Sunday, August 20, 2017

Morrisville State College at the New York State Fair

Morrisville State College will have a strong presence again this year at the Great New York State Fair, featuring a handcrafted scale-model canoe, a student-built hot rod, horses and renewable energy and hemp displays.

The fair runs Aug. 23-Sept. 4.

Fairgoers can learn about renewable energy, horses and horsepower inside the Morrisville State College Bartlett Barn near Gate 4 by the Coliseum. Horses from various equine programs will be housed in the building throughout the fair.

The college also will showcase its Mustang car. Students in the college's automotive programs transformed the 1988 Mustang into a 550 horsepower dragster that accelerates to 130 mph in 10 seconds.

New this year in the Morrisville State College building is a handcrafted canoe, a scale model of those being constructed in a new Introduction to Boat Building course at the college.

Visitors to the building also can obtain an array of information about the college and can speak to faculty and staff about the college's program offerings. Morrisville State alumni are encouraged to stop by and access materials to find fellow classmates, enjoy history about the college and catch up on the college's growth and progress.

Morrisville State College Alumni Day at the fair is Aug. 30.

Visitors also can learn more about the hemp industry at the college's display in the SUNY section of the Horticulture Building. Morrisville is leading research in the experimentation of growing hemp as a commercial crop.

The college also will have informational materials in the World of Horses tent, which features a center ring where fairgoers can see horses up close and talk with their owners and handlers.

Nelson Farms, run by the auxiliary corporation of the college, will once again head the Taste NY Marketplace, a retail store offering food products grown and produced in New York state. The marketplace's new location is in the Horticulture Building.

The college's School of Agriculture and Natural Resources will have an exhibit in the FFA Building.

Morrisville State students also will be competing throughout the fair. They will participate in Forestry Day competitions Sept. 2 in the New York Experience Area. They also will show lambs in the beef Cattle Barn on Sept. 2 and will compete in various equine competitions.

Morrisville State College is the only college in North America to compete with a six-horse hitch, which will also be part of the fair parade on opening day, Aug. 23.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Winners Announced for First Ever State Fair Craft Beer Competition

Brooklyn's Threes Brewing Co. earned top honors at the first-ever New York State Craft Beer Competition, winning the Governor's Excelsior Cup. 

Threes Brewing's Pilsner "Vliet" earned gold in the Light Lager category and moved on to win Best in Show. Nineteen beers from breweries across the state earned gold medals. 

Sponsored by the New York State Brewers Association, the official New York State Fair competition featured nearly 40 judges sampling a total of 707 entries in the largest professionally judged craft beer competition held in New York State.   

The New York State Craft Beer Competition was open to any craft brewer located in New York state. Entries were submitted from 143 New York breweries, accounting for nearly half of all licensed breweries in the State.   

Gold, silver, and bronze medal winners were awarded in each of the 20 categories, which include major styles of beer, such as IPAs and Lagers, as well as niche or emerging styles, such as sour beers or fruit and spice beers. Gold medal winners by category are:  

  • Light Lager: Threes Brewing Co.'s "Vliet" - Brooklyn
  • Wheat Beer: Brewery Ommegang's "Witte" - Cooperstown
  • Fruit and Spice Beer: The Peekskill Brewery's "Pinky Up" - Peekskill
  • Belgian Farmhouse: Threes Brewing Co.'s "Wandering Bine" - Brooklyn
  • Amber and Dark Lagers: Naked Dove Brewing Co.'s "Naked Dove Exposinator Doppelbock" - Canandaigua
  • Amber/Red Ale: Seneca Street Brew Pub's "Irish Red Ale" - Manlius 
  • Pale Ale: War Horse Brewing Co.'s "Lieutenant Dan IPA" - Geneva 
  • American IPA: Good Nature Brewing Co.'s "Blight Buster" - Hamilton
  • American IPA Variations: Prison City Brewing's "4 Piece" - Auburn
  • American Double IPA: Big Slide Brewery & Public House's "Giant IPA" - Lake Placid
  • Porter, Stout and Brown Ale: Stumblin' Monkey Brewing's "Oatmeal Stout" - Victor
  • Imperial Stout and Porter: Spider Bite Beer Co.'s "Boris the Spider" - Holbrook 
  • Belgian Other: Thin Man's "Hyperballad" - Buffalo
  • Strong Ale: Heartland Brewery's "Old Red Nose Special Edition 14" - New York City
  • Wild and Sour Ale: Mill House Brewing Co.'s "Citra Bridges"- Poughkeepsie - and Rushing Duck Brewing's "Zingerbier Berliner Weisse" - Chester - tied in this category
  • Barrel Aged Sour: Brooklyn Brewery's "Kiwi's Playhouse" - Brooklyn
  • Barrel Aged (Non-Sour): Three Heads Brewing's "Baltic Porter Aged in Iron Smoke Whiskey Barrels" - Rochester
  • Experimental: Prison City Brewing's "Wham Whams" - Auburn
  • New York State Beer: Saint James Brewery's "Saint James Brewery Pomme- Apple Ale" - Holbrook

