January 27, 2013

Farm briefs: Jan. 27, 2013


Maple School being offered in Brushton

BRUSHTON — Seasoned maple-syrup producers, less-experienced sugar makers or anyone interested in learning the ins and outs of making maple syrup are all invited to the First Annual Franklin County Maple (Producers) Association (FCMA) Maple School.

It will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the Brushton Moira Central School. The cost is $20 in advance and $30 at the door. Information and registration information is available at Click on the FFA tab at the top of the page. Or, call 483-7403.

Scheduled classes include Maple Tubing for Beginners, Sugarbush Thinning for Improved Growth and Productivity, Ensuring Sugarbush Regeneration, Filtering and Canning, Making Maple Cream and Candies, 20C and Home Licenses Needed for Maple and Marketing, Ag District Property Tax Assessments, Stainless Steel Welding and much more.

Presenters include specialists from Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension, Soil and Water Conservation District professionals, maple-syrup producers and industry consultants.

A trade show will showcase equipment and supplies from several dealers, maple producers will offer products for sale and representatives from Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, the New York Forest Owners Association and the Wild Center will oversee tables with handouts and be available to answer questions and speak with attendees throughout the day. Artisans and craftspeople will also be on hand displaying their skills and their handiwork.

Vendor table space is $10 for those who bring their own table or $20 for those who would like the FFA to provide a table for them. Lunch is extra.

A maple-sugaring equipment auction, which will also feature other items of interest, will get underway at 4 p.m. There is no charge to attend the auction. The fee for selling equipment at the auction is 10 percent of the sale price, charged to the seller. Other terms and conditions apply.

Maple producers needed for research project

LAKE PLACID — The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) 2013 Maple Research Project is in search of maple producers for research on improving sap yields and maple business profitability.

NNYADP-funded maple research supports the opportunity for Northern New York to double its maple income to more than $10 million, based on a survey by Cornell University Northern New York Maple Specialist Michael Farrell.

Farrell, director of Cornell’s Uihlein Maple Forest in Lake Placid, says research data from maple tap spout-and-dropline combination trials at the Uihlein forest since 2010, and from similar evaluations conducted at Parker Family Maple Farm in West Chazy in 2011 and 2012, have shown promising results for improving yields by as much as 100 percent in some cases.

A dropline is the length of tubing that runs from a spout on the tap into the tree to the lateral line that collects sap.

Researchers are looking for obtain more data to identify which spout-dropline combinations have the best potential for consistent gain in sap volume under the varying maple season conditions in Northern New York. More sap equates to more syrup and increased profitability for sugarmakers.

Farrell is seeking Northern New York maple producers who are themselves testing spout-dropline combinations in their own sugarbushes and have enough land that two trial units with similar trees, aspect, elevation, etc. can be established. Participating producers will record data on volume and sugar content as well as the time and money invested in the maple equipment and installations associated with the research.

NNYADP grant funding is available to cover the cost of installing water meters to measure sap volume and refractometers to measure sap sugar content in the participating sugarbushes. This research will produce calculations comparing costs vs. the amount of sap collected with the various spout-dropline combinations. A cost/benefit ratio will be determined using the current price of maple syrup to help producers evaluate the best strategies for making their sugaring operations more productive and profitable.

Farrell laid the groundwork for this new NNYADP-funded research by working with Parker Family Maple Farm in 2011.

“We tried eight different combinations of spouts and droplines at Parker Family Maple Farm. The total amount of sap flow was measured every time a load of sap was collected and transferred to the sugarhouse. The results in the first year indicated the opportunity for sap gain,” Farrell said.

The work at Parker Family Maple Farm continued in 2012 and Farrell developed a protocol for determining the best spout-dropline combinations in other sugarbushes that will be applied at the sugaring operations that participate in the 2013 research trials.

Producers interested in participating may contact Farrell at 523-9337,, by Feb. 1.

Whallonsburg Grange announces lecture series

WHALLONSBURG — On Tuesday, the Whallonsburg Grange Hall will open its winter Lyceum series on Land and Labor: The Past, Present and Future of Farming in America.

The weekly series, held on Tuesday nights at 7:30 through March 19, is presenting speakers from around the region who will lecture on how the fertile land of the Champlain Valley developed, the history of agricultural production in North America, the challenging economics of farming, its impact on culture, and the lives of farm families.

The schedule of the lectures follows:

Jan. 29: Creating the Land: Deglaciation of the Champlain Lowlands and northeastern Adirondacks, with David Franzi, professor of Earth and Environmental Science, SUNY Plattsburgh.

Feb. 5 through Feb. 26: Four-part series on the History of Agriculture in North America with Andy Buchanan, lecturer in global history at the University of Vermont. These four lectures will trace farming on the continent from Native American cultivation through the agricultural roots of the Civil War, to the settlement of the west and the Great Depression, up to the development of modern agriculture and agribusiness.

March 5: The Future of Food: A Discussion with Local Farmers will present a panel of farmers from the area talking about the important issues they face and that are of concern to all consumers.

March 12: Back to the Land: The Enduring Dream of Self-Sufficiency in Modern America, with Dona Brown, professor of History at the University of Vermont and author of a recent book on this subject.

March 19: Hunting, Gathering and Fungus Farming: Feeding the Adirondack Farm Family in the 19th Century, with Hallie Bond, former curator at the Adirondack Museum.

A series ticket is $35 for all eight lectures. Individual lectures are $5. Students are admitted free. The Lyceum is sponsored by the Grange Hall and more information is available at www.thegrangehall. org. The Grange is located at 1610 NYS Rt. 22 at the corner of Whallons Bay Road, five miles south of the Essex Ferry dock.

Applications for new-farmer support program offered

PLATTSBURGH — The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York Inc. (NOFA-NY) will be accepting applications from qualified new farmers to participate in its two-year support program, known as the NOFA-NY Journeyperson Program, until Jan. 31. The program provides new farmers (zero to five years as independent farmers or farm managers) with two years of educational and business planning stipends, support of a paid farmer mentor, educational and networking opportunities and a specific commitment to ensuring that this small group of farmers is able to find sure footing in their first few years of farming independently.

The application form and further information is available at or upon request from the NOFA-NY office ( The application deadline is Jan. 31 with notification regarding the next step of the process occurring on or around Feb. 6. Interviews will be requested of highly competitive applicants and four farmers or farms from across New York State will be selected.

The NOFA-NY Journeyperson Farmer Program is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, and the Local Economies Project of the New World Foundation.

NOFA-NY is an organization of consumers, gardeners and farmers working together to create a sustainable regional food system which is ecologically sound and economically viable. Through demonstration and educational opportunities, they promote land stewardship, organic-food production, and local marketing. NOFA-NY brings consumers and farmers closer together to make high-quality food available to all people. 

Ethics workshop offered for environmental workers

NEWCOMB — An Applied Ethics Workshop will be held Feb. 21 at 9 a.m. at the Adirondack Interpretive Center, 5922 NYS Route 28N, Newcomb.

Join SUNY-ESF’s environmental philosopher Marianne Patinelli-Dubay in this workshop designed to serve practicing foresters, land managers, natural-resource managers and similar professions. It will introduce a variety of approaches to ethical problem solving including six of the primary methods that are employed every day by those faced with ethically weighted situations.

Following a discussion about each approach, its central ideas and an overview of how the method works, attendees will put those techniques to use to reach consensus on a series of case studies provided by individual participants. The class is approved for SAF certified forester education credits. Preregistration is required and there is a $10 fee; email or call 582-2000.