Friday, December 22, 2017

Cuomo Announces Money for CAFO Waste Storage Programs

From staff reports

The state has awarded $20 million to implement water quality protection projects on 56 farms across the state.

The money was provided through the first round of the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Waste Storage and Transfer System Program. It supports projects that will allow livestock farms to better manage and store nutrients, such as manure, to protect ground water and nearby waterways.

The program is a part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 which invests an unprecedented level of resources for drinking water, wastewater infrastructure and other water quality protections statewide.

“Agriculture remains a key part of New York’s economy and this funding will help farms in every corner of this state protect drinking water supplies and waterways, while also remaining competitive,” Cuomo said in making the award announcement Dec. 20. 

“With this program, we are supporting New York’s economy and ensuring our essential natural resources are preserved for years to come,” he said.

Through the program, 61 waste storage and transfer systems will be installed on CAFO-permitted farms in 25 counties throughout the state. Grants will help offset the cost of construction, site preparation and associated best management practices. 

Funded projects will also help farmers meet the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s new environmental requirements first announced in January of this year.

The money is being provided to County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, which applied on behalf of eligible farmers, in the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier, and Western New York Regions. 

A list of the award totals is available at

“The grant money under the governor’s water infrastructure plan will build on the agricultural community’s strong record of environmental stewardship,” said David Fisher, president of New York Farm Bureau. 

“The cost sharing assistance provides more flexibility on farms to manage nutrients, which helps protect water quality for all New Yorkers. New York Farm Bureau appreciates the public-private partnership, especially as livestock farmers are putting new environmental management plans in place to meet tougher CAFO regulations,” he said.

“One of the biggest responsibilities our farmers have is to be good stewards of the land and other natural resources they use. Through this funding, our state’s hardworking farmers can continue the important work they do to support New York’s leading industry, and at the same time, continue their efforts to be leaders when it comes to implementing environmentally safe practices,” said state Sen. Patty Ritchie, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“The governor’s historic clean water initiative is critical to ensuring the quality and sustainability of our natural resources and our farms,” said state Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets Richard Ball. 

“We received more applications than we were able to fund through the first round of this program, which shows the strong commitment of our livestock operations to environmental stewardship," Ball said. "We look forward to releasing the second Request for Proposals in the coming year to benefit even more farms as they strive to maintain nutrient recycling year-round.”

Thursday, December 21, 2017

New York Farm Bureau Names 'Circle of Friends'

New York Farm Bureau has released its annual “Circle of Friends,” naming 172 New York State Legislators to the distinguished list. The award is an indication of the individual lawmaker’s support of New York agriculture and Farm Bureau.

The “Circle of Friends” honor is based upon each legislator’s voting record on issues of agricultural importance as well as other evidence of legislative support, including sponsorship of bills that New York Farm Bureau has either supported or opposed during the most recent legislative session.

“New York Farm Bureau selected these Senators and Assembly members because of their commitment to the hard working farm families in New York," said New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher. 

"We appreciated their support on a whole host of bills and budget items this year, and we look forward to collaborating with them as a new session is about to begin," he said. "It is imperative that we work together to support local food production and the agricultural economy that benefit all New Yorkers.”

The “Circle of Friends” is not an endorsement, and this distinction only recognizes the 2017 legislative session.

