Organic dairy, crop education conference set
An Organic Dairy and Field Crop Conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Syracuse Nov. 4.
Sponsored by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, the event features keynote speakers Ed Maltby, executive director of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance; and Mary-Howell Martens, owner of Lakeview Organic Grain.
The following workshops will be presented:
Conscientious Care of Organic Dairy Animals, Hubert Karreman, VMD; Diversifying Your Dairy with Local Organic Meats, Bill Eklund; Diverse Grazing Practices, Nathan Weaver, Robert Zufall and Brad Davis; Crop Rotation, Cultivation and Weed Control in Row Crops, Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens; Nutrient Density in Grain Crops, Kevin Engelbert, professor, Margaret Smith and Orin Moyer; Healthy Soils for a Healthy Farm, Heather Darby and Cindy Daley; Growing and Marketing Food-Grade Grains, Glenda Neff, Elizabeth Dyck, Thor Oechsner and Ed Lentz.
The association encourages new farmers and farmers interested in transitioning to organic to attend. Certified organic LLC staff will be available throughout the day to answer questions.
Register online at www.nofany.org/dairyconference or call Katie, the membership and registration coordinator, at (585) 271-1979, Ext. 512.
Early bird discounts save $5 for registration by Oct. 24. Association members pay $35, guests of members (two-person limit) pay $25, and non-members pay $55. Children 12 and under are free. Lunch is potluck, and attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to share.
The conference is partly made possible through the support of Horizon Organic and Organic Valley.
Senators introduce bill to protect maple industry
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have introduced legislation that would make intentionally mislabeling food products as "maple syrup" a federal crime. Currently, this form of food fraud is only a misdemeanor. The legislation would make these crimes a felony, increasing sentences that prosecutors can seek for people who defraud consumers and farmers by intentionally mislabeling maple syrup.
"Maple farmers across New York State produce some of the highest quality syrup in the world," Schumer said. "We need to crack down on individuals trying to pass off fake syrup as the real thing so that our farmers can compete fair and square."
Gillibrand noted New York is the second-largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S.
"We shouldn't allow production to be hampered by fraudulent behavior," she said. "This bill ensures that producers of real maple syrup can sell their product in an honest market and that consumers know what they're paying for."
The bill is being introduced in response to a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation that determined that a Rhode Island man was marketing and selling a product as maple syrup when in fact it was cane sugar. Cane sugar costs about 2 percent as much as real maple syrup, thus defrauding consumers who believed that they were purchasing real maple syrup.
The bipartisan Maple Agriculture Protection and Law Enforcement (MAPLE) Act would increase the maximum penalty for fraudulently selling maple syrup that is not, in fact, maple syrup from one year to five years in prison.