Chevy Court Concert Lineup for the New York State Fair

ANOTHER UPDATE -- Two more concerts were added Aug. 18 to the Chevy Court lineup.

Reagae performer Stephen Marley will perform at 2 p.m. Aug. 26 while rock favorites Lynyrd Skynyrd will take the Chevy Court stage 1 p.m. Aug. 27.

Here is the full lineup as of Aug. 18:

Chevy Court concerts:
Robert Randolph and the Family Band, 2 p.m. Aug. 23
3 Doors Down, 8 p.m., Aug. 23
The Family Stone, 2 p.m., Aug. 24
Chevelle, 8 p.m., Aug. 24
The Fabulous Thunderbirds, 2 p.m. Aug. 25
The Beach Boys, 7 p.m., Aug. 25
Stephen Marley, 2 p.m., Aug. 26

Symphoria, 8 p.m., Aug. 26
Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1 p.m., Aug. 27

Earth, Wind and Fire, 8 p.m., Aug. 27
Herman’s Hermits, 2 p.m., Aug. 28
Kansas, 8 p.m. Aug. 28
The Marshall Tucker Band, 2 p.m., Aug. 29
Daya, 8 p.m., Aug. 29
Taylor Dayne, 2 p.m., Aug. 30
Bret Michaels, 8 p.m., Aug. 30
Skid Row, 2 p.m., Aug. 31
LeAnn Rimes, 8 p.m., Aug. 31
A Tribe Called Red, 2 p.m., Sept. 1
Blue Oyster Cult, 8 p.m., Sept. 1
DNCE, 8 p.m., Sept. 2
The Spin Doctors, 2 p.m., Sept. 3
Migos, 8 p.m. Sept. 3
UB40, 2 p.m., Sept. 4
Kool & the Gang, 6 p.m., Sept. 4

Law Allows Farm Cideries to Sell to All Licensed Wineries and Cideries

From Assemblyman Bill Magee:

A bill to allow New York farm cideries to sell their products to all licensed wineries and cideries has been signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, Madison County, said the bill he wrote will help cideries expand.

Prior regulations limited farm cideries to selling their products to other farm cideries, distilleries, wineries and breweries. However, while farm distilleries and farm wineries are additionally able to sell to commercial distilleries and wineries, farm cideries were previously barred from this type of distribution.

Magee’s legislation allows farm cideries to sell their products to all licensed wineries and cideries, opening up a whole new market and strengthening local agriculture.

“Agriculture is the backbone of our state. We should be doing all we can to cut red tape for producers so that they can grow and flourish,” said Magee, chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee. “By allowing farm cideries to sell their top-notch goods across the state, we can strengthen these local businesses, boost our economy and help create jobs.”

“Opening up more outlets, increasing tasting opportunities and adding products will givev cideries more room to grow and expand,” said Juanita Critz of Critz Farms Brewing & Cider Co. “We look forward to the advantages these additional options will bring to increasing exposure for businesses like ours here at Critz Farms.”

Deadline Extended for Ritchie's Farm Family Survey

A column from state Sen. Patty Ritchie:

New York's farmers work hard to bring the best quality products to their neighbors, tables and kitchens around the state and world.   

As chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I know it’s important to get feedback from hardworking farmers to identify ways the state can assist in helping to provide them with new opportunities to expand their businesses.
In an effort to help support farmers and their operations, I recently launched a “Farm Family Survey” that seeks input on a number of issues, including milk prices, the impact of recent weather and farm expenses that the state could help in offsetting, among others.

The deadline to participate in this survey has been extended to Aug. 31. Those interested in completing a survey can visit my website,, or have one mailed to you by calling my office at (315) 782-3418.

My Farm Family Survey builds on my past efforts to support New York farmers. Earlier this year, I worked for record funding in the new state budget for agriculture — for the third year in a row — totaling $51 million for dozens of programs that seek to bolster the bottom lines of farmers across the state and here in Central and Northern New York.

