Monday, March 27, 2017

Baby Care Centers Coming to the NYS Fairgrounds

From Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

The 2017 Great New York State Fair will feature new Baby Care Centers, providing families with a comfortable, supervised and air-conditioned place to care for their children. 

Each Baby Care Center has private space for nursing mothers, as well as a clean, staffed area where parents can change diapers or relax with their small children. The four Baby Care Centers will be placed around the fairgrounds to allow quick and convenient access for parents.

The buildings are attractive and welcoming, with comfortable seating and dormers to provide natural light. The Amish Structures company, based in Manlius, built the 20-foot A-frame structures. 

Carpenters from the New York State Fair are fitting up the interior, and grounds crews are landscaping the exterior. The buildings will also be available for rent to the private firms that host large-scale events on the Fairgrounds during the year.

"We are committed to enhancing every aspect of the Fair experience and these Baby Care Centers will provide additional comfort and peace of mind to parents taking part in this great New York tradition," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "Our unprecedented investment in promoting the fair in Central New York helps drive attendance, fueling the local economy and spurring tourism – allowing this region to grow and thrive for years to come."

"The governor’s vision for the fair focuses on making enhancements to the grounds that will improve the fairgoer experience," said Ag and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball. "These new Baby Centers are a welcome addition to the Fair, providing a great new amenity for families with young children and complementing the work that’s been done already to take the Fair to the next level."

"We’re excited to be able to provide this service to families of young children," said Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner. "It will make it easier for families to enjoy their day at the Fair and it is one more way that we are responding to the needs of our fairgoers."

The new Baby Care Centers are part of the  ongoing efforts to improve access and amenities for all fairgoers. Some of the other elements include improving access to buildings for people with mobility issues, adding seating and shade throughout the grounds, and providing interpreters for fair events and concerts. The fair’s leadership meets regularly with interest groups to solicit feedback and suggestions for improvements.

The project builds on several years of major improvements at the fairgrounds, the home of the nation’s oldest state fair. The improvements began with the state's investment of $50 million, which resulted in a new Main Gate, first-ever RV park, a new home for the Midway and many other enhancements that debuted in 2016.

For 2017, the Baby Care Centers are a part of additional planned improvements, including a new and larger home for the New York State Police exhibit, a revitalized Turtle Mound stage and other improvements in the Indian Village, and a new sky ride along the Wade Shows Midway. 

Solar Power Generation in NYS Up About 800 Percent

Empire Farm & Dairy magazine


Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the amount of solar power in New York state increased by roughly 800 percent between 2011 and 2016.

Between those years, 64,926 solar projects were built, with a nearly 744-megawatt output combined.

The north country has seen 1,063 new solar projects developed within that time period, totaling a little over 13 megawatts. Regionally, Long Island saw the highest solar energy development with 24,428 installations.

Spurring development of those projects in the last few years, said Cuomo, is his Reforming the Energy Vision strategy and the Clean Energy Standard, which aims to power half of New York state with renewables by 2030.

Solar energy developers also are able to leverage state funding through the $1 billion NY-Sun Megawatt Block Incentive program, which will help fund projects until 2023 with a goal of producing a combined 3 gigawatts of solar power across the state.

Solar projects have produced 8,000 jobs across the state, according to the governor’s office.

Some of the north country’s most notable solar projects of recent years include Davidson Automotive Group’s array off outer Washington Street in Watertown.

The company installed a ground-mounted solar array roughly the size of two football fields in 2014, and a roughly 2,000-panel expansion to the array was built last year, bringing the total to around 5,500 panels - one of the largest arrays in the region. The new array will provide clean, renewable energy to the car dealership and save an estimated $1 million in expenses over the next 20 years.

The project, completed by High Peaks Solar, received $225,000 from the NY-Sun initiative’s $1 billion funding pool.

In Cape Vincent, National Grid connected the 140-kilowatt municipal solar array to the grid back in November after re-evaluating its infrastructure.

