Press-Republican

September 29, 2013

Farm briefs: Sept. 29, 2013


Press-Republican

Allium School offered for onion-family growers

WEST CHAZY — Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program have announced two 2013 Northern New York Allium Schools — day-long programs to help garlic, onion, leek and shallot growers explore best-management practices.

The CCE St. Lawrence County Learning Farm in Canton will host the 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. event on Monday, Oct. 21.

The program of speakers repeats from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Beekmantown Town Hall in West Chazy.

Garlic, onions, leeks and shallots are members of the Allium family of crops commercially grown in northern New York state. The popular fresh-market crops are well suited to the cooler growing conditions of the region.

“This day-long program offers growers the opportunity to explore the latest and best-management practices for producing top-quality crops of garlic, onions, leeks and shallots and to discuss the challenges particular to each crop,” said Allium School organizer Amy Ivy, vegetable specialist with the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program.

Crop spacing, mulching, fertility, harvest and storage practices, and pest and disease pressures, will be covered. Both organic and conventional practices will be discussed at the two schools. Speakers include Ivy, Eastern New York Horticulture Program Garlic Specialist Crystal Stewart, Cornell Vegetable Program Onion Specialist Christy Hoeping, and Cornell Entomology Researcher Dr. Masa Seto. DEC pesticide recertification credits will be available.

The cost to attend the program that includes lunch and resource materials is $10 per person. The program is the same both days; growers can choose the location and date most convenient. Registration is due by Wednesday, Oct. 16. Call 561-7450 or see Event Registration at http://cce.cornell.edu/Clinton.

Ward Lumber to host Hog Harvest Seminar 

Jay — Ward Lumber is hosting a Hog Harvest Seminar for anyone who is interested in learning to harvest their own swine.

The seminar is being held on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ward Lumber in Jay. This seminar will demonstrate to the small farm a home-style hog slaughter and dressing. Topics include preparation, equipment and set up, shot and stick, hang and bleed, skin and gut, splitting the halves, halving the pig and readying the carcass to cool, primal cuts and finish products, wrap for freezer, recipes, using the whole pig and trouble shooting.

The presenter is Courtney Grimes-Sutton, who is a young farmer and a butcher who can help approach the feat of getting a hog into the freezer. Grimes-Sutton got into farming by growing and marketing vegetables with friends in the Hudson Valley for a few years in her early 20s. She apprenticed with a blacksmith, went to industrial welding school and moved north to Essex Farm to test the waters of farming with draft horses. She was the butcher at Essex Farm for three and a half years, and has moved on to her own family farm in Keeseville with her partner, Asa Thomas-Train, and friends and family.

The cost is $45 per person, and $25 for students. Lunch is included. Class is size is limited to be sure each attendee has ample opportunity to observe, ask questions and learn. Registration is limited to residents of Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. Priority will be given to Ward Lumber feed customers and prospective feed customers. One person per farm is preferred and added attendees from the same farm will be given consideration if space allows. Pre-registration is required. For additional information and to register, go to www.WardLumber.com, email info@WardLumber.com or call Kim Coolidge at 946-2110. Ext.120.

Dairy farms chosen for Open Farm Sunday event

CHATEAUGAY — A total of 51 farms will be opening their barn doors on Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the 2013 Open Farm Sunday across New England and New York state. 

This is the third such event to introduce the public to some of the more than 1,200 farm families who produce the milk that is made into McCadam and Cabot cheeses.

In Champlain, Hidden View Farm run by brothers Dan, Don and Dale Tetreault will be featured. Their dad started in 1953 with a few hundred acres and milked only 20 cows. Today, the farm has more than 1,000 acres and 600 milking cows. They have never purchased a replacement; they breed and raise all their own stock. 

In Peru, Dimock Farms, a family-run dairy since 1971 with three generations helping to operate the 600-acre farm with a herd of 270 cows, will be participating. The farm has earned Super Milk awards for more than 20 years and received the 2007 Agri-Mark Overall Quality Award from among more than 1,300 farms.

Agri-Mark supports the production of a variety of dairy products including McCadam and Cabot cheeses made at four cooperative-owned dairy plants: two in Vermont, one in Massachusetts and one in Chateaugay, McCadam Cheeses won all the 2013 New York State Fair cheddar competition categories.

The farm families will be available to talk with visitors during the events. Cheese samples will be available. For more details, visit the website at www.OpenFarmSunday.com.

Federal funds support specialty crops in state

ALBANY — More than $900,000 in federal funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will support 11 research projects ranging from improving the resiliency of New York’s crops to expanding the reach of the state’s agricultural sector, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This funding includes $154,000 to support the state’s wine and grape industry.

“Investing in research and development is crucial to growing our state’s agricultural sector and economy,” Cuomo said. “This funding will allow some of New York’s top researchers to identify new ways to improve areas like crop production and resiliency, ultimately helping to increase the market competitiveness of farmers across the state.”

Funding is being provided through the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004, which authorizes USDA to provide state assistance for specialty crop competitiveness programs. Competitiveness programs may include research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, “buy local” programs, increased consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development and developing cooperatives.

This funding complements the governor’s efforts to support and grow the state’s agricultural and culinary industries through the Taste NY initiative. Taste NY is designed to showcase the state’s wide variety of world-class food, beer, wine and spirits. New York-grown and produced items have been highlighted at special events, tourism destinations, transit hubs and stores throughout the state.

