Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How to Manage Millennials on the Farm

From FarmNet:

By Sheila Marshman and Erica Leubner

Millennials, those born after 1982, will soon make up 50 percent of the workforce. 

This generation, often misunderstood and identified as being lazy, was raised on grading rubrics. Every performance expectation and academic milestone was carefully spelled out, clearly outlining the
necessary steps to achieve an ‘A’ or just get by with a ‘D.’

When millennials fell short, a parent, teacher, or mentor coached them to success. Farm owners and managers in need of more than ‘D’ performers must also integrate the use of grading rubrics and coaching strategies to ensure the success, growth, and development of their employees. 

According Robert Milligan, professor emeritus from Cornell University and consultant at Dairy Strategies LLC, every successful employee needs clear responsibilities, performance expectations, and an improvement plan. 

Just as the kindergarten grading rubric spelled out the standards for exceeding counting standards, managers must carefully spell out and measure the standards for success on their farms.

Managers and owners have the responsibility of facilitating employee success through continuous monthly performance measures. A simple excel spreadsheet could serve as a performance grading rubric for employees. 

As displayed in Table 1, the left hand column represents jointly agreed upon performance measures. Next room exists for the expected and actual performance. A 12- month rubric provides opportunity for monthly discussion and corrective actions of performance.

Monthly discussions of performance measures provides both managers and employees with opportunities to communicate and assess business performance. 

As stated by Erica Leubner, a personal consultant with New York FarmNet, “Lack of effective communication is the number one reason (I have observed) why farm businesses experience conflict and dysfunction.”

Clearly stated performance measures are the first step in effective communications with family and non-
family members.

The performance evaluation and communication process breeds accountability and success for the entire organization. Similar to the kindergarten grading rubric, employees (family and or non-family) need clear responsibilities, performance expectations, and an improvement plan.

The role of the farm manager/owner is to coach the employees, including the often misunderstood Millennials, to success.

2 Permits Renewed for CAFO Water Pollution Programs

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine

From Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office

Two general permits have been renewed for technical programs designed to reduce the potential for water pollution on large livestock farms.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced Jan. 25 the renewal of the permits that were developed with input from the agricultural and environmental communities. 

The permits provide new requirements for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) to ensure proper management of nutrients while increasing water quality protection.

“DEC has been working with stakeholders for more than two decades to balance environmental, agricultural and civic interests in order to protect the environment while developing workable protections for New York’s farmers,” said Seggos. “The permits are an important measure to safeguard public health and the environment.”

These new permits provide farmers with a better understanding of permit terms and conditions to ensure compliance with state and federal laws. 

In addition, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recently announced proposal for the $2 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 will invest resources for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and other water quality protection across the state, including funds for ensuring proper management and storage of nutrients such as manure on farms.

“The governor’s historic clean water initiative will be an important contribution of resources to our permitted livestock farms as they strive to maintain nutrient recycling year round,” said Richard Ball, commissioner of the state Dpartment of Agriculture and Markets. “This proposed new source of funding also builds on the governor’s plan for a robust $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, which is critical to the growth and development of the state’s agricultural industry and to ensuring the quality and sustainability of our natural resources for years to come.”

DEC developed the initial renewal drafts after nearly two years of outreach and communication with stakeholders. The draft permits were made available for public comment Dec. 23, 2015 through Feb. 7, 2016. Throughout this process, DEC held numerous meetings with stakeholders to hear their concerns. DEC also received hundreds of written comments.

Since 1995, DEC has worked with the CAFO Workgroup, an active technical working group including the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, the state Soil and Water Conservation Committee, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Cornell University experts, farmers, civic groups and environmental groups to develop and implement a robust CAFO program.

“New York Farm Bureau was a major collaborator in a workgroup with our agricultural and environmental partners from the very beginning of the new CAFO permit process. We appreciate the time and effort that DEC staff took in preparing the permits,” said New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher.

“They worked to balance the need of protecting our important natural resources with having permits that are workable for the state’s livestock farmers,” Fisher said. “New York Farm Bureau is committed to educating our members about what is in the permits and helping them address any challenges they may have in meeting the new regulations.”

“This new CAFO permit strikes the right balance in providing New York’s farmers with clear direction on how to farm cleaner and greener, while ensuring they remain competitive in the global market,” said William Cooke, government relations director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. 

“We look forward to continuing to work with the state and the farming community to ensure they have the resources necessary for swift and full implementation of this permit,” he said.

New York state has more than 500 CAFO farms, the majority of which are dairy farms with 300 or more cows and associated livestock operations. A CAFO is a farm that meets certain animal size thresholds and confines animals for 45 days or more in any 12-month period in an area that does not produce vegetation.

The first CAFO permit was issued in 1999. CAFO permits must be renewed every five years to meet state and federal requirements, as well as to respond to concerns from stakeholders.

To learn more about CAFOs and the renewed permits visit DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6285.html

Monday, February 27, 2017

7 New Yorkers Participate in Holstein Foundation's Young Dairy Leaders Institute

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine

From staff reports

The Holstein Foundation’s Young Dairy Leaders Institute kicks off Phase I of its 10th class Feb. 8-11 in Phoenix, Ariz.

Sixty young adults from 17 U.S. states, as well as Canada and Mexico, will be a part of the Young Dairy Leaders Institute Class 10, a cornerstone program of the Holstein Foundation.

Participating from New York state are:

Carolyn Abbott, Selkirk, Albany County

Patricia Gilbert, Potsdam, St. Lawrence County

Rayne Ives, Remsen, Oneida County

Corey Kayhart, Bergen, Genesee County

Jess May, Odessa, Schuyler County

Nicholas Randle, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Holley Weeks, Farmington, Ontario County

Before Phase I workshops begin, the class will have an opportunity to tour two Phoenix area farms -- Danzeisen and Rijaarsdam dairies.

The three-phase program takes place over 12 months. Phase I includes hands-on workshops to improve attendees’ leadership, communication, and advocacy skills, while offering opportunities for networking and building enthusiasm for the dairy industry.

Phase II, takes place in the year between Phase I and III, during which class members develop and use their new skills in a community outreach project of their choice.

Phase III, held Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 2018, will focus on group leadership skills and topics such as advanced communication training, conflict resolution skills, and influencing public policy. Class members will also give presentations on their Phase II projects.

The Young Dairy Leaders Institute Class 10 sponsors are:

Platinum Sponsors: Allflex USA, CHS Foundation, Dean Foods Foundation, Holstein Association USA, Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation, and Zoetis.

