Agriculture

2:32pm

Thu June 19, 2014
Agriculture

Chobani wins USDA contract to put Greek yogurt on lunch trays

messycupcakes Flickr

Chobani Greek yogurt will be on more school lunch trays across the country as part of a new school lunch program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today awarded the central New York yogurt powerhouse a contract to expand a pilot program adding Greek-style yogurt to school lunches.

Chobani will now be able to put its yogurt in cafeterias for a month in seven states when the new school year starts up in August. Those states include New York, California and Illinois.

It comes after a successful three month pilot program this past school year in fewer states.

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7:13am

Tue June 17, 2014
Agriculture

Dairy industry sees a boom in New York

(file photo)
Matt Richmond WSKG

The New York state dairy industry is in a good place right now, and state officials say they want to keep it that way.

When New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball was a boy, he used to travel the state for his family’s farm business.

"It seemed like there were 60 dairies between Albany and Buffalo. And then there were a handful," Ball said. "And now at the department, we inspect and keep our eyes on close to 400 processing plants, and there are about 40 in the queue right now to get up and running.”

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8:25am

Mon June 16, 2014
Agriculture

New York could be key state in GMO labeling debate

Corn is one of the most common genetically modified crops.
Robert S. Donovan Flickr

New York state is shaping up to be a key decider in the debate over labeling foods that contain genetically modified ingredients as a labeling law is becoming one of the final debates of the state legislative session.

A bill requiring foods to be marked as scientifically engineered is under debate in the state Legislature, after being approved by an Assembly committee.

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6:56am

Fri June 13, 2014
Agriculture

Hanna joins lawmakers urging EPA to reconsider navigable waters rule change

Rep. Richard Hanna meets with members of the Oswego County Farm Bureau, local farmers and other agriculture experts.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) is one of more than 230 members of Congress speaking out against a proposed change to the Clean Water Act by the Environmental Protection Agency. He says it would mean farmers in New York will face additional red tape and more fines.

Eric Behling's orchard in Mexico has been in business since 1947. Throughout the year his farm grows apples, pumpkins and other produce.

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6:23am

Mon May 5, 2014
Agriculture

Dairy farm worker encourages others to speak up about workplace dangers

Innovation Trail

A Syracuse-area farm worker is touring regional churches and community centers to bring attention to workplace dangers on dairy farms.

José Cañas is originally from El Salvador, but he’s worked in New York agriculture for three years.

Cañas says he’s putting his job on the line to let people know about the risks posed to agricultural laborers from slippery floors, large animals, heavy equipment, and chemicals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 55 fatalities on New York state dairy farms since 2006.

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8:03pm

Thu April 24, 2014
Beer

Brewers get win as FDA agrees to back off spent grain regulations

The bottling line at F.X. Matt Brewery in Utica, N.Y.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Federal food regulators are backing off of proposed changes to what craft brewers can do with the leftover grains from the beer making process.

Craft brewers in New York have said the proposal would hurt their businesses.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) had called for the Food and Drug Administration to abandon the change. He announced Thursday FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg agreed to revise the rule to avoid "unintended consequences" that would harm brewers and farmers.

Brewers provide spent grain to dairy farmers as a low-cost or free source of cow feed.

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7:40am

Mon April 21, 2014
Food

Wegmans takes a stance on genetically modified food

Wegmans says federal food regulators should better identify genetically modified foods.
Robyn Lee via Flickr

Upstate New York grocery store chain Wegmans has come out and said federal food regulators should develop standards and labeling practices for foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.

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6:50am

Fri April 18, 2014
Agriculture

State of emergency in six counties due to weeklong flooding

Black River in Watertown Thursday.
Brian Caird

Most North Country rivers and streams appear to be cresting or starting to recede after days of rising water. 

A combination of rain and melting snow caused several rivers and creeks to flood in upstate New York, particularly in the North Country and Mohawk Valley. Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a state of emergency for six New York counties this week due to flooding -- including Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties.

