Saturday, October 29, 2016

Hydrologist Tells Farmers About Drought Impacts, Water Resources

Check out the story at this link.

14 New York Farms Receive Value-Added Producer Grants

From the USDA:

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today (Oct. 28) announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing more than $45 million to help farmers, ranchers, small businesses and entrepreneurs nationwide develop new product lines. 

USDA is investing in 325 projects through the Value-Added Producer Grant program. There are 14 projects in New York state receiving money. 

"Value-Added Producer Grants are one of USDA's most sought-after funding sources for veteran and beginning farmers, and rural-based businesses," Vilsack said. "These grants provide a much-needed source of financing to help producers develop new product lines and increase their income, and keep that income in their communities. 

"Economic development initiatives like this one are working – the unemployment rate in rural America is at an eight-year low and incomes rose 3.4 percent last year. Small business entrepreneurship, which Value-Added Producer Grants support, is a major reason why rural America is a making a comeback," he said.

VAPG grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or promote additional uses for established products. 

Veterans, socially-disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches, and farmer and rancher cooperatives are given special priority.

USDA has awarded 1,441 VAPG awards since 2009, totaling $183 million. Congress increased funding for the program in the 2014 Farm Bill. 

The grants are a key element of USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, which coordinates the department's work on local and regional food systems.Vilsack has identified local and regional food systems as a key component of rural economic development.

The 14 NY farms and their projects are:

** Thousand Islands Winery, $250,000, to expand sales and promotion of rye whiskey and bourbon whiskey products. 
** Devine Gardens, $30,743, to increase sales of its high-value compost produced by worms.
** Hathaway Farms, $250,000, to enhance marketing and increase sales of grape juice concentrate made from the farm's grapes and sold regionally to restaurants and stores.
** Millitello Farms, $41,112, to cover the labor, advertising and building utilities' cost; purchase other produce, like apples, and various promotional items.
** Organic Indoors Gardens of Poughkeepsie, $49,000, to expand sales and promotion of hard cider products.
** Partyka & Sons Farms, $170,465, to expand sales and promotion of wholesale and home-delivered bottled milk products.
** Celk Distilling, $200,000, to expand sales and promotion of its Community Supported Agriculture farm products.
** Eden Works, $250,000, to undertake a marketing campaign designed to increase sales of fresh salad greens grown in New York City.
** Fishkill Farms, $53,625, to explore the feasibility of creating a cidery and producing hard cider from apples grown in the farm's organic and ecologically grown apple trees.
** Juniper Hill Farm, $49,710, to epand sales and promote microgreen products.
** King Brothers Dairy, $250,000, to expand sales of Rosebud wines.
** Niagara Landing Wine Cellars, $250,000, to increase sales of Rosebud wines.
** Vizcarra Family Vineyards, $250,000, to expand sales and promotion of roasted pumpkin seed products.
** Donovan Orchards, $185,000, to provide working capital for a startup hard cider company, Rootstock Ciderworks.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Oak Wilt Found in Ontario County

From the state Department of Environmental Conservation:

Oak wilt, a tree fungus that causes disease in oak trees, has been detected in Canandaigua, Ontario County.

This is the third location in New York State where oak wilt has been confirmed and the second location discovered in 2016. The disease was confirmed in Islip earlier this year and had previously been found in Glenville in 2008 and 2013.

"If left untreated, oak wilt is a serious disease that can quickly spread and kill oak trees," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "New York State is taking the detection of oak wilt in Canandaigua seriously and has already begun implementing survey and control procedures recently used in Schenectady and Suffolk counties to contain and treat the oak wilt infestation found in Canandaigua."

A concerned homeowner contacted Cornell Cooperative Extension after an oak tree on their property began dying with no identifiable cause. Samples from the tree were sent to the Cornell Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic, where they tested positive for the fungus that causes the disease. 

There is no known treatment to contain and kill the oak wilt fungus other than to remove infected trees, as well as any surrounding host oak trees.

