March 9, 2014

Farm briefs: March 9, 2014


Extension to present Spring Beef Week 

MALONE — Cornell Cooperative Extension will present Northern New York Spring Beef Week programs in local communities March 18-21. Beef-industry representatives and educators will share the latest practices for designing cattle-handling facilities and the use of artificial insemination. 

Artificial insemination is common in dairy cows but has as much potential in beef cows to improve production genetics. Good handling facilities are required to handle the cattle during the process and are lacking on many beef operations. The presentation on handling equipment will give producers many ideas on how to set up a handling facility, which components should be the priority and how to encourage the cattle to use the facilities.

The program includes presentations by Cornell University Beef Extension Specialist Dr. Mike Baker, local extension educators and farmers who are using artificial insemination with their cattle. Farmers interested in a visit by Baker may contact their extension office to schedule.

Programs will be held as follows:

March 19: Ticonderoga, Adirondack Meat Company, 6 to 9 p.m., includes plant tour, presentations by Baker and AI and Peter Hagar on handing facilities, and pizza. Register with Anita Deming, CCE Essex County, 962-4810, Ext. 409, or email For a farm visit by Baker, contact Peter Hagar, CCE Clinton County, 561-7450, email

March 20: Malone Courthouse, 7 p.m. Register with Diane Dumont, CCE Franklin County, 483-7403, 

March 21: Canton, CCE St. Lawrence Extension Learning Farm, 7 p.m. Register with Betsy Hodge, CCE St. Lawrence County, 315-379-9192, 

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, there were 14,200 beef cows on farms in the six northernmost counties of New York State in 2012. Find more information about livestock production online at

Funding for farmers-market program announced

ALBANY —  A $130,000 Request for Proposal (RFP) for the “FreshConnect” Farmers Market program has been released, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It is designed to assist New York farmers by promoting the sale of locally grown food products. The program, in its fourth year, focuses on bringing fresh farm products to nutritionally underserved communities and improving nutrition education statewide.

“For the last three years, New York State’s FreshConnect Farmers Markets have helped thousands of New Yorkers obtain access to home-grown, fresh food,” Cuomo said. “New York State’s farms are second to none, and through this program we are taking advantage of the incredible food they produce to provide healthier, better options for low-income residents.”

This year, the $130,000 RFP will focus on supporting at least 13 traditional farmers-market and youth-market grant projects across the state. Under this initiative, new and existing farmers markets, municipalities and not-for-profits may apply for up to $10,000, and those with the best ideas on how to improve access to farmers markets participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assitance Program (SNAP) will be awarded funding.

In addition, $200,000 in “FreshConnect Checks” will be released this year to serve low-income families across the state, including, for the first time, $50,000 directed to veterans of all ages. Checks will begin being distributed through veterans facilities this summer, based on proximity to eligible farmers markets.

The FreshConnect Checks program encourages the use of SNAP benefits at participating farmers markets by providing $2 incentive coupons for every $5 in SNAP benefits. In 2013, more than $3.2 million in SNAP sales occurred at farmers markets throughout the state. In addition to SNAP, FreshConnect-funded projects aim to ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of income, have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and are encouraged to accept other nutrition incentives, such as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Fruit & Vegetable Checks, Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition checks.

The FreshConnect program was the first step in Cuomo’s Farm New York initiative to invest in the state’s agriculture industry, a vital component of the state’s economy. Since its inception, the Fresh Connect Program has funded 80 projects throughout the state and allocated more than $1 million. To apply for funding under the RFP, visit the Department of Agriculture and Markets website at

Environmental program tribal set-aside funds offered

ALBANY —An American Indian Tribal Set-aside Initiative that will direct a portion of New York’s U.S. Department of Agriculture Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) allocation for use specifically on tribal and American Indian Nation lands within New York has been established, according to Donald Pettit, state conservationist for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Other states with sizeable Indian Nation holdings and reservations have used this approach very successfully for many years,” Pettit said. “We feel there is enough interest and need on tribal lands in New York to give this strategy a try here in hopes of supporting Indian Nation conservation priorities.”