“Circle of Friends” recipients for 2017 are:
New York Senate
Addabbo, Jr., Joseph
Akshar, Fred
Alcantara, Marisol
Amedore, Jr., George A.
Avella, Tony
Benjamin, Brian
Bonacic, John J.
Boyle, Philip M.
Breslin, Neil D.
Brooks, John
Carlucci, David
Comrie, Jr., Leroy G.
Croci, Thomas D.
DeFrancisco, John A.
Felder, Simcha
Flanagan, John J.
Funke, Rich
Gallivan, Patrick M.
Gianaris, Michael N.
Golden, Martin J.
Griffo, Joseph A.
Hamilton, Jesse E.
Hannon, Kemp
Helming, Pamela
Jacobs, Chris
Kaminsky, Todd
Kennedy, Timothy M.
Klein, Jeffrey D.
Lanza, Andrew J.
Larkin, Jr., William J.
Latimer, George S.
LaValle, Kenneth P.
Little, Elizabeth O'C.
Marcellino, Carl L.
Marchione, Kathleen A.
Montgomery, Velmanette
Murphy, Terrence P.
O'Mara, Thomas F.
Ortt, Robert G.
Peralta, Jose R.
Persaud, Roxanne
Phillips, Elaine
Ranzenhofer, Michael H.
Ritchie, Patricia A.
Rivera, J. Gustavo
Robach, Joseph E.
Savino, Diane J.
Serino, Susan J.
Seward, James L.
Squadron, Daniel
Stavisky, Toby Ann
Stewart-Cousins, Andrea
Tedisco, James
Valesky, David J.
Young, Catharine M.
New York Assembly
Abbate, Jr., Peter J.
Abinanti, Thomas J.
Aubry, Jeffrion L.
Barclay, William A.
Barnwell, Brian
Barrett, Didi
Benedetto, Michael R.
Blake, Michael A.
Blankenbush, Kenneth
Brabenec, Karl
Braunstein, Edward C.
Brindisi, Anthony J.
Bronson, Harry B.
Buchwald, David
Butler, Mark W.
Byrne, Kevin
Carroll, Robert
Castorina, Ronald
Crespo, Marcos A.
Crouch, Clifford W.
Curran, Brian F.
Cusick, Michael J.
DenDekker, Michael G.
DiPietro, David J.
D'Urso, Anthony
Errigo, Joe
Fahy, Patricia A.
Farrell, Jr., Herman D.
Finch, Gary D.
Fitzpatrick, Michael J.
Friend, Christopher S.
Galef, Sandra R.
Garbarino, Andrew R.
Giglio, Joseph M.
Gjonaj, Mark
Goodell, Andrew
Gottfried, Richard N.
Graf, Alfred C.
Gunther, Aileen M.
Harris, Pamela
Hawley, Stephen M.
Hevesi, Andrew D.
Hooper, Earlene
Hunter, Pamela
Hyndman, Alicia
Jenne, Addie A.E.
Johns, Mark C.
Jones, D. Billy
Joyner, Latoya
Kavanagh, Brian P.
Kearns, Michael P.
Kim, Ronald T.
Kolb, Brian M.
Lalor, Kieran Michael
Lavine, Charles D.
Lawrence, Peter A.
Lentol, Joseph R.
Lifton, Barbara S.
Lopez, Peter D.
Lupardo, Donna A.
Lupinacci, Chad A.
Magee, Bill
Magnarelli, William B.
Malliotakis, Nicole
Mayer, Shelley B.
McDonald, III, John T.
McDonough, David G.
McKevitt, Thomas
McLaughlin, Steven F.
Miller, Brian
Miller, Melissa
Miller, Michael G.
Montesano, Michael A.
Morelle, Joseph D.
Morinello, Angelo
Murray, Dean
Niou, Yuh-Line
Norris, Michael
Oaks, Robert C.
Otis, Steven
Palmesano, Philip A.
Palumbo, Anthony H.
Paulin, Amy R.
Pellegrino, Christine
Peoples-Stokes, Crystal D.
Perry, N. Nick
Pichardo, Victor
Pretlow, Gary J.
Ra, Edward P,
Raia, Andrew P.
Ramos, Philip R.
Rivera, Jose
Rozic, Nily D.
Ryan, Sean M.
Santabarbara, Angelo L.
Schimminger, Robin
Seawright, Rebecca A.
Simanowitz, Michael A.
Simotas, Aravella
Skartados, Frank K.
Skoufis, James G.
Solages, Michaelle C.
Stec, Daniel G.
Stirpe, Jr., Albert A.
Thiele, Jr., Fred W.
Titone, Matthew J.
Titus, Michele R.
Vanel, Clyde
Walker, Latrice Monique
Wallace, Monica
Walsh, Mary Beth
Walter, Raymond W.
Weprin, David I.
Williams, Jaime
Woerner, Carrie
Wright, Tremaine
Zebrowski, Kenneth P.

