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October 29, 2012 - 12:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Hurricane Sandy.

Press release:

In preparation for the upcoming storm the National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning from 5 p.m. today until 2 p.m. Tuesday. North or northeast winds are expected from 30-45 mph with gusts up to 65 mph. In addition, due to the unusual direction of the wind and saturated ground, tree uprooting is of particular concern.

Rainfall amounts of 2 to 2.5 inches are forecast from Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning, though there will be localized areas that receive more rain.

All residents are advised to move leaves or debris from the roadway to the parkway between the sidewalk and curb, in addition to keeping all storm water catch basins clean and clear of debris.  Keeping the roadways, gutters and catch basins clear of leaves and debris may assist in mitigating localized flooding concerns. Also, residents are encouraged to check sump pumps to ensure they are functioning properly.

All residents are advised that garbage and recycling collection is CANCELLED for Tuesday pickup and will presume on Wednesday. Residents are advised not to put out garbage and recycling containers for collection Monday evening or Tuesday morning for Tuesday pickup. All collection days will be pushed back one day, and Friday pickup will be on Saturday. 

High Wind Safety Information

High winds can cause downed trees and power lines, flying debris and building collapses, which may lead to power outages, transportation disruptions, damage to buildings and vehicles, and injury or death. Please stay inside when a Wind Advisory or Wind Warning has been issued.

All residents are encouraged to conduct a home safety search to look for items that can move, fall, or break in windy conditions. In addition, move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations (Halloween), trash cans, hanging plants, and anything that can be picked up by wind and become a projectile.

The safest place during high winds is indoors. Postpone outdoor activities if a wind advisory or high wind warning has been issued.

  • Watch for flying debris. Tree limbs may break and street signs may become loose during strong wind gusts. Keep an eye toward nearby balconies for loose objects that may fall.
  • Take cover next to a building or under a shelter. Stand clear of roadways or train tracks, as a gust may blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
  • Use handrails where available on outdoor walkways and avoid other elevated areas such as roofs without adequate railing.
  • Avoid anything that may be touching downed lines, including vehicles or tree branches. Puddles and even wet or snow-covered ground can conduct electricity in some cases. Warn others to stay away.
  • Do not touch anyone who has been shocked who may be in direct or indirect contact with a power line. You may become a second victim. Get medical attention as quickly as possible by calling 9-1-1.
  • When driving, keep both hands on the wheel and slow down. Watch for objects blowing across the roadway and into your path.
  • Keep a safe distance from cars in adjacent lanes as strong gusts could push a car outside its lane of travel.
  • Take extra care in a high-profile vehicle such as a truck, van, SUV, or when towing a trailer, as these are more prone to be pushed or even flipped by high wind gusts.
  • If winds are severe enough to prevent safe driving, get onto the shoulder of the road and stop, making sure you are away from trees or other tall objects that could fall onto your vehicle. Stay in the car and turn on the hazard lights until the wind subsides.
  • If a line falls on your car, stay inside the vehicle. Take care not to touch any of the metal frame of your vehicle. Honk your horn, roll down the window and warn anyone who may approach of the danger. Ask someone to call the police. Do not exit the car until help arrives, unless it catches on fire. To exit, open the door, but do not step out. Jump, without touching any of the metal portions of the car's exterior, to safe ground and get quickly away.

The city encourages all residents to take the necessary precautions to prevent injury to themselves and others. Should any resident need the assistance of an emergency responder please call 9-1-1.

If there are any questions, please contact:

Office of the City Manager

One Batavia City Centre

Batavia, New York 14020

Phone: (585) 345-6330

Fax: (585) 343-8182

E-mail:  jmolino@batavianewyork.com

October 29, 2012 - 10:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A Canandaigua man will serve a 90-day intermittent sentence in jail and five years on probation for claiming fraudulent unemployment benefits in Genesee County.

He faces similar charges in Ontario County.

Nicholas A. Caliese must repay the county $12,829.50.

Caliese entered a guilty plea to grand larceny, 3rd, in Genesee County Court on July 6.

His sentence was based on a plea deal struck over the summer.

Currently, Caliese is working two jobs, one is full-time, and going to school.

"A probation sentence is appropriate, giving him the opportunity to continue forward with the positive steps that he’s just made recently," said Billy Tedford, his attorney.

October 29, 2012 - 8:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, Hurricane Sandy.

City residents, if you've piled your leaves in the street, please move them into the parkway -- between the curb and the sidewalk -- this morning.

