July 29, 2012

Farm Briefs: July 29, 2012


---- — Gillibrand calls for pesticide review for bee health

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With colony collapse disorder decreasing the U.S. bee population by 30 percent since 2006, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has called to expedite the review of pesticides that could be inadvertently decimating honey-bee populations.

Honey bees are vital to the health of agricultural industries in New York, as one in three bites of food is reliant on honey-bee pollination. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not expected to complete their review until 2018. Gillibrand urged a quicker time frame, asking that it be completed by the end of next year.

“Our agriculture industry is vital to the upstate New York economy,” Gillibrand said. “Our farmers need honey bees to pollinate our crops and produce. However, certain pesticides may be unintentionally killing off the honey-bee population. By expediting this review, we can help save our honey-bee population and grow our agricultural economies.”

The EPA is currently reviewing neonicotinoids, a class of pesticide that could be toxic to honey bees and other pollinators in high or chronic doses. Research has shown that neonicotinoids can cause disruptions in mobility, navigation, feeding, foraging, memory, learning and overall hive activity, all functions that are vital to the survival of the honey bee.

This would have the potential to negatively impact almond, blueberry, pumpkin, apple and cherry crops, all crucial to the economy of New York agriculture. New York State has already begun to discontinue use of neonicotinoids. After reviewing the pesticides, the EPA would make any warranted regulatory changes to better protect the nation’s honey bees.

A recent study by Cornell University found that insect pollination results in a value of more than $15 billion annually, Gillibrand said.

Families invited to experience Day on the Farm

PLATTSBURGH — The Clinton County Farm Bureau is holding its first ever Day on the Farm Aug. 18 at Rusty Creek Farm located on 787 Stetson Road in Chazy.

Rusty Creek Farm is a sixth-generation dairy farm dating back to the mid-1850s. The current partnership began in 1988 and consists of father and son, Tony and Paul LaPierre, and their families. The farm owns 800 head of livestock with 350 milk cows producing 3,200 gallons of milk daily. Approximately 1,000 acres of corn, alfalfa and grass are planted and harvested annually.

In recent years, the farm has begun to market their own fresh local beef. Sponsored by Nationwide, A Day on the Farm starts at 11 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m. with entertainment and educational activities happening throughout the day including hay-ride tours every half hour to explain how a modern dairy farm operates, a lineup of machinery, pony rides, a children’s activity center with coloring and activity books, a bouncy house, a sand pool with farm animal buried treasures, a local vendor raffle with a variety of door prizes, a McCadam cheese van with cheese samples, a barbecue and drinks, and an ice-cream truck with novelty treats.

“Clinton County Farm Bureau is excited and proud to have the opportunity to showcase modern agriculture to the public,” said Tony LaPierre, president of the Clinton County Farm Bureau. Admission is a $5 donation to benefit the Farm Bureau.

While enjoying the activities and learning about what it takes to operate a modern-day farm, families are encouraged to stop by the Farm Bureau booth to become a regular or supporting member. For more information, e-mail

Poultry-slaughter guide offered

PLATTSBURGH — The Cornell Small Farms Program has compiled the “On-Farm Poultry Slaughter Guide” designed to complement hands-on training on how to properly kill and prepare a poultry carcass for sale. The guide focuses on the critical points for producing a product that is safe to eat.

This 28-page guide contains sections on the 1,000-bird limit exemption, where a producer can legally sell birds; labeling requirements; sanitary operating procedures; and several appendices, such as a sample flock-record log and a questionnaire that an insurance company may use to assess knowledge of safe poultry-processing practices.

The guide is available either by PDF or for viewing online at the Northeast Beginning Farmers Project website.

Lynn Bliven, ag and natural resources team coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties, was a leader of the project. Clarence Davis of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets helped interpret and clarify the regulations and policies.

For more small-farm news and information, visit For beginning farmer support, visit

Farm Bureau exhibits featured at Empire Farm Days

SENECA FALLS — One of several new exhibits at the Farm Bureau Family Center at the Aug. 7-9 Empire Farm Days at Rodman Lott & Son Farms in Seneca Falls shines a light on New York sheep and cabbage production.

The Wheel of Agriculture knowledge game has been updated with new questions with a special focus on sheep and cabbage and special prizes. Another new exhibit features the diversity of careers to be found in the agricultural industry.

New York Farm Bureau’s insurance partner, Nationwide, is providing a special safety-education center exhibit that will complement the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) showcase that is part of the Farm Bureau Family Center complex. Staff from NYCAMH will be in the center with interactive farm-hazards displays and ergonomic tools, including prototypes being tested on farms in New York. Daily prize drawings and farm-safety coloring books for the children will be offered.

The complex also includes the Dryden Sertoma Club offering free hearing screenings. Anyone who operates a tractor will want to pick up information on rollover protection and the ROPS (Rollover Protective Structure) rebate program that offers up to $865 toward the cost of retrofitting a tractor with the safety feature.

A new Name the Grain game features information about New York’s grain production.

The grain box play area is popular with visitors with children who can play while the adults take the tour of New York Agriculture around the perimeter of the tent with agricultural heritage and novel product exhibits by the state’s even-numbered Farm Bureau districts.

Migrant Education Program representatives will be on hand to answer questions at the program information board with literature about the program and eligibility guidelines. Visitors can enjoy popcorn and juice while learning about the multitude of New York Farm Bureau services and member programs.

For more information, contact Empire Farm Days Manager Melanie Wickham at (877) 697-7837 or