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January 31, 2017 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, 4-H, Pavilion, news.

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Press release:

Genesee County 4-H member Emily Boldt has been selected to represent the New York State 4-H Program as a youth delegate at the 2017 National 4-H Conference. 

The National 4-H Conference is the pinnacle experience in 4-H Citizenship, providing an opportunity for young people to connect, engage, lead and learn how to impact their communities, their nation and their world.

The 2017 National 4-H Conference will be held March 25-30 in Chevy Chase, Md. Youth delegates from across the United States will explore current issues affecting youth, the role 4-H can play in addressing those issues, and tell federal decision makers if their current efforts are effective. 

Emily is a junior at Pavilion High School. She has been actively involved in the Genesee County 4-H Program for the past seven years and has taken on leadership roles within several areas. Emily is the current president of the Genesee County 4-H Rustic Riders Horse Club and also attended the 2016 4-H Career Explorations Conference at Cornell University.

January 25, 2017 - 3:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in alexander, agriculture, business, news, Announcements.

Tickets are still available for the 15th Annual Celebrate Agriculture Dinner! The dinner will take place Saturday, March 18 at the Alexander Fire Hall. Doors open at 6 p.m.  This event is a celebration of Genesee County’s number one industry – Agriculture. The highlight is a delicious meal using locally produced foods prepared by Penna’s Catering.

The dinner is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce (8276 Park Road, Batavia) for $30 each. A table of 10 can be purchased for $275. Sponsorships are available for $350 and help to support agriculture educational events in Genesee County. Tickets will not  be sold at the door.

The Celebrate Ag Dinner is coordinated by the following partners: Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, Genesee County Farm Bureau and Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District. Many local farms and businesses sponsor or donate products to this event.

For ticket information contact the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce at 585-343-7440, ext. 1027 or chamber@geneseeny.com

January 20, 2017 - 10:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, land use, planning, news, Alabama, batavia, byron, elba, Oakfield, and Pembroke..

Press release:

A state-mandated 30-day public review period has begun for Agricultural Districts No. 2 in the towns of Alabama, Batavia, Byron, Elba, Oakfield and Pembroke.

The Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board announced that Agricultural District No. 2 will embark on its eight-year review with a 30-day public review period beginning on Jan. 26.

As with every eight-year review, landowners with lands in the district under review will be asked to complete a worksheet where they will be given the option to enroll or withdraw property from the district. Only entire parcels can be included or excluded.

Landowners will receive the worksheet, along with a letter, informational brochure, and map of the current district boundaries in the next couple of days. Each landowner will have until Friday, Feb. 24th of this year to mail the worksheets to the Department of Planning in the envelopes provided. This deadline also coincides with the deadline for the Annual Enrollment Period, which allows for inclusion of predominantly viable agricultural land to any of the County’s Agricultural Districts pending review by the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board. In addition, nearby landowners that are receiving Agricultural Tax Assessments and are not part of the Agricultural Districts Program will be mailed a letter and form inviting them to join the program.

During this 30-day period, a map of the District will be on file and open to the public in the office of the Genesee County Clerk and at the Genesee County Department of Planning.Any municipality whose territory encompasses the above Agricultural District, any State Agency or any landowner within or adjacent to the District, may propose a modification of the District during this period. The District and any proposed modification will be submitted to the Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board for review. Consequently, a public hearing on the District and any proposed modifications will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10, at the Genesee County Old Courthouse, 7 Main St., Batavia.

At the conclusion of this review, the Genesee County Legislature will vote on any modifications to the District and send the proper materials to the State Department of Agriculture and Markets for recertification. The public is encouraged to attend all open meetings.

By enrolling land in the Agricultural Districts Program, participating farmers can receive relief from nuisance claims and certain forms of local regulation. Enrollment is free and voluntary. For a free informational brochure, please contact the Genesee County Department of Planning. Phone: (585) 815-7901; fax: (585) 345-3062; email: planning@co.genesee.ny.us. Visit us on the Web at www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/planning.

