March 11, 2012

Farm briefs: March 11, 2012


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Forestry initiative offers funding in New York

MALONE — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service is providing federal funding to assist New York forest land owners with conservation management under the New England-New York Forestry Initiative.

New York is one of seven states participating in this special initiative, through which funding is made available to implement conservation practices on private forest land throughout New England and New York.

"The main goal of this effort is to promote quality forest stewardship and conservation among private forest landowners," USDA Conservationist Carrie Mosley said. "Besides providing many economic benefits in New York State, forests are home to diverse communities of fish and wildlife. Through sound planning and management, our goal is to help private landowners keep forests as forests."

Forest land owners who would like assistance are encouraged to call or visit their local USDA Service Center by March 23, the current funding cut-off date, to submit an application and complete the necessary paperwork to establish their eligibility. USDA Service Centers are listed at or in the telephone book under United States Government, Agriculture Department.

More information is available on the New York NRCS website at

Each state, in consultation with local, state, regional and tribal partners, has identified priority resource concerns and core conservation practices. In New York, these include the development and implementation of forest management plans, forest stand improvement and erosion control on forest trails and landings.

Seminar focuses on winter vegetable crops

WILLSBORO — In spite of the cold climate, there is an impressive array of food that can be produced and made available locally. Cornell Cooperative Extension is hosting a program on winter crop options for vegetable growers from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, in Willsboro.

Topics to be covered include crop varieties for fall harvest and winter storage, an update on new pests of garlic and onions, a comparison of various season-extension structures and the basics of winter greens production. Speakers include Judson Reid and Laura McDermott, Cornell vegetable specialists; Mike Davis, manager of Cornell's Baker Research Farm; and Amy Ivy from Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The program will begin at 10 a.m. at Cornell's Baker Research Farm in Willsboro and progress to the Willsboro Visitor's Center, ending at 3 p.m. at the Carriage House Garden Center. This program will include two field visits and will not have pesticide recertification credits.

The cost is $20 including lunch and resource materials. Additional people from the same farm are $10 each. Registration is due by March 23. To register, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension in Plattsburgh at 561-7450 or email Amy Ivy at

This program is funded in part by a grant from the Northern New York Ag Development Program.

Prices for grain coverage announced

ALBANY — Major changes in crop insurance that will benefit New York growers are on the way, according to New York State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine.

For the first time, producers can purchase up to 85 percent protection for corn and soybeans, up from 75 percent.

In addition, the insurable price election for corn silage has been raised to $50 a ton for this insurance year, up from $42.50 last year. The commissioner also reminded farmers of the upcoming March 15 deadline for purchasing or modifying crop insurance policies for the 2012 growing season. Last year, due to adverse weather in the spring and the flooding caused from tropical storms Irene and Lee, more than 1,239 New York producers received indemnity payments totaling more than $38 million.

A list of crop insurance agents who sell crop insurance in each county is available at or at the local USDA Farm Service Agency office.

Winter dairy conference offered at Miner

CHAZY — The Cornell Cooperative Extensions of Northern New York have set the date for the 2012 Winter Dairy Management Conference. The 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. program, focused on group housing and ad-lib feeding systems, will be held Thursday, March 22, at the W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy.

The conference agenda includes presentations by Dr. Larry Chase of Cornell University; Cornell University PRO-DAIRY program educators John Conway and Curt Gooch; veterinarians Dr. Mark Thomas of Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Lowville and Dr. Bob Ceglowski of Rupert Veterinary Clinic, Rupert, Vt; and Kim Morrill, Ph.D., the new Cornell Cooperative Extension dairy specialist for St. Lawrence, Franklin and Clinton counties. Farmers using group calf-housing systems will share their experiences. A ready-made "warm box" will be on display.

"There has been a recent surge in interest in group housing and in the ad-lib feeding of calves. Several farms have seen results in improved calf health and viability not to mention labor efficiencies," said Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County Dairy Educator Frans Vokey.

The $30 registration fee includes lunch and how-to materials from the sold-out Dec. 1, 2011, Dairy Calf Group Housing Symposium in Syracuse.

Register by March 16 with Kim Morrill, CCE St. Lawrence County, (315) 379-9192.

Equine conference to be held Saturday

CHAZY — EquiDay 2012 at Miner Institute in Chazy is a daylong symposium on horse topics to launch the spring season. On Saturday, March 17, the doors will open at 9 a.m. for free registration and refreshments. The speaker program starts at 10 a.m. and continues until 3 p.m., ending with a door-prize drawing.

Horses locally are being diagnosed with Lyme disease, a trend that's likely to increase. Dr. Cathy Lombardi of The Oaks Equine and Farm Services in Virginia will address the basics of Lyme and will also talk about colic.

Dr. Betsy Greene, Vermont's Extension equine specialist, will be presenting on the time she spent as part of an independent evaluation team for the Bureau of Land Management watching wild mustangs being rounded up.

Legal liability of horse ownership, finding places to ride and horse-welfare issues will be discussed by Karen Lassell, equine manager at Miner and regional vice president of the New York State Horse Council. Adirondack Tack of Plattsburgh will put on a fashion show and describe the outfits for various disciplines.

For more information, visit, or contact Karen Lassell at 846-7121, Ext. 120, or