Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Beezie Madden Makes Olympic Team for Rio Games

Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, Madison County, again makes the U.S. Olympic team. Also making the team for jumping is McLain Ward, from Brewster, Putnam County.

Go to to find out more.

Meet the Farmer Dinner June 30

Meet the Farmer Dinner in Broome County is Thursday.

Apply Now for the ProFarmer Program

From the Hudson Valley:

Working under the mentorship of Jean-Paul Courtens, Director of Farmer Training, ProFarmers gain experience in a hands-on learning environment located on one of the most productive and beautiful tracts of farmland in the Hudson Valley. 

Our mission-aligned program emphasizes vegetable and grain production and includes:
  • Ecological farming practices
  • Mechanical and technical skills
  • Small business skills and leadership development
  • Engagement with the regional farm community
ProFarmer trainees are full-time, year-round employees of the Farm Hub and are offered the option of on-farm housing.

Applications for spring 2017 enrollment must be received no later thanSeptember 9, 2016.  For the program summary and application materials, visit:

For inquiries, please contact Sara Katz at (845) 331-1187 x107 or

The Hudson Valley Farm Hub is a non-profit center for resilient agriculture located on 1,255 acres of prime farmland in Hurley, NY.  We provide professional farmer training, conduct and host agricultural research, and demonstrate innovative agricultural practices.  Our vision is for a collaborative food and farm economy that meets the economic and social needs of our communities while working in partnership with nature.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Abbott Farms Opens Raspberry U-Pick

From strawberries to raspberries, we're now moving into another berry season.

Abbott Farms posted on Facebook today that it is open for raspberry picking.

Here is the farm's post: 

"U pick raspberries today!

Today is opening day of upick raspberries. Please know that raspberry picking is CASH ONLY today. We are having some Wi-Fi difficulties and we will have a credit card machine set up very soon.

U-pick is on, they are $3.99 a pound (same price as last year)"

Revised Ag Website for Jefferson County

Go to to check out the story.

Hudson Valley Wineries Create 'Signature Wine'

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

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon...Oregon Pinot Noir...Long Island Merlot... Finger Lakes Riesling--just a few of the regions that have become famous by adopting a "signature wine" that they can do consistently well across vintages and wineries.

And now a group of Hudson Valley wineries has decided to hitch their wagon to Cabernet Franc, a medium-bodied red wine that grows well in the cool-climate region and is rapidly increasing in popularity.

Spearheading the effort, Doug and Mary Ellen Glorie of Glorie Farm Winery, along with the publishers of Hudson Valley Wine Magazine, spread the idea and received an eager audience of industry colleagues.  As a result, the Hudson Valley Cabernet Franc Coalition was formed to encourage more vineyard plantings of the grape and boost recognition of the region's distinctive Cabernet Franc wines.  (In other parts of the State, there are the Long Island Merlot Alliance, and the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance focused on Riesling.)

Used primarily in a cameo role as a blending grape in Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc has become increasingly popular among New York producers due to its cold-hardy nature, medium body, food friendliness, and other characteristics. Coincidentally, it is one of the "parents" of both the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grape varieties.

Some people fear that choosing a "signature wine" will type-cast a region as a one-trick pony, but long experience has proven otherwise.  What it does ideally is draw attention to the region for consistent quality of that wine as an enticement to try others.  Works like a charm.

Best wishes for success to our Hudson Valley colleagues.

Pollinator Task Force Makes Recommendations to Save Honeybees and Butterflies

From Ag and Markets:

The New York State Pollinator Task Force has come up with recommendations on how to address the decline in bees and other pollinators that has occurred in recent years.

The commissioners of the Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Department of Environmental Conservation have met with farmers, research institutions and key industry leaders to develop a roadmap to conserve and grow pollinator populations across the state. 

Pollinators – which include various types of bees and butterflies – contribute significantly to the state’s agricultural economy by adding roughly $350 million in pollination services on an annual basis.

“Pollinators are critical to our ecosystem, as well as New York's agricultural industry, and the work of this Task Force will help in our efforts to reverse the troubling decline of the bee population in New York and help to preserve and further improve this state's environmental and economic health," said gov. Andrew Cuomo.

As a result of listening sessions and stakeholder input, the Task Force focused its recommendations on four priority areas: 

** Development of Voluntary Best Management Practices for all pollinator stakeholders, including beekeepers, growers, land owners, state agencies and the general public;  

** Habitat enhancement efforts to protect and revive populations of native and managed pollinators;  

** Research and monitoring of pollinators to better understand, prevent and recover from pollinator losses; and  

** Development of an outreach and public education program on the importance of pollinators, engaging the public to be active participants to seek solutions to pollinator declines.

“We are pleased to present the NYS Pollinator Protection Plan, which includes best practices for our farmers, land owners, bee keepers and state agencies, many of which we can get to work on immediately," said Ag and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball.
“While more research needs to be done, we know that the key to reversing the trend of a declining pollinator population in New York is a comprehensive approach that looks at a variety of issues that may be impacting bee health."

Pollinators contribute substantially to the state’s economy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pollinators provide about $344 million worth of pollination services to New York and add $29 billion in value to crop production nationally each year. New York’s ability to produce crops such as apples, grapes, cherries, onions, pumpkins and cauliflower relies heavily on the presence of pollinators.
Pollinator Protection Plan Recommendations
Central to the New York State Pollinator Protection Plan is the development and implementation of Best Management Practices to guide landowners/growers, contract beekeepers, hobbyist beekeepers, pesticide users and state agencies to safeguard existing managed and native pollinator populations. 

