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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Showing posts with label farming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label farming. Show all posts

4-H Celebration October 6th

Written By Editor on 9/26/16 | 9/26/16

All 4-H alumni and friends are invited to celebrate National 4-H Week with the 4-H staff on October 6 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Chieftains Restaurant, Main Street, Cobleskill. The event hopes to encourage former 4-H members and supporters to stop in socialize, renew acquaintances, and make new friends while showing their support for this well regarded youth organization.

According to Shelly Wood, leader of Middleburgh’s Happy Hoofsters 4-H Club, “4-H is a group that has something for all children and adults. We have lots of opportunities for all different interests including citizenship, animals, gardening, the sciences, and lots of outdoor education activities.” There will be giveaways, snacks, and more for those who attend.

For more information, contact the Schoharie County 4-H Office at (518) 234-4303 or 296-8310.  Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie and Otsego Counties provides equal program and employment opportunities.  Accommodations for persons with special needs may be requested by contacting Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties prior to the program.

Gibson Introduces Family Farm Relief Act of 2015

Written By Cicero on 4/16/15 | 4/16/15

Washington, DC – Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19) announced the introduction this week of the Family Farm Relief Act of 2015, legislation he authored to move the H-2A Agricultural Visa program from the Department of Labor to the Department of Agriculture to better meet the unique labor needs of farmers and agricultural businesses.

“This is common-sense, constituent-driven reform,” said Congressman Gibson. “I deeply appreciate the guidance of the hard-working men and women who grow our food and protect the rural landscape of Upstate New York. Too many of these farmers face labor shortages—and lost income—due to needless bureaucratic delays. Our bill puts this program in the hands of officials who fully appreciate the demands of running a family farm, simplifying the application process to ensure timely planting and harvests.”

“The Family Farm Relief Act would seriously address a number of our labor needs in New York,” said New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton. “The bill reduces onerous regulatory burdens, expands the number of farms that can access the H-2A program, and would give farms the flexibility needed to get food from the farm to the dinner table. New York Farm Bureau greatly appreciates the efforts of Rep. Chris Gibson and the other co-sponsors of this bill. They understand that we need more than enforcement to solve our urgent immigration issues.”

Congressman Gibson recently joined 60 other Members of Congress in calling on the House Judiciary Committee to first address needed agricultural immigration reform before moving forward with mandatory E-Verify legislation before the Committee. 

The Family Farm Relief Act of 2015 provides a strong starting point to address this request.  It takes practical measures such as allowing visa applicants to fill out H-2A applications on paper or online, requiring a user-friendly online system, and ending burdensome requirements on advertising and prevailing practice surveys.

“This bill ensures that unelected bureaucrats do not tell our farmers how to advertise for domestic workers,” said Congressman Gibson, a member of the House Agriculture Committee. “Instead of requiring farmers to advertise for help in at least three states, an arbitrary and burdensome requirement, our bill replaces that requirement with a much more workable standard of advertising within 150 miles of the farm.”

The Family Farm Relief Act of 2015 also allows farm cooperatives and other agricultural associations to apply for workers for their members, makes the program more workable for dairy and other livestock operations, and requires reporting to Congress if delays occur in the H-2A Visa application process.

The original co-sponsors of the bill are Representatives Chris Collins (NY-27), John Katko (NY-24), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Tom Reed (NY-23), and Elise Stefanik (NY-21).

Ball to Highlight Conference on Food and Farming

Written By Editor on 11/3/14 | 11/3/14

A Celebration of Our Agricultural Community at The Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, will inform and inspire farmers and the public, unifying and driving the agricultural economy in Central New York on Saturday, November 15, 2014, from 9 am-5 pm

The conference's keynote speaker is Richard Ball, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Addressing the topic of food systems will be Jason Evans, Assistant Professor of Agriculture, SUNY Cobleskill. Doug Thompson of G&T Farm will speak on the impact farming has on our communities and economies, as well as pasture management.  Don Smyers, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties, will address opportunities driving agricultural economic development in Central New York.