January 11, 2017 - 4:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, agriculture, Torrey Farms, news.

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Members of the Elba Lancers Girls Basketball teams, varsity and JV, wore T-shirts at their games Tuesday night in Attica to honor Jordyn M. Augello.

Augello, 30, died of cancer Monday just months after giving birth while going through cancer treatment. She coached many of the girls as a youth coach as they came up through the Elba program in fifth and sixth grade.

She is the daughter of Mark Torrey and was a partner in Torrey Farms. She leaves behind a husband, Charles Augello, and children Carmine Frank and Frances Mary. She was a 2009 graduate of Cornell University.

For her full obituary, click here.

Team photos courtesy Tom Redband.

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January 11, 2017 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, news, chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21) have introduced the Family Farm Relief Act of 2017, legislation 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.

“The last thing our farmers need is for the federal government to make it harder for them to make ends meet,” Congressman Collins said. “Access to a willing and available labor force is absolutely critical for Western New York’s agriculture community, particularly our dairy farmers. I am proud to join my colleague Congresswoman Stefanik in introducing this common-sense legislation to streamline and improve the H-2A visa program.”

“Agriculture is the backbone of our North Country economy and I am pleased to introduce this important bill to address the labor shortages facing our farmers,” Congresswoman Stefanik said. “When I travel the district speaking with our farmers, I often hear about how unnecessary delays in worker visas lead to difficulty meeting production goals. This common-sense legislation simply puts the H-2A agricultural visa program in the hands of those who best understand the specific needs of our farms.”

“Immigration reform that allows for both seasonal and year-round farm labor has been a longtime priority for New York Farm Bureau. For too long, the federal H2A guest visa program has been cumbersome, prone to delays and too rigid to fit the needs of both farmers and their employees. We thank Congresswoman Stefanik for taking the lead on The Family Farm Relief Act that will provide real reform and address a critical issue in New York's diverse agricultural community,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau president.

The Family Farm Relief Act of 2017 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.

The current H-2A visa program is unworkable, especially for the dairy farms across our nation. The H-2A visa program does not currently provide a category for year-round livestock workers, including dairy. This has caused difficulties for dairy farms that need employees year-round. This legislation addresses this oversight, by creating an H-2A category for these workers.

Additionally, the legislation 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.

January 4, 2017 - 1:28pm

Press release:

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, in collaboration with Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, will be offering a CDL Training Program for Genesee County agriculture producers and their employees for Class A and Class B licenses. This training program is designed for producers and farm employees that have some experience with commercial truck operation.

An informational meeting will be held on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension building at 420 E. Main St., Batavia. This meeting will explain how the program works and answer any questions you may have. The required training materials and medical forms will be passed out at this time.

Classroom training dates are Feb. 1 and 2, 7 to 9 p.m., at the Cornell Cooperative Extension building located at 420 E. Main St. in Batavia. Full payment (check or cash) will be required at the Feb. 1st class. The cost for Class A is $625 and the cost for Class B is $475.

Class size is limited. Registration is required and will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Jan. 23rd or until the class is full.

For more information or to register, contact Jan Beglinger at 585-343-3040 x 132 or Brandie Schultz at ext. 101.

January 4, 2017 - 1:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, agriculture, veterans.

Press release: 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that he has been reappointed Assistant Minority Leader of the Assembly and will sit on the Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, Insurance, Ways and Means and Rules committees.

“After a relaxing holiday season, I am excited to get back to work on behalf of the citizens in my district and continue to make strides rebuilding our infrastructure, securing crucial education funding, protecting our vets and fighting Albany corruption,” Hawley said. “I am overjoyed to have the great opportunity to serve on such important committees in the Assembly, and look forward to offering my expertise as a small-business owner when it comes to insurance and agriculture issues.”

This is the first term that Hawley will serve on the Rules Committee, which is the final stop for many bills before they reach the floor for a vote. It is also the group that controls many important operations of the House.