Last year, Clayton-based Fourth Coast Inc. oversaw construction of the $267,000 array, which lies next to the village’s sewer treatment plant. The village received about $46,000 in rebates to help fund the project.

Indian River Central School District recently brought its 2,112-panel, 0.68-megawatt array late last year, following a long review process by National Grid, which was pushed back multiple times and cost the district thousands of dollars.

The array was installed at Indian River Intermediate School, which will now be completely powered by solar energy. The project cost roughly $1.3 million, with panel installation beginning in 2010 through 2015.

In the city of Ogdensburg, a solar array on Champlain Street has been brought online in pieces over the last few months.

The array is currently operating at 80 percent capacity, and it won’t be fully energized until the technology that connects the array to its power substation moves out of its beta testing phase.

The 1.1-megawatt photovoltaic system at the city’s former landfill site is projected to generate as much as a third of the electricity needed to power city government buildings.

The Ogdensburg array covers about eight acres of land and is expected to save the city more than $2 million on its municipal power bill over the 25-year life of the project. At the end of the 25 years, the city can take over the array, enter into a new contract with the operator, or choose to have it removed at no expense.

The project’s construction was funded with NY-Sun money.

Farther south in Lewis County, a solar project in Lowville is expected to be completed in 2017.

Greenskies Renewable Energy is to construct a 2-megawatt solar array on about 19 acres behind the county Public Safety Building on outer Stowe Street, then sell relatively low-cost power. The energy will be enough to cover roughly half the needs of the county and hospital for 20 years.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Western NY Farm Powers Up on Manure, Wastewater and Food Scraps

Empire Farm & Dairy magazine

PAVILION — Not much goes to waste at Noblehurst Farms in Livingston County.

Noblehurst Farms anaerobic digester.
An anaerobic digester is processing the farm’s manure, waste water and milk, and food scraps from stores, restaurants and universities to generate enough energy to power its dairy farm and creamery.

Noblehurst, a 1,750-cow dairy farm, built its first digester in 2001-02.

“We liked the ability to reduce or eliminate our electricity costs on the dairy and to reduce the odor in the manure,” said Chris Noble, who is Noblehurst’s vice president and an eighth-generation farmer. “We were also able to convert some of the effluent from the digester into bedding for the animals.”

Noblehurst Farms is a multi-family business that has 31 shareholders ranging in ages from 26 to 88 with 17 of those shareholders involved in the farm or affiliated businesses.

About 40 employees work at Noblehurst Farms, which also raises 1,400 head of youngstock.

The farm harvests about 3,000 acres of corn for silage and grain, alfalfa haylage, wheat and triticale.

Noble is involved in the financial side of the business. He has responsibility as the manager of Craigs Station Ventures, a joint venture with DFA in Craigs Station Creamery, Noblehurst Green Energy, which involves the anaerobic digester, and Natural Upcycling, a food waste collection partnership.

A fire in 2011 destroyed the generator portion of the original digester. During 2013-14 the farm built its second digester, which was larger and was designed to accept various types of food waste.

“We thought that was an important feature of the new digester so that we could add income (in the form of tipping fees) that would help further offset the cost of the system,” Noble said.

Natural Upcycling collects food waste from more than 30 Wegmans locations in Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse areas.

Natural Upcycling works with other composting and digester sites, notably Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency in Syracuse where the Wegmans food scraps are destined. They collect from a variety of other customers as well, universities, food manufacturers, restaurants, etc.

“We process approximately 10-12 tons per day of food scraps and packaged food waste at the digester,” Noble said. That food waste would normally go to a landfill.

The digester’s generator produces approximately 450 kilowatts of power (per hour?). That electricity powers 100 percent of the dairy farm’s needs and 100 percent of Craigs Station Creamery’s needs, Noble said. During certain times of the year the farm also sells some power back to National Grid.

Noble said the farm has considered other sources of producing energy. They have solar panels on the the roof of the dairy’s milking parlor and the creamery for generating energy to heat hot water.