New York’s farmers are critically important when it comes to providing people with fresh, healthy foods, as well as to supporting our state’s economy. Your feedback on my survey is essential to providing me with the information I need to better advocate for our state’s farmers and help our state’s agriculture industry thrive for generations to come.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

2 Appointments Made at the USDA

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made two key appointments this week to help fulfill the vital mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply. 

Perdue announced that Carmen Rottenberg was selected as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety and Paul Kiecker was named Acting Administrator for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). 

The two will serve in those capacities until presidential nominees are confirmed by the Senate for those roles.

“Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply is our most important responsibility, and it’s one we undertake with great seriousness," Perdue said.  

"Both Carmen and Paul have dedicated their careers to the mission of food safety and I am pleased to have appointed them to these important roles within the USDA,” said Perdue. “I commend the work of the entire USDA’s food safety team for painstakingly safeguarding the food we serve our families every single day.”

Rottenberg will oversee development, implementation and enforcement of all of FSIS regulations, policies, and programs. This appointment follows nearly six years in leadership roles in the FSIS Office of the Administrator, including serving as Chief of Staff, Chief Operating Officer and, most recently, Deputy Administrator.

In those leadership roles, Rottenberg executed a budget of over $1 billion, prioritizing resources and resolving disputes, advancing the agency’s vision and goals, and leading innovative solutions to challenges in FSIS.  

She spearheaded strategic planning at FSIS and implemented numerous initiatives to strategically move the agency forward. Rottenberg implemented two major reorganizations, leading to a more streamlined, efficient agency better positioned to carry out its food safety mission.  

Through her leadership and oversight, an early governance process matured into an established systematic approach to agency decision-making, resulting in more deliberative, science-based decisions that consider enterprise-wide risks and benefits. Rottenberg led the very successful i-Impact initiative, which has increased the awareness of and engagement in FSIS’s public health mission by the more than 9,000 employees throughout the Agency.

Rottenberg has a bachelor's degree in political science and philosophy from Hope College in Holland, MI and a law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law.

Kiecker has been with FSIS for 29 years and is committed to a strong public health vision that has guided him to overcome obstacles, identify opportunities for improvement, manage resources efficiently, and achieve food safety objectives to prevent foodborne illness.

Since joining FSIS in 1988 as a food inspector, Kiecker has served in a number of roles at the agency, most recently as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Field Operations. He came to Washington, D.C. to serve as Executive Associate for Regulatory Operations, after serving as the District Manager in Springdale, AR and Madison, WI, as well as Deputy District Manager in Madison, WI.  

Kiecker’s experience with FSIS also includes work with the Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit, where he has served as a Compliance Investigator and as Supervisory Compliance Officer.

In his various positions with FSIS, Kiecker has played a critical role in leading external coordination with other federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, international organizations, and law enforcement agencies.  

He also has had oversight responsibility for strategic planning, policy formulation and implementation, budget development and execution, human resource management, and day-to-day inspection operations.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tiny Parasite Wreaks Havoc on New York Bee Supply

A column from state Sen. Patty Ritchie:

Bees, both wild and managed, play a key role in our state’s agriculture industry, helping crops of all kinds thrive.  

However, these powerful pollinators are under attack by parasitic mites.

The varroa mite – a tiny parasite that attacks honeybees – has infected 90 percent of the bee colonies surveyed this year. As a result, agriculture could see up to $500 million in potential losses. The top crops that are dependent on healthy and abundant pollinators are apples, pumpkins and tomatoes. 

In addition, managed bee colonies in Upstate New York have lost up to 70 percent of their bees over the last few years because of disease, pesticides and loss of habitat, according to a recent state study. Once the mites take hold, potentially deadly viruses spread throughout the colony, which could wipe the colony out.   

Experts say that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep this mite from spreading. The varroa mite thrives off weakened bee colonies and when one colony dies, nearby hives will take honey from the weakened bees, which causes the mites to spread at a rapid rate.

The destruction of bee colonies is starting to reach alarming levels. In an effort to combat this problem, I’m pleased to have been able to secure $290,000 over the past two years in state funding for various programs at Cornell University, aimed at conducting vital research and disease testing to protect our state’s bee population.  

As chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I will continue to work to support programs and spearhead initiatives designed to preserve our state’s pollinators and help keep this key sector of the state’s economy “buzzing” for years to come.