The plan also highlights efforts already underway at various state agencies to reverse the decline in pollinators and 
restore their habitat.
Despite a 9 percent increase in honey production last year, New York’s beekeepers continue to experience unsustainable population declines. Over the last four years, recent research indicates managed pollinator colonies have declined over 50 percent while some migratory pollinators have declines in excess of 70 percent. 

This is compounded by the losses in the native pollinator community and the habitat that sustains them.
In its report, the task force emphasized the need for comprehensive, state-focused research to better understand the status of native pollinators in the sState and the factors that impact both managed and wild pollinator health and performance.
Future Actions and Pollinator Projects
The 2016-17 enacted Budget provides $500,000 through the Environmental Protection Fund to implement key projects central to the success of the Pollinator Protection Plan. 

As detailed in the plan, this money will be used to conduct additional research on the impacts of pesticide and pathogens/parasite interactions on native and managed pollinator health, as well as the effects of bee-husbandry practices on the performance of managed hives. 
Pollinator research funding will also support a multi-year evaluation conducted by DEC on the status and distribution of New York State’s native pollinator species.

Environmental Protection Fund money also will support implementation of voluntary best management practices and outreach and education activities, including the creation of pollinator gardens and interpretative signage at select State Park locations, and the establishment of the New York’s Tech Team for Beekeepers, which will provide participating apiaries with site-specific technical support.

All priority recommendations of the New York State Pollinator Protection Plan can be found  at this link. As new research and monitoring data become available, the Task Force will reconvene with its advisors to evaluate the findings and update the Plan accordingly and to include additional and improved actions.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Gillibrand, Slaughter Write to USDA About Poultry Salmonella Testing Problems

From Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's office:

U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California and Reps. Rosa Luisa DeLauro of Connecticut and Louise Slaughter of New York on June 27 wrote to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging them to revise current pathogen testing protocols to improve test accuracy and protect the public health. 

The members wrote to Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack in response an article published this month by the Agricultural Research Service which suggested the USDA's use of three antimicrobial sanitizers commonly used to reduce pathogens on poultry carcasses may cause false-negative results for Salmonella.

Testing for Salmonella plays a critical role in the department’s inspection program to protect the safety of the food supply and the public’s health. Given the diversity of processing plants in the country and recent results of the Broiler Carcass Rinsates study, the members are calling on the department to ensure that the use of chemical sprays and dips do not create false negative test results.

“We have to be vigilant when it comes to monitoring the safety of our food. This report is a reminder of the importance of good and efficient oversight when it comes to maintaining a safe food supply,” said Gillibrand, the first New York senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in about 40 years.

“We should never be placed in the position to question testing results in our poultry," she said. "The USDA should provide a thorough risk assessment and respond to the recent scientific findings of false-negative results to ensure we can remain confident in the safety of the food we buy for our families.”

“Recent studies calling into question the safety of the nation’s poultry processing are deeply troubling and highlight a major deficiency in our food safety system. The USDA must take these studies seriously and take immediate action to ensure that we are not masking the threat of Salmonella,” said DeLauro. 

“Ensuring the health and well-being of American people is of the utmost importance and the USDA must do more to keep food-borne illnesses out of the nation’s food supply. American lives depend on it,” she said.

“This study is extremely troubling. We should never have to worry that the food we put on our plates could expose our families to dangerous Salmonella infection because of possibly faulty testing methods by the USDA," said Slaughter, of the Rochester area. 

"I look forward to hearing more from Secretary Vilsack so we can be sure that the USDA is doing everything it can to eliminate false-negative results and protect public health,” she said.

New York Apple Association Leader Jim Allen to Retire

From the New York Apple Association:

Jim Allen will retire Jan. 2 as president and chief executive officer of New York Apple Association, Inc.

Allen has headed the apple industry’s second-largest state marketing order since 2000. During his tenure, Allen earned a reputation as a passionate industry supporter who advocated for nationwide industry cooperation rather than regional competition.

Allen joined the apple association in 1996 as retail program director, and was named to the association’s top job four years later. As the association's senior executive, he represents over 675 apple growers across New York state, overseeing all promotional, grower education, communications, market research, and public and government affairs activities. 

He represents the New York industry on U.S. Apple Association committees and to that group’s board, he has served three times as chair of the U.S. Apple Export Council, and currently serves on numerous committees working to advance New York and U.S. apple industry and agriculture.

Prior to joining the New York Apple Association, Allen led export sales and procurement for Sun Orchard Fruit Company, Burt, Niagara County, and worked in procurement and sales for Keystone Fruit Marketing, Greencastle, Pa.

Allen was awarded “Apple Person of the Year” honors in 2002 by The Packer; the newspaper also named him to the Top 25 Agricultural Leaders in the United States in 2008. United Fresh Produce Association named Allen “Produce Industry Advocate of the Year” in 2007.

"It has been privilege and pleasure to serve such a great industry for so many years. I have been fortunate to work with many dedicated people, from the growing communities to the board room,” said Allen. 

“As I look back on my career, one of my greatest satisfactions has been working with industry from across the country, on topics ranging from production and marketing to politics and international trade, all working together for the good of our industry overall,” Allen said.

Apple and produce industry leaders lauded Allen’s longtime service and contributions.

“Jim has been a valuable asset in so many ways, he has become the backbone of the New York apple industry and is recognized worldwide for his leadership,” said Will Gunnison, chair of the apple association board of directors. “His 20 years of service is greatly appreciated by the New York industry, and he will be greatly missed. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

‘It has truly been an honor to work in unison with Jim over the years – the U.S. apple industry is losing a great asset,” said Todd Fryhover, president of Washington Apple Commission.

