Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Perdue Sworn in as Agriculture Secretary

From the USDA:

Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by fellow Georgian and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas in a brief ceremony today at the Supreme Court building.  

The U.S. Senate confirmed Secretary Perdue by a vote of 87-to-11 on Monday evening.  

After Secretary Perdue took the oath of office, he addressed employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture before getting to work on his first day. Also this morning, USDA launched his official Twitter handle: @SecretarySonny

Sonny Perdue, with his wife Mary, takes the oath of office administered by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas to become the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
“The only legacy that I seek is the only one that any grandparent or parent seeks – to be good stewards, and to hand off our nation, our home, our fields, our forests, and our farms to the next generation in better shape than we found it,” Perdue said.  

“Making sure that Americans who make their livelihoods in the agriculture industry have the ability to thrive will be one of my top priorities. I am committed to serving the customers of USDA, and I will be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture,” Perdue said.
Perdue’s policies as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will be guided by four principles which will inform his decisions.  

First, he will maximize the ability of the men and women of America’s agriculture and agribusiness sector to create jobs, to produce and sell the foods and fiber that feed and clothe the world, and to reap the earned reward of their labor. It should be the aim of the American government to remove every obstacle and give farmers, ranchers and producers every opportunity to prosper.  

Second, he will prioritize customer service every day for American taxpayers and consumers. They will expect, and have every right to demand, that their government conduct the people’s business efficiently, effectively and with the utmost integrity.  

Third, as Americans expect a safe and secure food supply, USDA will continue to serve in the critical role of ensuring the food we put on the table to feed our families meets the strict safety standards we’ve established. Food security is a key component of national security, because hunger and peace do not long coexist.  

And fourth, Perdue will always remember that America’s agricultural bounty comes directly from the land. And today, those land resources sustain more than 320 million Americans and countless millions more around the globe.  

Perdue’s father’s words still ring true: We’re all stewards of the land, owned or rented, and our responsibility is to leave it better than we found it.
“As secretary, I will champion the concerns of farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers, and will work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families,” Perdue said.  “I am proud to have been given this opportunity and look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work as we continue to move the USDA and our nation forward.”
Upon nominating Secretary Perdue in January, President Donald J. Trump said, “Sonny Perdue is going to accomplish great things as Secretary of Agriculture. From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.”

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bridging the Gap Between Farmers and Consumers

Jessica Ziehm of the NY Animal Agriculture Coalition and the creator of the Dairy Cow Birthing Center at the New York State Fair is highlighted in this story about her family's dairy operation.

Check out this story at http://www.agweb.com/article/real-faces-of-dairy-bridging-the-gap-between-farmers-and-consumers-naa-betsy-jibben/ this link.

Friday, April 21, 2017

New York Farm Bureau Reacts To Canadian-US Dairy Trade Issue

Statement from New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher on the dairy policy issued by Canada that is affecting New York farmers:

"New York Farm Bureau appreciates the strong, bipartisan response to Canada’s unfair dairy policy that threatens to suppress an already low dairy economy in this country. President Trump’s vocal support is a result of Governor Cuomo’s work with Wisconsin’s Governor to ask Canada to reverse course. 

"Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand also requested assistance from the White House. It is positive to see our leaders working together to address this serious trade matter.

"New York Farm Bureau has been engaged on this issue for more than a year working with the state's dairy processors and lawmakers. We are asking our leaders to continue to push Canada to stick to its commitments under current trade agreements. 

"While some processors and milk cooperatives are already losing millions of dollars in business, this has the potential of hurting dairy farms across the state. The ultra-filtered milk once destined for Canada must now find a home in other markets. The increased milk supply will potentially drive down already low milk prices. 

"American farmers benefit from fair trade policies and we need to keep the borders open to our products, in particular with Canada, which is one of New York’s main trading partners," said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.

Canada's Trudeau Has An Answer for Trump's Dairy Trade Question

Go to https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-20/canada-s-not-the-challenge-for-u-s-dairy-trudeau-says to see the story.

Canada's Ban on Ultra-Filtered Milk Hurts Aurelius Company

Go to http://auburnpub.com/blogs/eye_on_ny/ceo-cayuga-milk-ingredients-lost-m-in-sales-overnight-due/article_f85b4c52-2563-11e7-907c-0724c5c124aa.html to see the story.