The conservation practices emphasize soil health, wildlife habitat enhancement and forest management.

Pettit said these funds will only be available to qualifying tribal government applicants. These include the Seneca Nation of Indians, the Tonawanda Seneca Nation, the Tuscarora Indian Nation, the Cayuga Nation of New York, the Onondaga Nation, the Oneida Indian Nation, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and the Shinnecock Indian Nation.

Individuals of American Indian ancestry managing lands off of tribal territories can apply. Non-American Indian operators of tribal lands may be eligible provided tribal governments or members are also participants in the contracts.

“At this time, we’re directing $250,000 to this first year of our Tribal Set-aside Initiative in order to start building interest as we work out the details of the application and contracting process,” Pettit said.

Tribal set-aside applications will be due by April 18. Internal agency application ranking work will be completed by May 16 and the contract obligation deadline will be July 18. For more information, contact the local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office.

Conservation District offers annual seedling sale

WESTPORT — The Essex County Soil and Water Conservation District is starting its annual seedling sale.

Available is a large selection of bare-root tree and shrub seedlings and transplants for erosion control, wildlife-habitat improvement, windbreaks and reforestation. Ground covers and wildflower seed mixes can also be purchased. The tree and shrub seedlings and transplants are sold as bare-root stock.

For the 2014 tree and shrub program, there are several trees including American Sycamore, Sawtooth Oak, Ninebark and Serviceberry to name a few.

These are all great species to grow in areas along streams to stabilize banks and provide riparian habitats. Streamco willow cuttings and wattles also work well for riparian planting. The wattles restore damaged and eroding banks. Offerings that are good to eat and for wildlife include blueberry, nanking cherry, blackberry, plum and apple.

Six different wildflower seed mixtures are available. Blends can be purchased for sunny or shady areas and for attracting birds, butterflies and beneficial insects to a gardens. An annual wildflower seed blend can be used to add color to an established wildflower garden or be planted by itself to create an annual wildflower bed full of color.

Also available are slow-release fertilizer tablets that will provide necessary nutrients for up to two years and water gel, which helps to retain moisture around the roots. 

March 17 is the deadline to place an order and guarantee the variety. Orders will be available for pickup April 25 in Westport. To get an order form or more information, visit or call 962-8225 weekdays; email; go to the link at; or come to the office at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Center (second floor), 3 Sisco St., Westport.

Cooperative Ext. offers Farm Safety Workshop

MALONE — Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) is offering a Farm Safety Workshop titled On the Farm Safety — A Family Affair on Saturday, March 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the family farm of Steve and Marsha Gokey located at 3 Vincent Road, Malone (one mile past the Wilder Homestead).

Although targeting youth, this event is open to the public at no charge. Lunch is available to benefit the Franklin County 4-H Dairy Program.

Representatives from local agencies and agribusiness will be on hand to discuss a variety of farm-safety topics including: 

— Jim Carrabba with the New York Center for Agriculture Medicine and Health, Tractor and PTO Safety;

— Tom Thibeault with Burke Farm Supply, Chain Saw Safety;

— Raymond Phair with Dragoons Farm Equipment, Skid Steer Safety;

— Chastity Miller with Franklin County Soil and Water, ATV Safety;

— Diane DuMont and Connie Gerow with Cornell Cooperative Extension and Dr. Willis G. Pfaff, DVM, with North Star Veterinary Service, Farm Animal Safety;

— Kris Green (EMT), Jamie Gratton (Franklin County dispatcher) and Burke Volunteer firemen John Martin and Calvin Spinner, First Aid/ First Responder .

Testimonials from local individuals who have survived life-threatening farm-related injuries including Gerry Johnston, Wayne Ashley and others will also be presented. 

Call Diane DuMont or Steve McDonald at CCE at 483-7403 with questions or to register.