“The Assembly Rules Committee is one of the most important governing bodies in Albany, and I couldn’t be more honored to serve as one of its members,” Hawley said. “This committee is usually the final stop for legislation before it either comes to the floor for a vote or dies in committee. This is an excellent opportunity to safeguard upstate against radical and misguided legislation supported by downstate special interests, and I plan to do just that.”

December 16, 2016 - 11:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in CY Farms, agriculture, elba, business, news.

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Emmaline Long didn't grow up on a farm, but she grew up loving everything about farming. She always wanted to work in agriculture and after graduating from Cornell University with a degree in Agricultural Sciences, Long landed what she describes as her dream job, crop production manager for CY Farms in Elba.

The 2008 graduate of Byron-Bergen High School has a passion for farming that goes beyond just her job. She is chair of the New York 4-H Foundation, co-chair of the Genesee County Young Farmers and Ranchers and serves on the precision agriculture advisory committee at Genesee Community College.

All this passion, all this dedication to farming is why she received the Excellence of Agriculture Award from the New York Farm Bureau at its statewide convention last week.

The award is given annually to a person between the ages of 18-36 who derives most of his or her income from agriculture but doesn't own a farm.

She describes the award as humbling.

"Because I’m passionate about a lot of things, it’s nice to be recognized for the things I have been doing, and that putting myself out there and being a leader doesn’t go unnoticed," Long said.

Although Long didn't grow up on a farm, farming was always part of her life. Her dad had owned a dairy farm before she was born and she and her parents always worked their garden and her dad would ride her around in his lap on their tractor. In high school, she started raising a rare, heritage breed of sheep, Lincoln longwools. She was a member of 4-H and competed annually at the Genesee County Fair.

"(Agriculture) is in my blood," she said. "I've always loved it. It's always been something I've been interested in."

She still has her flock and hopes someday she can make enough from selling wool to pay for her hobby.

Her job at CY Farms, which she started two and a half years ago, affords her the opportunity to be involved in a wide variety of ag-related jobs, from managing and planning what crops get planted where, and managing the nutrients they will need, to handling disease and pest control in an environmentally friendly way, plus handling all the ag precision data. She also puts out the farm's newsletter. 

“I found it difficult to find one aspect of the industry I liked more than the others," she said. "I like forage crops and I like vegetable crops and I like grain crops and I couldn’t decide what I wanted to focus on, so I was specifically looking for a farm to work on that I could get involved in all the different aspects of the industry."

She's currently working on her master's thesis for a degree in Animal Science.

When she first graduated, she kind of thought her career path might have her working on a farm for a couple of years and them moving to a job with another, bigger agriculture company, but she's found she loves being involved in the local ag community, where everybody knows everybody and supports everybody, and she loves working at CY Farms, so it's now hard to imagine moving on.

"I love the operation and the opportunity they've been able to give me, so it’s hard to look forward because I’m content to work where I am now,"

Next month, Long will find out if her experience and passion for agriculture helps her win the same title at the national level of the Farm Bureau. She will be among 40 candidates for the award when the national organization holds its convention in Phoenix.

Previously: CY Farms grew from the good land

December 7, 2016 - 6:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in farm bureau, New York Farm Bureau, agriculture, elba, news.

Elba's Dean Norton has been replaced as president of the New York State Farm Bureau in an election held this evening at the bureau's annual meeting.

Norton, a dairy farmer, has been president and face of the farm bureau for eight years, representing the bureau not just in New York but in Washington, D.C., and around the nation.

The membership instead elected David Fisher, who owns a large dairy farm in St. Lawrence County, as president.

The nominees were Norton, Fisher and Mark Dunau.

(Information via the NY Farm Bureau's Twitter postings.)

UPDATE: Press release:

During the New York Farm Bureau State Annual Meeting in Albany, voting delegates elected David Fisher, a dairy farmer from St. Lawrence County, as the new president of the organization.

