April 7, 2013

Farm briefs: April 7, 2013


‘Sharing the Bounty’ a theme of new state fair

SYRACUSE — New Yorkers have chosen “Sharing the Bounty and Pride of New York” as the theme of the 2013 Great New York State Fair, according to State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine.

This theme was voted on by New Yorkers after Aubertine and State Fair Director Tom Ryan narrowed a field of suggestions down to 10. Kathy Denman from Syracuse created the theme that New Yorkers ultimately decided on.

“This was truly a statewide contest with nearly every region of the state submitting themes, voting and most importantly, making sure their voices were heard,” Aubertine said. “Our goal is to get more New Yorkers involved in this fair — not only during the 12-day extravaganza but throughout the year. With this contest, we did just that. In the end, New Yorkers made a super pick for this year’s theme.”

The fair is an annual celebration of New York’s economic, cultural and institutional strengths, with a special emphasis on agriculture as one of the state’s largest and most important industries. Theme submissions aimed to convey this message.

The new theme will now be the basis of a statewide marketing and public-relations campaign aimed at promoting the fair to all New Yorkers.

The fair will run from Aug. 22 to Sept. 2. Find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook or follow it on Twitter. New Yorkers are also encouraged to send any ideas they may have about the fair to


Gillibrand unveils plan to shore up dairy industry

WASHINGTOM. D.C. — As the U.S. Senate gets set to again take up the Farm Bill in the coming weeks, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is backing a comprehensive plan to help provide long-term support and certainty for New York’s dairy farmers by providing a fair safety net for small producers and improving inventory reporting and transparency.

The cornerstone of her plan is the new, bipartisan Gillibrand-Collins Dairy Pricing Reform Act to reform the way the USDA sets dairy prices.

The Farm Bill that passed the Senate last fall included many programs to help New York farmers, but the House of Representatives failed to complete their work on the bill, and none of the new programs became law.

“The squeeze facing our dairy farmers is driving them out of business and preventing them from growing to meet demand,” said Gillibrand, New York’s first member of the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “We can’t afford any more delay in Congress. We need to take action now to set the environment for our dairy farmers to thrive. These common-sense proposals can give our dairy farmers the certainty and stability they need to grow their businesses and help strengthen our state’s rural economies.”

While dairy remains New York’s leading agricultural product — producing nearly 13 billion pounds for a value of $2.75 billion — dairy farmers are suffering from a range of setbacks. High fuel costs and severe grain and hay shortages continue to push up the cost of production, yet the price paid to farmers remains stagnant, putting a squeeze on farmers, preventing New York from maintaining its competitiveness among other dairy states and holding farms back from growing their business.

As a result of the loss in business from flawed policy, dairy farms across New York State are forced to cut resources and sell off cows. Nearly 65,000 cows were lost from New York dairy farms from 2002 to 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the North Country, there were 138,600 cows in 2002 and 120,400 cows in 2012, a loss of 18,200 cows.


Study: Region has potential as soybean producer

PLATTSBURGH — Northern New York farmers planted nearly 15,000 acres of soybeans in 2012. To help them select soybean seed with the best potential to produce both high quality and high yield under the unique growing conditions of the region, the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) conducts on-farm variety trials. 

The trials provide side-by-side comparison data for germination, yield, moisture, disease resistance and other production factors under the regional growing conditions.

Trial leader Dr. William J. Cox of Cornell University said he expects the acreage of soybeans grown in Northern New York to increase.

“It is no longer too cool to produce soybeans in Northern New York with the development of high-yielding Group I soybean varieties and the warmer summers in the region. As global warming continues over the next several decades, Northern New York may prove to be an ideal region for soybean production,” the Cornell Crop and Soil Sciences professor said.

Cox notes that some Northern New York farmers have already capitalized on the warming trend as evidenced by the increase in soybean acreage in the region from 5,000 acres grown in 2007 to nearly 15,000 acres grown in 2012. Soybeans are grown to feed dairy cows and other livestock and for cash sales domestically and for export.

The NNYADP is a farmer-driven research, outreach and technical-assistance service for Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. NNYADP projects receive funding from the New York State Senate and Assembly. The Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station provided additional funding and support for the soybean and corn trials.

The results of the trials are posted in the Field Crops section of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at and available from local Cornell Cooperative Extension offices.