Governor Signs Ritchie Bill to Maintain Farm Tax Credits

Check out this story about farm credits for farmers.

Go to

Saturday, December 16, 2017

New York Farm Bureau Presents Awards at Annual Meeting

New York Farm Bureau presented a number of awards at its recent annual meeting in Albany.

New York Farm Bureau handed out the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award to two worthy individuals whose leadership has made a positive impact on New York Farm Bureau and agriculture in this state. 

The awardees were Jim Trezise, retired president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation and member of Yates County Farm Bureau, and Joe Giroux of Plattsburgh, a dairy farmer, member of Clinton County Farm Bureau and former New York Farm Bureau State Director.

New York Farm Bureau announced that two members received the James Quinn Award that recognizes extraordinary efforts by individual Farm Bureau members during the course of a given year “to serve and strengthen agriculture.” 

The honorees are Jay Douglas from Franklin County Farm Bureau for his leadership and tireless work signing up 50 new members and Christina Hudson of Onondaga County Farm Bureau for her creative promotion and education efforts in her county.

The New York State Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets, Richard Ball, joined more than 300 members at the event. Senator Pamela Helming and Assembly Members Bill Magee and Carrie Woerner also attended along with Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Markets Pat Hooker.

In addition, delegates re-elected district representatives to the State Board of Directors. Those elected are Richard Kimball of Chautauqua County in District 1, John Sorbello of Wayne County in District 3, Paul Fouts of Cortland County in District 5, Tony LaPierre of Clinton County in District 7, Darin Hickling of Otsego County in District 9 and Robert Nolan of Long Island in District 11. 

Kristen Brown of Orange County was also re-elected as the Young Farmers and Ranchers Chair on the State Board and Phyllis Couture of Cattaraugus County was re-elected as the Promotion and Education Chairperson on the State Board.

The State Annual Meeting also serves as an important fundraising opportunity for the New York Farm Bureau Foundation for Agricultural Education. This year, through both a silent and a live auction, members raised nearly $10,000 to support the Foundation’s efforts to inform and educate all New Yorkers regarding agriculture and to increase understanding of agriculture between the farm and non-farm public.

This concluded the annual two-day long meeting where public policy resolutions were discussed and voted on to set NYFB’s 2018 public policy agenda.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

From EMPIRE FARM & DAIRY magazine

Magenta tree at Henderberg Tree farm
Christmas trees are green.

Everyone knows that.

But what about magenta? Or blue. Or purple. Or turquoise. Or even red?

Two Christmas tree farms in Central New York — one near Canastota in Madison County and one between Verona and Rome in Oneida County — are selling colored Christmas trees this season. 

Farmers are offering trees in red, turquoise, pink, magenta, white, light blue and purple.

“It’s just something new I’m trying out this year,” said Jay Henderberg, owner/operator of Henderberg’s Tree Farm off Route 365 south of Rome. “The response we’re getting is overwhelming.”

The same is true at Romagnoli Christmas Tree Farm on Oneida Valley Road outside Canastota.

“We did a red, a white and a blue tree for a patriotic theme,” said Dewey Romagnoli. “We also have some purple and pink. I’m just experimenting with it to see how it goes.”

Henderberg opened his farm for people to come and tag colored trees for purchase. They were sold out that day.

The trees are real Christmas trees grown with care and love by the Christmas tree farmers.

Then they are colored with a food-grade colorant purchased from a company based in Wisconsin called Kirk, which makes the product in red, green, blue, white, orange, magenta, pink and light blue.

“I colored about 20 trees,” Romagnoli said. “But I saw an article about this guy in New Jersey who painted 150-200 trees and sold them all out.”

Faye Beckwith, past president of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, said she and her husband Jack, who run Beckwith’s Christmas Tree Farm in Hannibal, Oswego County, said they also bought some colorant and used it to make a purple tree for a Hannibal school function. 

Hannibal’s colors are purple, gold and white.