The Black River, which flows right through Watertown, was above flood stage beginning Monday and closed roads and bridges because of high water.

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6:56am

Mon March 31, 2014
Agriculture

Schumer calls on USDA to assist upstate dairy farmers with Farm Bill

fishhawk Flickr

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the United States Department of Agriculture to help dairy farmers in central New York sort through the recently passed Farm Bill. During a stop in Chenango County recently, Schumer said the updated milk portion of the bill is good for farmers, but confusing.

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4:00pm

Fri March 21, 2014
Agriculture

Maple Weekend celebrations go on, despite slower start to season

Sidsel Overgaard/WRVO

This weekend is the state’s annual celebration of maple syrup. Maple Weekend is a rite of spring and ushers in the first crop of the year.

New York is the country’s second biggest producer of maple syrup, behind Vermont. Producers will put out more than two million taps this spring.

Acting New York State Agricultural Commissioner Richard Ball says producers are nervous about the late winter.

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11:08am

Fri February 21, 2014
Agriculture

Cold weather could mean fewer bees to pollinate fruit come spring

Mike Martino, owner of Honey Hill Orchards in Chittenango, N.Y. talks with U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Ryan Delaney WRVO

This winter’s cold temperatures are creating tough survival conditions for honeybees. Come spring, the bees will be relied on to pollinate upstate New York apple, cherry, and other fruit trees.

Mike Martino began the winter with a hundred bee colonies on his Honey Hill apple orchard in Chittenango. He estimates he’ll lose about 30 colonies by spring time. He’s hoping the prolonged frigid temperatures of the past few months don’t kill off more.

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8:16am

Tue February 18, 2014
Agriculture

New Farm Bill makes transition to organic dairy farming easier

publicenergy Flickr

For farmers in upstate New York, going organic isn’t easy. But one farmer who’s made the switch is happy that the new Farm Bill will make it easier to transition from traditional to organic farming in the future.

Ben Simons has been a dairy farmer in Remsen for two decades. Two years ago, he decided to convert his operation over to an organic dairy.

"Because I did not want to expand my dairy anymore," Simons says. "It was very difficult to stay a small family farm and compete with conventional milk.”

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6:57am

Fri February 14, 2014
Agriculture

Hanna says Farm Bill gets a lot right, but doesn't address everything

Rep. Hanna tours Hood Dairy in Oneida
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Rep. Richard Hanna and central New York farmers celebrated the passage of the Farm Bill, with a tour of a Madison County Dairy producer Thursday.  

At the Hood Dairy in Oneida, Hanna ticked off the things in the Farm Bill that will help upstate New York farmers: the five-year bill provides stability for farmers; it transitions farmers to a more modern dairy support program; it expands crop insurance, offers more support for organic farming, and help to young farmers who want to get in the business.

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3:09pm

Fri February 7, 2014
Agriculture

Hanna touts benefits of Farm Bill for upstate NY farmers

Matt Richmond WSKG

President Barack Obama signed the Farm Bill into law Friday, after four years of failed attempts to pass one. Rep. Richard Hanna says the bill will give economic stability to farmers in the upstate New York.

Hanna toured the Dutch Hill Creamery in Chenango Forks Friday morning and said the new Farm Bill will have a great impact on farmers in the state. And that New York state should focus more on the potential benefits of expanded farming.

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2:47pm

Thu January 30, 2014
Agriculture

Chobani can't call its yogurt 'Greek' in the United Kingdom

Chobani lost a lawsuit in the U.K. over whether it can call its yogurt "Greek" if it's made in the United States.
messycupcakes Flickr

Central New York yogurt powerhouse Chobani won’t be able to call its yogurt “Greek” in the United Kingdom after a court ruling.

A British court ruled yesterday that because Chobani’s Greek-style yogurt is made in New York state, not in Greece, they can’t call it Greek. The legal challenge came from a Chobani rival, Fage.