City Manager Jason Molino said the city's leaf removal program started a week ago, but there's still a lot of leaves on the ground, and even though in a press release last week the city asked residents not to pile leaves in the street, some have.

"They're a hazard to cars, but in a situation like this, they clog storm drains and prevent storm water runoff," Molino said.

Residents should especially take action to prevent any piles of leaves from blocking catch basins and storm drains.

City crews -- both DPW and fire -- have been ensuring all equipment -- from pumping equipment to chainsaws and all vehicles are in good working order, fueled and ready to go.

There will be a full compliment of DPW workers available today and this evening, Molino said.

The city will have more information about storm preparedness later this morning.

October 29, 2012 - 6:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, Hurricane Sandy.

A flood watch and wind warning remain in effect for Genesee County starting at 2 p.m. today.

The flood watch is scheduled to expire at noon, Tuesday. The wind warning is predicted to end at 2 p.m., Tuesday.

The predicted storm front is the remnants of Hurricane Sandy, which is reportedly moving toward the Northeast. The storm is predicted to be a Level 1 hurricane when it strikes the eastern seaboard later today. Manhattan and Brooklyn are under evacuation orders. Heavy snow is predicted for the Appalachian mountains.

For Genesee County, rain estimates range from 2-3 inches. Winds are expected in the 30-40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph.

The big concern officials have about the wind is it will blow in the opposite direction than the region's prevailing winds. Trees are rooted to deal with prevailing winds and utility poles are anchored to handle wind from that normal direction. This could lead to dangerous conditions for falling trees and power outages.

Authorities urge area residents to prepare for storm damage and power outages. Click here for some recommendations from the NYS Department of Health.

Here's NOAA's Hurricane Sandy tracking page.

NOTE to schools, government agencies, businesses and event planners, please e-mail any closings or public notices to howard@thebatavian.com. Readers can e-mail photos and information to the same address.

UPDATE: Interesting time lapse video of Hurricane Sandy shot yesterday by NSAA's Earth Observatory:

Previously:

October 29, 2012 - 6:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Pavilion.

Jamie R. Alford, 22, of 219 N. Spruce St., Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Batavia PD responded to a report of a disturbance in the bar at Days Inn at 1:18 a.m., Sunday. Several people were reportedly involved in several fights inside and outside the hotel. Alford was reportedly among people ordered by hotel staff and police officers to leave the property. While patrols were dispersing the crowd, Alford allegedly tried to start another fight in the bar area. When officers attempted to arrest Alford, he allegedly resisted arrest and fought with police. Following arraignment in city court, Alford was jailed on $500 bail.

Alicia M. Stankwick, 21, of 318 E. Main St., Apt. #2, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt. Stankwick allegedly violated an order of protection by having a third-party communicate with the protected party.

Roger L. Lashure Sr., 45, of 3322 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, is charged with three counts of criminal contempt, 2nd. Lashure is accused of contacting a person he was ordered not to contact on three occasions between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25.

Abigail R. Storman, 17, of 111 State St., Batavia, is charged with menacing, 2nd, harassment, 2nd, criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. Stroman is accused to threatening a person by holding a knife and stating she would "slice up" the person at 9:15 a.m., Thursday. She also allegedly threatened to hit the person while raising her fist. She allegedly punched and broke a window in the residence.

Scott Dwayne Kingdon, 46, of Sparks Road, Pavilion, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. Kingdon is accused of constantly contacting a person through Facebook, texting and e-mails after being old not to have contact with the person. An order of protection was issued following Kingdon's arrest.

Garfield George Phillips, 46, of Lincoln Avenue, Rochester, is charged with issuing a bad check. Phillips was taken into custody by Rochester PD on an arrest warrant out of Le Roy Town Court and turned over to the Sherrif's Office. Phillips is accused of writing a bad check July 25 in the amount of $2,400.

Ashlea Marie Harmon, 21, of Edwards Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Harmon is accused of stealing a Kindle Fire from an apartment where she was babysitting and then pawning the ebook reader.

October 29, 2012 - 5:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron, bergen.

Photos and story submitted by Erica Lynn Hickey:

A group of Byron-Bergen High School juniors and seniors hosted the Grow-In-Kids Fall Festival on Saturday. The Fall Festival included a haunted house, snacks, and crafts for kids of all ages. 

There will be an extension to the Fall Festival on Halloween night. Grow-In-Kids is located at 42 Rochester St., in the Village of Bergen. On Wednesday night (Halloween) from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., there will be cider, doughnuts, coffee and hot chocolate for trick-or-treaters, as well as crafts and the haunted house.