An emergency order will be issued establishing a protective zone prohibiting the movement of oak material out of the immediate area to prevent the fungus from spreading. Aerial and ground surveys will be conducted during the next few weeks to identify additional trees that may be infected. 

DEC staff will contact property owners near the infected oaks to inform them about oak wilt and request permission to examine oaks on their properties for signs of the disease.

Since the infested tree was discovered late in the growing season, only a small window exists to look for signs of the disease before the natural loss of leaves during the fall makes it too difficult. Infected trees will be removed during the winter months; surveys will resume in the spring when dead trees and signs of the fungus are more apparent.

Oak wilt is a serious tree disease in the eastern United States, killing thousands of oaks each year in forests, woodlots, and home landscapes. Oak wilt is caused by the fungus, Ceratocystis fagacearum, which grows in the water-conducting vessels of host trees, causing the vessels to produce gummy plugs that prevent water transport. As water movement within the tree is slowed, the leaves wilt and drop off, and eventually the tree dies.

The DEC asks the public to report any occurrences where an oak tree died over a short period of time, especially if it occurred between July and August, to the Forest Health Information Line toll-free at 1-866-640-0652.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

It's National Pumpkin Day!!

This is certainly the right time to be celebrating the pumpkin.

The National Day Calendar says today, Oct. 26, is National Pumpkin Day. Nowadays, people seem obsessed with pumpkin. "We cannot wait for the big November holiday for pumpkin pie. No siree, we need pumpkin ev-ery-thing! Bars, cookies, coffee, cheesecake, pasta and oatmeal," according to the National Day Calendar website.

"Pumpkin Chunkin,’ pumpkin patches, festivals, bake-offs and television specials. Let’s not forget jack-o-lantern carving, too! This fruit grabs American’s attention," the website states.

The pumpkin is native to North American and the National Day Calendar website states the oldest evidence of pumpkin-related seeds dates back to somewhere between 7000 and 5500 BC to seeds found in Mexico.
The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon, which means “large melon” in Greek.

Soybean Processing Plant Receives OK for Tax Exempt Bonds

Go to to check out the story from the Watertown Daily Times.

USDA Begins Onion Survey

From the USDA:

A survey of onion growers by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will take place during November.

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service will conduct its biannual Onion Grower Inquiry and more than 100  New York onion growers will be involved.

The survey will collect information on acreage, production, and value of the 2016 summer dray onion crop. The statistics service will compile, analyze and publish the survey results in the Annual Vegetable Report, to be released in January.

“Participating in this survey is a convenient and effective way for farmers to analyze and compare the different practices of production, acreage and values within their own communities, as well as at the national level," said King Whetstone, statistics service Northeastern regional director.

"Data from the survey will benefit farmers, processors, and agribusinesses, by providing timely and accurate information to help them make crucial business decisions for the next growing and marketing season. Furthermore, policymakers use these statistical
reports to update their understanding and to make decisions, I encourage farmers to take advantage of this opportunity to help by providing accurate data,” he said.

The November Onion Grower Inquiry will be available online for sampled respondents starting Nov. 1.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.

For more information on statistics service surveys and reports, call the National Agricultural Statistics Service Northeastern Regional Field Office at (800) 498-1518.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

State Awards $4.9 M for Farmland Protection

From Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office:

A total of $4.9 million has been awarded to help farmers protect 2,843 acres of at-risk farmland through the state's Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program. 

Funding will preserve six farms in Central New York, Western New York and the North Country, and help maintain the land for agricultural purposes and protect it from development through the use of perpetual conservation easements.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Farmland Protection program. The state has not only reinvigorated the program, but also committed historic funding levels to farmland preservation.
The program is part of the state's Environmental Protection Fund, which New York state’s 2016 budget more than doubled, raising the funding level to $300 million. 

