Press-Republican

June 30, 2013

Farm Briefs: June 30, 2013

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Press-Republican

---- — Kitchen incubator project planned for Paul Smith’s VIC

PAUL SMITHS — Cornell Cooperative Extension, Healthy Heart Network and Paul Smith’s College’s Adirondack Center for Working Landscapes are exploring the feasibility of constructing a kitchen incubator at the Paul Smiths College VIC. This facility would be available to farmers and rural entrepreneurs interested in small-scale food processing such as freezing, drying, blanching and cooking.

The project has the potential to expand the support available and to grow with the sustainable agriculture capacity of the Adirondack-North Country region.

A kitchen incubator is a shared-use, licensed, insured and inspected commercial kitchen that is devoted to providing support for local entrepreneurs developing catering, retail and wholesale food businesses. In addition to renting commercial-kitchen space and storage facilities, the kitchen incubator at the Paul Smith’s VIC will assist local businesses in the marketing and distribution of their local products. The kitchen incubator will serve as not just a functional commercial kitchen space, but also as an educational center where customers can gain training and mentoring to assist them in developing and expanding their product lines and businesses.

Two organizations that are currently making commitments to increase the amount of local food served in their dining services have already been recognized: Paul Smith’s College and the regional school districts associated with the Adirondack Farm to School Initiative (Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Tupper Lake). The incubator kitchen will in no way be replacing current vendors but will be helping existing business gain access to new emerging markets.

In order to ensure that the facility meets the needs of potential users, farmer input is being sought. May are already small-scale food processors or may have the potential or be interested in selling to institutions. 

A hard copy of the survey can be mailed out or it can be completed over the phone. Survey takers are requested to respond by July 20. Contact Brittany Harris (bharris@heartnetwork.org) or Bernadette Logozar (bel7@cornell.edu) for assistance.

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FSA accepting emergency loan applications

PLATTSBURGH — Clinton and Essex counties have been declared eligible for Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster emergency loan assistance for damages and losses caused by severe storms and flooding that occurred from May 22 through May 26.

Family farmers who have suffered at least 30 percent loss of their production due to severe storms and flooding may be eligible. Proceeds from crop insurance and any FSA programs are taken into account when determining eligibility for production losses.

Losses must be supported with documented records.

Under FSA programs, farmer may be eligible for production loss loans of up to 100 percent of their actual losses or the operating loan amount needed to continue in business or a maximum principal balance outstanding of $500,000, whichever is less. Farmers must be unable to obtain credit from private commercial lenders. The interest rate on emergency loans is 1.375 percent.

Application for loans will be accepted through Feb. 13, 2014. Phone 692-9940, Ext. 2, for more information.

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Horse owners encouraged to vaccinate animals

ALBANY — State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine, State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah and State Gaming Commission Acting Director Robert Williams are urging horse owners across New York State to vaccinate their horses against Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV). In 2012, two cases of EEE were reported in horses in New York State, as well as seven WNV cases. No confirmed cases of either disease have been reported thus far in 2013.

“Every year in New York, cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus pop up in horses across the state — diseases which are largely preventable,” Aubertine said. “Good prevention programs are a key component to any animal health plan, and I encourage horse owners across New York to take the necessary precautions and vaccinate their horses against these diseases today.”

While it is preferable to vaccinate horses against these diseases in the spring before the mosquitoes that transmit them are active, early summer is not too late, since New York often has mosquito activity into the month of November. Vaccines for EEE and WNV can be effective for six to 12 months, and horses should be re-vaccinated at least annually.

In an area where the diseases occur year round, many veterinarians recommend vaccinations every six months. For the vaccine to be effective, it must be handled and administered properly, prior to an anticipated increase in mosquito activity in a local area. For these reasons, state veterinarian David Smith recommends that the vaccines be administered by a veterinarian.

Other prevention methods include eliminating standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, using insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually from dusk to dawn. In addition, water in water troughs should be changed at least twice a week to discourage mosquito breeding.

There is no human vaccine for EEE or WNV. The best way to protect against it is to keep mosquitoes from biting. EEE is rare but serious and can affect both people and horses. Five cases have been diagnosed in humans in New York State since 1971, and all have been fatal. Prior to 2009, there had not been a human case detected in the state in more than 25 years.

WNV is more common than EEE and can also cause serious illness or, in some cases, death. Not all mosquitoes carry WNV, but human cases have been reported in counties across the state. In 2012, there were 107 reported human cases of WNV statewide, nine of which were fatal.

For more information on EEE and West Nile Virus in horses, visit www.agriculture.ny.gov/AI/equine/equine.html#3.

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Deal announced on cideries, labeling bills

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Coalition Leader Dean Skelos, Senate Majority Leader Coalition Leader Jeffery Klein and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have approved a three-way agreement on two bills that follow through on the promises made after the New York State Wine Beer and Spirits Summit.

The Farm Cideries Bill will establish a new license for farm cideries similar to the licenses already available to farm wineries, breweries and distilleries.

The Brand Label Registration Bill will streamline and modernize the brand label registration process for all alcoholic beverages and provide an exemption to the registration fee for craft manufacturers producing small-batch spirits and hard ciders.

“Today’s agreement on these two bills delivers on promises we made at the Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit to help our growing cideries and eliminate red tape to make doing business in New York easier,” Cuomo said. “The Farm Cideries Bill will authorize and promote the manufacturing and sale of hard cider made from crops grown right here in New York. The Brand Label Registration Bill will simplify and update the labeling registration process and provide financial relief to smaller manufacturers. The wine, beer, spirits and now hard-cider industries are important sectors of our agricultural and tourism industries, and we are committed to helping them grow and stay in New York.”

Assemblyman William Magee, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, said this is another important measure in supporting New York’s agricultural industry.

“Last year, we passed legislation to bolster our craft breweries,” he said. “It is a logical next step to extend these provisions to promote our growing craft cider makers.”