The court said the labeling misleads consumers. Chobani hit U.K. store shelves in 2012, but withdrew its products last year, according to the Associated Press.

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5:33am

Wed January 29, 2014
Agriculture

Schumer says Farm Bill deal good for New York farmers

Ian Lamont Flickr

New York Sen. Charles Schumer says it’s “a good day” for upstate New York farmers now that there is a deal in the House of Representatives and Senate for a Farm Bill.

Congress is expected to begin voting on the bill later today. The five year farm bill, agreed upon in committees on Monday, reduces crop subsidies and increases crop insurance.

Farm Bills were first written during the Great Depression. This latest one took two years of negotiation.

Schumer, a Democrat, says the bill is especially good for small dairy farmers and maple sugar tappers in New York.

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3:06pm

Wed January 22, 2014
Agriculture

Farmers express concern about immigration policies, lack of Farm Bill

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY) listens to farmers' concerns at a recent roundtable.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The central New York agriculture community got a chance to get the ear of Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) this week, highlighting several areas where action by the federal government could help farmers and food processors do their jobs.

Topic number one on the agriculture agenda is to urge Congress to pass the Farm Bill, that’s been languishing in Congress for two years. Bill Byrne of Byrne Dairy is optimistic as lawmakers seem to be reaching consensus on the dairy policy in the Farm Bill, one of the big sticking points.

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7:06am

Wed January 1, 2014
Agriculture

Proposed FDA rules for produce farms to be changed

The Food and Drug Administration is, for the first time, proposing new food safety rules for produce farmers across the country. The FDA asked for comments on the rules this year and thousands of upstate farmers responded. Many of them criticized the rules, saying they could spoil their livelihood. So the FDA announced last week they would re-draft some of the contentious rules.

Richard Ball runs Scoharie Farms on Route 30 outside of Albany. He walks over to a metal gate closing in one of his fields and yanks up the hood on his coat, blocking the wind.

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6:34am

Wed December 25, 2013
Agriculture

Hard cider industry on tap to become next local food craze

As families all over New York State enjoy holiday celebrations, sweet and hard ciders will undoubtedly be on the menu at many gatherings. The industry has expanded in recent years, and in New York, recent legislation could take the hard cider industry to greater heights.

On a brisk fall Friday morning in Utica, the Nail Creek Pub has just opened for business. As the lunch crowd files in, they’ll have their choice of craft beers from New York state, but another product produced in their own backyard is beginning to make a splash. Just ask pub owner Chris Talgo.

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8:34am

Sat December 21, 2013
Agriculture

Christmas tree farm branches out to grow new species

Turkish fir trees grow at Empire Evergreens in Painted Post, N.Y.
Matt Martin WSKG

Every year Christmas tree farmers lose a portion of their crop to a fungus that attacks the root of the tree.  One tree farm in the Southern Tier has started planting a species that seems to be more resistant to the disease.

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7:36am

Fri December 6, 2013
Agriculture

Auburn milk plant hopes to capitalize on export market

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D - N.Y.), second from left, speaks with dairy farmers outside a milk processing plant being built in Auburn, N.Y.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

A new dairy processing facility under construction in Cayuga County plans to make most of its money on the export market and its owners are hoping trade rule changes don’t hinder that.

An $80 million dairy facility going up in Auburn plans to sell powdered milk to countries in Asia and North Africa, but current trade rules with some of those countries could make exporting their products difficult.

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8:25am

Thu December 5, 2013
Agriculture

Farmers say mounting state and federal paperwork is hurting business

File photo
Ian Lamont Flickr

Farmers across New York state converged in central New York for the State Farm Bureau’s annual meeting this week.  According to those at the meeting, the biggest problem these farmers face is too much paperwork.