There is no entrance fee, however donations to March of Dimes will be accepted. March of Dimes assists new mothers and their babies in times of need.

Volunteers are still needed for Halloween night. If interested, contact Fall Festival coordinator Paul Stamp at paulstamp101@gmail.com

Top photo: Paul Stamp, Dan Smith, Colton Young, Andrew Magin, Andrew McKenrick and Blake Snyder.

Lilly Walker works on arts and crafts.

Jack Walker makes a candy bucket in the shape of Frankenstein.

October 28, 2012 - 8:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, Hurricane Sandy.

The message from a National Grid spokesman: People need to take seriously the warning of this storm heading toward Western New York.

"Every indication we've gotten is this could be nasty," said Steve Brady, who handles media relations for National Grid in WNY.

Brady indicated the forecast has grown a little grimmer in recent hours.

If the storm turns out to be as significant as predicted, National Grid will have its hands full. The storm could sweep across its coverage area from Cape Code to Buffalo.

Brady called in response to our request for more information about the 40 or so Nelson Tree Company trucks staging at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia.

While Brady didn't have specific information about that location, he said typically National Grid will stage crews at hotels in anticipation of significant weather events. There are likely other groups of crews setting up similar staging areas in other parts of New York

"In these kinds of sitautions, hotel rooms are at a premium, so we like to keep groups of crews together," Brady said. "That's fairly common."

National Grid started planning for this storm days ago, he said. There's a lot of logisitics involved in preparing behind the scenes for these kinds of events, from procuring hotel rooms to ensuring crews receive adequate food and rest and all trucks are fueled and in good repair.

"If you were on the Thruway today, you probably saw trucks going in every direction," Brady said. "Crews are going everywhere and coming from everywhere."

Earlier today, Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator for Genesee County, noted that the northerly winds of this predicted storm will blow in the opposition direction of prevailing winds, which could make trees more vulnerable to being blown over.

National Grid faces a similar problem, Brady said, in that utility poles have guy wires to anchor them against prevailing winds. When winds blow in the opposite direction, the guy wires are less effective.

"We think we’re as ready as anybody can be," Brady said. "The problem with any major storm is you know it's coming, but you don't know where. You don't know what areas will be hit. Every area National Grid serves is going to see some impact and that's somewhat unusual compared to other major storms."

Brady, like Yaeger earlier, encouraged residents to be prepared for a major storm, acknowledging that sometimes forecasts for major storms turn out to be overblown.

"I hope people are taking this one seriously," Brady said.

October 28, 2012 - 7:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

Some 30 to 40 tree-trimming trucks owned by Nelson Tree Service are parked at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia.

One pickup truck at the location had a placard on it that read "Storm Response Team."

A manager on location would not provide further information and referred us to National Grid. We've contacted the power company's after-hours media number and have not yet received a response.

When we stopped by, managers were huddled in a small conference room with phones, laptops and maps spread about. Dozens of men in OSHA-approved vests were milling about outside and in the lobby.

Nelson Tree Service is based in Dayton, Ohio.

October 28, 2012 - 2:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, Hurricane Sandy.

Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator for Genesee County, is spending his Sunday making sure the county is ready for whatever may be coming our way tomorrow evening.

It could be the remnants of Hurricane Sandy. It could be something a little more severe, or maybe it won't be bad at all.

Yaeger's message to emergency responders and county residents: Be prepared.

"Right now, it looks like we're prepared," Yaeger said. "The biggest thing is that folks prepare themselves. Make sure they have plenty of food stuffs and water, batteries, withdraw cash from ATMs and make sure their vehicles are fueled."

The local fire chiefs have all been briefed, Yaeger said, and he's been in contact with the emergency coordinators in neighboring counties and with the state's emergency office.

The Salvation Army and UMMC have been notified.

The worse of the storm is expected downstate, and even though the current predictions for the storm in Genesee County is much like any heavy storm we experience a couple of times a year, there are some unique concerns.

Rainfall of half an inch to an inch per hour can cause localized flooding.

Plus, anytime there are sustained winds of 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 65 mph there is the potential for trees to come down, taking out power lines and damaging property.

Wind direction is also worrisome.

Our wind tends to blow south and west. But tree root systems grow in the opposite direction, so the northerly winds predicted for this storm may cause greater problems.

And with the rain we've had recently and the rain expected over the next 24 hours from the storm, the ground will be pretty soft and saturated.