“We have looked at both solar and wind power but biogas-fueled power offers the best bang for our buck based on electricity produced per kilowatt hour produced,” Noble said.

Funding and assistance

“Anaerobic digesters support New York’s nation-leading energy strategy to incorporate energy efficiency and renewable energy into business operations to lower energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” a NYSERDA spokesman said. 

“Through the use of clean energy technologies, farms across the state are helping the state reduce its carbon footprint and protect our environment for generations to come,” the spokesman said.

Noble said the best source of information for others considering implementing digesters is from farmers who have already installed them.

“They would be able to tell you what works and doesn’t work,” Noble said. “Cornell University PRO-Dairy has a great team of people with vast knowledge of these systems.”

The digester itself does not really get rid of the manure – only about 3-4 percent is consumed by the process. itself.

Pesky Wind Turns into Blessing for Tully Farm

Empire Farm & Dairy magazine


TULLY — Ed Doody’s late father, Lawrence, used to curse the wind that blew through his family’s hilltop farm nearly every day.

Now the business is benefitting from the electrical power generated by a 140-foot windmill that was installed on the farm more than 4½ years ago.

Doody farm windmill. Photo by Leslie Sheldon
“My father had always cursed the wind for years and years,” Doody said. “Too bad he wasn’t here to see it now that we’re taking advantage of it.”

Doody and his brothers, Rich and Kevin, who operate Lawrence Doody & Sons LLC, a 400-cow dairy farm in Tully, Onondaga County, are located at an elevation of 1,700 feet above sea level. They get some degree of wind almost every day.

The Endurance E3120 50-kilowatt wind turbine that was erected generates about two thirds of the electrical power needed to operate the farm.

“It wasn’t designed to cover all of our electric needs, but it’s provided more than what the expectations were,” Ed Doody said. “We had budgeted that it would cover about half of our farm needs, and every year it has provided more than that so far.”

The cost to operate the farm runs about $2,500-3,000 per month. With the power generated by the windmill, their cost savings are about $2,000 per month or approximately $25,000 per year.

The Doodys were approached by a representative of CEC Energy, a franchise of Cazenovia Equipment Company, which had measured the wind velocity at 140 feet and told them they were in an excellent location for installing a windmill.

The wind velocity measures about 12 meters per second at that height on average throughout the year.

The Doodys started looking into the possibility in 2011 and it took a year and a half to go through the permit process and grant applications.

“It was a questionable thing when we started because there’s not a windmill on top of every hill here that you can go see how it’s doing for your neighbor,” Ed Doody said.

The large wind farms in various parts of the state have caused much controversy among residents living nearby. Many have objected to having the turbines near their properties, but the Doodys had no issues erecting their relatively smaller windmill.

“We have no zoning ordinances here, so it’s pretty easy to do what we wanted to here,” Doody said. “We’ve always tried to keep it a neat-looking farm and be progressive and get along with our neighbors. It fit in well here.”

The new wind turbine started generating power in September 2012.

“We had been intrigued by it for years, my brothers and I,” Doody said. “When we finally got it up, we were pretty impressed with the way it worked,” Doody said.

The windmill generates about 125,000 kW per year. On especially windy days the windmill produces more electricity than is needed to operate the farm. When that happens the electricity is fed back on the power line and is credited to the farm’s account.

The Doodys have had some service issues with the windmill, including some breakdowns and off times. And whenever the power shuts off on the grid, the Doodys’ windmill has to shut down so that no workers are exposed to electricity feeding back on the line.

The windmill has a five-year warranty so the Doodys have not had to worry about maintenance costs. That will change in September when the warranty expires.

“It could be a factor in years to come after the 5-year warranty is up,” Doody said. “If we have to bring in a crane or do some extensive service work, it could be pretty costly, so I’m concerned about that in the future.”

After the wind turbine was operating for two years, Doody and his brothers each decided to install a 120-foot, 10-kW windmill to generate power at his house, and Doody said the windmills have been very effective there, too.

“They’ve generated more power than we use at our homes,” Doody said. “We’re convinced that wind energy is a thing of the future.”