Both Henderberg and Romagnoli found out about the colorant at a recent meeting of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York. A representative from Kirk Co. was there with the colorant and the two farmers decided to give it a whirl.

This is the second year the colorant has been sold for Christmas trees.

Here’s how it works:

The farmer sprays the colorant onto the trees. It has to be 40 degrees or warmer for the mixture to adhere well.

Once it dries, within a few hours to a day or so, it is permanent. It doesn’t wash off or come off on your hands or clothes.

It is not toxic, so if Spot or Puff or even your toddler decide to take a bite out of the tree, it will not hurt them.

It is not paint, so it contains no metals or mercury. It is environmentally safe.

Any species of tree can be colored.

The farmer has to put up a good amount of money to do the colored trees, buying not only the colorant, but also the equipment for spraying it onto the trees.

And because of the monetary investment, farmers are charging about $30 more for the colored trees, Henderberg said. He has colored 20 of his trees — Fraser firs, Canaan firs and white spruce.
“It’s new, so you don’t know how it’s going to be received,” Henderberg said.

Obviously it was well received this year, since Henderberg has sold out of his colored trees.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

New Jersey Company May Be Selling Raw Milk in NY

From Ag and Markets and the Department of Health:

Consumers are being warned against purchasing raw milk from the Udder Milk Co. in New Jersey.

A New Jersey resident recently was diagnosed with a disease called brucellosis after her reported purchase of raw milk from a home delivery company named Udder Milk.

Drop off locations for the purchase of raw milk and other products from Udder Milk have been identified in New York City and Long Island. Although there are no confirmed illnesses in New York state, health officials remind consumers about the health risks associated with the consumption of any raw milk products.
"We are concerned by the illness reported in New Jersey and are following this case very closely because we believe Udder Milk has delivered raw milk illegally in New York," said Ag and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball. "As we continue to collaborate with our federal and state partners in this investigation, we want to alert New Yorkers to the potential dangers of purchasing raw milk from this company."

New Jersey officials confirmed a person tested positive in late October for a rare bacterial infection called Brucella RB51. The person has since recovered. This is the second case of Brucella RB51 associated with raw milk consumption confirmed in the United States this year. 

The Texas Department of State Health Services, with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is investigating a separate case connected to a dairy company in Paradise, Texas that also sells raw milk products.

The most recent case in New Jersey is being investigated by the U.S.Department of Agriculture, the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health, with the cooperation of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, with assistance from Ag and Markets, the state Health Department and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 

A health advisory will be distributed to New York City area healthcare providers and laboratories to raise awareness of the confirmed case.

Pasteurization is a process that heats raw milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time in order to kill any bacteria that may be present including those that can cause diseases such as listeriosis, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis and brucellosis.

While primarily passed among infected animals, eating or drinking Brucella contaminated raw milk products can cause human infection. Brucellosis can cause a range of symptoms including fever, sweats, chills, weight loss, headache, fatigue and muscle and joint pain. Symptoms may appear up to six months after exposure. 

In severe cases, infections of the bones, joints, reproductive organs, central nervous system or lining of the heart may occur. The infection also can cause fetal loss in pregnant women.

People who experience symptoms and may have consumed raw milk should see a doctor right away. Healthcare providers should contact their local health department if they have any questions.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thank a Farmer Today -- And Every Day

Today is National Thank a Farmer Day.

I actually believe EVERY day should be Thank a Farmer Day. But hey, do it today too.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Local Producers Can Taste Test Products at Fort Drum Commissary

Here is some important information from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County:

Are you a producer trying to market a value added product? 

As part of the Food Hub Initiative Cornell Cooperative Extension and Food Venture Advisors (FVA) invite you to participate in a taste-testing of your product to a potentially significant market – Military Commissaries in the North East.

Northern New York producers making/marketing eligible products will lead the way by showcasing their value added foods at a taste testing in the Fort Drum Commissary from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 17.

Food Venture Advisors is searching for high quality, value added products that can meet required year round quantity and food safety standards and which contain mostly locally produced ingredients.  Producers will be asked to supply samples of their products to FVA.   