“In a competitive U.S. apple industry, Jim has always been able to see the bigger picture and promote consensus amongst differing geographic apple-growing states for the greater good of all apple producers," Fryhover said. "Washington state leadership will miss Jim’s enthusiasm and dedication to the industry.”

“Jim's tireless advocacy for the apple industry, and his fellowship, will be missed,” said Jim Bair, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Apple Association (USApple). “USApple has frequently leaned on Jim in legislative matters because of his credibility with New York members of Congress  – of every stripe – who all like him so much. Of course, on a personal level we are all very happy for him, and wish him well in whatever opportunities he pursues next."

Fancy Foods Show Going on Now in NYC

The “Taste NY Pavilion” has been expanded at the 2016 Specialty Food Association’s Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.  

This is the fourth year Taste NY has participated in the food show. This year, more than 50 New York state food and beverage companies will sample products in the Pavilion, while some 275 additional New York state companies will exhibit at this year’s overall show. 

Now in its 62nd year, the Summer Fancy Food Show is the largest specialty food trade event in North America and runs from June 26 - 28 at Javits Center.
“The Summer Fancy Food Show, which brings together thousands of top industry professionals from all across the globe, is a tremendous opportunity to showcase some of New York’s finest agricultural products," said Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball.

“By meeting in the world’s largest marketplace under the Taste NY Pavilion, our producers have the chance to connect to new buyers and distributors and bring attention to the best and newest innovations in New York’s specialty and gourmet foods and beverages.”
This three day, industry-only event draws more than 46,000 industry professionals.

 It brings together specialty food and beverage producers from around the world with the goal of linking them to a network of distributers and buyers from independent gourmet shops, high-end multiple location retailers, major department stores and specialty merchandisers looking for the very best and newest innovations in specialty and gourmet foods and beverages. 
The “Taste NY Pavilion” will be located on the Level 1 show floor. A list of companies featured in the pavilion can be found at this link.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

June is Dairy Month -- Milk Comes from More Than Just Cows

As Dairy Month is winding down, here is an oldie but goodie post from Empire State Farming from three years ago.

While 90 percent of all milk consumed by humans comes from cows, there are other animals that provide milk to us.

Here is a list from the Dairy Farmers of Washington website. Some might be a little surprising, I think:

Goats:  This is probably a no-brainer for most people. Who hasn't heard of that great creamy cheese made from goat's milk? Some people also drink goat's milk because they find it easier to digest because fat globules in the milk are smaller than those in cow's milk.

Sheep: Not as popular as goat's milk, but still something that can be found in the United States. Sheep's milk has twice the fat of cow's milk. It is used to make French Roquefort and chevre cheeses. 

Horse: Not popular in the United States. The Washington website said Mongolian warriors back 700 years ago used horse milk to produce a concentrated paste. Later, during their long marches, they would add water to the paste and make a liquid to drink. Also, in southeastern Russia, people use horse milk to make an alcoholic drink.

Camel: In the desert, camel milk will keep for seven days at temperatures above 80 degrees. If refrigerated, it can stay good for nearly three months.

Water buffalo: Half of all the milk that people drink in India comes from water buffaloes.

Yak: In Tibet, yak butter tea is made from yak milk.

Reindeer: The only source of milk for Laplanders in Northern Scandinavia is reindeer milk. The fat content of this milk is 22 percent, six times as much as cow's milk.

Photos from National Public Radio, University of Wyoming

Friday, June 24, 2016

Cornell's Climate Smart Farming Extension Team Helps Farmers Deal with Weather Woes




Cornell’s Climate Smart Farming Extension Team was established to help farmers increase their resiliency to climate impacts and reduce risks and costs on their farms.

The team provides New York farmers with access to top extension specialists with the expertise needed to help manage the risks posed by increasing extreme weather, climate variability and long-term change.

The team works in partnership with the Cornell Climate Smart Farming program and faculty at Cornell, and draws on the latest science to answer producers’ questions about changes they can make on their farm to help increase future sustainability.

The six-member team of Luke Haggerty, Laura McDermott, Kimberley Morrill, Kitty O’Neil, Jesse Strzok and Darcy Telenko provides a wealth of expertise in fields such as: dairy management, agricultural economics, field crops and soil health, vegetables and integrated pest management, viticulture and enology and small fruit production.

Cornell’s Climate Smart Farming Extension Team was created in partnership with the Cornell Climate Smart Farming program to help farmers increase their resiliency, reduce risks and reduce costs on their farms.

The team gives New York farmers access to top extension specialists with the particular expertise to help manage the risks posed by increasing extreme weather, climate variability and long-term change.

Climate change can impact New York agriculture in many ways, and the Climate Smart Farming team is adept in helping farmers identify practices that can be implemented to mitigate these impacts. 

Here is a brief overview of some of these impacts and tactics:

Precipitation events: The trend of an increase in the intensity and unpredictability of precipitation events (both rain and snow) in the Northeastern U.S., which can lead to flooding and storm damage, is expected to continue.

Precipitation will likely continue to fall in fewer, more intense events, which can lead to periods of short-term drought during the growing season when rain is needed the most, causing reduction and variation in crop yields. Intense rainfall events can also cause soil erosion, planting and harvesting interference and nutrient runoff. 

Adaptation options: Farmers can adapt to both of these issues in tandem by focusing on the health of their soils – by increasing soil organic matter and allowing water infiltration through reduced tillage, cover cropping, and infrastructure investments (e.g. irrigation or drainage systems).

Heat Stress: The growing season across New York has increased by an average of eight days, however the number of heat stress days (exceeding 90 degrees) is also expected to increase, with winters continuing to grow milder. 