Financing and funding

The farm windmill was a substantial cost to the business. It was financed through Farm Credit, which also finances the farm.

“It was a large investment,” Doody said. “It was larger than buying another tractor or something like that.”

After committing to the windmill and putting a down payment on the project, the Doodys started applying for funding to offset the cost.

They were turned down for a federal grant, which would have reimbursed them for 30 percent of the purchase price.

They then applied for a state grant, which was guaranteed, and were reimbursed 50 percent.

Because they were turned down for the federal grant, the Doodys were offered a federal income tax credit comparable to what the amount of the grant would have been. It was a high-profit year for the business, so it came in handy.

“Even if we didn’t get the grants, we felt that it would pay for itself over the long term,” Doody said.

The windmill has a 40-year life expectancy, and the Doodys knew they have consistently strong wind to power it, and they were assured that it would supply a certain amount of power each year.

“We could pencil it out on paper that it was a good investment,” Ed Doody said.

Tapping into solar power, too

The Doodys installed solar panels in November through IGS Solar to supplement the wind power. There are 16 solar panels on the roof of the milking parlor and 12 on the calf barn. Each panel is a standard size of 4x8 feet.

“The state has a solar program specifically designed for dairy farmers to reduce energy needs,” Doody said. “With the state programing funding the majority of it, it was a no-brainer, to be cost effective.”

The state program provided 75 percent of the cost of the project.

The power generated heats the hot water needed for washing their milking equipment and for warm water in the calf barn.

Doody said it’s too soon to see results on that project, but it looks promising.

One concern with the solar panels will be the cost to replace them in a few years.

“The windmill has a 40-year life expectancy whereas most solar panels are only 15-20 years, and therefore that would be an additional cost in time,” Doody said.

Renewable energy important

Renewable energy is important to the Doody family.

“I don’t see any future for burning coal,” Doody said. “I expect oil prices will continue to escalate if there’s another crisis in the Mid-East or somewhere. Oil prices could change within a few days.”

What’s going on in the Middle East is so volatile.

“I think that’s more risky than putting up a windmill and wondering if it’s going to pay, to depend on the Arab countries for oil.”

He says he doesn’t think ethanol is the answer, either.

“It’s caused the prices that we pay for corn and soy on our farm to escalate over the years,” Doody said. 

“There’s about a third of the U.S. corn crop that goes to ethanol right now.”

Finding more information

Doody cautioned that other farmers should look closely at wind power before making a decision.

“It’s a long-term commitment, so it really has to have cash flow projections to make it pay,” Doody said.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority was especially helpful to the Doodys as they researched whether to turn to wind power.

“NYSERDA helped us quite a bit,” Doody said. “With the basic research, they helped us out. They have maps, and they know the wind velocity up there at 140 feet high and whether it’s feasible.”

The Doodys have had quite a few people visit their farm to determine whether windmills are a good fit for their operations. Some visitors questioned whether they had the wind velocity it takes to make it pay.

“With wind power, location is the key to it all,” Doody said. “You’ve got to be up on a hill where the wind blows.”

Since the Doodys put up their first windmill, Cazenovia Equipment Company sold its energy franchise to United Wind.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Cornell University Receives Money for Students Studying Agriculture

Check out the story at this link.

New York Now Well Known for its Red Wines, Too

New York Wine & Grape Foundation


“If I proclaimed that the most exciting red wines in the United States come from New York State, would you believe me?”

That’s how Anna Lee Iijima of Wine Enthusiast began her breakthrough analysis and review of the evolution of red wines on Long Island, in the Finger Lakes and the Hudson Valley. Her piece is the equivalent for New York reds that Wine Enthusiast’s selection of New York State as Wine Region of the Year in 2015 was, recognizing the “30-year overnight success.”

The article is artfully constructed, blending terroir-focused background with winemaker interviews and reviews of the major varietials, featuring lots of scores of 90 and above. 

