December 23, 2012

Farm briefs: Dec. 23, 2012


Brunetti will share his perspective on how organic dairy and field-crop farmers can address the current challenges in agriculture so that they find success and optimism for moving forward.

The day’s program will highlight workshop topics including Soil Sampling and Test Reading with Soil Agronomist Mark Kopecky; Herd Health with Brunetti; Growing Small Grains with Mary-Howell and Klaas Martens, owners of Lakeview Organic Grain; Sprouting Fodder with dairyman John Stoltzfus; Farm Transfer with FarmNet director Ed Staehr and more. The conference will include a half-day intensive session on transitioning to organic dairy management. New farmers and farmers interested in transitioning are encouraged to attend.

NOFA-NY Certified LLC staff will be available throughout the day to answer questions on organic certification. An expanded trade show will be featured with with company representatives. An organic lunch prepared by Holiday Inn Executive Chef Todd Field will be offered.

Space remains available for those interested in sponsoring the event or participating in the trade show. For more information on that, visit or contact Bethany Wallis at 585-271-1979, Ext. 513, or

Owens applauds decision on school lunch rules

PLATTSBURGH — In response to pressure from school administrators and elected officials concerned over calorie limits on school lunches, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced recently that his department will eliminate daily and weekly limits on grains and meat.  Owens wrote to the department earlier this year asking that it revisit regulations on calorie limits for school lunches and applauded USDA’s reconsideration of the issue.

“U.S.D.A. set guidelines for school lunches that just didn’t work for many students, parents and school administrators,” Owens said. “It is my hope that eliminating the limit on grains and meat will give school districts the flexibility they need to provide school lunches that are both healthy and sufficient. However, I will look to local administrators for guidance to determine if additional changes are required.”

Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, U.S.D.A. was given greater authority to set standards for school lunches to ensure a high-quality meal for students. However, they issued regulations setting calorie limits that many school administrators complained were overly strict and left many students hungry.

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