Fisher and his family have operated Mapleview Dairy in Madrid, N.Y. for four generations. He has served on the New York Farm Bureau Board of Directors for the past five years and previously was president of St. Lawrence County Farm Bureau. A graduate of Cornell University, Fisher earned a degree in Animal Science.

Fisher replaces Dean Norton who served as president for the past eight years.

“I am humbled that the farmer members of New York Farm Bureau have placed their confidence in me to lead this great organization. My family has a long history with Farm Bureau, and I am excited to work on behalf of our diverse membership to increase the value and visibility of New York agriculture. I would also like to thank Dean Norton for his service and commitment to New York Farm Bureau,” said David Fisher, president of New York Farm Bureau.

Vice President Eric Ooms, a dairy farmer from Columbia County, was re-elected to his position.

In addition, representatives to the State Board of Directors were elected, too. This concluded the annual two-day long meeting where resolutions were discussed and voted on to set NYFB’s 2017 public policy agenda.

Those elected include Pat McCormick of Wyoming County, re-elected as District 2 Director; Lin Davidson of Tompkins County was elected as District 4 Director; Jacob Schieferstine of Oneida County was re-elected as District 6 Director; Dean Casey of Rensselaer County, re-elected as District 8 Director; Chris Kelder of Ulster County, re-elected as District 10 Director; Kristen Brown of Orange County as the new Young Farmer and Rancher Chair on the State Board and Phyllis Couture of Cattaraugus County was re-elected as the Promotion and Education Chairperson on the State Board.

In addition, New York Farm Bureau handed out the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Awards to two worthy individuals who have made an impact on New York Farm Bureau and agriculture in this state. The awardees were Chris Fesko of Skaneateles, N.Y. and member of Onondaga County Farm Bureau, and Michael DellaRocco of Melrose, N.Y., a member of Rensselaer County Farm Bureau.

Finally, New York Farm Bureau announced two recipients of the James Quinn Award that recognizes extraordinary efforts by individual Farm Bureau members during the course of a given year “to serve and strengthen agriculture”.  The honorees were Joe and June Swyers of Livingston County Farm Bureau and Brad and Carolyn Almeter of Wyoming County Farm Bureau.

November 25, 2016 - 3:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Torrey Farms, elba, fire, news, agriculture.

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In farming, there's little time to dwell on losses and already the Torreys are moving on after a fire caused more than $3 million in losses to their Big O Farms onion packing and storage facility in Elba yesterday.

They're still shipping onions from two other facilities they own and making plans to replace the equipment lost in yesterday's fire.

"That’s what we’ve got to do," said Mark Torrey, who stopped by the scene of the fire at 5520 N. Byron Road this afternoon to meet an insurance adjuster. "That’s what keeps you going today. We got up this morning and had to figure it out. We had loads we had to get out today. We had to figure out how to get them out. We actually started working on that yesterday afternoon."

There were three lines of onion-packing equipment in the building, Torrey said. Some of the equipment was installed within the past year. The property is assessed at more than $400,000 and each line costs more than a half-million-dollars each.

"It's not something you can just buy off the shelf," Torrey said.

Most of the equipment is manufactured in Europe, so even if suppliers have already assembled the parts, it will take some time to get everything to Elba and get it installed.

Meanwhile, the Torreys still have onions from this season's crop to get to market and some 70 employees to keep working.

A few employees posted on Facebook about how sad they were about the fire and praised the Torreys as good people to work for.

"A lot of these people have worked for us for a long time," Torrey said. "They’re working in the other places (today), but yeah, we’ve got a lot of good employees and you try to treat them right."

The fire may have started with a tractor that was stored on the southeast corner of the building and had its engine block plugged into an electric socket to keep it from freezing. Nearly every fire department in the county, along with companies from Monroe and Orleans counties, responded to the Thanksgiving Day fire. There is reportedly a community effort underway to organize an event to recognize the volunteers.

Local contractor Vito J. Gautieri also was at the facility today. He built the plant in 1958 for the Ognibene family. He came with a model of a truss used in the main arched barn. The county's online property database doesn't list the size of the facility. Gautieri said it was greatly expanded from what he originally built, but he estimated the entire space to be about 25,000 square feet.

