Small Farms Summit to feature video connections
CANTON — The 2012 New York State Small Farms Summit is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29. The summit is an interactive meeting with an opportunity for all participants to take part in a lively discussion and provide important feedback, both locally and across the state.
Organizers will be gathering in Ithaca and at four other locations around New York State including Canton in St. Lawrence County. A video connection will allow participants to communicate across sites.
Previous summits generated valuable feedback regarding opportunities and barriers affecting the success of small farms in New York. In response, the Cornell Small Farms Program has initiated key projects such as the award-winning "Guide to Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry," sustainable farm energy field days and a series of interviews with New York State food distributors that work with small farms, to name a few.
The summit is free to attend and lunch will be provided. Farmer participation is encouraged and welcome. Registration details will be released in January.
Owens, Farm Bureau praise environmental rules
WASHINGTON — Rep. Bill Owens has joined the New York Farm Bureau in praising new, common-sense guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that affect nutrient and waste management in the agriculture community.
Earlier this year, Owens wrote to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to consider a practical approach to a rule that would dictate how farmers dispose of their nutrient waste.
"We are very pleased to see the USDA take a rational approach in creating the guidelines for family farms regarding nutrient management," Owens said.
"I was happy to work with the New York Farm Bureau this year to address serious concerns their members had with the initial draft policy when it was released."
The original guideline created by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) for Nutrient Application Timing and Placement did so without taking into account the already satisfactory rules and performance related to nutrient management in New York.
Most troubling in the original guidelines was a section that almost banned manure spreading during the winter months.
"The strong grassroots activism of New York farmers and the hard work of our friends in government like Congressman Bill Owens clearly paid off in the revised Code 590 guidelines that were announced yesterday," said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau.
"The NRCS heard the voices of our members and retreated from its position that the federal government should tell New York farmers how best to manage their land. New York already has the most progressive and rigorous standards for nutrient management in the country, and I am very thankful that NRCS recognized this simple fact and now agrees ... that states need more regulatory flexibility."