Cuomo Asks Trump to Fight Canadian Dairy Pricing Problem

Check out the story at http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news03/cuomo-calls-on-trump-to-fight-canadian-dairy-pricing-president-vows-action-20170419 this link.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Canada-US Dairy Trade Issue Coming Tomorrow on Empire State Farming Blog

Be sure to check out the Empire State Farming blog Friday for three interesting stories and a response from New York Farm Bureau about the dairy trade issue with Canada.

State FFA Convention May 11-13 in Morrisville

From New York State FFA

New York FFA will conduct its 92nd State Convention May 11-13 on the Morrisville State College campus.

State Officer Taylor McNamara said she “can't wait to come together again in May as one big FFA family to recognize members for all their hard work throughout the year and celebrate New York FFA.” 

This “one big FFA family” will consist of nearly 1,200 students and over 300 advisers and guests.

Set in the heart of Upstate New York, we are excited to return to Morrisville with new opportunities. FFA members will be participating in local community service-learning projects, including a playground build. 

"I'm most excited about our service project. It is for a great cause, our No Member Fights Alone campaign," said State Officer Katie Killenbeck. "Members will be able to join us in a nighttime glow run/walk to show their support and raise awareness for the fight against childhood cancer. It's going to be Legendary.” 

Service projects will support cancer research for all citizens.

Students and adults from across the state will participate in career and leadership development contests and engage with agricultural colleges, business and industry representatives. 

“I recommend that every FFA member goes to State Convention, not only will it be legendary, there is something for everyone. From workshops, CDE's, talent and so much more,” said State Officer Seth Browe.

Speakers will include Ashley Willits, currently serving as a National FFA Officer, and the keynote speakers will be the Peterson Brothers, well-known Kansas farmers who became YouTube sensations with their song parodies.  They also are known for a series of educational videos and give talks across the country about farming.

For entertainment, we have an evening concert with country musician Jerrod Niemann, and an evening Fun Run followed by fireworks.

With more than 4,300 members, New York FFA’s annual convention recognizes accomplishments from all members during the 2016-17 school year. FFA programs support agricultural education in New York by incorporating leadership conferences, scholarship programs, career development and investment of time in its young leaders, which helps to develop confidence, skills and passion as students move on to college and careers in agriculture. 

“Convention is a special time of year for FFA members to come together and celebrate all the work we have put in throughout the year," said State President Camille Ledoux. "It is a gathering of great people, great minds and the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication.”

Monday, April 17, 2017

Farming Accident Claims Life of Herkimer County Farmer

State Police in Herkimer were called to a Schuyler farm April 15 to investigate a farm accident.

Nicholas E. Crescenzo, 80, was conducting maintenance on a farm plow. The plow was being held up with a hydraulic line, which suddenly failed, resulting in the plow falling on Crescenzo.

Crescenzo was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Schuyler Fire Department also responded to the scene. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

3 Onondaga County Farms Receive Climate Grant Money

From Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Three farms in Onondaga County will benefit from more than $151,000 awarded through round two of the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program. 

Launched in 2015, the program help farms reduce their operational impact on the environment and better prepare for and recover after extreme weather events.
As part of this second round of funding, County Soil and Water Conservation Districts in six regions across the state were awarded a total of more than $1.5 million in grants on behalf of farmers in one of the following project categories: agricultural waste storage cover and flare, on-farm water management, and soil health systems.
Projects awarded in the Central New York region include:  
Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District

  • $112,577 – The district will work with two farms (Fesko Farms in Spafford and Elmer Richards and Sons farm in Marcellus) to install ponds to increase water capacity and improve the farms’ resiliency in future drought conditions. The ponds will also help farmers avoid hauling water to remote locations and provide fire protection and stormwater management for rural communities.
  • $39,381 – The district will work with one farm (Kinsale Beef Farm in Pompey) to implement a 75-acre prescribed grazing system to increase soil health and reduce farm-based greenhouse gas emissions.

Awarded projects focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting energy savings and soil health. 

One project awarded also focuses on water management to mitigate the effects of periods of drought on crops and livestock following last summer’s severe dry conditions.
The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program is funded through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. During Earth Week in April 2015, $1.4 million in awards were announced through the first round of the program to support 11 projects on farms across five regions. 

All 11 projects are currently underway to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate water and soil quality concerns.

"This funding will help protect and preserve New York's natural resources by supporting farms and addressing the unpredictable conditions and challenges of climate change," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"As New York continues to lead the nation in environmental protection, these grants not only build on our efforts to create a cleaner, greener, more resilient state – they address the priorities of Central New York and the region’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative blueprint to grow the agricultural industry and boost the economy," he said.
"This past summer, New York farms saw unprecedented drought conditions, with many suffering crop loss and increased costs," said Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball. "This program will help farmers better manage for droughts and floods that are becoming more common, while reducing their environmental footprint and protecting our surrounding natural resources."
"The drought of 2016 was the second major drought in our area in four years. Not only will these two new sources of water keep farms and livestock hydrated, they will benefit fish and other aquatic life by not removing water from streams," said Mark Burger, executive director of the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District. 