Gold Sponsors: Cargill, DairyBusiness Communications, Farm Credit System Foundation, Hoard’s Dairyman, Deere & Company and Land O’Lakes.

Silver Sponsors: Center for Dairy Excellence, Dairy Farmers of America, Dairy Management Inc. and Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association.

Bronze Sponsors: Robert L. Cain Fund, COBA/Select Sires, Farm Credit Northeast Ag Enhancement, GEA Farm Technologies, Inc., Horace Backus Fund, Merial Ltd. and Paul Mueller Co.

The first class was held in 1994, and the program now boasts more than 500 alumni.

For more information about Young Dairy Leaders Institute and other Holstein Foundation programs, visit www.holsteinfoundation.org, or contact Jodi Hoynoski, at (800) 952-5200, ext. 4261 or by email, at jhoynoski@holstein.com.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Opportunities Abound in Maple Industry

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine


GOUVERNEUR — There are plenty of opportunities for success in the maple industry.

That was the message stressed by Ryan Caldwell, director of sales for Parker’s Real Maple of Canton, St. Lawrence County, during Maple Expo on Jan. 28 at Gouverneur High School.

“Everybody can be successful in this business,” Caldwell said. “People want it (maple syrup) and it will not not sell.”

The event, in its fifth year, was hosted by the Gouverneur FFA and attracted more than 120 maple farmers ranging from hobbyists to large-scale producers.

Workshops were offered by Cornell University maple and forestry experts, maple producers, Farm Credit East and Family Farm Insurance agents.

Helen Thomas, executive director of the New York Maple Producers Association, was the keynote speaker. She explained what the organization is doing to promote the maple industry and assist maple producers in growing their businesses.

Michael Farrell, director of Cornell University’s Uihlein Forest, a maple syrup research and extension field station in Lake Placid, discussed marketing ideas in one of his workshops.

“The more we put into marketing the more we will sell,” Farrell said. “There is a huge opportunity to get people to consume it.”

In the United States the annual consumption of maple syrup is only 2 to 4 ounces per capita.

Doug Thompson of Gouverneur produces maple syrup from 9,000 tree taps. He also buys sap from neighbors. He sells most of his syrup in bulk and sells maple candy and cream.

Thompson chose not to boil sap in mid-January during a warm spell because of the size of his operation. He intended to spend most of February drilling taps.

Mike and Sharon McConlogue of Macomb tapped some trees on Jan. 15 during a warm stretch and produced about a gallon and a half of syrup from 40 taps.

The McConlogues, originally from Forked River, N.J., are just learning about maple syrup production. Mike says this is just a hobby for them, and he doesn’t intend to tap all of their 350-400 trees at once.

Mike said people from their area of New Jersey are aware of real maple syrup but are not familiar with other maple products.

Joshua Parker, CEO of Parker’s Real Maple, was scheduled to speak about finding success in the maple industry at a young age. He was unable to attend due to a delayed flight in New York City, and Caldwell filled in on his behalf.

Parker was producing maple syrup at age 11 with 100 buckets, 3,000 taps in 2015 or at age 15? started selling maple syrup at age 15. 

Last fall he appeared on the TV show “Shark Tank” to try to get investors interested in his maple butter and cotton candy products. He did not secure an investment but the national exposure did help his business sales.

Parker, now 19, has 15-20 people involved in the production of the company’s products.

Caldwell, 20, said the company’s success is due to their persistent marketing efforts.

They attend food shows across the country to help attract buyers to their products.

More than 120 people attended the program, said Gouverneur FFA President Kennedy Hayden McGill.

Maple Expo was supported by Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County and St. Lawrence County Maple Producers Association.

“There’s a lot to be said to make sure you put out the highest-quality product,” Farrell said. “If it’s not the highest quality it shouldn’t go in a bottle.”

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Low Milk Prices Subject of Lowville Meeting

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine


LOWVILLE — Dairy farmers gave elected officials and their representatives an earful on how low milk prices are threatening their livelihoods at a session Jan. 13 at the Lowville fire hall.

“It’s all about the legacy,” Leyden farmer Carrie Higby told a crowd of more than 100 people, most of them farmers or involved in the agriculture industry, along with representatives from county, state and federal governments. “What legacy are we going to leave for the next generation?”

Robert Domagala said he has been farming his whole life, loves it and doesn’t even mind the early mornings and long hours.

“I’d just love to get paid for what I do,” he said.

“We lost our wages, but nobody else lost theirs,” local farmer Joseph Sullivan said. “Farming is not a business. Farming is a heritage.”

While raw milk prices to farmers have dropped, retail prices of milk and dairy products have not seen the same reduction, West Martinsburg dairy farmer Ernest Beyer said.

Other issues brought up included the inability to cover production costs, an apparent push for larger farms to the detriment of the smaller ones, a federal push for skim milk in schools and control of the market by large entities such as Dairy Farmers of America and Dairy Marketing Services.

Local veterinarian Dr. Peter Ostrum said he understands farmers’ frustrations but urged dairy farmers in the crowd to pick their battles, consider customer demand and the amount people will pay for organic products and adopt best-management practices.

“We have to adapt to a changing economic climate,” he said.

Several of the governmental panelists said they are well aware of the milk pricing situation, being farmers themselves.

“I know where every one of you are coming from, because I’m one of you,” county Legislature Chairman Michael Tabolt, R-Croghan, said.

Tabolt said he was fortunate enough to have a son who wanted to continue his family’s farming tradition but added that his son couldn’t attend the meeting because he recently went from two to three milkings per day in hopes of staying financially solvent. 

He admitted that increasing milk production is probably counterproductive, since a surplus is partly causing the low raw milk prices.

“But it’s one of the last ideas we came up with to make it,” said Tabolt, one of six county legislators at the meeting.

Elected officials and their representatives encouraged farmers to band together to come up with constructive ways to help the situation.

“As a group, we can get things done,” said David Fisher, president of the New York Farm Bureau and a farmer from Madrid in St. Lawrence County.

Jennifer Karelus, Lewis County Farm Bureau president, said input is always welcome on how best to lobby government officials, and her board has three vacant seats.

County Manager Elizabeth Swearingin suggested the formation of a smaller group to get organized and present a clear message to state and federal representatives.

“You have to come to a consensus on what you want,” agreed state Assemblywoman Addie Jenne, D-Theresa.

Jenne said she heard several divergent opinions from speakers at the two-hour session but is looking for direction from farmers themselves, not just organizations like Farm Bureau or Cornell Cooperative Extension, on how best to combat low milk prices.

She mentioned ideas such as New York developing its own milk price support system or pushing for increased milk exports but said she is open to any and all suggestions.

