Farmer John Peck has a moment with a two-month-old calf in his dairy barn.
Agriculture is one of the most dynamic and innovative economic sectors in New York state. All this week, the Innovation Trail team is reporting on some of the current challenges and opportunities facing upstate farmers.
One of those challenges is property taxes. Agriculture is a land-intensive industry, so rising property taxes can mean much higher costs for farmers. And taxes have been rising, thanks mostly to increases in the production value of farmland.
Since 2006, honey bees have been abandoning seemingly healthy hives in large numbers, raising alarm among beekeepers, farmers and researchers. But, the industries that are dependent on honey bees are finding ways to manage the losses.
New York is the second biggest apple producing state in the country. But, last year production dropped dramatically due to a warmer winter, early blooms, and harsh spring frosts. The total production from the state plummeted from 1.2 million pounds in 2011, to just 710,000 pounds in 2012. But, weather isn’t the only challenge growers are contending with.
Bloomer Creek Winery on the east side of Seneca Lake.
As Finger Lakes wine grows in popularity around New York state and the country, one long-time vintner has separated himself from the pack by doing things the old fashioned way and keeping things simple.
As lawmakers in the Senate's Judiciary Committee debate the immigration reform bill released last month, farmers in New York State are hoping to find enough workers to fully staff their operations. It's a yearly struggle in New York and nationwide and according to a report by Farm Credit East, more than 1000 farms in New York could close or shrink by two-thirds if immigration laws were fully enforced.
A dozen universities are collaborating on a sort of extreme winemaking project: How cold a climate can a grape survive and still make good wine? The Northern Grapes Project is inventing wines the world has never seen before, winning wine awards and creating a new crop for struggling rural economies.
In New York’s central region, there are hundreds of farms selling meat and produce directly to the public, and a Binghamton group is working to connect restaurants with those farms. The downtown Binghamton restaurant Lost Dog Café recently held a "Meet the Farmer" event. Sixty people attended a catered dinner in the back of the busy restaurant.
A coalition of farmers and foodies are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York state right away. Groups across the state are expected to meet throughout the week to alert the public to the risks they believe fracking poses to the state’s agricultural viability.
Here's a catchphrase someone who's been to a farmer's market is probably familiar with: "buy local." And for those who try and follow the mantra closely, you may also be familiar with "food miles," the notion of counting how far your strawberries traveled to land on top of your bowl of Cheerios.