August 12, 2012

Farm Briefs: Aug. 12, 2012


---- — Christmas tree production topic of meeting

WEST CHAZY — Growing Christmas trees is a popular, small-to-large-scale enterprise in the North Country. There are a few steps growers should take to ensure good quality trees that will yield the greatest profit.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Clinton County is holding a grower field meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 15, in West Chazy. The featured speaker will be Dr. Betsy Lamb from the New York Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program. Topics to be covered include planting and establishment considerations, troubleshooting, plantation maintenance, pest updates, plus time for questions and comments.

The program is free and open to the public. It will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Jim Gonyo’s Hill Top Farm, 7256 Route 22, West Chazy, about six miles north of the Cornell Cooperative Extension Office. To register or for more information, contact Amy Ivy at or call 561-7450. All who register will be informed of any last-minute schedule changes. Participants are asked to dress for the weather.

Grape entrepreneur receives agriculture grant

MORRISONVILLE — Grape grower and winemaker Richard Lamoy has received his third Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NESARE) grant in support of innovative cold-hardy grape research at his Hid-In-Pines Vineyard in Morrisonville.

Lamoy is an entrepreneur who has converted his volunteerism with the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program-funded grape research trials at the Cornell University Willsboro Research Farm into his own successful vineyard and winery business. He established his vineyard in 2006. He received his first NESARE grant to conduct grapevine training trials research at his three-acre vineyard in 2009.

“I am using techniques learned through the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program trials at Willsboro and sharing some I have developed to help strengthen Northern New York’s grape and wine industry,” Lamoy said.

“We are pleased to see that the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program seed money that started the cold-hardy grape trials at Willsboro has paid off in the entrepreneurial development of new research and practical on-farm results,” said NNYADP Co-Chair Joseph Giroux.

“Richard Lamoy and the other farmers who pay attention to the research being conducted here and extrapolate what they need to enhance their own businesses are helping to grow this region’s agricultural industry. Richard’s work promises to benefit the entire Northern New York region.”

The results of Lamoy’s first trials showed the potential for sizable (40-67 percent) improvement in grape yield and quality in a year 200 growing degree days short of the region’s usual 2,400.

“The early trial data indicated that matching the type of training system to the habit and vigor of specific varieties can indeed influence grape yield, quality and a higher return of farm income,” Lamoy said.

Lamoy is evaluating four types of training systems with two red and two white grape varieties with one each of a lower vigor and one each of a higher vigor vine growth habit.

Lamoy’s technical advisors include Willsboro Farm Manager Michael Davis and a cadre of Cornell University viticulture and enology specialists, including Cornell Cooperative Extension Northeast New York Commercial Fruit Program Specialist Kevin Iungerman.

The results of Lamoy’s early research, along with data from the Willsboro Farm trials are online in the Horticulture section of the NNYADP website at The trials at the Willsboro Farm have also received support from the New York Farm Viability Institute.

Gillibrand calls for drought relief in Farm Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With farmland across upstate New York in the grip of a summer drought that is starving production from crops that are still recovering from a late spring freeze and last year’s back-to-back tropical storms, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has called on leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees to include New York State in any disaster-relief program in the 2012 Farm Bill.

“For New York State’s economy to grow, we need our farms to thrive,” Gillibrand said. “Still recovering from last year’s back-to-back natural disasters and a late spring frost, this drought is just the latest drain on our farmland’s productivity — costing our state even more crops.”

“From the extreme floods to the damaging frost to the current drought, the past year has exposed how vulnerable New York’s farmers are to the will of Mother Nature,” said Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau President. “Not having the 2012 Farm Bill in place before the current one expires only adds to the uncertainty for our farmers and prevents the implementation of a critical new safety net that will help ensure family farms in New York keep providing the healthy, local food people want.”

The ongoing drought and extreme heat is stunting growth for a range of crops, reducing milk production at dairy farms, and burdening farms with the costs of setting up new irrigation systems. The drought has also caused animal feed prices to rise as much as 50 percent just in the last three months, adding even higher costs to farmers to stay in business during a season expected to yield a disappointing harvest after enduring one natural disaster after another.

Federal agriculture disaster recovery programs can provide a variety of tools to assist farmers in overcoming the challenges they can face as they work to recover from production and physical losses on their farms and rebuild their business, including financial assistance to compensate for farm losses, low interest emergency loans, and assistance in rehabilitating farm land.