“I just want us to pick a route, and let’s go,” Jenne said. “We’ve waited too long.”

She encouraged those in attendance to put her and her fellow lawmakers to work to help secure the future of north country dairy farming.

Extension webinar

Local farmers also attended two presentations about dairy markets issues and business management Jan. 12 at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County.

Andrew Novakovic, a professor of agriculture economics at Cornell University, Ithaca, presented anticipated market trends, industry problems and how elected officials can help farmers through a webinar hosted by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County, Ballston Spa. Jason Karzses, a farm management specialist for the university’s Pro-Dairy Program, followed with his presentation about operational statistics and business planning.

“It was very informative,” said John Peck, county legislator and owner of Peck Homestead Farm in Carthage. “It’s nice to get a professional opinion on how (the market) looks and where we’re going and where we’ve been.”

Several farmers and Novakovic claimed that elected officials need to introduce policies that help farmers manage their expenses and increase their consumer base.

Novakovic said farmers should encourage their elected officials to advocate for programs that help protect their liquidity and ensure they can pay their bills. He also said he hopes the new administration under President Donald Trump will preserve existing trade agreements and allow farmers to sell fat-based milk products to public schools.

Peck said preserving established foreign trade agreements prevents surplus and provides farmers with income they need to maintain their operations, adding that he hopes the new administration will establish stronger trade relations than the previous administration. He also said policies that protect liquidity would benefit farmers more than polices that recover profits.

“Liquidity is absolutely the problem with the dairy industry,” he said.

Greg Millick, owner of Golf Crest Dairy in Denmark, and Bernie and Marcia Gohlert, owners of Hilltop Farms in Lowville, said children need the essential nutrients in fat-based milk.

“We make a very wholesome product,” Millick said.

Novakovic’s claims about milk dumping received mixed responses from local dairy farmers, with many expressing their own concerns about the issue.

Dairy cooperatives have too much distressed milk when processing plants are closed on weekends and holidays, Novakovic said, causing cooperatives to dump the milk when they cannot afford to export it to out-of-state facilities. Novakovic said elected officials should create reforms that balance the milk market and lower the cost of shipping milk products.

Peck said the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies should report more distressed milk data to determine the cause of dumping and the amount of milk cooperatives have dumped. Millick said that in addition to dealing with processing plants’ schedules, the lack of operating plants in the state has also increased milk dumping.

“There are a number of plants in the state sitting idly,” Millick said.

While farmers claimed they already knew many of Karzses’s suggestions, his presentation provided useful statistics and reinforced successful business management techniques.

According to his presentation, Karzses encouraged farmers to assess all areas of performance, know their finances and market trends, understand their financial risks and use financial risk tools and develop a “formal” business model. He also provided charts about net farm income, cost allocation and profitability among more than 150 surveyed dairy farms in 2014 and 2015.

Peck said the information was interesting because it showed the differences in cost and cost allocation between small and large farms. Millick and the Gohlerts said Karzses’s presentation served as a helpful reminder for managing their businesses.

“I think most farmers are running as efficiently as they possibly can,” Millick said, but “it’s always good to analyze the numbers and have the information.”

In addition to the suggestions from Novakovic and Karzses, Millick said elected officials should create policies that establish fair milk prices instead of polices that provide “handouts.” The Gohlerts said supporting institutions like Cornell Cooperative Extension and its educational programs and showing farmers’ challenges to the public are more valuable than government programs.

“It’s very difficult to be a farmer,” Marcia Gohlert said.

Marcus Wolf contributed to this report..

Friday, February 24, 2017

Book on Showing Cattle Now Available

"Showring Ready - A Beginner's Guide to Showing Dairy Cattle" has been updated. 

The Holstein Foundation Education Workbooks are a series of booklets designed to provide basic knowledge in a wide range of topics relating to the dairy industry. 

All of the workbooks can be downloaded free of charge from the website in a PDF format. 

To download the newest "Showring Ready" workbook as well as any of the other workbooks, go to  http://www.holsteinfoundation.org/education/workbooks.html.

USDA To Survey Farmers' Planting Intentions

What is on the horizon for U.S. farmers in 2017 as they finalize plans for planting this spring? 

The March Agricultural Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will survey about 84,000 of the nation’s farmers to determine their plans for the upcoming growing season.

“Each year, the agriculture industry eagerly awaits USDA’s Prospective Plantings report, which provides the first survey-based estimates of U.S. farmers’ planting intentions for the year,” said NASS’ Northeastern Regional Director King Whetstone. 

“The March Agricultural Survey provides the factual data that underpins these projections, making it one of the most important surveys we conduct each year,” he said.

NASS will mail the survey questionnaire in February, asking producers to provide information about the types of crops they intend to plant in 2017, how many acres they intend to plant, and the amounts of grain and oilseed they store on their farms. 

The statistics service encourages producers to respond online or by mail. Those producers who do not respond by the deadline may be contacted for a telephone or personal interview.

The statistics service will compile and analyze the survey information and publish the results in the annual Prospective Plantings report and quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released on March 31.

As with all statistics service surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential, as required by federal law. The statistics survey safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. 

These and all reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/. 

For more information call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at (800) 498-1518.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

What Does It Mean to Be An 'Aggie?'

John Bowne High FFA President


As an “aggie,” one of the first things we learn is the FFA motto, “Learning to do, doing to learn. Earning to live, living to serve.”

Joining the agriculture program has left an imprint on me by teaching me life skills that have helped me develop. Being part of the “ag” family has helped me find my passion and a sense of belonging.

I have developed qualities of a leader, a hardworking student and a responsible individual thanks to all the opportunities agriculture has presented to me.

Throughout life, there are various milestones we come across that show our development as a character. For me, joining the agriculture program at John Bowne High School was what influenced me the most.

Being in the agriculture program has brought so many opportunities to me. For example, it has introduced me to the National FFA Organization. FFA has become a key aspect in my life. I have learned how to be organized, responsible and I have also improved my communication skills.

It took hard work and dedication to make it to the New York State FFA Convention to compete in aquaculture. Our first year, we placed second in the state with our team and I placed fourth in the state individually. We were proud of our work and looked forward to next year’s competition.

This encouraged me to become even more involved in agriculture and motivated me to run for chapter officer. Fast forward, I became the 2015-2016 historian. With officer responsibilities, I have become more organized than before. I had to juggle AP classes, officer duties, regular school work, SATs, my internship and of course, my regular teenager life.

