May 26, 2013

Farm briefs: May 26, 2013


Application cutoff date for field monitoring announced

PLATTSBURGH — The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is inviting farmers with land in targeted watersheds in New York State to partner with the agency to monitor the quality of the water that runs off of their fields.

NRCS will cost share for monitoring equipment and also provide funding to landowners who voluntarily install conservation practices on fields where monitoring indicates a water quality concern.

“This will allow us to identify problem areas and evaluate the best way to address the issues using NRCS conservation practices.” said Don Pettit, state conservationist, NRCS New York.

New York’s edge-of-field water quality monitoring projects are part of NRCS’ goal of improving the quality of water in the Lake Champlain and Chesapeake Bay watersheds. The data will be used to help producers adapt management practices on farms, to document the public benefits of conservation practices, and to assist with national water quality modeling efforts.

Applications are being accepted for specific, priority sub-watersheds in both the Chesapeake Bay and Lake Champlain watersheds.

The deadline for applying for this year’s edge-of-field monitoring project is June 14. Interested landowners should contact their local NRCS office before June 14 to determine if their farms are within one of the priority sub-watersheds and then to submit an application. Applications will be evaluated nationally and will compete with water-quality projects in other states for funding under NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

In New York, monitoring professionals and contractors will work with participants to conduct the monitoring services once a contract has been approved. Specific data collected via monitoring are protected by farm bill law and will only be shared as authorized by the participants.

General information regarding NRCS New York Conservation Programs can be found at: If you are interested in applying for a conservation program, visit

Quality Milk Workshops set 

PLATTSBURGH — Northern New York Dairy Specialist Kimberley Morrill is interested in helping dairies in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties earn more money. One way to do that is to provide education about how to reduce somatic cell counts (SCC) and, by doing so, earning premium income.

Morrill, Dairy Educator Ron Kuck with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson and Lewis counties and Quality Milk Lab Director Jessica C. Scillieri-Smith, DVM, Canton, are planning a series of three workshops in conjunction with the Northern New York Dairy Institute and Quality Milk Production Services.

The workshops will have a morning section geared to farms looking for their first quality milk premium and more rigorous afternoon sections for those whose goal is to get to the next premium or quality milk level. Both sections will be open to any dairy producer.

The Quality Milk Production Workshops will be conducted locally starting in early November. For more information, contact Kuck, 315-788-8450,; Morrill, 315-379-9192,; or Scillieri Smith at 877-645-5523,

For dairy operators who wish to assess their opportunity for milk quality income before the fall workshops, Morrill suggests using the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Milk Quality Economic Opportunity Dashboard. A link to the online calculating tool is posted at under Dairy.