The awardees included Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County for $93,460. This project will increase the sales of specialty crops in northern New York through direct connections with consumers and new wholesale markets.

New Yorkers urged to taste local apples

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is encouraging New Yorkers and tourists from neighboring states to “Taste NY” apples this year at more than 654 apple orchards and support New York’s important apple industry this fall. Apple growers from across the state are hailing this year’s apple crop as the best in many years following storm events that devastated many apple orchards in recent years.

“As the fall season arrives, the time has never been better to taste the variety of products from our vibrant apple industry,” Cuomo said. “New York’s apple growers caught a bad break with last year’s warm spring and early frosts, but 2013 is shaping up to be one of the best years yet for the industry.”

New York typically ranks second in the nation for apple production behind Washington state. Last year’s crop, however, was diminished mainly by an early warm spring that was followed by several frosts that killed the apple buds. The prospects for this year’s crop look very good thus far, and the governor is encouraging all New Yorkers and tourists to buy New York apple products, visits u-pick orchards and help the industry rebound in 2013.

Earlier this year, researchers at Cornell University announced two new apple varieties that had been developed in partnership with the New York Apple Growers (NYAG). Dubbed SnapDragon and RubyFrost, the new varieties spent roughly a decade in development as well as a year-long consumer testing process before being released to the public. Both varieties will be hitting select farm stands this fall and by 2015 are expected to be available in grocery stores across the state.

Information on locations where New Yorkers can purchase home-grown New York State apple ciders, hard ciders and apple wines is also available at the “Taste NY” website located at www.taste.ny.gov. Further information on New York’s apple industry and location of 654 apple orchards around the state can be obtained at the New York Apple Association’s website at www.nyapplecountry.com. To find the nearest u-pick orchard, visit www.nyapplecountry.com/pick.php.

Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association said, “We have a vintage crop of apples this year with ideal growing conditions, making flavor, size and color at optimum quality levels. New Yorkers and visitors are going to love this year’s homegrown, locally harvested crop. We also anticipate an outstanding cider season thanks in part to the extra sweetness in this year’s apples.”

National Bioenergy Day to be celebrated

POTSDAM — The North Country Regional Economic Development Council, bioenergy generators, woody biomass and switchgrass crop producers and processors, trade associations and universities will be celebrating the first-ever National Bioenergy Day on Oct. 17 with a harvesting demonstration, a host of programs at Clarkson University, and industry-only tours at three sites.

New York Biomass Energy Alliance Executive Administrator Alice Brumbach said the first National Bioenergy Day is an opportunity to educate the public about the value of bioenergy powered by wood and agricultural crops in terms of environmental sustainability and renewable jobs and revenue for rural economies.

In addition to consumer awareness, Brumbach says the nationwide event is also intended to inspire legislative support for the bioenergy industry. Activities in Washington, D.C., will recognize local events across the U.S. Oct. 17 events open to the public include activities at Agens Farm in Boonville and at Clarkson University in Potsdam.

A 1 to 2 p.m. Shrub Willow Biomass Harvest Demonstration will be held at Agens Farm, 7453 East Ava Road, Boonville. The demonstration is managed by biomass energy supplier Celtic Energy Farm, and is a collaboration by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and ReEnergy Holdings. 

National Bioenergy Day activities at Clarkson University in Potsdam begin at 1 p.m. in the Student Center and include a tour of biomass demonstration projects including an energy cabin and greenhouse digester. At 2:15, a poster session and reception features biomass projects across the region. Dr. Mark Bryden, program director of the U.S. Department of Energy Ames Laboratory Simulation, Modeling and Decision Science Research Program, will speak at 3 p.m. Senior Project Manager Ellen Burkhard will speak about NYSERDA’s Biomass Combustion Programs at 3:45 p.m., and a panel discussion follows with state and regional biomass energy researchers and development partners at 4 p.m.

Learn more at www.newyorkbiomass.org or contact Alice Brumbach at 607-316-3437, abrumbach@newyorkbiomass.org.

Grant to develop youth farm safety curriculum 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing funding to offer safety training for the more than 2 million youth working in agricultural production.

“Working on the farm or ranch is hard work, and it can also be dangerous,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “By working together, we can be sure that young people in rural America have the opportunity to reap the many benefits of helping out on the farm, while also staying safe. Today’s grant announcement expands our ongoing farm safety partnership and will help further educate and protect young workers who represent the future of American agriculture.”

Agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in the nation. Thousands of youth are injured and hundreds are killed every year by hazards found on the farm.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded $600,000 to Pennsylvania State University to develop a national training curriculum that lessens agricultural hazards to young workers. The training will align with Career Cluster Standards (CCS) of the National Council for Agricultural Education for a unified approach to a national farm safety education and curricula-certification program for youth.

The project will establish a national steering committee to engage the Department of Education, Department of Labor, FFA, Farm Bureau, Farmers Union, Ag Safety and Health Council of America, National Council for Ag Education and other relevant partners. The committee will work to identify curriculum and testing gaps, certification needs and industry-recognized credentials.

Curriculum materials will be placed on the eXtension website in the new Ag Safety and Health Community of Practice to be used in both formal and non-formal settings. A national outreach strategy will promote use of the curriculum from youth and farm safety instructors to parents and 4-H youth programs. Additionally, the project will determine the resources required to sustain a clearinghouse for national youth farm safety and education curriculum, state certification requirements and testing.

More information is available at www.nifa.usda.gov.