"It's the first building I ever built that burned down," Gautieri said.

Torrey acknowledged it's a difficult loss, but that the business will continue as usual.

"This is a big set back, but we’ve still got people, we’ve got product we’ve got to pack," Torrey said. "You’ve just got to get doing it and that sort of keeps your mind off of this today."

Previously:

November 24, 2016 - 8:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, fire, Torrey Farms, agriculture, news.

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It's been more than 12 hours since the first alarm sounded for a barn fire at  5520 N. Byron Road in Elba and volunteer firefighters are still on scene.

On Thanksgiving Day.

It was a massive fire. It consumed the entire onion packing and storage facility owned by the Torrey family. It's a facility that 15 years ago was owned by the Ognibene family, hence the name of the business location, "Big O Farms."

The facility is just a mile or so north on Transit Road from the Elba Mucklands, where the Torreys are one of the largest onion growers in the county.

Family members told firefighters that most of the recent season's crop was stored at other locations, so while about 1,000 crates of onions were lost, most of this season's harvest was not in the building.

What was in the building was all of the company's sorting and packing machines, all of which were destroyed in the fire.

"Obviously, these agriculture-design buildings have no built-in protection systems, so that’s a game changer for us," said Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator. "Then not having the adequate water supply for us initially, we were playing catch-up the entire time."

Clearly, the fire started in the southeast corner of the building. The cause, however, is unknown. Yaeger said investigators will look at electrical and equipment as the potential spark that lit the inferno. 

Elba crews were first on scene and started an exterior attack. Yaeger said that it's possible even by that time, given the wide-open spaces inside the building, the fire could have spread extensively.

It didn't take long for flames to reach the west end of the building, and a short time later, five- and six-foot high flames could be seen flitting through the roof.

Heavy equipment was brought in to knock down walls and open holes in the roof to help firefighters get water onto the fire.

But all morning, the water supply was a major obstacle to fighting the fire.

There was only one low-volume fire hydrant in the area, so as many as 20 tankers were called in from four counties to help shuttle water from fill sites (ponds, generally) and to porta-ponds set up on North Byron Road.

"Some of the primary fill sites weren’t adequate because of the drought we had this past summer so they had to establish and look for other fill sites, which unfortunately were further away," Yaeger said. "Some points were four, five, six miles away."

While nobody wants to be dragged away from friends, family, parades and football to fight a fire on Thanksgiving Day, the timing of the fire had one benefit: plenty of manpower. Many volunteers were home today instead of at work on a typical Thursday.

"I was fearful on the way here when the alarm came in, you know, people go away, go to visit family, a lot people go out of town, so I was concerned about what our manpower situation was going to be," Yaeger said. "Surprisingly, it may have worked in our favor. We had more than adequate manpower."

Every fire company in Genesee County was mobilized in some way for the fire. If the department wasn't on scene, and most of them were, they were acting as standby or fill-in for the departments who did respond.

Responding from the county included Elba, Byron, South Byron, Bergen, Oakfield, Stafford, Alabama, Alexander, Le Roy, East Pembroke, Bethany, Pembroke and Indian Falls, with Darien and Pavilion placed on standby or fill-in.

Departments from Orleans County, including Albion and Barre, responded, as well as Brockport from Monroe County and inmates from Wyoming Correctional Facility.

All volunteers, all giving up all or a portion of their Thanksgiving to fight a fire.

But Yaeger suggested we not concentrate on the sacrifice of the volunteers.

"It’s difficult, but our hearts and thoughts go out to the business owner," Yaeger said. "That’s the primary concern. We don’t ever want to see this kind of destruction. It’s a total loss. That’s our real thought. For the firefighters, to be away from their families is difficult, but that’s what we do. In times of need, the fire services have got to be there and we were. It’s unfortunate it was today."

Previously: 

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November 24, 2016 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, elba, news, agriculture, Torrey Farms.

