, and get a feel for the multitude of career opportunities available in the agricultural industry.  

They will receive high-quality materials and resources that will provide easy access to the core of New York agriculture, as well as being exposed to panels representing agricultural expertise, jobs, and education.

Interested in attending the 2016 Food & Farm Experience or know someone to nominate? Contact New York Farm Bureau’s Foundation for Agricultural Education at (800) 342-4143.  

The application is available here http://nyfbfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/FFX-2016-Fillable-Application.pdf and the brochure is available by http://nyfbfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2016-FFX-Brochure.pdf clicking here.

The deadline to submit an application is July 15. You will have to open the application with the Adobe Reader program in order to fill it in electronically.

Sheila Marshman Honored by SUNY


Sheila Marshman, of Oxford, Chenango County, an associate professor of agricultural business at Morrisville State College, has received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service.

The honor recognizes faculty members for excellence in teaching techniques, scholarship and professional growth, student services and academic standards.

Marshman began her career at Morrisville State College in 2000. A recognized agricultural advocate, she is treasurer and past president of the New York Agri-Women Association, an organization which works on issues affecting the agriculture industry.

Her extensive agricultural experience includes attending the International Agricultural Economics Conference in Beijing, China and participating in a food system tour of rural China as an invited guest of the Renmin University of China. The trip prompted much of her advocacy and education for a local food system in the United States.

Marshman also was previously asked to present during the 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women held at the United Nations, and has been a speaker for American Agri-Women 38th annual meeting (2013), and the New Hampshire Women in Agriculture Conference at the New Hampshire Farm & Forest Expo (2014).

In 2010, she was named Agricultural Advocate of the Year by Commerce Chenango.

She has made her mark on the college campus, developing the college’s four-year degree in agricultural business development and starting Morrisville Fresh, a for-profit business operated and managed by agricultural business students. 

Through Morrisville Fresh, agricultural business students work closely with the college’s Dairy Incubator and Nelson Farms (food processing facilities), adding value to locally grown commodity-based products. Students have produced their own product line comprised of sauces, dips, aquaponic lettuce, ice cream and cheddar cheese, all made with New York ingredients. 

They also market their products on campus, to restaurants, and at area farmers’ markets.

Marshman and her husband, John, reside on his family’s sixth-generation dairy farm founded in 1856. The farm has received numerous local, state and national awards for its contributions to agriculture and the food system.

A graduate of the New York State Food and Agricultural Leadership Program (LEADNY Class 11) housed at Cornell University, Marshman is also actively involved in her community, serving as chair of the town of Oxford Zoning Board of Appeals, serves on the Chenango County Dairy Promotion Committee and the Development Chenango Corporation, the Chenango County Republican Committee, and is a volunteer in Chenango County 4-H.

She also holds numerous leadership positions in various agricultural organizations and is a former board member of FarmLink/FarmNet. 

Most recently, Marshman was elected to the BOCES Board of Education for Delaware, Chenango, Madison, and Otsego counties.

It's National Pick Strawberries Day

Photo taken at Ferlito's stand in Oswego County two years ago
It's National Pick Strawberries Day.

I guess this day was actually selected for states much farther south of New York, because berries don't come into season here until about the third week of June.

But anyway, the National Calendar Day website states today, May 20, is National Pick Strawberries Day.

It is the day to celebrate this sweet and tasty fruit that is great for all sorts of uses -- including eating fresh.

According to the website, here are some tips about strawberries:
  • Strawberries are members of the rose family
  • Strawberries are the only fruit with their seeds on the outside
  • Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C
  • Strawberries are low-fat, low in calories and a good source of fiber, folic acid and potassium
  • Strawberries help can help fight bad cholesterol and may reduce inflammation
  • The first strawberries were grown in France in the late 18th century. Prior to the 18th century, wild strawberries were collected and commonly used as a fruit source.
So remember to get out to many of the local fields next month and pick some fresh, locally grown strawberries.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

SUNY Cobleskill Beginning Program in Therapeutic Horsemanship

From SUNY Cobleskill:

SUNY Cobleskill announces the launch of a four-year bachelor of technology degree program in Therapeutic Horsemanship to commence in the fall of 2016. 

The college will be the first in New York, and one of less than a dozen institutions of higher education across the country, to offer certification by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International as part of the degree program.

Therapeutic Horsemanship uses interaction with horses to help people with special needs overcome physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. 

Students in the program will study a broad range of subjects — from equine science to education and psychology — while working with other students, volunteers, clients, parents, teachers and therapists through partnerships with community organizations. 

The depth of study will prepare students to pursue certification with PATH, enter the field of therapeutic horsemanship, or continue with graduate studies.

“Equine-assisted therapy is a novel approach that weds a passion for equine studies with a drive to help others. We’re proud to bring our expertise in horsemanship together with the humanities to offer this valuable new program in New York State,” said SUNY Cobleskill President Dr. Marion A. Terenzio.

The practice of Therapeutic Horsemanship uses the horse as a motivational tool for people with special needs, from young children to at-risk youth and veterans. With professional guidance, interaction with the animals helps improve listening skills, focus, sequencing, and coordination, as well as develop greater self-confidence, patience, and control.

The Therapeutic Horsemanship program is based at the SUNY Cobleskill Equine Center, which has stabling for 60 horses, a 100 x 200 indoor arena, and two 100 x 200 outdoor riding rings. 

Students enrolled in Therapeutic Horsemanship have the opportunity to enhance their riding and horsemanship skills through a variety of riding and training courses and through participation in the Varsity Hunt Seat and Western IHSA Riding Teams.

The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship is an international nonprofit organization that promotes safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted therapy for people with special needs. 

SUNY Cobleskill faculty will guide and assist students in obtaining “Instructor in Training” status through PATH, completion of PATH-required mentoring hours on campus, and will accompany students to off-site PATH Certification Examinations.