It was a challenge but, I became a well-rounded person from it. This year, as chapter president, the officer team and I have to focus on running the FFA chapter at our school.

The agriculture program has also given me the opportunity to conduct my own research project for my senior year. We will be conducting all research ourselves with supervision from our agriculture teacher. This will give us a taste of college and how to prepare for college classes.

Agriculture, specifically FFA, has impacted me and shaped me into the person I am today.

Thanks to the agriculture program, I am able to participate in a paid internship at Alley Pond Environmental Center. I’m an animal caretaker and educator there. I educate the public about our animals as well as maintain our animal facilities.

Throughout my high school years, agriculture has been my highlight. Being an officer has taught me how to be a leader. Being on the aquaculture team has taught me teamwork and dedication. Being an intern at Alley Pond Environmental Center has taught me patience and communication.

Without all these opportunities, I do not know who I would be today. The experiences and memories at Bowne will stay with me forever.

After my last year here ends, I will definitely miss being an “aggie.” I look forward to making the most of my senior year here and getting ready for the transition to the next step in my life. 

Erykah Gonzalez is a senior at John Bowne High School in Flushing, Queens and president of the school’s FFA chapter. She plans to attend New Haven University on a scholarship to study forensic science. 

How to Start an Agriculture Education Program

Agricultural Science Teacher, Waterville Central Schools


Our Waterville Central School District is in the process of implementing a new Agricultural Education Program with classes to begin this fall. 

The process leading up to this point began several years ago, with Board of Education, administrative, staff, community, Oneida County Cooperative Extension and Farm Bureau collaboration. 

Our school district has been actively participating in New York’s “Farm to School Program” since the 2014-15 school year and was selected to participate in the 2015-16 Northeast Farm to School Initiative. 

This program included: activities designed to teach students to make healthier food choices; the introduction of local food products into the school menu; the revitalization of our elementary school “Victory Garden” and implementation of farm and food curriculum by educators in the elementary school.   

Our school board and administration had put together several committees which helped to foster success, including a Farm to School Steering Committee, a Farm to School Team as well as an Agricultural Advisory Committee. Our school business manager has also been a key participant in the process, especially helpful with obtaining grants.

The first step in beginning a new agricultural program is to assess your school and community needs. Next, you should gather facts and information that will help you to garner community support. 

You should have a clear understanding of what agricultural education is, including the three-component model (classroom and laboratory instruction, supervised agricultural experiences and FFA). You should also familiarize yourself with the state and national Quality Program Standards.  

You can find a wealth of information at www.nysffa.org and www.ffa.org .

It is also helpful to investigate the career opportunities that exist for agricultural students as well as the career and college preparation that results from an effective Career and Technical Educational Program.

This information should be disseminated to your school administration and staff as well as to your community. You will gain support when they understand the opportunities an effective agricultural education will provide to the students.  

A small minority actually participates in production agriculture.  However, the entire agricultural industry encompasses endless career opportunities and these often require a technical education. 

It has been projected that about 58,000 new jobs in agriculture will become available annually over the next five years. 

It is also vital that your community understands the benefits students gain from inquiry and hands-on learning. 

Finally, explain FFA through its mission statement: “FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.”

New York State Agricultural Outreach and Education staff will provide assistance and guidance for both new and existing programs. They are available to advise you on developing a program, career pathways, courses and curriculum. They will guide you through the process required to have your program approved as well as getting your FFA chapter chartered. 

Other agricultural teachers are happy to share information and to collaborate with new programs. Visits to successful programs are certainly warranted and extremely beneficial to learn about the programs and to build partnerships. 

Form an Agricultural Advisory Committee consisting of key community and local industry supporters, interested parents and students and involve the appropriate administrative staff.

This committee should help to: continue to identify needs, establish goals, encourage collaboration, explore partnerships, provide assistance and develop a task list and timeline for implementation. Utilize your committee to network and build support for your proposed program. 

Finally, if you are going to need to bring a proposal to the Board of Education, be prepared, organized and have the information to back up your statements. Enlist community leaders for support.

Development and implementation of a new Agricultural Education Program takes time. Waterville’s development process has probably been slightly different in that it already had school board and administrative interest and support. 

Our participation in the Farm to School Initiative provided a firm foundation that helped to bring school staff, parents and community members to a better understanding of the agricultural industry. 

Most importantly, when beginning a new program, utilize support and assistance from local agricultural organizations and leaders, NYS Agricultural Outreach and Education staff, other agricultural teachers and successful programs. 

Collaboration is key!

Happy Birthday, Smith-Hughes Act

Empire Farm & Dairy magazine

About 100 years ago, a piece of national legislation became law and began U.S youth on a voyage that today has spread into schools, communities, factories and onto farms across the country.

The Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act of 1917 formally established federal aid for a network of vocational agricultural education to train people “who have entered upon or who are preparing to enter upon the work on the farm.”

The bill, signed Feb. 23, 1917 by President Woodrow Wilson, would eventually lead to agriculture programs cropping up in high schools across the country. It also would lead to the creation of Future Farmers of America, now called FFA.

“Our whole program here began because of Smith-Hughes,” said Steve Perry, assistant principal of the agriculture department at John Bowne High School in Flushing, Queens.

Bowne’s agriculture program boasts more than 700 students and the school, located not far from the Long Island Expressway, has the largest FFA chapter in New York state.

Farming in New York City

Working the farm at John Bowne High School in Queens
There probably isn’t a better example of the importance of agriculture education than the agriculture program at Bowne High School.

But just how does an agriculture program and FFA chapter end up in the middle of Queens?

“This program initially started because of the people needed to replace male farmers during World War I,” Perry said.

“During World War I, young men and women were recruited from New York City to work on farms Upstate in order to fill positions of men fighting overseas,” states the school’s website. “Many of these boys upon returning requested to learn more about agriculture.”

“By a happy coincidence, a New York City reform school with a farm was being closed in Queens and so in 1917, the agriculture program began,” the website states.

“Initially the program was known as the Newtown Aggies, an annex to Newtown High School. The farm/land laboratory has shrunk considerably since then, with Queens College and then Bowne being built on the land. Since 1964 we have been the John Bowne Aggies and growing strong,” the website states.

Today, the Bowne agriculture program is the most comprehensive in the state, Perry said. Students study plant and animal sciences in fields such as floriculture, horticulture, landscaping, landscape architecture, retail, greenhouse production and marketing, small animal and large animals

“There is a wide variety of interest from our kids,” Perry said. The program’s students runs a 4-acre farm, run a farmstand in the summer, gather and sell eggs from 200 hens and operate a farm truck selling items grown on their farm.