"My biggest concern right now is if the system generates a little more energy than anticipated, or if it stalls over us for a little while, that's where I'm concerned," Yaeger said.

The Batavian is preparing to cover this storm however it may progress and we'll bring you new developments as needed.

October 28, 2012 - 1:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Notre Dame.

Following a 26-6 Section V Class D title victory of Clyde-Savannah, Notre Dame's Head Coach Rich Mancuso said a lot of the credit for the win could go to the offensive line.

"Our offensive line and Anthony Paladino did an absolutely outstanding job of blocking and that’s really controlled the game and won it for us," Mancuso said.

The stout line allowed Nick Taylor to rush for 192 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. Taylor was named MVP for the game.

The title is the first for ND since 2006 and the second in Mancuso's eight seasons as head coach.

Clyde-Savannah is a passing team, but the Golden Eagles were really forced to go the air by the third quarter with the Fighting Irish up 20-6.

While QB Tom Molisani was an impressive 17-29 for 246 yards (including a couple of competitions he tossed while in the grasp of ND defenders), the senior passer gave up four interceptions.

"The big thing is, we knew we had to stop them from throwing the ball and we knew we had to control the clock and we had to take care of the ball, which we did," Mancuso said. "We created a number of turnovers on their part. We did a great job with our game plan both offensively and defensively. I couldn’t be prouder of the kids at the moment."

The Irish amassed a total of 322 yards on the ground.

Andrew Mullen carried the ball for 88 yards on 16 carries and scored a touchdown. QB Tim McCulley added 37 yards on four carries.

McCulley was 1-3 for 23 yards, with the one pass completion going to Charlie Hebert for a touchdown.

The junior also had two key second-half interceptions.

Like Mancuso, McCulley was full of praise after the game for the offensive line.

"Our running game (was a key to victory)," McCulley said. "We ran the ball in the throat. Our line played great. Our running backs ran hard and everything just fell in place."

After the game Taylor said the win felt "awesome."

"I've been starting since my freshmen year and we’ve lost every time in the finals so it’s great that in my senior year, we actually win it," Taylor said. "It feels great."

Paladino, who helped led the lines on both offense and defense and was one of the players of the game, said his award wasn't just about him.

"We all work hard," Paladino said. "You shouldn’t really pick one person. The whole defensive line did everything."

On defense, Paladino had three tackles and Taylor had four, as well as a sack.

Jared Thornton had five tackles, Hebert four and Josh Johnson, four. Taylor and Aaron McDonald each had an interception.

Hebert also blocked an extra point try following Clyde-Savannah only TD.

On a night of constant rain for the entire game, neither side gave up a fumble.

Also receiving game trophies were Johnson and James Spear.

Next up for the Irish (8-1), Avon (8-1), who beat Red Jacket 14-6 to capture the Class DD title. That game will be played Saturday in Rochester.

To purchase prints of these photos and the photos in the slide show, click here. If you're unable to view the slide show below, click here.

October 28, 2012 - 8:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

The remnants of Hurricane Sandy are expected to bring high winds and heavy rain to Western New York from Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.

Two to three inches of rain are expected with 40 mph winds and gusts up to 65 mph.

A high-wind warning has been issued for Genesee County and a flood watch is in effect for all of WNY.

The National Weather Service says there is some uncertainty on the track the storm will follow with the heaviest rain and strongest wind.

"It is unusual," according to the weather service, "to get winds from the northerly direction, leaving some areas typically sheltered from strong winds more vulnerable."

There could be localized flooding both in the city and in rural parts of the county.

Winds could bring down trees and power lines.

Sandy is currently a Level One (the least strong) hurricane expected to hit the eastern seaboard sometime Monday. While not the strongest hurricane, it has the potential, according to news reports, to become a "super storm."

The width of the storm -- 105 miles -- could make it the largest such storm on record to hit the United States.

Sources:

October 27, 2012 - 7:27pm
posted by Nick Sabato in football, sports, Le Roy.

Le Roy football is back in the sectional finals after a 44-27 win over Bath-Haverling at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester.

After three consecutive seasons without a winning record, the Oatkan Knights will attempt to win their 15th sectional championship in school history, the 14th under Head Coach Brian Moran.

Bath-Haverling entered Saturday afternoon’s contest at Sahlen’s Stadium looking to avenge a blowout loss earlier this season, and they came out fast. The Rams took the opening kickoff and marched 71 yards on nine plays before quarterback Daniel Leonard punched in the first score of the game from a yard out.