By category:

** Paumanok Vineyards 2010 Tuthills Lane (94)
** Harbes 2014 Proprietors Reserve Hallock Lane (93)
** Wolffer 2012 The Grapes of Roth (93)

Pinot Noir
** Forge Cellars 2014 Les Allies (92)
** Millbrook 2013 Block Five East (91)
** N. Kendall 2013 Pinot Noir (91)

Cabernet Franc
** Hermann J. Wiemer 2014 Magdalena Vineyard (93)
** McCall 2012 Reserve (93)
** Shaw 2010 Reserve (93)

Cabernet Sauvignon
** Raphael 2013 Reserve (92)
** McGregor 2012 Reserve (91)
** Damiani 2012 (90)

It is truly striking that this selection of fabulous reds includes 12 different wines from 12 different wineries in three different regions, demonstrating quality across the board. While Long Island has traditionally been New York’s “red region,” and still makes wonderful wines, other regions are following suit.

Case in point: The past two years at our New York Wine & Food Classic competition, the Governor’s Cup for “Best of Show” was awarded to Finger Lakes red wines.

New York’s red revolution is also significant because truly great wine regions have to show superb quality in reds as well as whites. And now we do!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump's Ag Secretary Nominee Pressed on Ag and Rural Program Cuts

Here's an update on what's happening concerning the federal agriculture secretary nominee:

Go to to check out the story.

New York Wines Clean Up on Medals at California Show

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

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2014 Vidal Ice Wine won "Best of Show" at the recent International Eastern Wine Competition/East Meets West in Sonoma, Calif. 

I wrote that sentence a month ago, but now that same wine took Best of Class at the Great American International Wine Competition held last weekend in Rochester, NY.  That double win is a tribute to both the quality of the wine and the quality of the judges. 

Another Best of Class winner was Wagner Vineyards 2015 Semi-Dry Riesling, with Wagner's 2015 Dry Riesling winning a Double Gold as well.  Other Double Gold winners were Hazlitt Light Port, Merritt Estate Bella Ice, and Silver Springs Merlot.

Gold medals were awarded to 240 Days 2015 Rose; Atwater 2014 Dry Riesling; Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2015 Late Harvest Riesling; Coyote Moon Fire Boat Red; Glenora 2015 Vidal Blanc Iced Wine; Hazlitt Red Cat, 2013 Gewurztraminer, and Cider Tree; Idol Ridge 2014 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine; Knapp 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2014 Dry Riesling; Long Point 2014 Syrah; Montezuma Ice Apple Cider; Schulze Catawba; Silver Springs Pinot Grigio; Swedish Hill 2015 Vidal Blanc; and The Winery at Marjim Manor Heart of Gold.

New York wines won a total of 122 medals.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

2 Join New York Apples Sales Inc.

Jim Allen and Matt Wells have joined New York Apple Sales Inc. 

Allen, who served for 17 years as president and chief executive officer of the New York Apple Association, becomes New York Apple Sales' vice president of marketing.

Wells, previously a procurement manager for Dr Pepper Snapple Group, team leader of Cornell’s Lake Ontario fruit team, and orchard supervisor for Maple Ridge Fruit Farm, will be director of field services.

“Jim Allen’s extensive experience in all aspects of the produce industry will be a great plus for us,” says Kaari Stannard, president and owner of New York Apple Sales.

“Along with his tenure at the Apple Association, he was in produce sales for 16 years, so he knows this business inside and out," Stannard said. "Matt Wells brings the ideal background to our business. He grew up in a family fruit business, worked at Cornell, has been out in the field, and understands the procurement and sales processes completely.”

Allen recently retired from his role at the state’s Apple Association. He received multiple awards during his presidency of the organization, including Packer Apple Person of the Year, United Fresh Produce Advocate of the Year, US Apple Association Apple Champion, and several others. 

Allen says he’s excited to be working with the experienced professionals at New York Apples Sales.

“This is a company focused on quality, innovation, and growth,” he notes. “Think of the way NYAS has teamed with suppliers in New Zealand and Nova Scotia to bring fresh and new apple varieties to the states as just one example. I’m thrilled to be able to help take this company even further.” 