A llama which is part of the Bowne High ag program
“We’re the round peg in the square hole,” said Perry. “Agriculture education is provided here to give the students the opportunity to pursue their passion. There may not always be a chance for that in an urban setting.”

Perry said these city kids got into studying animals and plants through having parents who lived on farms, seeing other people working with animals and plants or simply coming into contact with these subjects at some time and falling in love with studying them.

“We have to let them pursue that interest,” he said. And even if the students do not go on to study animal science or plant science in college, “it is never wasted. They will always have an appreciation for that field.”

Perry said 90 percent of the Bowne ag students go on to college and 46 percent go on to ag majors at colleges such as Cornell, Penn State, University of Connecticut, Rutgers, SUNY Cobleskill, Farmingdale State College and Delaware Valley.

Ag education importance

Agricultural education is important because this knowledge helps feed our nation and the world, said Keith Schiebel, the ag teacher and FFA adviser at the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School in Oneida County.

This FFA chapter, which runs its own maple syrup business, has won the New York State Agricultural Society’s FFA Chapter of the Year award numerous times and is well known for its traveling maple syrup exhibit.

“Our forefathers had the vision to prepare the younger people so farming could produce the food for our country,” Schiebel said. 

“The population today doesn’t have the connection with where the food comes from and safety of our food.” “Historically, ag has been concentrated on farming,” he said. “But today, it’s much more and agriculture is not necessarily on the farm.”

Schiebel said students studying agriculture today learn about food processing, food inspection, marketing, how to develop new food products and research into how to grow food without pests or disease.

A V-V-S FFA member gives a presentation about maple in NYC in 2012
“In maple, there is more and more of a resurgence in the product and marketing is important,” he said. “We have shown there is more variety in the use of maple, such as a sweetener.”

Both Schiebel and Chuck Chafee, superintendent of the Waterville Central Schools in southern Oneida County, say ag education is becoming more and more important in today’s society.

About 20 to 25 years ago, almost every school district  — especially rural ones — had agriculture classes and a FFA chapter. 
But as the years went on, those chapters dissolved and ag education faded into the sunset.

Chafee and his school board have worked for the past couple of years to bring agriculture back to Waterville classrooms. The first ag program and FFA chapter in the school in more than 20 years will begin in the fall of 2017.

It will be headed by Cindy Gallagher, a well-known dairy farmer in the Waterville area and co-owner with her husband Paul of Luckyvale Farm. They milk about 100 Guernsey cattle and are active in the New York Guernsey Breeders’ Association.

The Waterville program grew out of the district’s Farm to School Program, which expanded the use of locally grown foods in school and boosted knowledge of the importance of eating healthy foods.

“This is a rural community and even though we are diversified here, the core population is ag-related,” Chafee said. “In the last budget, we included money for building a greenhouse and then discussed how to put that to use. 

In March, Cindy Gallagher will begin writing the curriculum for our (ag education) program and then we’ll move ahead to obtain an FFA charter.”

Ag education in 2017

Chafee said he hopes Waterville can obtain some of the money proposed for ag education and FFA chapters included in the governor’s budget for 2017-18.

According to a news release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, agricultural education has long been a priority in New York with programs that pre-date the Smith-Hughes Act and the oldest urban agriculture program in the U.S. 

“The state was also one of the first in the country to allow girls to pursue these curriculums and continues to set an example for the rest of the nation with cutting-edge programs that influence more than 10,000 students annually,” the news release states.

To continue this agricultural learning, Cuomo has proposed a record $1.3 million in his 2017-18 budget to support 100 new FFA chapters through start-up grants, expand the New York Agriculture in the Classroom program, which is administered by Cornell University, and to double the number of certified agricultural educators from 240 to 480.

Cuomo also has proposed a state-of-the-art test kitchen and food science lab at the New York FFA Oswegatchie Educational Center in Lewis County.

“This test kitchen will offer instruction in food safety, basic food preparation and food processing to more than 6,000 annual visitors, including both students and veterans from nearby Fort Drum,” according to the news release.

“Agriculture education is so much more than dairy farming,” Chafee said. “Today, here is New York we have breweries, wineries — and that’s agriculture. There’s marketing, food processing. There are so many jobs that are ag-related. I’ve heard from 20 to 25 percent of jobs are ag-related.”

He said Waterville will have ag classes for all seventh-graders and will offer animal and plant science classes, food and natural resources classes along with an introduction to ag business class.

And to think, all of this began 100 years ago with the passage of the Smith-Hughes Act.

“We want to offer as much as we can,” said Chafee in Waterville. “There’s a resurgence in studying agriculture and a renewed interest from kids. It’s cool to be in ag again.”

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Hughes Act, the New York Association of FFA and New York Association of Agricultural Educators hosted a dinner Feb. 6 at the Albany Hilton Hotel.
Speaking at the dinner were state FFA President Camille Ledoux of Beaver River schools, Lewis County; National FFA Eastern Region Vice President Ashley Willits of Copenhagen, Lewis County; state Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball; and other dignitaries.
There also was a conference day for FFA members Feb. 7 in Albany.

Smith-Hughes Act
Adopted in 1917, the law provided federal aid to the states for the purpose of promoting pre-collegiate vocational education in agricultural and industrial trades and in home economics. The law helped to expand vocational courses and enrollment.
Its adoption lead, years later, to the creation of FFA. The National FFA Organization was chartered in 1928.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The New York State Dairy Princess and Her Court

The New York State Dairy Princess for 2017-18 was crowned Feb. 21 outside Syracuse. She is Sarah Rohe, center, from Onondaga County. At left is first alternate Sydney Parkin, Orange County, and at right is Grace Harrigan of Clinton County.