Heat stress, induced by an increasing number of days above 90 degrees, and longer growing seasons with more sporadic rainfall also pose challenges to farmers.

These challenges include lower crop yield and quality for some varieties, and conditions that reduce productivity and reproductive capacity for livestock.

Adaptation options: To combat this, producers can explore new varieties and diversification of crops to reduce reliance on heat-sensitive crops. For livestock in particular, farmers can strive to minimize heat exposure, increase water availability, adjust cows’ diets, and prevent over-crowding, thus improving barn-cooling capacity.

Disease, Insects and Weeds: Interactions between the climate, crops, insects, weeds and diseases are complex. However, evidence suggests climate change will increase disease, pest, and weed pressure, as more pests and weeds survive mild winters and warmer summers allow for new species to invade and native ones to develop faster.

Adaptation options: To prepare for increased pest pressure, growers need to develop rapid response plans and monitor management options that allow for targeted control of weeds, diseases, and insects.  Wide adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) will also help farmers manage new pests with minimal economic, environmental, and health risks.

Freeze Risk: In the past few years, late season freeze events have struck orchards and vineyards after plants had already bloomed, causing serious crop losses.

Adaptation options: Producers can implement several strategies to guard against these freezes. These include: using heaters and wind machines to circulate warmer air in vineyards or orchards, irrigating before or during potential freezes, and paying close attention to detailed weather forecasts.

The Climate Smart Farming Extension Team is equipped with the knowledge and information to provide constructive advice for farmers to combat these stresses. The goal of the Cornell Climate Smart Farming Program is to provide research-based information, training and tools to help famers make the most informed decisions they can. 

Cornell has developed several new decision support tools based on long term climate data, weather forecasts and agronomic models – the tools include a new Growing Degree Day calculator, Freeze Risk Tools and Irrigation Scheduler – and can be found on the CSF website (, along with the contact information for the CSF Extension Team members in New York.

Series of 7 On-Farm Field Days Scheduled Throughout NY


Seven varied organic on-farm field days are being presented by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY).

They will be held in July and hosted by farms in six New York state counties.

Topics include women farmers, horsepower, soil health, organic transition and edible forest gardens. Another field day will feature a farm open house.

These are invaluable opportunities for farmers to learn about new methods, see what farms are doing, and network with others around the state.

The event schedule is as follows:

Women in Agriculture: Lady Farmers of Long Island
July 6, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Amanda and Katie from Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, Suffolk County, host this event in which they share how they founded a CSA, pioneered the Amagansett Wheat Project, and continue to provide outstanding education, bread shares, and a 
Food-to-Pantry project.

Registration fees are $15/person or $25 for two or more people/farm.

Developing a Diversified Horse-Powered Farm
July 9, 1-4 p.m.

Participants will join Matt Volz from Greyrock Farm, Madison County, for a tour of his horse-powered farm, which features a raw milk dairy, and meat and vegetable production. 

Discussion topics are how to grow a farm with multiple complementary enterprises, including how to handle the management, production and business challenges on a diversified farm.

Registration fees are $15/person or $25 for two or more people/farm.

Long-Term High Tunnel Soil Health and Nutrient Management for Tomato Production
July 14, 6-8 p.m.

Host Obercreek Farm, Dutchess County, shares its success in managing tomato production in a high tunnel by maintaining and improving soil health and fertility, controlling pests and disease, and ensuring profitable yield and excellent quality.
Registration fees are $15/person or $25 for two or more people/farm.

Moving into Wholesale Markets for Small and Mid-Sized Farms
July 20, 4-6 p.m.

Mainstreet Farms in Cortland County brings healthy, local food to the community, utilizing education and community partners to create a strong local food system. Cornell’s Crystal Stewart will demonstrate the fundamentals for crossing over into wholesale markets, from record keeping to timing crops.

Organic Transition—Certification and Growing Practices: It’s More than Input Substitution
July 20, 4-7 p.m.

Fishkill Farms of Dutchess County produces eggs and grows crops that include tree fruit, berries, vegetables.

Josh Morgenthau will share the challenges in transitioning to organic, including changes in growing practices, creation of buffer zones, and management.

Caitlyn Reilly of NOFA-NY Certified Organic LLC will discuss the nuts and bolts of organic certification and be available to answer any questions. Risk management and crop/whole farm insurance programs also will be discussed.

Kingbird Open House
July 24, 1-4 p.m.

Kingbird Farm in Tioga County this year is celebrating 20 years of success.

Michael, Karma and Rosemary Glos will share their story of how they organically manage pork, chicken, eggs, culinary herbs, and produce while utilizing horses for field work.

The farm will be open for exploration, shopping, and enjoyment, with a guided farm tour at 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Creating an Edible Forest Garden
July 30, 12:45-4 p.m.

Dani Baker, co-owner of Cross Island Farms in Jefferson County, has developed one acre of her certified organic farm as a multi-functional edible forest garden, incorporating numerous permaculture principles and practices.

She will take participants for a walk-through and introduction to 300+ perennial cultivars of fruits, nuts, berries, and other edibles. 

Attendees will taste fruits, flowers, greens, and herbs in season, and go home with a potted plant to add to their own edible garden.

Registration fees are $20/person or $30 for two or more attendees from the same farm/family. Private farm tours are available that morning; email or call 315-482-3663.

Pre-registration is available online at or by calling Jill at the NOFA-NY office (585- 271-1979, ext. 512). 

