PLATTSBURGH -- Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R,I,C-Peru) has announced that she has applications available for any dairy producers interested in applying for the New York State Dairy Assistance Program.

"Our vitally important dairy industry is in need of immediate financial help. I have available at my District Office the correct forms and applications. Dairy producers who produced milk in 2006 and were in operation as of April 1, 2007, are eligible for this state assistance," Duprey said.

Applications will be sent to dairy producers through their cooperative or processor.

Program applications can also be obtained at the assemblywoman's District Office, PARC Complex, 176 U.S. Oval, Suite 1000, Plattsburgh, N.Y., 12903, or by calling her office at 562-1986. Payments are expected to be mailed by May 9 by the New York State Empire State Development Corp. The application deadline is April 27.

The state enacted this program to protect farmers and prevent future dairy industry losses. The state budget included $30 million for the Dairy Assistance Program.

Duprey noted the Center for Dairy Excellence, the New York Milk Producer Security Program, and PRO-DAIRY are additional state programs available to help the local dairy industry.

North Country dairy farmers currently are receiving extremely low milk prices, while the cost of production, fuel, feed, energy, fertilizer and other operating costs are at an all-time high. These cost pressures forced some farms out of business, and the industry is suffering historic losses.

For further information on any of these dairy programs, call the Department of Agriculture and Markets at 1-800-554-4501, or see the Web site www.agmkt.state.ny.us.

SOUTH COLTON ­-- The Catamount Lodge and Forest LLC will host the Northern Adirondack Chapter, New York Forest Owners Association's Spring Woods Walk on Saturday, April 28.

The walk will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is open to the public free of charge. Please pre-register by calling the Catamount Lodge at 315-262-2255 and giving your name and the number of people attending.

There will be a one-hour lunch break with hamburgers and hot dogs provided for those who pre-register. Participants should wear appropriate clothing for the weather and bring water bottles and snacks to enjoy along the trail.

Presenters during the day will cover topics such as sustainable forest management plans, management activities that help owners achieve objectives in mixed hardwood forests, small logging operations and educational activities that help students understand energy issues and their relationship to forest management.

The Catamount property is located on State Highway 56 about five miles inside the Adirondack Park south of South Colton. Look for the Catamount Lodge sign, drive in the entrance and park near the trailhead into the forest.

Ruth and Joe McWilliams, members of the New York Forest Owners Association, purchased the Catamount property in May 2005 from St. Lawrence University and are managing it for environmental, social and economic purposes. They are working with family members and a professional consulting forester on recreation, wildlife, timber, water, educational and other benefits. The 379-acre property includes a lodge available for family and group reservations plus two tracts of forest land hugging the Carry Falls Reservoir. A forest trail system is open all seasons to lodge guests as well as the general public. There will be time to talk with the owners and tour the lodge.

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