Cheaper Ride Tickets Available Thursday in 'Halfway to the Fair' Promotion

The Great New York State Fair will celebrate the halfway mark to the 2017 fair by offering, for the first time, the best deal of the year on ride-all-day weekday wristbands to the Wade Shows Midway.  
Beginning at 6 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 23, wristbands will be available for $15 through the fair's official online retailer, etix.com.  
The promotion will save fairgoers as much as $10 off the full price of a wristband. 
The Halfway to the Fair sale marks the date that is six months from the opening of the 2017 fair.  Tickets can be purchased at http://www.etix.com/ticket/p/3526036.
Only 5,000 wristbands will be available for purchase through this special sale. Buyers will be emailed a barcoded voucher allowing them to exchange it for a wristband at the Wade Shows Midway customer service booth. 
A wristband allows one person to enjoy as many rides on the Wade Shows Midway as desired during a single day.  The $15 wristband is good only on weekdays, though fairgoers visiting on Saturday or Sunday can upgrade to the weekend wristband for $5 at the Wade Shows customer service booth.
In 2016, Wade Shows provided the largest number of rides ever seen at the Fair --75 rides -- including the largest traveling roller coaster in America. Fairgoers responded, riding the rides in record numbers on the new, larger Midway area.  
Many exciting new rides are coming to the 2017 fair and will be announced soon.
Ride-all-day wristbands cost $20 for weekday use and $25 for weekend use during the advance sale period and are $25 on weekdays and $30 on weekends during the fair. A weekday wristband can be used on weekends by paying the $5 upcharge at the Wade Shows customer service booth.  
Wristbands will not be good for use on the new SkyRide.
Wristbands purchased during the Halfway to the Fair sale will cost $15.46, which includes credit card and etix service fees. Buyers may purchase a maximum of four wristbands and will receive vouchers for the wristbands by email. Those vouchers must be brought to the Wade Shows customer service booth during the Fair to receive the wristbands.  Purchase of the wristbands does not include admission to the Fair.
The 2017 New York State Fair, operated by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from Aug. 23 to Sept. 4.

Maple Weekends Coming in March

Maple Weekends, New York’s annual celebration of all that is maple, are being held March 18 and 19 and March 25 and 26.

On those weekends, many producers throughout the state open up their operations so the public can see how trees are tapped, how sap is collected and how sap is boiled down to make syrup. Some producers even operate pancakes breakfasts featuring their fresh maple syrup.

Go to http://www.nysmaple.com/maple-weekend-search/plan-your-maple-weekend/ to find a maple weekend site near you.

The production of maple syrup is extremely weather dependent — producers need cold night in the upper 20s and daytime temperatures in the low to mid-40s. 

According to statistics from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, the earliest a maple season began was Jan. 10 in 2011. The latest a season began was April 1 in 1940.

Last year, temperatures were a bit crazy, going up and down for a couple of months.

At the beginning of February, the weather warmed up just enough for many producers to head out to their trees, tap and start harvesting sap. Temperatures need to be about 40 degrees or a little higher during the day to get the sap flowing and then down below freezing (not too cold, in the upper 20s is best) at night.

As producers relished making syrup early in the season, their happiness was short-lived as temperatures plummeted in mid-February — even hitting single digits for highs Feb. 14 and lows way below zero for three straight days (Feb. 13, 14 and 15).

Producers got back to harvesting sap and making syrup in March and the season ended on a great note — a record 707,000 gallons of syrup were made.

The biggest maple county in the state is Lewis County, which also is home to the state’s Maple Museum.

Most recent figures for value of maple syrup production in New York:
2005: $7,037,000
2006: $8,020,000
2007: $7,638,000
2008: $13,907,000
2009: $17,820,000
2010: $12,293,000
2011: $22,052,000
2012: $15,660,000
2013: $25,026,000
2014: $21,676,000
2015: $25,242,000
Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sarah Rohe of Onondaga County Named 2017-18 New York State Dairy Princess

Sarah Rohe
Sarah Rohe of Onondaga County was named the New York State Dairy Princess for 2017-18 at the conclusion of the dairy princess contest Tuesday night outside Syracuse.

Sydney Parkin of Orange County was named first alternate and Grace Harrigan of Clinton County was named second alternate.

Rohe is a senior at Marcellus High School and the daughter of Steven and Patricia Rohe of the town of Onondaga. She is a member of 4-H, Junior Holsteins and volunteers at K.C. Heffernan Elementary School in Marcellus. She has been involved in dairy promotion for 11 years.

The Rohe family is no stranger to dairy royalty. Sarah's older sisters, Erica, Caitlin and Meghan, wore the Onondaga County dairy princess crown as well. Caitlin went on to become the 2006-07 New York State Dairy Princess. Meghan was first alternate state dairy princess in the 2013-14 year.

The New York State Dairy Princess contest concluded Tuesday with the crowning after a two days of judging at the Holiday Inn in Salina, north of Syracuse. 
Sydney Parkin
A total of 27 girls who had already won their county dairy princess contests participated in the state pageant. They had to take tests to judge their dairy knowledge and writing skills, go through intensive interviews with the three judges, give both impromptu and prepared speeches and also were judged on their informal interaction with others.

Judges evaluate contestants on communication skills, knowledge of the dairy industry, poise and personality. 
Grace Harrigan
About 30 teens competed for the title. Miss Ooms will serve as New York State Dairy Princess for one year and will promote dairy farmers and dairy products throughout the state in schools, industries, companies and at special events.

The big event for the dairy princess each year is the New York State Fair in Geddes, west of Syracuse. She and other county dairy princesses man the dairy princess booth inside the Dairy Products building and make special appearances throughout Dairy Day on the first Monday of the fair.

The new princess takes over for Emily Ooms of Columbia County,  who was New York State Dairy Princess for 2016-17.

Lisa Gaskalla Named National Agriculture in the Classroom Executive Director

Lisa Gaskalla
Lisa Gaskalla, executive director of Florida Agriculture in the Classroom for 13 years, has been named executive director of the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO).

Gaskalla served as interim executive director of NAITCO while the organization conducted a national search to fill the position in 2016. Before that, she served as president of the organization in 2014-15, and hosted a National Agriculture in the Classroom National Conference in Florida in 2011.

“National Agriculture in the Classroom has grown to a point where it needed a full-time executive director to oversee the business of our growing organization,” said Chris Fleming, president of NAITCO and the Tennessee Agriculture in the Classroom state contact. “Lisa Gaskalla’s experience managing a successful program in Florida will serve NAITCO well.”

“I’m excited to serve such a talented group of agricultural literacy educators from around the country,” Gaskalla said. “I will strive to make NAITCO a premier K-12 agricultural literacy program for formal and informal educators interested in educating youth about the importance of agriculture at the state and national level.”

NAITCO helps K-12 teachers use agricultural concepts to teach reading, writing, math, science, social studies and more by providing web-based lessons and companion resources, a national conference, a national teacher awards program and professional development opportunities for Agriculture in the Classroom state contacts. 

It is a nonprofit organization with a network of state contacts in nearly all 50 states and six territories. Information on New York's Ag in the Classroom program can be found at http://www.agclassroom.org/ny/

No Bull! Yes, There's a Bull in Queens

There's a bull on the loose in Queens.

Check it out http://abcnews.go.com/US/running-bull-nypd-wrangles-bull-chase/story?id=45635480 at this website link.