Allen will focus on retail promotion, public relations, managed varieties, and government relations, in addition to other marketing efforts in his new role at New York Apple Sales.

Along with his deep experience as an orchard supervisor and procurement manager, Wells most recently served as a business management specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension, helping to educate fruit growers on production economics. 

In his new role as director of field services, he will focus on food safety and quality assurance. “I’m excited to work for a company that is a leader in the industry and is growing,” says Wells.  “I love to work ‘in the field’ and look forward to working with our grower partners.”
 New York Apple Sales, Inc., is the state’s largest and most diverse apple sales agency, with headquarters in Glenmont, Albany County. The company teams with multiple growers and packing facilities throughout New York state – located in all the major growing regions – to deliver the best selection, competitive pricing, and superior fruit all year long. 

Happy National Agriculture Day!

It's National Agriculture Day.

Let's thank all those in agriculture who clothe us, feed us and give us a good life each and every day.

Agriculture Has a Communications Issue

Even though this is from an Indiana publication, it holds true in New York state too.

Check it out at this link.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Winter Storm Stella Wreaks Havoc on Many Farms

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine



Milk dumping photo courtesy DiNitto Farms
Winter Storm Stella was not a friend to some New York farmers.

Snow piled up so fast and the wind was so ferocious March 14 and 15 that milk trucks couldn’t get to some farms to pick up their precious, perishable cargo.

Terri DiNitto and her husband Tony milk more than 500 cows on a farm in Marcy, Oneida County. She said their milk tanks were filled from one milking and they were ready to milk the cows again at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 14 when the milk hauler said he couldn’t make it to their farm.

“The county roads were closed and he just couldn’t get here,” she said. “We got about 26 inches, but nothing was plowed. We had 10-foot drifts. The plow trucks were getting stuck.”

So the DiNittos had to dump about 2,000 gallons of milk from the earlier milking. They are not sure if they will get any money from the dumped milk.

“We’re working with DFA (Dairy Farmers of America), our co-op, and we might have to go through insurance,” DiNitto said. “We’ll have to wait and see what happens.”

The DiNittos kept folks up to date on their situation on their Facebook page -- DiNitto Farms. Here is an entry from about 6 p.m. March 14: “Dairy farms don’t shut down during a storm. Right now we’re not sure if our milk is going to get picked up. If not ... we’ll have to dump some. We have insurance. But it’s a terrible thing to watch milk go down the drain.”

Ruth McCuin, who works for Agri-Mark, a dairy cooperative based in Andover, Mass., said five farms that supply milk to Agri-Mark had to dump milk due to the storm.

“As of today (March 16), everything is back to normal,” she said.

In addition to milk haulers not being able to get to farms, some haulers who were picking up milk had no where to take it. Both DiNitto and McCuin said so many milk plants closed that many haulers were left with trucks filled with milk and no where to go.

“When that happens, they have to call the dispatcher and see if there is any other plant that will take their milk,” McCuin said. Some large milk users, like the Chobani yogurt plant in New Berlin, Chenango County, were closed. McCuin said all of the Agri-Mark plants, that make McCadam and Cabot cheeses and other dairy products, were open and took milk.

Some milk haulers who were fortunate enough to get through to farms and pick up milk also ended up taking different routes to their destination plants.

McCuin said one hauler who picked up milk in Saratoga County jumped on the Thruway to head west to make his delivery. But the Thruway was closed to large truck traffic as of March 14, per the order of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

She said the hauler had to take the long way around from Saratoga on back roads.

She heard about another hauler already on the Thruway who was pulled over and told to get off at the next exit. When he got to the exit no one was there, so he kept going, McCuin said.

Another casualty of Winter Storm Stella was a barn in Cherry Valley, Otsego County.

According to the Oneonta Daily Star, about 10 dairy cows died after the storm’s high winds collapsed a barn on the Young farm on Dietsche Road.