Source: NOFA-NY

Forestry is Big Business in New York State


New York Land Area: 30.2 million acres. State Population: 19 million
New York Forest Area: 18.95 million acres, 63 percent of land area, about one acre per resident
Publicly-owned Forest Land: at least 3.7 million acres
Privately-owned Forest Land Area: 14.4 million acres; 76 percent of forest land; owned by 687,000 land owners
Northern hardwood forests, dominated by beech, birch and maple, make up over 53 percent of the forest cover.
Forest ownership – New York’s forests continue to be largely privately owned by individuals/families and business who together own over 76 percent of the forest
Number of tree species: more than 100 commercial and non-commercial
Most common forest type: maple/beech/birch (53 percent of forest land area)
Economic Importance of New York’s Forests and Harvest Information
$300 million in annual payments to private landowners
488 million board feet of logs
2.1 million green tons pulpwood and wood chips
25 percent of New York timber harvest is exported for processing
Economic contribution of forest products-related manufacturing and services: $14 billion (US Census)
Forest-related tourism: $1.9 billion products made from wood: bowling pins, snowshoe and baseball bat
With proper planning and management, forests provide renewable natural resources



About 63 percent of New York state is covered with forests.

That’s a lot of trees. And students who graduate with forestry degrees from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Morrisville State College and Paul Smith’s College help keep these forests vital, sustainable and thriving for everyone in the state to enjoy.

That goes for the intrepid outdoorsman who likes to hike through the forests. The same for the farmer or private landowner who wants to sell some timber for a little extra income. Ditto the paper companies like Finch in Glens Falls, Warren County, or International Paper in Ticonderoga, Essex County. 

“Foresters work on management issues, purchasing timber to feed a mill or working with regulatory issues,” said SUNY ESF Professor David Newman, who also chairs the forest and natural resources management program. “They have to help plan the timber harvest in such a way that you get value now, but also get good value in the future.”

A SUNY ESF student learns to measure trees
HackCollege’s school directory states that each year in New York, about 85 students graduate with credentials in forestry. SUNY ESF is the state’s largest forestry school. Newman said about 15 to 20 students graduate with forestry degrees each year.

In addition to forestry, there are many other forest, tree and environmental programs offered at SUNY ESF. 

Some of these are:

** Forest technician program
** Natural resources management
** Environmental natural resources technicians, who work primarily with wildlife
** Aquatics and fisheries, which deals with invasive species, ecosystems management and marine studies
** Conservation biology, which focuses on conserving the earth’s imperiled species and ecosystems
** Environmental health, which deals with analysis, prevention and mitigation of potential environmental hazards, and
** Landscape architecture, dealing with urban and regional planning and community and environmental design

Morrisville State College offers an associate degree in natural resources conservation. Within this degree, students who want to specialize in forestry and silviculture may complete the forest technology concentration minor, said spokeswoman Franci Valenzano.

The Society of American Foresters Accredited Forest Technology concentration minor is how it is listed in the college catalog. Along with this minor, students must complete an internship in natural resources at an approved forest industry internship site.

Paul Smith’s College in Franklin County offers bachelor’s degrees in forestry, ecological restoration, environmental science, fisheries and wildlife sciences, natural resource conservation and management and sustainable communities and working landscapes. Associate degrees are offered in forestry and arboriculture and landscape management. There also is a minor in forestry.

What do foresters do?

New York State Forester Mike Giocondo
Newman said foresters are important for people like farmers who may have large acreage in forests on their land. He said some people think they can simply go into a woodlot and chop down some trees to manage the forest. Others want to do the management themselves to save money.

But it doesn’t work that way.

He said if there is no planning in how a forest is harvested, then “what you get back is not very healthy. With species like maple and other desirable species, you have to plan to get out what you want.”

He said some SUNY ESF students with forestry degrees go to work for consulting companies who “work with landowners to help manage their forest land.”

“Helping landowners is a big part of what a forester does,” Newman said. “And farmers often have forest land to help with erosion, wind damage and for alternative income.”

But if the farmers or landowners want to manage the forested land and ensure the forest continues to be sustainable in the future, they need the help of a forester, he said. 

Employment for foresters in New York state does not look to be strong, according to statistics from the Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. But Newman said every one of the SUNY ESF grads finds a job in forestry upon graduation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the mean salary for a forester in New York state is $62,800 to $79,400.

Using marginal farmland

Willow growing in Canastota, Madison County
Timothy Volk, a senior research associate at SUNY ESF, works with farmers who have land they can’t use for crops. It might have poor soil quality or it might not drain well.

So instead of just letting that land sit barren, he teaches them how to use it to make some money.

Volk said land that won’t sustain vegetables or fruits often will grow crops such as shrub willow or other woody biomass plants that can be harvested, burned and used to create energy.

“The wood ships products are sold for heating and to power markets,” he said. “The woody biomass also can be used for making other biofuels or other products.”

The first thing farmers should think about, though, if they are considering growing shrub willow is whether they have a market. Right now, 1,200 acres of willow is grown on private land in Northern New York and is used at ReEnergy Holdings power plants at Fort Drum, Jefferson County and in Lyonsdale, Lewis County.

“Any time we get calls from farmers we ask if they have an outlet for sales,” Volk said. “You plant it once and harvest it every three years or so and it can be harvested seven times. It’s a long-term perennial crop. 

And there is a costly upfront investment — $800 to $1,000 an acre to get started. So they should be sure to have a place to sell the willow.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in June kicked off a sign-up period for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Through this program, the USDA will provide half of the estimated cost of annual land rental payment in the years where there is no harvest for farmers and landowners who plant woody biomass.

The sign-up period is from June 15 through the end of August.

