October 6, 2013

Farm briefs: Oct. 6, 2013


Cuomo signs wine-trail, sales legislation

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a series of new laws that will continue the state’s efforts to better market and promote New York wine by allowing wine to be sold at roadside farm markets and designating portions of state highways near wineries and vineyards as wine trails.

“These new laws will build on our continuing efforts to promote New York’s wine industry across the state and beyond, boosting tourism, local economies and job growth,” Cuomo said.

The farm-markets legislation will create a new venue for New York wineries to sell their products by allowing roadside farm markets to sell wine manufactured and produced by up to two licensed farm wineries, special wineries or micro-wineries located within 20 miles of the roadside farm market.

The governor also signed four wine-trail laws. There are currently 16 wine trails designated by state law. The newly established Adirondack Coast Wine Trail will begin at Exit 35 of I-87 in the Town of Peru and continue into the Town of Plattsburgh.

“Communities in the North Country have found great success in growing grapes and producing wine, and the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail will help promote and direct people to this local treasure,” Sen. Betty Little said. “The number of wineries is increasing in the region, and we look forward to adding more as the industry grows.”

Assemblywoman Janet Duprey said she is pleased the governor signed the legislation.

“This bill, which was strongly supported by local wineries, the North Country Chamber of Commerce and the Farm Bureau will bring further attention to this growing agribusiness,” she said. “Our local wineries offer great views of the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain while providing a wide variety of award-winning wines. As the first international wine trail, the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail will connect to trails in Vermont and Quebec supporting tourism throughout the region.”

Corn, soybean disease database needed

PLATTSBURGH — With funding from the farmer-led Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP), Cornell University researchers are undertaking a comprehensive diagnosis and assessment of the diseases that impact corn and soybean crops.

“The systematic assessment of corn and soybean diseases in the Northern New York region is long overdue. The NNYADP is funding a proactive disease evaluation that will create a benchmarking database as a management tool to help growers maintain strong production and profitability,” said Cornell University Plant Pathologist Gary C. Bergstrom.

New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association Executive Director Julia Robbins said that regionally specific research helps growers address the unique growing conditions and challenges that exist in their area.

“What we learn from this research in Northern New York will be helpful to farmers statewide in terms of developing comprehensive scouting, disease-identification and planning strategies to proactively meet crop disease head-on,” she said.

Bergstrom said the profit margin for crop producers is often narrow and the more calculated information they can provide growers, the better they will be able to proactively and profitably maximize their production efforts.

The data collection will be tabulated with annual NNYADP-funded on-farm corn and soybean variety trial data into a matrix to help farmers make decisions on which varieties to plant, when to scout for problems and which treatment options are best used to prevent or manage the various crop diseases. When complete, the matrix will be posted at

Essex Farm to host harvest-season tour

ESSEX — Mark and Kristin Kimball will lead a harvest-season tour of their diversified farm in Essex at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12.

The tour will cover pastures, barnyards, vegetable fields and infrastructure, including the farm’s 25 kw. solar array. Guests will be invited to harvest a bag full of fall produce to take home. A suggested donation is $25 for adults and $5 for children. Following the tour, there will be a potluck lunch and an informal afternoon walk.

The 600-acre farm produces milk, beef, pork, chicken, eggs, vegetables, herbs, grains, flowers and small fruits, and utilizes draft horses for some of its field work. Founded 10 years ago, Essex Farm was the first of a growing number of full-diet membership farms that supply a majority of its members’ food needs year-round. Two hundred members come to the farm each Friday to pick up their food for the week. The farm is the subject of Kristin Kimball’s 2010 memoir “The Dirty Life.”

The tour will take place rain or shine. Guests should wear weather-appropriate clothing and sturdy footgear. RSVPs are appreciated but not necessary at Additional details on the events are available at

Dairy Institute focusing on quality milk

MALONE — The 10th Northern New York Dairy Institute course will help farmers missing out on quality milk premium income. The three-session course is organized by the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Northern New York and Quality Milk Production Services, and will focus on improving farm income through producing quality milk and components. 

The course of interest to all dairies consists of one 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. session each month in November, December and January at sites across Northern New York. Lunch is provided. Producers may register for one or all three sessions.

Co-organizer and Regional Dairy Specialist Kimberley Morrill said many dairy farmers are missing out on quality milk premium income and may also be spending money on mastitis treatment and losing income to milk loss.

“One way to satisfy increasing demand for milk and to reduce costs is for farmers to produce quality milk,” she said. “This 10th Dairy Institute course will help them pinpoint areas for improvement.”

The educational sessions will include:

Session 1: What is mastitis costing your farm? Economics of mastitis, mammary anatomy and physiology, importance of milking protocols and cow handling, mastitis organisms and taking samples for culturing.

Session 2: Cow comfort and equipment maintenance and how they impact somatic cell count and milk quality as well as heat-abatement strategies, plus a review of teat end scoring. 

Session 3: Record keeping for mastitis control, the importance of knowing what strain of mastitis your cow has for treatment purposes, and the value of records to reducing residues and identifying problem cows.

The pre-registration deadline is two weeks prior to each session. The cost is $35 for one session, $90 for all three by the Oct. 23 pre-registration date, or $50 at the door per session.

Clinton, Essex and Franklin and county sessions will be held Nov. 8, Dec. 13 and Jan. 15, 2014, at Mo’s Pub and Grill in Malone.

To register,contact Morrill at 564-0498 or (315) 379-9192 or email

Funding to support disadvantaged producers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Grants to support small, socially disadvantaged agriculture producers are now available, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission despite a time of significant budget uncertainty, he said. The announcement is one part of the department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.

“These grants will help socially disadvantaged business owners get the tools they need to succeed and expand markets across the nation,” Vilsack said.

Funding is provided through USDA’s Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant Program, which offers technical assistance to help producers develop new markets and grow their operations. For example, the Latino Economic Development Center in Minneapolis has been selected to receive a $200,000 grant to provide legal and business training to small Latino and Hmong agricultural producers.

In New York, the North Country Grown Cooperative Inc. will receive a $109,552 grant. Funds will be used to provide training on peer-to-peer learning and business-development practices. 

For more information, contact Candice Celestin at (202) 690-2385.