Howard Young said about 250 cows were inside at the time, so the disaster could have been much worse. The Daily Star story said the collapse destroyed between 200 and 300 feet of building and trapped about 30 cows. Several of the animals died instantly and others had to be put down. No people were injured.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hearing Next Week on Ag Secretary Nominee

Go to to see the Associated Press story.

Trump Wants Nearly 21 Percent Cut to USDA Budget

Go to to see the Reuters story.

New Craft Beverage Trail Set for Livingston County Area

From the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

Livingston County in Western New York has been awarded $185,000 for the development of a new craft beverage trail.

The money was awarded by New York state through the Finger Lakes Economic Development Council and the region's Finger Lakes Forward economic development initiative, which is driving revitalization efforts throughout the region. 

The money will help establish a Brewing Microenterprise Program, beginning with four local businesses that will create 16 full-time jobs and leverage $400,000 in additional resources from across the region.
New York is now home to nearly 1,000 licensed wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries. The number of farm wineries in New York has increased by more than 65 percent, from 195 in 2010 to 322 today. 

The number of farm distilleries grew from just 10 in 2010 to 110 today, while micro-breweries have increased four-fold, from 40 to 163. New York is also home to 150 farm breweries and 28 farm cideries, new licenses created in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Seventy-five individuals originally expressed interest in the Brew IN Livingston competition through completion of a survey. Ultimately 35 semifinalists were invited to submit video pitches, and 15 finalists went through Business Boot Camp – a five week course focused on formation of a business and the nuances and liabilities associated with owning a brewery.
Four equal prize packages were awarded to three startups and one existing Livingston County business for expansion, including: Battle Street Brewery in Dansville, Mortalis Brewing Co. in Avon, Quiet Storm Brewing Co. in Geneseo and Original Stump Blower Ciderworks in Lakeville. 

Each will receive:
  • $35,000 microenterprise grant for furniture, fixtures, and equipment (Community Development Block Grant funding from New York State Homes and Community Renewal);
  • Loan of up to $100,000 at 1 percent through the Livingston County Development Corporation’s Revolving Loan Fund;
  • One year membership to the New York State Brewers Association; and
  • Complimentary CPA tax assistance from accounting firm EFPR Group.
Alternate funding sources are being pursued for three additional winners, including: Amber Lantern Brewing Co. in Geneseo, Dublin Corners Farm Brewery in York, and Horns & Halos Craft Brewing in Caledonia.
Additionally, all seven winners will receive the following services from local businesses:  Technical and marketing assistance through Livingston County Development, the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center;
  • Discounted payroll and administrative services from Complete Payroll;
  • Complimentary headshot session with the purchase of a small business package from Hudson Street Studios;
  • Complimentary award-winning logo design with branding package purchase from Novus Be Known;
  • One trademark clearance search for one mark from Tracy Jong Law Firm; and
  • One-year free subscription from Tracy Jong Law Firm to Boot Legger Journals.
"By cutting red tape, lowering costs, and providing more opportunities for businesses to grow, New York has helped foster a booming craft beverage industry that is creating jobs, boosting tourism and supporting our local farms, along with producing some of the world's best beer, wine, cider and spirits," Cuomo said.  

"Our investments continue to spur economic development in communities across the state, and with the creation of a new craft beverage trail, the Finger Lakes will attract even more visitors to experience all that the region has to offer," he said.

Winners were selected with input from Livingston County Economic Development, the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center, and Business Coaches Jeff and Mike Fitch who facilitated the Business Boot Camp course.

 A recommendation was ultimately approved by the Board of Directors of the Livingston County Development Corp.

Event at Greenwood Winery and Bistro March 19 Benefits Food Bank

Celebrity Bartending to Benefit the Food Bank of CNY

March 19 @ 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Greenwood Winery at 6475 Collamer Road, East Syracuse will be hosting a celebrity bartending night Sunday, March 19, to benefit the Food Bank of Central New York. 