State foresters help farmers

There are many ways in which state foresters help farmers and other private landowners.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Stewardship Program provides free planning and technical assistance to all private forestland owners in the state, including farm owners, according to DEC forestry staffers.

They said it is estimated that about 10 percent of all privately owned forests in New York are associated with farm ownership, and 20 percent of total farm land area is forest, therefore many farmers take advantage of our assistance programs. 

Farmers, like all forestland owners, face many of the same forest related issues, such as invasive species and overabundant deer. However, the state forestry staff say proper planning can go a long way to improving the health and resiliency of private forest land to meet both the goals of a landowner and the needs of the forest habitat. 

DEC foresters help landowners plan for the future of their forest land by creating a customized forest management plan that provides information on the current status of the forest and what forestry practices will be useful in meeting a landowners short and long-term goals and objectives. 

A key part of the plan’s development is to walk the forest with the landowner to describe the current forest conditions and develop specific recommendations of improvements. 

Foresters also help farmers with wildlife problems they encounter. In fact, the forestry staffers say wildlife issues are one of the most common reasons forestland owners contact a DEC forester. They can help with issues such as the overabundance of deer or even invasive species that can harm crops. 

DEC foresters work with forest owners to identify the presence or absence of a pest and recommend forest management strategies to offset the impacts and to prepare the forest to be healthier and more resilient to combat future pest attacks.  

An overabundance of white-tailed deer browsing activity can affect both a farmer’s forest and food crops. In this case a farmer can apply for either a Deer Management Assistance Program Permit or Deer Damage Permit issued by the DEC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Many forestland owners, including farmers, are interested in improving forest habitat for certain game and non-game wildlife species. DEC foresters work directly with landowners to develop recommended methods of forest cutting to modify the structure and composition of the forest while at the same time allowing the forest to continue to grow for timber production and other benefits. 

Forest owners wishing to undertake timber harvesting activities without necessarily considering planning for specific long-term goals and objectives can contact a DEC forester who can provide objective information and other assistance to assure that the best interest of the forest and the owner are met during and after harvest.

Go to  for more information.

There are 25 DEC forestry staff available to provide services to private forest owners, including eligible farmers. Nearly all DEC offices around the state have a professional forester on staff that can provide private forestry assistance. 

If a farmer needs help from a forester, he or she can call the area DEC office. Numbers can be found at

SUNY Cobleskill Begins Fermentation Program

From EMPIRE FARM & DAIRY magazine

SUNY Cobleskill has launched a new bachelor of technology in applied fermentation program to educate and train students in the field of harnessing microbes to help produce a vast array of products, from beer, wine, and cheese to plastics and pharmaceuticals.

The program is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2017.

With this program, SUNY Cobleskill is responding to the growing demand for skilled technicians in food science, agriculture and pharmaceuticals, among other fields. The Fermentation Science program will be the first dedicated and comprehensive fermentation program in the Northeast.

Following SUNY Cobleskill’s philosophy of applied learning, students will gain hands-on experience working with local co-ops, through internships, and by conducting or assisting research projects on campus. Graduates will be prepared to enter the field immediately, or pursue a master brewing license, graduate studies in microbiological sciences, environmental studies, or medical school.

Industries that require fermentation specialists are vital and growing economic drivers both in New York state and nationwide. Many common products involve fermentation in their production, from bread, wine, cheese, tea, and yogurt to biodegradable food packaging, nylon, and penicillin.

Even hydrogen gas as an alternative fuel might be prepared in a fermentation process. According to the state Department of Labor, food science and related occupations are projected to grow by up to 40 percent by 2022. Nationally, they’re projected to grow by 16 to 20 percent.

Many fermented products are already contributing to New York’s economy. To celebrate its role as the nation’s top yogurt producer, New York named yogurt the official state snack in 2014.
Learn more about the program at

Source: SUNY Cobleskill

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Solar Farm Supplies Power To Ag Experiment Station

From Cornell University:

Cornell University’s Sutton Road Solar Farm is now operational and supplying power to the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

A 2-megawatt energy facility that will offset nearly 40 percent of the annual electricity demand at the experiment station, the solar farm in Seneca was built beginning last spring and is Cornell's second megawatt-scale solar project.

In September 2014, the university opened the Cornell Snyder Road Solar Farm with 6,778 photovoltaic panels on an 11-acre plot that adjoins the Tompkins County Regional Airport in Lansing, Tompkins County.  Adding the new Geneva array to the Lansing facility’s output, the university will produce about 5,700 megawatt-hours of electricity annually. 

“Our researchers are conducting basic and applied research to improve crops and make them more resilient to disease, drought and the worst effects of an uncertain climate as we chart a more sustainable agricultural future,” said Susan Brown, the Goichman Family Director of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. 

"Within our fruit and vegetable programs we’re studying the best way to harvest the sun, so it is only fitting that the energy powering our labs and greenhouses will do the same,” she said.

In September 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced NY-Sun awards for large solar electric projects that will increase the solar energy capacity in the state by more than 214 megawatts, a 68 percent increase over the amount of solar installed. The NY-Sun Initiative strove to expand the state’s renewable energy market to bring down the costs of the technology.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority administers the NY-Sun awards, and it contributed about one-third of the project’s capital cost, while private developer Distributed Sun and Building Energy Asset Management LLC will own and operate the Geneva array. 

Jeff Weiss ’79 is co-chairman and managing director at Distributed Sun. Cornell will purchase the solar farm’s electricity through an agreement with the company.

It's National Onion Rings Day!!

OK, I'm including this special day for all those onion farmers in Oswego and Madison counties.

According to the National Day Calendar website, today is National Onion Rings Day.