Funding for the Farmland Protection program itself increased by $5 million this year and built on last year's historic investment in farmland protection, including the $20 million Hudson Valley Agricultural Enhancement Program.
The project awards by region include:

· Central New York - $2.4 million awarded for 3 projects with the Finger Lakes Land Trust and the New York Agricultural Land Trust, including a dairy farm, the Birdsall beef farm in Onondaga and Cortland counties and the Perry cash crop and beef operation in Cayuga County. 
· North Country - $1.8 million awarded for 1 project with the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust for a cash crop grain farm in Jefferson County
· Western New York - $700,000 awarded for 2 projects with the Western New York Land Conservancy protecting D&J Brawdy Farms, a cash crop vegetable operation in Erie County, and Triple Oaks Farms, a dairy operation in Erie County.

Lowville Graduate Named National FFA Officer

Go to to see the story about Ashley Willits.

Potato Farm Finds Ways to Survive

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine


GABRIELS — Nestled in the northern Adirondack Park, with Whiteface Mountain in view to the east, a small, diverse farm is making its mark in the potato industry.

Tucker Farms, Inc. has been in business 152 years and is owned and operated by fifth-generation farmers Dick, Steve and Tom Tucker, in Gabriels, Franklin County, N.Y.

The farm produces 14 varieties of New York-certified seed and table-stock potatoes, and it supplies potatoes and other vegetables to several high-end restaurants in Lake Placid, a local tourist town that hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics.

The Tucker brothers say the key to success is diversification.

“You just can’t be doing the same thing as the economy changes and what people eat changes,” Steve Tucker said.

The farm plants between 65 and 70 different vegetables, but the main crop for the Tuckers is potatoes, which the farm began growing in the 1920s.

“It’s an ideal climate for potatoes,” Tom said. “We’re isolated from everywhere, we get a pretty good dew every night so they’re always getting some moisture. It’s cool so it’s not too hot during the day, so it’s kind of ideal growing conditions.”

The Tucker Taters brand was established 50 years ago by the Tuckers’ father, Don, the same year Tom was born. Don drew the brand’s original logo that is still in use.

The Tucker family has learned to thrive in a region known for the coolest temperatures in the state. The area has a substantially shorter growing season compared to the rest of New York.

“It’s picking the right crops that will survive,” Tom said. “Usually our last frost is around June 10th and our first killing frost is usually right around Labor Day, so you’ve got a pretty narrow window. If you go 50 miles, or even 40 miles, in any direction around us, you gain two weeks on the spring and two weeks on the fall, growing-wise, so that’s a month that we don’t have. (The main thing) is growing the crops that will fit in that window.”

The farm is comprised of 390 acres, and the Tuckers rent another 105 acres. They grow nearly 50 acres of potatoes, and their goal is to increase to as many as 60.

Tom’s son, Ben, is a high school senior at Saranac Lake Central and plans to farm full time following graduation, allowing the family to increase its acreage.

“I love being here, and I love the area,” said Ben, who is able to perform every job on the farm that his father and uncles do. “There is a little bit of pressure because the farm’s been in the family for over 150 years. I think that’s the main reason why it drives me to do it because the family’s been doing it for so long it makes me want to stay here.”

The Tuckers grow oats, rye and buckwheat as cover crops. Their potato-seed production is on a three-year rotation, so the two years it’s not potatoes it’s in grain, so they sell a lot of straw for landscaping.

The farm’s six acres of vegetables range from leafy greens to assorted colors of carrots.

“The restaurants all want something different. The more exotic, the more they want it,” Steve said. “So different-colored beets and different-colored Swiss chards.”

It’s hard to sell a common vegetable like green beans because everybody has green beans, according to Steve.

“Anything that helps the restaurants be different that’s what they’re looking for,” Tom said. “They want something that the restaurant next door doesn’t have on their menu, so we try to be as broad a range as we can grow.”

The farm typically harvests vegetables for the restaurants on Thursdays and Fridays during the summer. Their leafy greens and lettuces are picked first thing in the morning on Friday, and they try to have Steve on the road at 2 p.m. so he can deliver to the restaurants before their dinner hours.