For farmers, the conference will provide information and networking opportunities to connect with potential partners and prospective customers. Local farms and businesses will share information on heritage-based as well as biotech farming and ways in which traditional techniques can and should inform modern ones.

Open to the public and free of charge, the conference will empower the public to become educated and engaged consumers, providing opportunities for people to get involved. By fostering a deeper appreciation for and understanding of farming, we support and stimulate the agricultural evolution that is so vital to the health and well-being of people, animals, and land.

"This conference will be a place for new ideas to be shared and relationships to be built," according to Danielle Henrici, the museum's director of education.  "As a direct result of the conference, both farmers and the general public in attendance will have the tools and inspiration to take positive action:  Farmers will have the latest and best information to grow their businesses and products well.  General attendees will learn how to better their families and their communities by making informed choices."

As a prelude to the conference, the documentary The Great American Wheat Harvest will be shown Friday, November 14 at 6:00 pm at the Fenimore Art Museum (across the road from The Farmers' Museum).

Admission to the conference and the documentary are free and advance registration is not required. Farmers and agricultural partners are invited to share their products or information at the conference for a small fee; contact Joan Cullen at 888-547-1450 extension 461.

The Conference is sponsored in part by SUNY Cobleskill, Lutz Feed Company, and Cazenovia Equipment Company.

The Farmers' Museum is located at 5775 State Highway 80, Cooperstown, NY. For more information, visit

Northern Stem Canker Crop Disease Found in Northern NY

Written By Editor on 10/3/14 | 10/3/14

A serious crop disease called northern stem canker has been confirmed for the first time in Northern New York soybean fields as part of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program-funded NNY Corn and Soybean Disease Diagnosis and Assessment Database building project. 
NSC occurs in most Midwestern states and in Ontario, but Cornell Plant Pathologist Gary C. Bergstrom says the finding in Jefferson County in northern NY and in six other counties elsewhere in the state is the first confirmation of NSC in New York or the northeastern U.S.
Reported yield losses to NSC in the Midwest have ranged from minor to in excess of 50 percent.  
Cornell Cooperative Extension/CCE Field Crop Educators Michael E. Hunter and Kitty O’Neil scouted soybean production fields in all six northern NY counties: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence. 
Hunter and O’Neil recorded observations on field conditions and diseases, and collected and sent plant samples to the Field Crop Pathology Laboratory at Cornell University for positive diagnosis of suspected disease problems.  
‘One option soybean producers can immediately consider to manage NSC is to plant canker-resistant varieties,’ says Hunter, who works with farmers in Jefferson and Lewis counties. 
‘We are encouraging growers and crop advisors to learn how to recognize the symptoms and differences of northern stem canker and other late season crop diseases,’ O’Neil says. 

With additional funding from the New York Soybean Check-off Program, NSC was diagnosed in plant samples from soybean fields in Jefferson, Livingston, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, and Wayne Counties. Diagnosis was based on characteristic symptoms, laboratory isolation of the causal fungus, and confirmation of a portion of its DNA sequence. 
Northern stem canker (NSC) is caused by the fungus Diaporthe phaseolorum var. caulivora and differs from a related fungus, Diaporthe phaseolorum var. meridionalis, that causes southern stem canker throughout the southern U.S.
‘This research partnership with the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is providing growers with early notice of common pest and crop diseases and, in the case of Northern Stem Canker, a new challenge so they can quickly respond to maintain crop health and productivity and farm profitability,’ says New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association Executive Director Julia C. Robbins.
A complete report is posted in the Field Crops section of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website Growers can also contact their local Cornell Cooperative Extension office for more information.

The NNYADP is a farmer-driven grants program funding on-farm, practical research supporting the agricultural industry in the six northernmost counties of New York state.

