farming

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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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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8:15am

Tue December 24, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Hanna urges OSHA to consider delaying surprise dairy farm inspections

File photo
Matt Richmond WSKG

Rep. Richard Hanna is urging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to delay its new random inspection program for dairy farms. He and six other upstate members of Congress, including Dan Maffei, Bill Owens and Tom Reed, signed a letter to the assistant secretary of labor for OSHA asking for consideration.

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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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7:19am

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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9:01am

Fri July 26, 2013
Agriculture

Madison County farms see younger people take the helm

Younger people are taking up farming in Madison County, even though the national average age for farmers is approaching 60.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average age of a farmer in 2012 was 57. Forty percent of all farmers right now are over the age of 55. But in an era of increasing age among the men and women who grow our food, there are some younger people bucking the trend. Some of these new farmers are sending down roots in Madison County.

The cadre of 20 and 30-somethings running Greyrock Farm in Cazenovia are as likely to have a smartphone in their pocket as a pitchfork in their hands.

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5:19am

Tue July 9, 2013
Agriculture

Wet weather straining farmers, but season not a washout yet

Brian Reeves plucks dead leaves off of pepper plants on his Baldwinsville farm.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Brian Reeves is plucking dead leaves off of pepper plants on his farm in Baldwinsville.

"If it keeps up, they will lose more and more leaves and you come back here in two weeks and it's like a stem with no leaves," he says. "It's just gone."

Low-lying spots in his fields are wetter than they should be with large puddles collecting in some areas. Crops trying to grow in those areas are showing signs of too much moisture - like dead leaves and disease.

It's a result of the wetter-than-average summer so far in upstate New York.

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9:04am

Tue June 25, 2013
Agriculture

Amish dairy farmers work with Agri-Mark to get milk to market

A garage on an Amish farm in northern New York.
Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

St. Lawrence County may be losing population, but there's one group that keeps growing: Old Order Amish. They've moved to northern New York because of cheap, available farmland. But in order to maintain their lifestyle, the Amish need a market for the milk the produce. So they've turned to an unlikely partner: dairy co-op Agri-Mark. 

Drive down some roads in the county, and it’s like stepping back in time. Traffic comes from buggies, not cars. Children in dark clothes and straw hats and bonnets play in neatly kept farm yards.

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6:59pm

Sun May 26, 2013
Health

To the farmers market you go

Joe Beasley Flickr

According to Ben Vitale, the secret to successfully shopping at a farmers market comes down to one simple statement: “Know your farmer, know your food.”

Click 'Read More' to hear our interview with Ben Vitale.

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8:59am

Thu May 23, 2013
Agriculture

Farmers' property taxes rise as land values increase

Farmer John Peck has a moment with a two-month-old calf in his dairy barn.
Credit Joanna Richards

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.

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8:45am

Wed May 22, 2013
Agriculture

Farmers and beekeepers respond to colony collapse

A bee hive near Ithaca, New York
Matt Richmond/Innovation Trail

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.

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8:25am

Tue May 21, 2013
Agriculture

Fighting fire blight in New York's apple industry

Apple stalls at the Rochester Public Market
Kate O'Connell/Innovation Trail

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.

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8:07am

Mon May 20, 2013
Agriculture

New York's "local" beef, often not as local as you think

Eve Ann Shwartz herds her cattle on Maple Avenue Farms in Earlville, N.Y.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The steaks stacked in the coolers of butcher shops in New York may be marketed as local, but just what that label means varies widely.

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8:54am

Thu April 25, 2013
Agriculture

Once the dominant grower, New York is rediscovering hops

Dave Pasick sticks his head out of the barn on Szaro Farms outside of Utica, N.Y.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Dave Pasick moved back to his family’s farm just north of Utica a few years ago, naming it Szaro Farms, after an old family name.

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3:50pm

Wed April 17, 2013
Agriculture

Farmers and foodies call for fracking ban

WBFO

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.

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10:45am

Tue January 29, 2013
Agriculture

State budget puts more focus on agriculture

The state budget proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls for new efforts to boost sales of New York produce, a change from previous administrations, says a pro-farming group.

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8:00am

Sun August 5, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Greek yogurt helps boost the dairy industry and upstate's economy

fishhawk Flickr

Greek-style yogurt now accounts for about a quarter of all yogurt sales in the United States.  Much of it is made in upstate New York, where this low-tech industry is having a big economic impact.

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4:18pm

Wed July 11, 2012
Politics and Government

Schumer fights for a provision to the farm bill

Doug Kerr Flickr

New York Senator Charles Schumer called on the House of Representatives to pass a provision of the farm bill that he says would allow more grants and loans for more than 60 rural upstate New York communities.

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