New York Farm Show Opens Feb. 23 st State Fairgrounds

The 2017 New York Farm Show is the place to visit this winter for information on new innovative farm and woodlot products and equipment.

The 32nd edition of the show runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 23, 24 and 25 at the New York State Fairgrounds in Geddes, west of Syracuse.

The annual show hosts more than 400 exhibitors in six heated buildings, including the Arts and Home Center, Center of Progress, Dairy, Horticulture, and Science Buildings, and International Pavilion.

  “It’s a spring planning show,” New York Farm Show manager Scott Grigor said. “It gets people out of the house. The economy is off a little, and it helps people enjoy life a little bit.”

The show had 406 confirmed exhibitors as of Jan. 11 with more expected, Grigor said.  There are 13 new exhibitors this year, including Yanmar Tractor of Georgia

Exhibit area covers more than 222,000 square feet of space.

Topics covered by seminars includes: beef, forestry, and health and safety. There also will be the popular FFA toy auction and 4-H members will again be selling hitch pins as a county fundraiser. 

They are offering Tisco 6-by-¾-inch hitch pins at $5 each or five for $20. They will be located at the main entrance doors of the Center of Progress, Dairy and Horticulture buildings.
The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health will offer information on ROPS (rollover protective structures), safe skid steer operation, blood pressure screenings and youth safety activities.

The center also will again have its farm hazards display board set up to help people identify hazardous situations on the farm. It will supply information on PPE (personal protective equipment) selection and catalogs and applications for the John May Farm Safety Fund, and roadway safety tips in conjunction with the state troopers.
Here are some of the beef seminars from the New York Beef Council to be held in the beef area of the Toyota Building:
Daily presentations beginning at 10 a.m. will feature:10 a.m.: ABCs of EPDs - Phil Trowbridge, Trowbridge Angus11 a.m.: Trace Minerals - Its role on the Cattle Immune System, Dr. Bob Gentry, MultiminNoon: Quality - The Consumer Expectations, Jean O’Toole/ Katherine Bronson, NYBC - ThursdayNoon: Beef Up Your Marketing, Jean O’Toole/ Katherine Bronson, NYBC - Friday1 p.m.: Johne’s - What it is and Programs Available, Dr. Melanie Hemenway, NYSCHAP 2 p.m.: Unraveling Official Identification, Dr Jane Lewis, USDA Ag. And Markets3 p.m.: Beef showmanship clinic,  Robert Groom/ Jeanne White-  Thursday3 p.m.: Fitting clinic, Robert Groom - Friday

Saturday will be dedicated to youth doing the presentations on different related beef topics. Grab a seat on the bleachers as these young individuals demonstrate their experiences and knowledge of the beef industry. Jean O’Toole, the new executive director of the New York Beef Council, and Katherine Bronson will open the presentations. 
10 a.m.: How to Master “Agvocacy,” Jean O’Toole/ Katherine Bronson, NYBC11 a.m.: Our National Livestock Judging Experience in Louisville, KY- By Melissa Keller, NY Junior Beef Producer11 a.m.: Three Ways to get Involved with the Beef Industry, Megan Cranwell, NY Junior Beef ProducerNoon: What I Learned about NYBC (NY Beef Council) through C2C (Cattlemen to Consumers) Program, Jala Murphy, NY Junior Beef Producer12:30 p.m.: What Telling our Story Means and Why We Should, By Sam and Sarah Birdsall, NY Junior Beef Producers1 p.m.: Small Steps to Becoming Socially Savvy in our Beef Industry, By Anna King, NY Junior Beef Producer1:30 p.m.: Important Factors When Doing a Project Beef Animal for Sales at County Fairs - Feed, Nutrition, Record-keeping, Animal Care, Marketing, etc., By Daisy Trowbridge and Jordin Radley, NY Junior Beef Producers2 p.m.: Primal and Retail Beef Cuts, By Loretta and Suzie Lippert, NY Junior Beef Producers 
As you attend the presentations enjoy a hot beef sundae served up daily by the New York Beef Producers, starting at 11 a.m.

The New York Beef Council will have a face-to-face presence at this year’s NY Farm Show! Stop by to “Beef Together” with the NYBC’s innovative marketing initiatives to promote YOU, our farmers, and the quality beef you produce.

A live beef cattle display representing numerous beef breeds will enhance our Beef Area, including breed information to take home.

Engage with the “Face of Our Farmers.” Beef Farmers have filled out questioners to help you get to know them better. Engage in a conversation with beef producers, see their likes, dislikes and ask them beef related questions. 
Pick up a Scavenger Hunt paper at the Beef Gazebo and then read our “Face of our Farmers” posters to get your answers and win a prize.

Beef recipes and beef related information also will be available in the beef area for attendees to take home and enjoy.
Free programs to help landowners get more benefits from their woodlots will be presented by the New York Forest Owners Association each day of the New York Farm Show.
Visitors to the show can meet with a forester from the State Department of Environmental Conservation or speak with a Cornell trained volunteer.
Visitors are encouraged to bring their questions and pause at the booth area before or after attending a seminar program. The DEC foresters and trained volunteers are there to help with resource materials, displays and expert advice.

 “Learn More, Earn More” seminars are free and open to all. Topics include federal cost sharing for woodlot improvements, working with foresters, improving bird habitat, heating with wood, and forest farming. Programs start on the hour and allow time for questions and discussion.

The booth is on the main corridor of the Arts and Home Center, and the seminars are held in the Somerset Room just steps away on the lower level of the building.
These programs are presented by the New York Forest Owners Association in cooperation with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Cornell Cooperative Extension and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Seminar topics and speakers for each day include:

Thursday, Feb. 23

11 a.m.: DEC Can Help Family Forest Owners, by Matt Swayze, state Department of Environmental Conservation
1 p.m.: Assessing Impacts from Deer, by Kristie Sullivan, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University
2 p.m.: Legacy Planning for Your Property, by Shorna Allred, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University
3 p.m.: Getting Federal Aid for Woodlot Improvements, by Michael Fournier, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service

Friday, Feb. 24

10 a.m.: Unwanted Vegetation in Your Woods, by Peter Smallidge, NYS Extension Forester, Cornell University
11 a.m.: Woodlot Inventory: How Many Trees Do You Have?, by Peter Smallidge, NYS Extension Forester, Cornell University
1 p.m.: Insects and Diseases that Threaten Your Woods, by Mark Whitmore, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University
2 p.m.: The Law: Rights and Responsibilities of Woodlot Owners, by Timothy Fratesch, Fratesch Law Firm, Syracuse
3 p.m.: Getting Federal Aid for Woodlot Improvements, by Michael Fournier, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service

Saturday, Feb. 25

10 a.m.: Heat with Wood While Growing Timber, Michael Kelleher, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
11 a.m.: Improve Bird Habitat with Smart Timber Management, by Suzanne Treyger, Forest Program Manager, Audubon New York
1 p.m.: Working with Consulting Foresters, by Rene Germain, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
2 p.m.: Wilhelm Farm: A Case Study in Agroforestry, by Ann Wilhelm & Bill Bentley, woodlot owners
3 p.m.: Woodlots and Income Taxes, by Hugh Canham, Emeritus Professor, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Visit the New York Forest Owners Association website (www.nyfoa.org for more information.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Morrisville State College Honored With Tree Campus Designation

From Morrisville State College:


MSC students, faculty and alumni plant a tree in the local community.
Photo by Ken Chapman, New Media Strategist

Morrisville State College has been honored again for its commitment to sustainability.