Le Roy responded quickly, as Tom Kelso took the ensuing kickoff back 79 yards for a touchdown. The teams would trade touchdowns, as the Knights’ leading rusher Peter Privitera returned from injury to score on a 29-yard scamper to take the lead, 14-13.

Leonard would score his third rushing touchdown of the game to retake the lead as time expired in the first quarter. At that point, the Knights began to put pressure on the senior and it led to good results. After Leonard recovered a fumble, he threw an ill-advised pass under pressure on the very next play that was intercepted by Kelso.

“[Leonard] has a great arm, he’s a four-year starter,” Moran said. “We had to put ourselves into a situation to make him move his feet, get him a little uncomfortable, and I thought we did that when we came off the corners.”

Le Roy countered Bath’s passing game with their own aerial attack. After attempting only five passes last week against Holley, sophomore quarterback Mike McMullen came out throwing. McMullen went 7-for-10 passing for 151 yards and a dazzling 37-yard strike to Ryan McQuillen that would put the Knights up for good in the second quarter. Perhaps the most impressive statistic was the fact that he did not throw an interception.

“When they put 10 guys in the box, you have to take advantage of it,” Moran said. “(McMullen’s) a sophomore, but he’s played all year and he needed to step up for us. He played very well today.”

Leonard finshed 9-for-21, with 165 yards passing and three interceptions. He also ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns for Bath (6-4).

Privitera also had a big game for Le Roy, rushing for 126 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns, including a 57-yard run on the first play of the second half. However, he was forced to leave the game in the third quarter with an apparent knee injury and did not return. The coaching staff is still optimistic that he will be able to play next week.

If Le Roy (8-1) wants to win another championship, they will have a daunting task in front of them as they will face top-seed Hornell. The Red Raiders are a three-time defending state champion and are riding a 48-game winning streak.

The Class C Championship game will take place Friday, Nov. 2, at Sahlen’s Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.

PHOTOS by Howard Owens

To purchase prints of these photos, click here. If you're unable to view the slide show below, click here.

October 27, 2012 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Kiwanis Club.

Batavia Kiwanis hosted another successful Pancake Days pancake breakfast at the First Presbyterian Church today.

October 27, 2012 - 10:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A motorcyclist who was injured in a rollover accident at 1:41 p.m., Friday, said a rider on another bike unexpectedly put on a right-turn signal.

Michale P. Julicher, 61, of Millersport Highway, Amherst, was riding on Bloomingdale Road, Alabama. He said he tried to lay down his 2009 Honda because he didn't believe he had time to stop.

Julicher was transported to ECMC by Mercy Flight.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Chris Parker. No citations were issued.

(Initial Report)

October 27, 2012 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Oakfield.

Holly Lindsey submitted this photo of four generations of Roy Joseph Muntz. Roy Sr., left, is 81. Roy Jr., is 55, Roy III, is 31 and holding Roy IV. The Muntz family lives in Oakfield and Batavia.

October 27, 2012 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in environment, weather, outhdoors.

Press release:

Western New York waterfowl hunting season opening Saturday, October 27, will likely be affected by the widespread reduced precipitation from last summer’s hot and dry weather, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. These conditions caused water levels to drop substantially in many wetlands and dried up other wetland areas. Recent rains have improved conditions; however water levels remain lower than normal. It is important for waterfowl hunters to scout potential hunting sites when making plans.

DEC Region 8 contains the state’s premiere waterfowl hunting areas in the form of the managed marshes at Iroquois and Montezuma National Wildlife Refuges and Northern Montezuma, Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).

The dry wetland conditions are particularly pronounced at the Iroquois WMA. In addition to some intentional drawdowns of impoundments to stimulate the growth of seed-producing annual plants preferred by waterfowl, the drought caused some additional units to go dry and the remainder to drop well below normal levels. The lack of rain also meant that there was no moving water to reflood the intentionally drained units. Several units are still mostly dry and all are below normal; many are one foot lower than usual. The number of permits issued was reduced by 20 percent for opening weekend at Tonawanda WMA due to lack of water in some impoundments.

The situation is less severe at Northern Montezuma WMA, where some wetland units dropped water levels significantly, but none went completely dry. Water levels in the Seneca River, Barge Canal and Crusoe Creek are lower than normal, but will support waterfowl and public access. Half of the managed marshes contain water levels suitable for hunting waterfowl, and in all sites, the production of seed-bearing annual plants is exceptional.