"This will allow for the stream levels to be as deep as possible and for the water temperatures to ultimately be colder for aquatic life. These two new farm ponds will also provide additional water for fire protection in their rural communities," Burger said.

Funding also was provided to some Southern Tier farms. Read that story at https://www.morningagclips.com/funding-for-southern-tier-farms/?utm_content=articles&utm_campaign=NLCampaign&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_term=newsletteredition&utm_medium=email this link.

In Western New York, the following projects were funded:

Projects awarded in the Finger Lakes region include:

Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District

  • $145,981 – The district will work with three farms to install water and sediment control basins and associated practices to direct, slow, and diffuse concentrated water flows. This will also reduce all forms of erosion and reduce soil loss, sediment delivery, and nutrient and pathogen runoff to nearby waterways.
  • $226,500  The district will work with one farm to install a sustainable irrigation system to help the farm be more resilient in overcoming drought conditions on 500 acres of the farm’s most vulnerable soils. This will allow the farm to improve crop cover and density, which are key components to building carbon rich healthy soils.
  • $32,010  The district will work with one farm to implement a pond expansion to improve resiliency during drought conditions and ensure the farm has a continuous supply of water in the future. It will also prevent the need to truck supplemental water to the farm and hold higher rates of runoff water that would otherwise impact downstream communities.

Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District
$44,790 – The District will work with three farms to implement soil health practice systems, including implementing 500 acres of cover crops to build healthy soils and improve soil carbon sequestration. As a result, the projects will also reduce farm-based greenhouse gas emissions and improve resiliency to the farm during periods of flood and drought. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Farmers Should Sign Up Now for Taste NY Thruway Sites

From New York Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority and the State Department of Agriculture and Markets  encourages farmers across New York state to sign up to sell their products at service areas along the Thruway this season.

For years, New York state has been committed to showcasing some of its finest vendors and their products. From locally grown fruits and vegetables to some of the most superb cheese and herbs in the northeast, promoting these products to travelers continues to be a priority.

“Providing motorists with exceptional service in every aspect of our system is paramount in all that we do,” said Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Bill Finch.

“Continuing to expand our Taste NY Farmers’ Markets to offer travelers access to locally grown, healthy foods while also helping to create agricultural jobs in New York is an initiative that all of us at the Thruway Authority take great pride in and I encourage farmers to take part in this program,” Finch said.

The Thruway Authority has outdoor farmers’ market locations at service areas across the state. Last year, nearly one dozen farmers from regions all across New York participated in the markets at 19 service areas, reaching millions of visitors who travel the Thruway throughout the spring and summer months.

A list of Thruway Authority service area locations is available here -- http://www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/travelplazas/index.cgi

“Farmers’ markets are a welcome addition to the Thruway’s service areas,” said state Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “They highlight each of the region’s agricultural strengths and provide our farmers a unique opportunity to connect with new consumers.

“Taste NY Farmers’ Markets also give travelers healthy food options and a chance to interact in person with our state’s great producers,” Ball said.

New York vendors interested in selling food products at Taste NY Farmers’ Markets should email TravelersServices@thruway.ny.gov for more information on how to participate this season.

Taste NY is an initiative launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2013 to promote New York’s food and beverage industries.

It is overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and has created opportunities for local producers to showcase their goods at a variety of venues throughout the state and at large public events, such as the Great New York State Fair and the Barclays Tournament at Bethpage State Park. 

Drought Relief Money Left Out Of State Budget

Go to http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news03/senates-proposed-drought-relief-funding-for-farmers-not-in-final-state-budget--20170412 to see the story.

New York State Budget Includes Millions for Agriculture

Go to http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news03/state-budget-awards-millions-to-agriculture-thousands-for-farm-business-and-education-programs--20170412 to check out the story.

State Warns Poultry Farmers About Avian Flu

From State Department of Agriculture and Markets

State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball has reminded New York poultry farmers to practice biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of avian influenza.

Two cases of highly pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza have been reported in Tennessee and several cases of a less serious strain have been reported in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Wisconsin. No cases have been reported in New York.

The avian influenza strains detected in other states are not considered to be threats to public health, but can be deadly to birds.