The college received 2016 Tree Campus USA® recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its dedication to effective urban forest management.

Tree Campus USA®, a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and sponsored by Toyota, honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

To be considered for an award, a campus must maintain a tree advisory committee and a campus tree-care plan, dedicate annual expenditures for a campus tree program and conduct an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project.

At Morrisville, students utilize trees for actual learning experiences including pruning, climbing, identifying, inventorying and planting.

“Morrisville’s hands-on approach to learning makes it easy for our students to have a positive impact in our local environment,” said assistant professor Rebecca Hargrave, who has led the efforts of the college’s tree campus advisory committee. “Planting and maintaining trees reinforces what we do in the classroom and Tree Campus USA® recognition is a reflection of that positive student work.”

Members of Morrisville State’s campus tree advisory committee spend months developing a campus tree-care plan which includes policies for planting, care and removal, as well as plans for tree protection and preservation.

“This recognition reflects the importance of the diverse tree collection we now have in our campus landscape with all its educational, environmental and aesthetic benefits,” said Aida Khalil, professor in the horticulture department and member of the tree campus advisory committee. 

Matt Buell, head grounds supervisor, has been instrumental in developing the college’s tree collection.

Morrisville also received Tree Campus USA® recognition in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Cider Event Planned for Feb. 18 in Albany

From state Agriculture and Markets:

In support of New York state’s farm cideries and agricultural producers, State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball and State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley will join Nine Pin Ciderworks at its 3rd annual Gathering of the New York Farm Cideries event Feb. 18 in Albany.
During the event, 15 farm cideries from seven regions across the state invite the public to taste and buy some of their most exclusive products made with New York-grown ingredients. 
The event also marks Nine Pin’s third anniversary as the first licensed farm cidery in New York state under the Farm Cidery Law, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2013.   
The annual Gathering of Farm Cideries event is held at the Nine Pin Ciderworks tasting room and production facility in Albany. Attendees can enjoy up to three hours of free samples of unique ciders made from New York apples and provided by 15 different farm cideries from the Capital Region, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, Mid-Hudson region, North Country, Southern Tier and New York City.  

They also have the option to buy limited-batch ciders by the growler or bottles to go. The event will be split into two sessions: Noon to 3 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for $20. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the New York State Cider Association.  
Tickets are available online by http://www.ninepincider.com/ going to this link. 
“I am thrilled to participate in this exciting event and to shine a light on the incredible synergy between the state’s farm cideries and our farms," Ball said. "New York’s craft beverage producers are some of the agricultural industry’s best customers. As their businesses succeed, the demand for agricultural products continues to grow and that’s truly a win for all New Yorkers."

“The Governor’s Farm Cidery Law has led to a renaissance in hard cider sales and production throughout New York," Bradley said. "In addition to creating 28 new manufacturers, farm cideries have driven demand for New York apples, created jobs, helped to protect the environment and increased tourism dollars in our local communities.” 

The craft beverage manufacturing industry in New York state is booming. Regulatory reforms, new legislation and robust marketing campaigns have paved the way for significant growth in the industry, which now has an annual economic impact of $3.5 billion.  

Since 2011, the number of farm-based craft beverage manufacturers in New York state has increased by 197 percent. 

Since the third anniversary of the New York Farm Cidery Law in October, the number of farm cideries has tripled from 8 in 2014 to 24 in 2016. Since then, four new farm cideries have opened, bringing the statewide total to 28.   

In addition, six farm cidery off-site branch stores have opened following changes to the Alcohol and Beverage Control Law last year, helping to boost sales, draw visitors and increase tourism in communities across the state.

New York is also home to 322 farm wineries, 149 farm breweries and 109 farm distilleries.  Twenty-three of those companies also manufacture hard cider.  

To further strengthen the industry, Cuomo’s 2017-18 Executive Budget proposes a new license allowing up to 10 Taste NY store operators to sell craft beverages along with food and souvenir items.  

Currently only vintners, brewers, and distillers that operate Taste NY stores can sell both alcohol and other products. 

Cuomo has also proposed expanding the sale of craft beverages at certain locations such as movie theaters, launching the first-ever New York Craft Beverage Week, and a new grant for craft beverage producers to engage in joint marketing campaigns and enter products in national and international competitions.

Here are the 28 cideries in New York state:
2 Way Brewing Co., Beacon
Bad Seed Cider, Highland
Blackduck Cidery, Ovid
Blue Toad Hard Cider, Rochester
Brooklyn Cider House, Brooklyn
Cider Creek Hard Cider, Canisteo
Clintondale Brewing Co., Clintondale
Cooperatown Beverage Exchange, Cooperstown
Dark Island Spirits, Alexandria Bay
Descendant Cider Co., Maspeth
Embark Craft Ciderworks, Williamson
Fishkill Farms, Hopewell Junction
Graft Cider, Newburgh
Grisamore Cider Works, Locke
Kaneb Orchards, Massena
Little Apple Cidery, Hillsdale
Metal House Cider, Ulster Park
Nine Pin Ciderworks, Albany
Riverhead Cider House, Calverton
Rogers' Cideryard, Johnstown
Saratoga Apple, Schuylerville
Sauvage Beverages, Oneonta
Sterling Cidery, Sterling
Stone Bridge Cider, Hudson
Sundog Cider, Chatham
Thompsons Cider Mill, Croton-on-Hudson
Wayside Ciders, Andes
Westwind Orchard, Accord

Those participating in the Albany event are:
Little Apple
Nine Pin
Saratoga Apple
Stone Bridge
Black Creek 
Blue Toad
Bad Seed
Rogers' Cideryard
Brooklyn Cider House