The Tuckers also supply nearby Paul Smith’s College with potatoes for its culinary program. Every year the students tour the farm and get to see where all the vegetables are grown.

“Right now they’re taking 10 pounds of each variety, two varieties a week, and they’re doing all kinds of cooking trials with each of the different varieties,” Tom said. “The chef comes once a week when he picks up the next variety and tells us what they’ve done with them and the different things they liked or didn’t like.”

The farm has made connections with some of the local school districts. The Tuckers have been hosting kindergartners since 1973. The kids get to see potatoes harvested, and the Tuckers leave some potatoes on the ground for the kids to pick up and take home.

This is the second year the Tuckers have been selling potatoes in the Saranac Lake Central School district, and in past years they also sold potatoes to the Newcomb Central School district for use in fundraising.

Each family member has his own area of expertise and responsibility. Steve handles all the seed potato sales and does the spraying. Tom handles the purchasing, tillage, planting and crop rotation. 
Dick, retired from General Electric, lives 150 miles away in Schenectady and provides all the computer work, including updating the farm’s website. He also helps out with planting and harvesting.

The family has faced plenty of challenges over the years, in addition to the weather and the short growing season. Tom has advice to offer farmers trying to remain profitable.

“Always look outside of the box,” Tom said. “Always try to do something that somebody else isn’t doing already.”

“That’s why I’ve always felt bad about the milk industry,” Tom said. “That’s all they’ve ever done their entire life, but you gotta look and figure out how to do it differently than the next guy and try to make yours a little more unique from them. Always try to figure out something new and different to try to stay ahead of the curve.”

The Tuckers did this by introducing ag tourism into their operation nearly 15 years ago to help keep their farm in operation.

They provided you-pick strawberries for several years until they found it was too labor-intensive to keep the weeds out of the berry patch.

 They now offer you-pick pumpkins, the Great Adirondack Corn Maze, and they rent their farm out for weddings and other events.

But they were reluctant to get started.

“We would have never gotten into ag tourism,” Tom said. “We go to Cornell Cooperative Extension meetings three or four times a year to learn about the different vegetables, and it was Essex County’s Anita Deming and Amy Ivy that got us talking to at least considering ag tourism. Of course we’re sitting there, ‘Well, we’re a potato farmer, why do we need to worry about that?’”
seed potatoes brings income in the spring...

“But we were struggling and the free trade really screwed up potato farming, so that was one of those, ‘Well, maybe we should try something different.’”

The staff at Cooperative Extension was instrumental.

“They helped us along the way, so I can’t say anything but good things about Cooperative Extension and their promotion ideas and their willingness to work with farmers,” Tom said. 

“When counties and governments are cutting things that’s one program that I just hope they never cut out because it’s the only true education experience some people will get in the agricultural field. There’s an agency out there that’s willing to help them get information they may need to get good crops,” Tom said.

The farm began offering the Great Adirondack Corn Maze in 2004, and the maze is a different design every year. This season it’s a tribute to the area’s music festival and features a guitar, trumpet, drums and music notes.

“We wouldn’t be still doing it if it wasn’t making money, and it’s a great way to bring people to the farm to see farming and see it’s not what you read in a book, it’s not what you see on TV, that we’re still an active working farm,” Tom said. “There are a lot of people who just don’t have a concept of where their food comes from, so it’s a really good thing to do.”

Tucker Farms was affected by the drought that impacted many regions of New York state this summer. 

“We went three and a half weeks with no rain here,” Tom said. “So it was about the time that potatoes would have set the number of tubers.  It set nice tubers, but it wasn’t the number of tubers that it could have or normally would have set per plant. So the yield numbers are down, but the quality and the potatoes look nice.”

The farm wasn’t able to offer you-pick pumpkins this year due to the drought. The farm sits on top of a hill, and there is no easy way to irrigate. Tom said they usually offer wagon rides to the pumpkin patch at harvest time.