On-Farm Berry Research May Provide Fruit Pest Control; Field Day August 13

Written By Editor on 8/5/14 | 8/5/14

Two eastern NY farmers with Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education/SARE grants are teaming with the 16-county Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program to evaluate a promising way to help berry growers reduce damage by an invasive species of fruit fly. 

Farm owner Dale-Ila Riggs of The Berry Patch at Stone Wall Hill Farm in Stephentown, NY, installs one of two types of netting she is evaluating for protecting blueberries from insect pests, primarily Spotted Wing Drosophila which has become a major threat to Northeastern fruit crops since 2011; photo: Laura McDermott/Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program
Spotted Wing Drosophila/SWD was first identified in the U.S. in California in 2008. It made its way to the Northeast by 2011 and is now a major pest of berry crops throughout North and South America. One fly can complete 15 generations in one year. By the time growers become aware of the damage, it is too late to save the crop.
In 2012, SWD infested some Northeast berry crops at 80-100 percent. The eFly SWD Working Group of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension assessed the measurable loss to SWD of cultivated blueberries in 27 states in 2012 and estimates New York losses, based on a 30 percent loss of 900 acres of berries, at $1,356,000. The loss of raspberry crop value was even higher.
The Northeast SARE-funded research, conducted at Hay Berry Farm, LLC, a small-scale diversified organic, you-pick berry and herb farm in Hoosick Falls, and The Berry Patch at Stone Wall Hill Farm, a larger diversified fruit and vegetables farm in Stephentown, both in Rensselaer County, is evaluating the use of netting to protect crops rather than using costly insecticidal applications.
At Hay Berry Farm, a popular you-pick destination known as a ‘no-toxin’ farm, owner Lawrie Nickerson had originally planned to plant 4.5 acres of blueberries but stopped at three acres after the 2012 planting because of SWD. The use of netting there in 2013 effectively excluded SWD and other insects of similar size and larger from the trial area.
Nickerson adds a key point: “The upshot is that insects the size of fruit flies could not get past the netting, and using the netting did not negatively effect our harvest weight, yield, or timing. In some cases, the berry yield was slightly higher.”
“The 2013 project at Hay Berry Farm indicated that netting smaller plantings could be an excellent strategy for coping with SWD, particularly as an alternative for organic growers,” says Cornell Cooperative Extension Fruit and Berry Specialist Laura McDermott with the 16-county Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program.

McDermott has provided technical support with project design, data collection and analysis, and outreach support to both Nickerson and Dale-Ila Riggs, owner of The Berry Patch at Stone Wall Hill Farm, where Riggs harvests all of her fruit crops for fresh, direct market sale from the farmstead, at Farmers Markets, and to dozens of regional restaurants. 
“Two years ago we lost 40 percent of our crop to SWD. We believe the insect was brought in by Tropical Storms Irene and Lee,” Riggs says. She estimates SWD damage cost $8000 in lost blueberry income alone.
In 2014, Riggs is testing netting on a half-acre of blueberries that ripen over a two-moth period. The vigorous plants are 8-feet-tall and 8-feet-wide. She is evaluating two different mesh sizes of netting. The major portion of her planting is covered with the very fine netting Nickerson used; one row is covered with a less-fine netting that is also less expensive.

“We need a system that will control SWD yet be practical for working around the berries and less costly,” Riggs says.
“I am waiting to see how well the less expensive netting works at Dale-Ila’s farm. If it works well there, we will evaluate the economics and I believe there may be a strong possibility that I will put netting up next year,” Nickerson says.
Both Nickerson and Riggs tried a number of other adjunct measures, including insect trapping and weed mats, as part of their NESARE grant projects. More information is available from the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program/ENYCHP that provides research-based expertise on production and marketing to commercial food and horticultural producers in Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, Warren, and Washington counties

The ENYCHP will hold a Growers Field Day at The Berry Patch in Stephentown on August 13 from 3pm to 5pm. Learn more online at or call Marcie at 518-272-4210

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