To prevent avian influenza from infecting poultry flocks in New York State, the Department is encouraging poultry producers and visitors to farms to follow best practices, which include:

** Discourage unnecessary visitors and use biosecurity signs to warn people not to enter buildings without permission
** Ask all visitors if they have had any contact with any birds in the past five days
** Forbid entry to employees and visitors who own any kind of fowl
** Require all visitors to cover and disinfect all footwear
** Lock all entrances to chicken houses after hours
** Avoid non-essential vehicular traffic on-farm
** After hauling birds to processors, clean and disinfect poultry transport coops and vehicles before they return to the farm

Report anything unusual, especially sick or dead birds, to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Schumer Wants Crop Insurance for Malt Barley



Sen. Charles Schumer holds a glass of malt barley used to make beer
New York state could be on the verge of becoming the craft brewing capital of the United States.

But to do that, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said more farmers have to grow malting barley, which is one of the primary ingredients in beer.

“Farmers are eager to grow it if they can get insurance,” Schumer said April 10 during a news conference in the 1886 Malt House in Volney, just outside Fulton in Oswego County. Without insurance, farmers would lose too much money if a freak act of nature ruined their barley crop.

Schumer said he will ask incoming Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to insure malt barley crops throughout New York state. 

Right now, malt barley is insured only in Genesee, Ontario, Otsego and Cortland counties.

No legislature is needed for this to happen, Schumer said. All Perdue has to do is sign an order.

“We have to get this done,” Schumer said.

The federal government insures many crops that farmers produce. 

“If an act of God takes away you product, then the federal government will pay you for your loss,” Schumer said.

Crop insurance doesn’t exist in many counties in New York for malting barley because it is a fairly new crop. Other crops protected by insurance in New York include corn, soybeans, apples, onions, potatoes, green beans, cabbage, grapes, oats, wheat, nursery and greenhouse products, hay, forage, dairy and beef.

Some of the malt barley machines at the 1886 Malt House in Volney, Oswego County
Crop insurance protected $541 million of liability on growing crops in New York in 2015. There were more than 1 million acres insured and more than $42 million was paid to farmers in indemnities for production and/or revenue losses, according to crop insurance statistics.

There are about a dozen malt houses in New York state ready to accept more malting barley from farmers. Malt houses, like the one in Volney at the Sunoco ethanol plant, take the malting barley and expose it to moisture so the seed germinates. Then it produces an enzyme that converts the starches to sugars.

Schumer said it is important for more farmers to grow malting barley because of the 2012 passage of the state’s Farm Brewing Law, which mandates craft brewers to use New York-grown ingredients in their beer.

Right now, brewers must use 20 percent New York hops and 20 percent other New York ingredients in their beers. By 2019, that percentage jumps to 60 percent. And by 2024, no less than 90 percent of all craft beer ingredients must be grown in New York state.

That has led to a large increase in the number of hops acreage grown in the state, and Schumer said the same has to happen with malting barley. But the problem with malting barley is it is difficult to grow in New York.

Malting barley likes dry, cooler weather and the wetness and humidity in New York could cause malting barley planted here to be more susceptible to diseases, especially fusarium blight.

This is why the crop insurance is so important.

“Right now, we are one of the top five craft brewing states in the country,” Schumer said. And he believes with the crop insurance, New York could be heading to number one.

1886 Malt House
Volney, Oswego County
Has contracts with malt barley farmers in Franklin, Genesee, Orleans, Onondaga, Madison, Oneida, Erie, Niagara, Cayuga and Otsego counties
Has 500 acres of malt barley under contract for 2017 and 700 acres under contract for 2017
Will supply more than 2,000 tons of malt barley each year


Friday, April 7, 2017

Spring Dairy Carousel Underway at State Fairgrounds

From the New York State Fair:

New York Spring Dairy Carousel is being held April 7-10 at the New York State Fairgrounds.

The Spring Dairy Carousel is recognized as the most prestigious and largest spring dairy event in North America. All seven major dairy breeds are represented in eight shows, five sales and several junior activities. 

In 2016, well over 1,000 animals from 20 states and Canada came for the event. Several thousand people attended throughout the four-day event. 

The public is welcome, admission and parking are free, and food will be available. Exhibitors and staff are happy to answer questions about cattle and the dairy industry. 

A complete schedule of events can be found at this link www.nyholsteins.com

Venue: Toyota Coliseum and the Tractor Supply Company Exhibit Center

Show Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Admission: Free admission
Event Website: www.nyholsteins.com
Contact phone number : (607) 273-7591 or (607) 316-0867