This year, for the first time in many years, the main impoundment at Conesus Inlet WMA was drained to regenerate the marsh vegetation. A normal year of precipitation would have made it difficult to keep the unit drained as there is a decent sized stream that flows through the marsh. The dry weather this year stopped that flow and allowed a complete drawdown. The unit is now reflooded to about half the normal depth where it will be held it until next year to allow the vegetation to fully rebound.

Overall, the waters in the marshes are more than enough to hold ducks and the extra vegetation and seeds produced due to the low waters will attract and hold birds. The biggest impact will be to hunters who usually access the marshes in boats. The low waters may make it impossible to float a boat, and will require wading to access the more remote locations. The increased vegetation may also make it a bit more difficult to find any downed birds.

October 26, 2012 - 5:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accident.

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries is reported in front of 8204 Park Road, just off of Oak Street. Town of Batavia Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 5:22 p.m.: A responder on scene says there's one minor chest injury, probably due to seat belt friction. Three vehicles are involved.

October 26, 2012 - 3:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, USDA.

Press release:

Genesee County farmers and private landowners were matched $1.5 million dollars in federal assistance this past fiscal year to install conservation practices on their farms, fields and forests.

Heath Eisele, district conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service said, “We are currently accepting applications for fiscal year 2013. To be considered for funding, interested applicants should submit their applications to the Batavia Field Office no later than Nov. 16.

Although the fate of the 2012 Farm Bill is undecided at this time, several programs remain intact to help landowners address a variety of resource concerns on their working lands. The NRCS programs for which applications are being accepted, include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Agricultural Management Assistance Program and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program.

According to the most recent Agricultural Census, Genesee County is comprised of approximately 184,000 acres of cropland. According to Eisele, this is where farmers in particular can have the biggest impact on improving soil, water and air quality.

“Many farmers have traded in their moldboard plow for equipment that reduces tillage and improves overall soil health. However, many farmers are not aware that financial assistance is available to help them transition to a less intensive cropping system or take their conservation efforts to the next level,” Eisele said.

One grain farmer who has championed the use of innovative farming techniques and who has utilized NRCS conservation programs is Donn Branton, of Stafford. Precision nutrient application, tissue testing, reduced tillage and cover crop cocktails are just a few of the ways that Branton is able to “build” soils and sustainably increase crop production.

NRCS currently offers incentive payments to farmers willing to plant a cover crop on fields where cover crops were not previously planted. In 2012 the incentive rate was $73 per acre for grass cover crops planted conventionally and $75 per acre for organic. Planting a cover crop mixture earned farmers $90 per acre. Incentive rates may change slightly for 2013.

“Cover crop is really the first step toward improving soil quality. In order to maximize the benefits, it is important that fields are not exposed to tillage after planting or for termination. Tillage can destroy soil structure, provide a seed bed for weeds and reduce residue on top of the ground,” Eisele said.

Farmers who adopt no-till or reduced tillage methods, such as strip-till or ridge-till, can receive up to an additional $43 per acre to limit the amount of disturbance to the soil. 

“I have found that leaving residue on the surface so it can degrade naturally promotes better soil as opposed to tilling it in,” Branton said.

Farmers not able to plant cover crop or utilize residue management can receive an annual payment of $10 per acre for three years by incorporating a small grain into their cropping rotation. The small grain will provide cover throughout the winter months and can be harvested for silage or grain. Hay may also be considered if not previously grown in rotation on the farm.

Other cropland practices that are eligible for financial assistance through EQIP include: grassed waterways, nutrient management, diversions, and riparian herbaceous buffers.

EQIP also offers technical and financial assistance to farmers that have resource concerns around the farmstead. Roof runoff management, silage leachate control, milkhouse waste containment, and waste storage are some of the practices that can be implemented through the program.  Other practices such as solid-liquid separation facilities, waste storage covers, composting facilities and anaerobic digesters have also been popular in the county.

To learn more about NRCS New York Conservation Programs, visit their Web site at www.ny.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/. To apply, interested landowners can call 585-343-2362 and request an application or visit the Batavia Field Office at 29 Liberty St., Suite 3, Batavia.

October 26, 2012 - 3:39pm
posted by JIM NIGRO in outdoors, nature, flora & fauna.

Whether they be red, orange, yellow or a combination thereof, maples are among my autumn favorites.

Here's a colorful and placid stretch of Celery Brook.

This doe as she was about to cross Old Creek Road when she stopped long enough to get her picture taken.

Twin oaks stand guard at the edge of Pcionek's woods.

Canada geese passing overhead

A pair of aged maples at the edge of a cattail swamp

Roadside red clover bud

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