All tips and proceeds from Greenwood’s signature burger between 3 to 7 p.m. will be donated to the Food Bank.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Register Today for Cow Comfort Conference March 20-21 in Syracuse

The Cow Comfort Conference is at the Holiday Inn in Salina, north of Syracuse, March 20-21.

Registration for the conference ends today March 17. To register, please visit:

Titled “Working with What you Have and Looking Towards the Future,” the conference is a collaboration between the Cornell North Country Regional Ag Team, the South Central Dairy and Livestock Team, PRO-DAIRY and the Miner Institute.

For the agenda see the attached flyer or visit the website:

Senate, Assembly Favor Family Farm in their Budgets

From New York Farm Bureau:

New York Farm Bureau said the Senate and Assembly, especially the Agriculture Committee Chairs, Sen. Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Bill Magee, have made the state’s family farms a priority in their respective budgets.

Many of the funding lines have been restored to last year’s levels, which will make a difference in the support and promotion of the state’s diverse agricultural commodities. This includes funding multiple research projects that the agricultural community depends on to confront growing challenges that exist on farms.

The New York State Senate also stepped up to the plate to fund many of the priorities of New York Farm Bureau including a refundable investment tax credit to assist farms looking to reinvest in this down farm economy. 

The Senate majority is also supportive of doubling the agricultural minimum wage tax credit which will help farms better manage labor costs while attempting to remain competitive with farms in other states that have significantly lower wage rates.

The Farm to Food Bank Bill also received budgetary support for the first time in both chambers’ budgets. 

This is a big boost to the bill that has seen bi-partisan support the past two years only to have the governor veto the bill, in part, because it was passed outside of the budget process. 

Farm Bureau believes there is no excuse for the governor to pull out his veto stamp again, and we encourage him to negotiate funding in the final budget to support the tax credit, as he promised. It will allow farmers to donate even more fresh food to their regional food banks and pantries.

The support of the “Farm to Food Bank Bill” comes on the heels of New York state farmers donating more than 13.2 million pounds of food in 2016. The number is the second highest for any state in the country.  The total was announced last month at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Fusion Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. 

New York Farm Bureau participates in Feeding America’s Harvest for All Program. This record number for New York highlights the generosity of farmers in this state, and food donations will likely increase with the passage and signing of the “Farm to Food Bank Bill.” 

The tax credit on 25 percent of the wholesale value of the food, up to $5,000 annually, would help offset a portion of the costs of labor, packaging and transportation required to get more food from the fields to those in need.

“As the April 1 budget deadline approaches, we are hopeful these items will remain in New York State’s final fiscal plan. The past year has been a difficult one for the state’s farmers," said Farm Bureau President David Fisher.

"From higher labor costs to lower commodity prices, coupled with extreme weather woes, the additional support could not come at a more necessary time for the hard working farm families of New York,” Fisher said.

State Senate's One-House Budget Restores Money for Agriculture

From state Sen. Patty Ritchie's office:

State Sen. Patty Ritchie, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said the Senate's 2017-18 one-house budget includes key funding for agriculture.

Among the highlights of the Senate’s one-house budget is a restoration of $12 million in support for agriculture. Ritchie has advocated in recent weeks for committing resources to over 30 programs that were cut in the governor's executive budget.

The one-house budget was adopted by the Senate March 15. 

Also included in the spending plan is $3 million to assist farmers impacted by last summer’s severe drought.  In the last six years, the Senate has restored more than $55 million in funding cuts and investments for agriculture.

“This spending plan reflects the priorities of our communities in Central and Northern New York,” Ritchie said. "I will continue to fight strongly in the coming weeks to see that the needs of our region are met and that these smart investments in things like education, agriculture and infrastructure remain in the state budget that’s currently being negotiated.”

“As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I'm thrilled the Senate's one-house budget makes critical investments in our state's leading industry,” Ritchie said. “From helping farmers recover from last year's crippling drought to assisting the next generation of agriculture professionals, I'll be working to see these key investments that bolster agriculture are included in the final enacted state budget.”