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3:57pm

Wed October 30, 2013
Beer and Wine

Schumer pushes for end to ban on USPS shipping alcohol

Kate O'Connell/Innovation Trail

Sen. Charles Schumer says lifting a ban on the U.S. Postal Service shipping alcohol will help both the struggling postal carrier and New York’s growing beer and wine industry.

Private carriers like UPS and Fed-Ex can deliver mail-order alcohol. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, is pushing for the USPS to be able to do the same. The ban against it transporting alcohol dates back to Prohibition.

"It will be a way for consumers far and wide to order their favorite New York beers and wines and get hold of them." Schumer said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday. 

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5:01pm

Mon October 14, 2013
Agriculture

Three Finger Lakes wineries join forces to promote international sales

baristaj9 Flickr

Three upstate wineries have come together to create an import-export company designed to increase Finger Lakes wine sales in Europe. The new company, called New York Wines, will be registered in Belgium and the partners are hoping it will help to increase sales at home as well as abroad.

John Martini, president of one of the vineyards, the Anthony Road Wine Company, says the costs associated with overseas shipping can be prohibitive for a single winery. But shipping produce from several wineries in bulk makes it cheaper at both ends, he says.

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7:29am

Wed October 2, 2013
Agriculture

Farm Bill expiration worries New York's farmers

Doug Kerr Flickr

While the focus has been on the partial federal government shut down, another important piece of legislation, the federal farm bill, has also expired.

New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton said this is the third time in three years he’s seen negotiations go down to the wire and beyond on farm legislation that regulates crop subsidies, milk prices, and nutrition programs.

"It’s like déjà vu all over again," Norton said in a statement.

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12:09am

Fri September 20, 2013
Agriculture

North Country farmers tell lawmakers regs too big a burden

State senators listen to a farmer detail his frustrations with onerous government regulation at a forum Thursday in Watertown. From left are senators David Valesky, Patrick Gallivan, Patty Ritchie, and Kathleen Marchione.
Credit Joanna Richards

Farmers and agricultural industry leaders in the North Country had the ears of state lawmakers yesterday in Watertown. The forum, hosted by State Senator Patty Ritchie, was one of 10 being held throughout the state on the topic of regulatory reform in a variety of industries.

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10:12am

Tue September 3, 2013
Agriculture

New York's Dairy Farmers Squeezed By Greek Yogurt Boom

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 2:01 pm

The recent yogurt boom of upstate New York has meant more jobs in places like the Chobani plant in South Edmeston, but it has not led to a bigger dairy herd in the state.
Mike Groll AP

Upstate New York has lugged around the Rust Belt identity for decades now.
But today, the region is trying on a new reputation as the king of yogurt — especially the high-protein Greek yogurt that consumers crave.

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7:24am

Fri August 30, 2013
Agriculture

NY State Fair offers visitors the chance to see a calf be born

A cow licks her calf after giving birth at the New York State Fair's new Dairy Cow Birthing Center.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A new exhibit at the New York State Fair in Syracuse this year shows cows giving birth; and you just never know when you might be able to see a maternal miracle.

When the ribbon on the new Dairy Cow Birthing Center was cut, visitors were milling about, enjoying some dairy related snacks. Reporters were interviewing the experts who would explain why fairgoers should want to see the birth of a calf, when there was an interruption.

"We have a calf coming. Didn't mean to interrupt, but nature calls."

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4:11pm

Fri August 2, 2013
Agriculture

How do you like them apples?

SnapDragon apples
Kevin Maloney

After more than a decade of development, Cornell University has introduced two new apple varieties to upstate New York.

Previously known as New York one and two, the new RubyFrost and SnapDragon varieties were named Thursday and will be available to consumers as early as this fall.

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7:19am

Mon July 29, 2013
Agriculture

Farmers on guard after armyworms found in St. Lawrence County

Matt Lavin/flickr

An infestation of True Armyworms was identified last week in a hay field in central St. Lawrence County, prompting growers to take an extra look at their grass and corn fields.

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