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Photos from the fire that broke out about 7:30 a.m., today, at Big O Farms, a property of Torrey Farms, where onions are processed.

We'll have more coverage later. Initial coverage, here.

Give thanks for our volunteer firefighters.

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October 18, 2016 - 2:30pm

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced $55,000 in state funding to establish a new joint agriculture education program for Oakfield-Alabama Central and Elba Central School districts.

The mission of the new program is to encourage more high school students to explore agriculture and consider a career in the industry.

“This important program will serve as another tool for educators to cultivate student development and success, and I am proud to have been able to jump start this new program," Ranzenhofer said. "Now, our students will have better opportunities to learn more about agriculture and be inspired to start a career in the industry."

The start-up funding will cover equipment, field trip expenses, instructional resources and materials, and instructional salaries. Enrolled students, in grades nine through 12, will experience classroom instruction, hands-on projects and opportunities to visit local businesses with a connection to the agriculture industry. The program will be administered by and located at the Oakfield-Alabama School District.

“We appreciate the support of Senator Ranzenhofer in this new program. Our students are surrounded by agriculture and now have the opportunity to learn about the careers of the industry. We hope the program will motivate some of our graduates to remain in the area as well,” said Oakfield-Alabama Superintendent Mark A. Alexander.

Agriculture and its related industries are the number one economic driver for Genesee County and New York State, and industry demand for a properly trained workforce is greater than ever. According to the Land O' Lakes Foundation, food production in the next 50 years will need to be higher than the prior 500 years.

Senator Ranzenhofer’s office received letters of support from the local agriculture industry, including: Cornell University Cooperative Extension Genesee County; Lamb Farms Inc.; CY Farms LLC; East Pembroke Grange; Wayne E. Phelps Ent. Inc.; Offhaus Farms Inc.; and Z&M Ag and Turf.

The Oakfield-Alabama Board of Education will publicly recognize Senator Ranzenhofer for his efforts to establish the new program during tonight’s board meeting.

October 7, 2016 - 8:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Pavilion, business, agriculture, news.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved an application for Growing the Agricultural Industry Now! (GAIN!) revolving loan fund for a project in Pavilion. The Board also approved a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) extension for Empire Pipeline in the town of Oakfield at its Oct. 6 meeting.

The GCEDC board approved a GAIN! loan in the amount of $65,000 to Cottonwood Farms for the acquisition of milking equipment that would combine wind and solar power in one turbine in order to increase efficiency and electric energy output. The new equipment for the farm’s robotic dairy system is expected to reduce annual electricity costs by approximately $7,000 to $8,000. Cottonwood Farms LLC operates a 300-cow organic dairy farm in Pavilion.

Empire Pipeline owns and operates a compressor station and pipeline in the town of Oakfield. The GCEDC Board accepted the application and will set a public hearing for Empire Pipeline’s request to extend their PILOT agreement for 15 years.

“The GAIN revolving loan program has the opportunity to provide significant benefits to the agricultural sector in Genesee County,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “While the program was just launched in May, the GCEDC has made a tremendous effort to get the money out to the farms, and working in our local economy.”

Through funding provided by Empire State Development, the GAIN program provides loans to qualifying businesses in Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties, all of which are in the top 10 agricultural counties in New York State.

October 4, 2016 - 8:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Pavilion, GCEDC, news, business, agriculture.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider two applications for GAIN! revolving loan funds for agricultural projects in Pavilion and East Bethany.

Cottonwood Farms LLC in Pavilion is seeking to install a wind turbine system that would combine wind and solar power in one turbine in order to increase efficiency and electric energy output. The GCEDC is considering a GAIN! loan in the amount of $65,000 to Cottonwood Farms for the acquisition of the dual system equipment.

The GCEDC also is considering another GAIN! loan for $177,139 for Sandvoss Farms LLC -- First Light Creamery in East Bethany. The loan will be used for the construction of a new refrigeration and storage facility, site work to improve access and traffic flow as well as a new hoop house for feed and materials storage and a new goat nursery facility. Sandvoss Farms processes pasteurized cheese, milk and yogurt from raw goat’s milk.