Samples should be delivered to CCE – Jefferson no later than Nov. 1. Examples of value added products include locally produced cheeses, pickled vegetables, jams, jellies, meat jerky, mustards etc. 

Producers with products that meet the criteria will be notified and should deliver their samples and for-sale products to the FVA warehouse at 200 Howk St., Watertown on Nov. 14. 

Products will be evaluated to ensure the product meets required quality, ingredients, packaging, production history, estimated capacity, etc.  

On the day of the event, FVA will transport all products to the Commissary in refrigerated vehicles.   Any unused products can be returned to CCE Jefferson office for producers to pick up after the event.   

Producers are invited to attend and participate at the event and will be carpooled onto the Fort from CCE – Jefferson Office starting at 9 a.m. Producers will be allowed to sell their product during the tasting. However, samples are not reimbursable. 

Please bring your own sample spoons, cups, napkins, plates, signage, etc. The Commissary will provide: tables, trash, staff and marketing.

Products which attract significant interest at the event will be selected by the Commissary staff.  Selected products will be stocked on a limited basis and distributed by FVA to the Fort Drum Commissary.   

Note: as with any retail opportunity distribution fees and retail markups apply. However, Commissaries generally mark up products only 5 percent. 

For more information contact Remy Cline at (315) 789-0042.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Apply Now for Help With Water Quality Programs

From state Assemblyman William Magee

Assemblyman Bill Magee (D-Nelson) announced that livestock farms can now apply for state grants to help fund water quality projects that help comply with new environmental regulations. 
A total of $50 million is available through the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, which was included in this year’s state budget. As chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, Magee advocates for New York’s farmers and is dedicated to conserving our region’s soils and water resources.
“The agriculture industry is important to our region’s economy,” Magee said. “This funding ensures that farmers across New York can comply with new regulations designed to ensure our water remains clean. These water quality projects will keep our water safe for future generations.”
There are more than 500 farms in New York state with more than 200 livestock, most of which are dairy farms with more than 300 cows. This money will help livestock farms better store nutrients, such as manure, until there is ideal weather for application. 
Previously, farmers with insufficient storage would have to apply manure during rain or snowmelt, which meant that nutrients could run off and contaminate water supplies rather than be absorbed into fields and help crops grow.
This money is especially important this year. Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) have been confirmed at Craine Lake in Earlville and suspected in the DeRuyter Reservoir.
HABs are caused by several nutrient sources and environmental factors and have the potential to cause illness in people and pets, as well as impact fisheries and recreational opportunities on local waterbodies.
“I encourage livestock farmers to apply for this helpful funding,” Magee said. “This is one of many programs out there that could be an important boost to them. I’ll keep fighting to cut red tape, invest in innovative agriculture programs and spur economic growth.”
The first of three application periods is open now and will close Nov. 20. Awards for the first $20 million will be made by mid-December. 
An additional $15 million will be made available in both 2018 and 2019. County soil and water conservation districts can apply for the CAFO Waste Storage and Transfer System Program on behalf of eligible farmers. The maximum award amount per proposal is $385,000, which includes funding for engineering and construction expenses. 
The application link can be found right here

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

First-Ever TAste NY Craft Beverage Week Set for Nov. 5-11

The first-ever Taste NY Craft Beverage Week will be held Nov. 5-11 in New York City. 

First announced in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2017 State of the State address, the annual event will boost the exposure of the state's world-class wine, beer, spirits, and ciders, helping to increase sales and drive economic growth. 

In anticipation of the inaugural event, a grand tasting was held Sept. 12 at the iconic Pier A Harbor House to connect producers from across the state to New York City restaurant, bar, and retail owners and purchasing agents, encouraging them to participate. 

Cuomo also launched a new webpage at this link where interested businesses can sign up to join Craft Beverage Week.
"The craft beverage industry in New York has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years and as a result, has become a critical driver of regional economies in every corner of this state," Cuomo said.