“We had beautiful plants and blossoms, but we just didn’t have enough rain at the time to get them to grow big enough,” Tom said.

There is little other agriculture in the area, and some of the wealthiest in the world have homes in the area. But the Tuckers would not choose another lifestyle.

“Farming is not easy,” Tom Tucker said. “Farming is a way of life. And not everybody is cut out to be a farmer, but the life that we have chosen, I can’t think of a better way to live.”

For more information on Tucker Farms, visit or search for “Tucker Taters” and “Tucker Farms Great Adirondack Corn Maze” on Facebook.

Editor’s note: Don Tucker, the patriarch of the Tucker family, passed away in his sleep Oct. 14, two days after the photos and interviews were completed for this story. He was 90.

New Strawberry Ready for NY Planting

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine:

Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Strawberry fans, rejoice.

The newest Cornell strawberry variety concentrates intense flavor in a berry big enough to fill the palm of your hand.

Topping out at over 50 grams, Archer, the latest creation from Cornell berry breeder Courtney Weber, is comparable in size to a plum or small peach. But this behemoth stands out in ways beyond just its proportions: the flavor and aroma exceed what you’d expect from a strawberry of such unusual size.

“Archer is an extraordinarily high-flavored berry,” said Weber, associate professor in the horticulture section of the School of Integrative Plant Science. “It has an intense aroma, so when you bite into it you get a strong strawberry smell, and it’s very sweet, so you get a strong strawberry flavor that really makes an impact.”

Weber says the combination of large fruit and strong flavor hits the sweet spot for local growers who sell in farmers markets, u-pick sites and roadside stands. Archer ripens in June and holds its large size through multiple harvests for two to three weeks.

“Strawberries are the ultimate summertime fruit that signal the start of the summer season. People love that vivid flavor, and Archer delivers a complex, sunny aroma and taste that just screams summer,” said Weber. 

“Consumers have a real preference for large berries, and with fruits that can be as big as the palm of your hand, Archer really draws people’s attention and fills baskets quickly. It’s larger on average than any of the dozens of strawberry varieties we’ve tested over the years.”

And this big berry is no wimp: The cold-hardy variety is tough enough to withstand winters, making it suitable for growing in diverse climates throughout New York as well as in places like Michigan and Minnesota and along the Mid-Atlantic from Maryland into the Northeast.

Weber’s strawberries are bred to be hardy. He breeds in a perennial system without soil fumigation so that only the most robust varieties thrive. With a durable root system, this high-yield variety is tolerant to root rots and other common diseases.

Fruit breeding has a long history at Cornell, which has introduced more than 280 fruit varieties since 1880. The berry breeding program is the oldest of its kind in the U.S., and Archer is the 43rd strawberry variety released by the program, and the fifth by Weber, who joined Cornell in 1999.

Other recent releases include the Herriot strawberry, a high-yielding midseason variety, and the burgundy-colored Walker sold exclusively by Burpee Seed as Purple Wonder. 

Archer is the largest strawberry ever released at Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, Ontario County.

Weber selected Archer in 2001 from the first field he planted at the ag station, and it has been under field evaluation for many years. Final field testing was done on the farms of members of the New York State Berry Growers Association.

Matt Hayes is managing editor and social media officer for Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Deadline Jan. 27 to Apply for New Farmers Grant Fund

The deadline is Jan. 27 to apply for the New Farmers Grant Fund.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Sen. Patty Ritchie is encouraging people who are interested in pursuing careers in agriculture or just starting out as farmers to apply for the “New Farmers Grant Fund.”

Through the New Farmers Grant Fund, $1 million will help provide grants of up to $50,000 to new and beginning farmers for the purchase of equipment, supplies and other necessities essential to an agricultural business.  

The program is now in its third year and to date has allocated $1.4 million in grants to 41 farms across the state. 

