Dairy farmers look to supply yogurt boom
ALBANY — In response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s successful Yogurt Summit last summer, dozens of New York Farm Bureau members and family dairy farm owners recently testified at four public hearings held across the state by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Each farmer told a personal story of what expanding the threshold for a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) will mean to their farms.
For years, small dairy farmers kept expansion at bay because of rigorous and costly regulations that kicked in any time a farm had more than 199 cows. Not only does this limit the growth of a small farm, but as with the boom of the yogurt industry in upstate New York, it also limits the availability of fresh, local milk needed to meet the yogurt demand.
Moving the threshold for CAFO compliance to 299 cows is an unprecedented step and a sure sign the governor understands the needs of farmers to meet the manufacturers’ demand for local milk, keeping good jobs upstate, according to Farm Bureau. This change would also maintain the highest environmental standards in the country for dairy farmers who have consistently kept the state’s land and water clean, exceeding federal requirements.
“My son is the seventh generation on our family our farm. We have always taken our stewardship of the land seriously because we fully expect to pass it on to another generation. This change in CAFO threshold would be extremely helpful to us with a modest expansion to better accommodate the next generation,” said Tom Borden, dairy farmer and Washington County Farm Bureau president.
“I firmly believe that we can be environmentally responsible for far less cost than current CAFO requirements would demand. The current CAFO threshold only serves to force small farms to become much larger farms or go out of business.”
Borden’s family farm currently has 180 cows, and he would like to add 100 more over some time taking into account things like proper land and barn space and feed costs.
Ward Lumber to host Equine Night
JAY — Ward Lumber is hosting a free Equine Night on Tuesday, Feb. 19, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. for equine enthusiasts.
Seminar topics include the economics of feeding horses (hay, grain and supplements), the value of horse feed and places that money is wasted, meeting the nutritional requirements for horses that cannot eat forage i.e. senior horses and the role of protein in diet — how protein and fat work together. There will also be a question-and-answer session.
The guest speaker is Dr. Stephen Duren, a native of Soda Springs, Idaho. He completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Sciences at the University of Idaho and earned a Master of Science Degree and Doctor of Philosophy in Equine Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky.
Duren, a former consulting equine nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research, Versailles, Ky., has formed his own company, Performance Horse Nutrition, LLC, and consults with horse owners throughout the world. Duren is also the co-author of the book “The Concise Guide to Nutrition In The Horse,” and has consulted with horse owners world-wide including Australia, Japan, Canada and United Arab Emirates.
The event is free, and there will be prize drawings, pizza and refreshments. To register, go to WardLumber.com or call Kim at 946-2110, Ext. 120.
Farm Disaster Preparation Certificate training
MALONE — The Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Associations of Northern New York are offering Extension’s Farm Disaster Preparation Certificate workshops to help farmers prevent and prepare for accidents involving farm equipment on the road, on-farm fires or structure collapse, biosecurity, agricultural products storage and wind or storm damage.
The training, presented by Jim Ochterski, Agriculture and Natural Resources Issues leader with CCE Ontario County, Jackson Wright of the CCE North West New York Dairy Livestock and Field Crops Team, and Northern New York CCE educators will focus on pre-disaster education, preparedness and mitigation steps.
Farms that complete the training will receive a dated certificate to provide to insurers as a condition of eligibility for receiving a credit, discount or preferred status. For example, Farm Family Insurance is offering up to a 15 percent discount. Nationwide is offering Preferred Status. The value of the credit or discount will vary according to individual policies and policyholder circumstances.
Farmers are encouraged to check the details of their policies with their insurance agents. Extension offers to work with non-participating agencies to explain the benefits of participating in the certification program to decrease losses due to accidents and disasters.
Dealing with livestock injuries and reducing the opportunity for on-farm crime are also part of the 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. training to be offered Jan. 16 in Malone at the Emergency Services Building. Register by calling 483-7403 or email email@example.com.
The program fee is $35 and includes lunch and information materials. Preregistration is requested.