"Craft Beverage Week gives local producers a chance to partner with restaurants across New York to showcase their top-notch products, and I encourage craft beverage enthusiasts from near and far to come out and experience the very best our wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries have to offer," he said.
During Craft Beverage Week, participating restaurants, bars, taverns and retail stores are encouraged to offer special events and promotions to highlight New York wine, beer, spirits and ciders and increase sales of these top-notch products. 

Events and promotions may include meet the brewer dinners, sommelier-led tastings, dinner pairings, tap takeovers, happy hour specials, New York craft cocktail specials, and informational seminars.
Businesses interested in participating had an opportunity to sample products from nearly 50 New York breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries at a tasting and networking event this afternoon. The event allowed producers to meet face-to-face with bar, restaurant and retail owners and showcase their products. 

The goal was to promote participation in Craft Beverage Week, and provide these businesses an opportunity to build relationships that will last beyond the week-long promotion.

New York's Apple Crop Average in Size, Excellent in Quality

New York really is the Big Apple and the state’s apple growers are now demonstrating why, as pickers statewide begin harvesting a forecasted 28 million cartons – or 1.1 billion pounds – of apples over the coming weeks. 

The 2017 crop forecast was developed at U.S. Apple Association’s Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference Aug. 24-25, and updates U.S. Department of Agriculture’s July forecast, states officials with the New York Apple Association.

The association is planning a full court press to get the word out about this year’s crop to wholesale, institutional and consumer customers alike, said apple association President Cynthia Haskins.

The association reports that while New York’s 2017 apple crop will be of average size for the state, the crop size is about the only thing that will be average this year. 

The state has generally had favorable weather for bloom and during the growing season, so apple fans – wholesale and consumer alike – will find ample supplies of all their favorite New York state apples and cider this fall. Fruit size and finish are expected to be good.

“New York state grows more apples than any other state east of the Mississippi River, our state is made for growing apples,” said Haskins. “There is no reason for New Yorkers and other East Coast buyers to look any further than their own back yard for great tasting apples and apple cider.”

The apple association is also reaching out to New York consumers to encourage New Yorkers to buy local apples and cider. 

The association is highlighting the broad range of apple tourism opportunities that are available across the state, where apples are grown from the lower Hudson Valley to the upper Adirondacks, and to the west.

“Our consumer marketing is designed to complement our retail activities, by driving demand and traffic to mass-market retailers as well as to our industry’s own direct marketers,” noted Haskins.

There are many ways for New Yorkers to sample the New York state apple industry’s wares and support local apple growers at the same time, from family-friendly apple picking day trips to whole weeks dedicated to adults-only hard cider tasting.

The association’s website, is designed to help consumers find a farm market, “u pick”, cider maker or apple festival nearby, with a handy locator map located front and center on the website’s home page. 

To learn more about New York’s cider industry, consumers should visit this link.

To learn more about the New York Apple Association as well as the New York state apple industry and its wares, go to this link. 

Cream Cheese Festival Sept. 16 in Lowville

It's that time of year again to celebrate everything Cream Cheese!!

The annual Cream Cheese Festival is set for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 16 in downtown Lowville, Lewis County.

Here are some of the events scheduled during this salute to cream cheese:

Games, including cream cheese Twister from 1 to 2 p.m., a cream cheese eating contest from 2 to 3 p.m., cream cheese Plinko from 4 to 5 p.m.and a cream cheese toss from 5 to 6 p.m.. There also is a mini tractor pull from 3 to 4 p.m. and all day, a cream cheese mural painting contest will be held.

The big cheesecake at a previous Cream Cheese Festival in Lowville
There also is a recipe contest and a children's discovery park filled with activities such as a zipline, rock climbing, a huge slide and a bounce house.

Bands that will be performing during the day include the Nelson Brothers Band, Doc Yukon, Mark Mason, No Vacancy, Under Cover, Shawn Corbett, Kickstand, Adapter and Gabriel Shepherd.

And remember -- the festival is home of the World's Largest Cheesecake!!

For more information, go to this link or go to the festival's Facebook page at