"Across our state, the New Farmers Grant Fund is providing people who are new to agriculture with the resources necessary to start their businesses, and those who are just starting with the support they need to continue on the road to success,” said Ritchie.

This year, the New Farmers Grant Fund has eliminated the 150 acres or less requirement and will accept applications from agricultural operations of all sizes.  

Full guidelines for applying can be found by visiting Sen. Ritchie’s website,  

Legal Complications of Oklahoma's State Question on Protecting Farming

Interesting story about something going on in Oklahoma.

Give it a read at this link.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Watch St. Lawrence County Maple Producer on 'Shark Tank' Tonight

Go to to see the story about Parker's Real Maple.

State Kicks Off 2016 Big Apple Crunch

From the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets:

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball Thursday Oct. 20 joined the 2016 Big Apple Crunch in New York City, sponsored by the FarmOn! Foundation, an agriculture-focused non-profit supporting educational youth programming.  

The Big Apple Crunch is an annual event that celebrates New York state agriculture and promotes New York’s apple producers through food and nutrition education across the State.

Ball, joined by the commissioner of the state Department of Health and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FarmOn! Foundation and New York City SchoolFood, helped lead dozens of middle school students and staff from Public School 96 in taking a bite out of a New York state grown apple.  

The “crunch” followed an announcement of the expansion of the NY Thursdays program in schools across New York City.  NY Thursdays kicked off last year and features locally grown and produced foods on school menus. This year, the program has expanded to include New York State produced beef.

In addition to the event held at PS 96, dozens of Big Apple Crunch events were held throughout New York City and across the state. The New York Apple Association joined the NYC Food Policy Center at Hunter College for a Big Apple Crunch at La Marqueta.  

The event brought together hundreds of children to take part in fun and educational activities, and wrapped up with a record-breaking Big Apple Crunch. The event also featured activity centers with apple art, games, tastings and nutrition education led by East Harlem organizations and small businesses.

In Albany, the state Education Department Senior Deputy Commissioner Jhone Ebert and Assistant Commissioner for Student Support Services Renee Rider joined more than 50 staff members from the department's Office of Child Nutrition on the front steps of the State Education Building this morning for the Big Apple Crunch.  

They got into the spirit, simultaneously biting into locally grown, New York state apples to celebrate National Food Day and promote New York state food and farms.

Created through a partnership of GrowNYC and the NYC Office of Food Policy in 2012 and sponsored by the FarmOn! Foundation, the Big Apple Crunch originated as a way to celebrate National Food Day. 

In the first year of the event, about 400,000 New Yorkers bit into locally grown New York State apples at the same time in a universal call to action to raise awareness about supporting local agriculture. 

Since its inception, the annual Big Apple Crunch has expanded its reach, breaking a world record in 2015 with one million New Yorkers participating in the crunch.

This year, FarmOn! Foundation called on all New Yorkers to take the Big Apple Crunch Challenge and pledge to eat locally by participating in the Big Apple Crunch. 

For additional incentive to support the cause, crunchers who submit a #BigAppleCrunchChallenge video on social media can win $1,000 towards a FarmOn! Victory Garden, which will help bring fresh produce and educational opportunities to a school of their choosing.

Taste NY, Farmers' Market Open at Long Island Welcome Center

From Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office:

The grand opening of the brand new Long Island Welcome Center in Dix Hills was held Oct. 20.

The 15,200 square foot state-of-the-art Welcome Center includes a Taste NY Market — promoting some of New York’s best locally-made and produced food and beverage products – a farmers’ market and an interactive I LOVE NEW YORK experience for Long Island visitors to learn about the region’s history and tourism destinations. 

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul marked the occasion with a ribbon cutting at the new facility.
The Welcome Center is located off the Long Island Expressway at Exit 51-52 Eastbound.
The Taste NY Market will showcase a broad selection of fresh made breakfast and lunch items, including soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts using ingredients sourced from Long Island growers.