Here is what the website says about the day: 

"Dipped in a batter or in bread crumbs and deep fried, tasty onion rings are a popular hors d’oeuvre or side dish all across the United States and are celebrated each year on June 22 for National Onion Rings Day.

Also found in Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and some parts of Asia, onion rings exact origin is unknown.
  • A recipe called “Fried Onions with Parmesan Cheese” is included in John Mollard’s 1802 cookbook “The Art of Cookery Made Easy and Refined.” Within the recipe, it suggests cutting onions into 1/2 inch rings, dipping them into a batter made of flour, cream, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese then deep frying them in “boiling” lard. It is suggested that they are served with a sauce made of  melted butter and mustard.
  • Some believe that a recipe  for French Fried Onions (not claiming to be the originator of the recipe) appeared in the Middletown, NY Daily Times on January 13, 1910.
  • The Pig Stand restaurant chain, founded in Oak Cliff, Texas in the early 1920′s is one of the claimants to the onion rings invention.
  • A recipe for deep-fried onion rings that are dipped in milk then dredged in flour appeared in a 1933 Crisco advertisement in The New York Times Magazine.  
  • In the 1960′s, the A&W restaurant is credited with popularizing the onion rings in fast food restaurants.
To celebrate National Onion Rings Day, head to your favorite “onion ring” serving restaurant and place your order."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cross Island Farms Plans Event for Community Foundation

Cross Island Farms,Wellesley Island, is holding a wine and cheese tasting to benefit the Northern New York Community Foundation from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 24.

It will take place outdoors rain or shine (with tents in case of inclement weather) in the Farm's recently planted “Edible Forest Garden.”

Bechaz Riverdale Cheese of Clayton and The Cape Winery of Cape Vincent will be offering samples and sales of their cheeses and wines accompanied by Jim and Melanie Rafferty of the band “Second Chance.” 

A representative from Northern New York Community Foundation will be on hand to meet and greet attendees.

Informal tours of the garden will be led by Dani Baker, its designer and co-owner of the farm. This event is open to the public for a minimum donation per person at the gate of $10. All proceeds will go to the community foundation.

Cross Island Farm's Edible Forest Garden is the newest addition to Wellesley Island's highly diversified certified organic farm. It is a perennial planting of fruits, nuts, berries, herbs and other edibles comprising a multi-purpose outdoor venue.

Bechaz Riverdale Cheese is a locally owned cheese creamery in Clayton owned and operated by Jeffrey and Melinda Bechaz. It is located on their fourth generation dairy farm. Their Holstein/Jersey dairy herd is pasture grazed/grass-fed. There are no artificial growth hormones used on the farm. Cheese is made fresh every Thursday.

The Cape Winery is a locally owned winery and vineyard located in Cape Vincent owned and operated by David and Sandra Fralick on the historic Deerlick Farm. The limestone soil imparts a unique taste to the cold hardy grapes known as the ‘taste of the Cape’. The Cape Winery has produced many award winning wines including red, white, and rose’ wines varying in taste from dry to sweet.

The band “Second Chance” plays the hits known and loved from the sixties up to the present day. Vocalist Melanie Rafferty is President of Cortel Improvement, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in executive training. Jim Rafferty, keyboard and vocals, is a retired Army major general.

Based in Carthage, “Second Chance” has played at a wide variety of local venues and events.

The Northern New York Community Foundation supports communities in Lewis, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties through college scholarships and grants to charitable nonprofit organizations. Last year it awarded 564 scholarships for a total of $850,000 to college-bound high school students and nontraditional students in the tri-county area.

Grants totaling more than $435,000 were given to 55 nonprofits including the Watertown Urban Mission, the Thousand Islands Arts Center, River Hospital, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Volunteer Transportation Center, WPBS-TV, Thousand Islands Land Trust, local food pantries across all three counties and more.

The Community Foundation manages and administers more than 400 charitable funds.

Monday, June 20, 2016

New York Farm Bureau Seeks Intervenor Status in Lawsuit Concerning Farmworkers Rights to Collectively Bargain

From New York Farm Bureau:

New York Farm Bureau is seeking to intervene in the farm labor lawsuit filed against the State of New York and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

The grassroots farm organization will file a motion today (Monday June 20) in State Supreme Court of Albany County to gain intervenor status in a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation. 

The NY Civil Liberties Union Foundation seeks to create a constitutional right for farmworkers to collectively bargain. The ultimate goal of New York Farm Bureau with today’s motion is for the court to dismiss the lawsuit.

New York Farm Bureau is taking this major step to defend farmers, who feel they have been abandoned by the governor and the New York Attorney General. Both leaders have made public statements supporting the lawsuit and refusing to defend state law, despite its importance to agriculture in New York state. 

New York Farm Bureau believes it has the right to intervene because the interest of its members will not be represented by the defendants – the governor and attorney general - and the ability of the organization’s members to continue to produce food for New York residents would be harmed in the event the plaintiffs prevail in this action.

Dean Norton
The motion reads, “Farm Bureau is uniquely situated to represent the varied perspectives of its member farms and to zealously defend the constitutionality of the challenged farm labor exemption.”

Farm Bureau believes the exemption of farmworkers from collective bargaining rights is constitutional, and that the exclusion of farmworkers from the State Labor Relations Act law is based on decades of rational public policy and legal precedent that will be outlined in NYFB’s motions to intervene and to dismiss.

New York Farm Bureau believes that the legal precedent is clear. This is not a question for the courts, and the NYCLUF is attempting to make an end-run around the legislature, which has not approved collective bargaining for farmworkers despite numerous opportunities.