The Growing the Agricultural Industry Now! (GAIN) initiative is a $400,000 revolving loan fund for Genesee County farms and agribusinesses. It is designed to follow existing revolving loan funds that return investments directly back into a pool for the next round of projects. Projects can receive between $25,000 and $200,000 in gap financing at a 1 percent interest rate.

THE GCEDC will also review an application from Empire Pipeline to terminate their existing PILOT agreement, and instate a new 15-year fixed PILOT for their compressor station and pipeline in Oakfield. As the project incentives are more than $100,000 a public hearing will be set if the GCEDC Board accepts the application.

The GCEDC board meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6th, at the MedTech Center, across from Genesee Community College, on the first floor at the Innovation Center, Suite 107. All board meetings are open to the public.

October 1, 2016 - 3:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in 4-H, agriculture.

Press release:

On Thursday, Sept. 29th more than 100 Genesee County 4-H members and their families gathered for the 2016 Achievement Night celebration. It is the last 4-H event of the year and officially marks the end of the 2016 4-H program year.

Achievement Night is a time to honor the work and accomplishments of 4-H members, highlighting their progress and growth in their given project areas. We would like to extend a thank you to everyone who came out and made this year’s 4-H Achievement Night a success! 

Five 4-H volunteers were nominated for outstanding 4-H volunteer awards:

  • Tim Adams
  • Julie Ehrmentraut
  • Todd & Amanda Hofheins
  • Elizabeth Johnson-Walsh

The Genesee County 4-H Office awarded 22 county medals to youth who demonstrated exceptional work in a specific project area.

The 2016 Genesee County 4-H County Medal Recipients were:

Public Speaking:

-        District Public Presentations -- Melissa Keller, Becky Kron, Clare Mathes, Colton Tarbell, Torrance Tillery

-        Regional Horse Communications -- Alianna Baris, Alexandria Tarbell

Clothing & Textiles: Caroline Pelton

Horticulture: Melissa Keller

Poultry: Jillian Brewer, Celeste Brownell, Cheyanne Isaman, Clare Mathes, Teagan Mathes

Rabbit: Amelia Brewer, Christopher Swartzenberg, Maggie Winspear

Sheep: Becky Kron

Visual Arts: Bekki Allen

Outstanding Club Secretary: Elizabeth Rindell, Green Thumbs Club

State’s 4-H International Exchange Participant: Katie Ewert

September 20, 2016 - 2:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, farm bureau, scholarship, news.

Press release:

The New York Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Committee is encouraging high school seniors who have been involved with agriculture and plan on continuing studies in this field to apply for the 2017 New York Farm Bureau Agricultural Youth Scholarship.

Scholarship awards are $1,500 for First Place, $1,200 for Second Place, and $1,000 for Third Place. District winners chosen from the county winners will each receive $100 and a memento. The state awards are sponsored by the New York Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Committee. 

Students applying must have a family Farm Bureau membership or a student Farm Bureau membership. A membership application may be included with scholarship enclosures.

Students are required to complete the application and submit a brief essay answering the question, "What do I feel is the most important challenge facing agriculture in my community and why?”

The application can be downloaded at www.nyfb.org and emailed to sprokop@nyfb.org with all required attachments or mailed to NYFB’s Albany office with attention to Sandie Prokop. 

At the district level, a personal interview and essay presentation may be scheduled at the discretion of the district representative for the Promotion & Education Committee. The county winner will be the applicant scoring the highest for each county. County winners within the district are recognized at the discretion of their county Farm Bureau. The district winner will be the overall highest county winner in each district and will advance to the state competition in January. State judging will be based solely upon the application and attachments.

The application submission deadline is Nov. 16. To request an application, call 1-800-342-4143 or visit www.nyfb.org. The application is a fillable PDF and must be downloaded and completed.