It will also offer grab-and-go snacks and specialty local items for sale, providing an opportunity for local producers to market their products.

In addition to the Taste NY Market, the Welcome Center will be the home to an outdoor farmers’ market open on Saturdays and Sundays through the season that will provide locally-grown and produced foods to visitors, spotlighting Long Island farms and encouraging agritourism throughout the region.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mid-Hudson Region Gets $2.5 M for Farmland Protection

From Gov. Cuomo's office:

About $2.5 million has been awarded to five projects in the Mid-Hudson Valley through New York state's Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program to help farmers protect more than 700 acres of valuable and at-risk farmland. 

The funding, which was announced during the Governor's Mid-Hudson Regional Sustainable Development and Collaborative Governance Conference, supports ability of farms to maintain the land for agricultural purposes and protect it from development through the use of perpetual conservation easements.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Farmland Protection program and New York state has committed historic funding levels to farmland preservation. Since 2011, the state has invested nearly $40.9 million for 58 projects statewide.
"New York's hard-working farmers are essential to our economy, employing thousands across the state and growing produce that is second to none," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “With this funding, we continue to invest in the next generation of farmers in the Mid-Hudson Valley and help to ensure a sustainable future for the entire industry."
The Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program is part of New York state's Environmental Protection Fund, which New York State’s 2016 Budget more than doubled, raising the funding level to $300 million. 

Funding for the program increased by $5 million this year. It also built on last year's historic investment in farmland protection, including the $20 million Hudson Valley Agricultural Enhancement Program.

Meeting Oct. 26 Features Information on Water, Drought

From state Sen. Patty Ritchie's office:

Farmers and other interested individuals in Central and Northern New York who have been affected by the summer’s drought should attend a special presentation at 1 p.m. Oct. 26 featuring groundwater expert M. Todd Walter of Cornell University.

The meeting featuring Walter — a hydrogeologist who serves as director of the New York State Water Resources Institute, Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University — will feature a discussion on the impact the drought has had on local aquifers, how long it may take wells to recover and insights on how farmers can rebound. 

In addition, those attending will also be able to ask Walter questions.The meeting will be in the first floor conference room at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown.

“The effects of last summer’s unprecedented drought are still being felt by farmers across our region,” said state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, who is chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

“The goal of this meeting is for Dr. Walter to offer expert advice on how our hardworking farmers can recover from the drought and protect themselves from damage caused by dry weather conditions in the future.”

Walter’s visit is the result of suggestions from farm tours organized by Senator Ritchie in recent months to assess the drought’s impact on the agriculture industry.

Those interested in attending meeting should pre-register by calling (315) 782-3418. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Happy National Farmers Day!!

If you do just one thing today, be sure to thank a farmer.

Without them, we have no food on our table, no fruit beverages or wines or beer, and no natural fibers for our clothes.

In reality, we'd have pretty much nothing of any importance without farmers.

So thank a farmer today.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Check Your Yoma Myanmar 'Tea Salad Snack' for Peanuts

From New York State Ag and Markets:

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today (Monday Oct. 10) alerted consumers to undeclared peanuts in Yoma Myanmar “Tea Salad Snack – Spicy,” packaged and distributed by Yoma Myanmar Tea Co., 5 N. Beacon St., Boston, MA 02134.  

People who have severe sensitivity to peanuts may run the risk of serious or life-threatening reactions if they consume this product.  No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this product.

The recalled “Tea Salad Snack – Spicy” is packaged in a 7 oz. plastic bag coded EXP: 15 June 2018.  The product was sold at various retail stores in New York State.
Routine sampling by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets’ food inspectors and subsequent analysis of the product by the state Food Laboratory revealed the product contained peanut allergens, which were not declared on the label.
Consumers who have purchased “Tea Salad Snack – Spicy” may return the product to the place of purchase.   Consumers with questions about the recalled product may contact Yoma Myanmar Tea Co. at 617-783-1372 or, or the place of purchase.