“New York Farm Bureau has a century long record of defending the state’s family farms, and today’s action is one of the most important in our long history. If we can’t count on our state leaders to do the right thing in this case, we are prepared to stand up for our members in court to protect their rights,” said Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau President.

New York State Sees Huge Maple Season in 2016

From the USDA

The Northeastern region of the United Sates saw a “favorable” maple season in 2016, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The region, which encompasses New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Vermont, saw maple syrup production in 2016 of 3.78 million gallons, up 27 percent from 2015’s production of 2.98 million gallons.

Vermont remained the top maple state in the Northeastern Region and the nation, producing 47.3 percent of the United States’ maple syrup, a record-high production.

Sap collecting buckets in Lewis County
New York remained number two in the region and nation with 707,000 gallons of syrup produced. Last year’s 601,000 gallons was the most in the state in 70 years.

Massachusetts also reported a record- high production for 2016.

Taps in the Northeastern Region totaled 10.8 million, up 5 percent from last year and accounted for 86 percent of the nation’s maple taps, with Pennsylvania reporting a record high number of taps in 2016. New York had 2,515 taps in 2016, up from 2,310 in 2015.

Producers were encouraged to tap earlier this season by the warmer-than-normal temperatures. The earliest sap flow reported was Jan. 1 in Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia.

The number of taps was up in each of the states in the region, except for New Hampshire which was down from last year.

The season in the Northeast Region averaged 35 days, 10 days longer than in 2015. On average, the U.S. season lasted 33 days, compared with 26 days in 2015.

The average equivalent price per gallon for maple syrup varies widely across the Region depending on the percentage sold retail, wholesale, or bulk.

The 2015 all sales equivalent price per gallon in Connecticut averaged $87.20, up $16.30; Maine averaged $28.00, down $3.50; Massachusetts averaged $50.50, down $5.80; New Hampshire averaged $59.40, up $1.60; New York averaged $42, up $2.30; Pennsylvania averaged $31.90, down $3.20, and Vermont averaged $330, unchanged from last year.

The high percentage of bulk sales in Pennsylvania, Vermont and Maine kept average prices below the other states.

Friday, June 17, 2016

It's National Eat Your Veggies Day!!

Vegetables at a local farmers' market
Anyone with a mother probably grew up hearing "eat your vegetables."

Well, today is the day to actually listen to mom. It's National Eat Your Vegetables Day."

According to the National Day Calendar website, June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, so National Eat Your Vegetables Day is one more opportunity to remind everyone about this important part of a healthy diet.

"As part of a main meal or as a snack, vegetables can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Each vegetable has it's own nutritional content through generally they contain little protein or fat and varying proportions of vitamins like A, K, B6, provitamins, dietary minerals and carbohydrates. They also contain phytochemicals and some vegetables also contain fiber, which is important for gastrointestinal function."

"It is recommend by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans, to consume 3 to 5 servings of vegetables a day. For most vegetables, one serving equals about 1/2 to 1 cup eaten either raw or cooked."

There are a lot of wonderful vegetables grown fresh right here in New York state. Many are in farmstands, farmers' markets and grocery stores now and others will begin showing up as the growing season progresses. 

So get out there and  buy some local vegetables. You can't get fresher than that!!


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dairy Day Celebrated at the State Capitol

Dairy Day at the State Capitol. From left, Chip Pratt, Aileen Randolph of the New York Farm Viability Institute, Sen. Patty Ritchie, and David Grusenmeyer of the New York Farm Viability Institute

State Sen. Patty Ritchie, chair of the state Senate Agriculture Committee, welcomed dairy industry leaders to the State Capitol Wednesday for “Dairy Day,” a celebration of one of New York’s leading industries. 

The event, which is taking place during National Dairy Month, was once a tradition in Albany, and this year, Senator Ritchie, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, joined with Assemblyman Bill Magee, who chairs the Assembly Agriculture Committee, to sponsor its return.

“As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and someone who grew up on a dairy farm, I’m proud to sponsor the return of Dairy Day at the State Capitol,” said Ritchie. “This is a great chance to spread the word to my colleagues, as well as visitors about how important dairy is to our agriculture and rural economies—especially in the rural regions I represent.”

On hand for Wednesday’s celebration were producers of dairy products — including milk, yogurt, cheese and others — from across the state, as well as representatives of various agriculture groups that help support the industry.

Established in 1937, National Dairy Month started out as “National Milk Month,” an event held to promote drinking milk.  Since that time, the observance has grown into an annual tradition that helps to celebrate our state’s 5,000 dairy farms and all the fresh, nutritious foods and drink they produce. 

Coyote Moon Named Winery of the Year

Go to to check out the story.

Beezie Madden on Memories, Medals and Mapping it Out for Rio

Great story about Central New York horsewoman Beezie Madden.

Check it out at this link.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Lady LeWinDa Milkzalot Celebrates Graduation

LeWinDa Milkzalot

Well, Lady LeWinDa Milkzalot at the Lowville Producers Dairy Cooperative in Lowville, Lewis County, is getting ready for graduation season donning her mortarboard and tassels.

The famed Holstein often wears different garb for the particular season. In summer, she has been seen with big sunglasses on and in the winter, she shivers even while bundled up in a scarf and socks on her ears.

From its website, the cooperative began in 1936 and has been in business for 75 years. It has about 175 member/owner farms who produced in excess of 310 million pounds of milk in 2011; the equivalent of 36 million gallons of milk.

The cooperative's website states Lowville Producers is the largest dairy cooperative in Lewis County with more than 65 percent of the milk produced in Lewis County handled through it.