September 14, 2016 - 5:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in congressman chris collins, agriculture, business.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins today released the following statement after receiving the “Friend of Farm Bureau” award from the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

“The American Farm Bureau Federation recognizes that the agriculture industry has always been one of the primary economic drivers throughout our country, especially here in Western New York,” Congressman Collins said.

“I was proud to promote AFBF’s mission in Congress by supporting legislation that will strengthen the lives of rural Americans and help build robust agriculture communities for our nation’s farmers. I am honored to be a ‘Friend of Farm Bureau.' ”

In a letter addressed to Congressman Collins, dated Sept. 7, it states: “The American Farm Bureau Federation gives the ‘Friend of Farm Bureau’ award to members of Congress who have supported Farm Bureau issues, as demonstrated by their voting records, and who were nominated by their respective state Farm Bureau and approved by the AFBF Board of Directors,” wrote Dale Moore, Executive Director of Public Policy for the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Thank you for your support of America’s farmers and ranchers and food security for America’s consumers.”

Established in 1919, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is an independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization that is governed by, and represents, the farmers and ranch families of America. The Farm Bureau is local, county, state, national and international in its scope and influence and is non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-secret in character. The AFBF works tirelessly to improve access to education, economic opportunities, and social advancement for agriculture producers at all levels.

For more information about the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), please visit: http://www.fb.org/.

September 12, 2016 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, news, Le Roy, Pavilion, National Grid.

Press release:

National Grid today announced that the company has invested approximately $300,000 through its 3-Phase Electric Power Incentive and Electric Capital program to help farms in the GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties) region retain and create new jobs. The grants will assist Stein Family Farms LLC, Udderly Better Acres LLC, Friendly Acres LLC and East View Farms Inc. with various redevelopment and expansion projects.

$100,000 was awarded to Stein Family Farms LLC, located in the town of Caledonia, to support expansion of the farm’s dairy operations and increase productive capacity through necessary electrical infrastructure updates. The project’s total capital investment is approximately $1.2 million, and will retain 11 jobs and create one new job.

Udderly Better Acres, located in Le Roy, received approximately $58,000 to support the upgrade of its current electrical operations from a single-phase system to a three-phase system, a required improvement for the building of an additional barn and lagoon pond with a pump system. With a capital investment totaling approximately $374,000, the project will result in the retention of three jobs and the creation of six new jobs.

Friendly Acres LLC, a dairy farm which milks more than 500 cows in the town of Attica, was awarded $86,000 to assist in expanding the farm’s dairy operations and increase capacity through a 3-phase power system, which will result in improved efficiency for its new milking herd facility. The project’s capital investment totals $4.2 million.

Lastly, East View Farms Inc., located in the town of Pavilion, received $100,000 for electrical upgrades to assist in the expansion of its dairy cattle herding operations. The project’s total capital investment is $2.8 million and will result in the retention of five jobs, as well as the creation of five new jobs.

“With these unique incentive programs, it is our goal to support small businesses throughout the region, especially agribusiness customers like these four farms, in dramatically reducing their electric costs and remaining competitive,” said Kenneth Kujawa, regional manager for National Grid. “Our continued investment into these types of projects plays a critical role in the retention and creation of new jobs in the GLOW region.”

National Grid’s 3-Phase Power Incentive Program provides grants of up to $50,000 to extend electric service to eligible customers. A 3-phase electric system provides an increased level of reliability and allows modern farm equipment to operate more efficiently. 

National Grid’s Electric Capital Investment Incentive Program provides funding to businesses to help offset costs associated with upgrading utility infrastructure to accommodate a business expansion or new construction project. Specifically, the program supports business attraction or expansion projects located in National Grid’s Upstate New York service territory.

Information about National Grid’s suite of economic programs is available at www.shovelready.com.

September 10, 2016 - 11:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, agriculture.

timmythefarmersept102015.jpg

Timmy Bartz, 8, is selling vegetables he grew at a stand on Bank Street this afternoon.

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Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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