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June 28, 2015 - 5:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Silver Shoe Farm, batavia, agriculture, horses, carriage driving, sports.

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Silver Shoe Farm, on Pratt Road, Batavia, hosted today its 8th annual carriage driving competition, drawing drivers from throughout the region.

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June 26, 2015 - 4:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Cornell Cooperative Extension, dairy, agriculture, Stafford.

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Area dairy farmers were invited to a pasture walk today at the farm of John and Sue Mikel, on East Bethany Le Roy Road, Stafford, by the Cornell Cooperative Extension. John and Sue own and operate Mikelholm Holsteins, a small grazing dairy they started on a 30-acre field they purchased seven years ago. They built a house and barn with a milking parlor.

They graze their 35 cows plus youngstock on the remaining land and supplement their diet with purchased feed. They also knew grazing would provide health benefits to the cows and reduce demands on labor. An added benefit was the reduced bedding costs while the cows are out to pasture.

The discussion included how John and Sue got started, fence and laneway layout, nutrition balance and summer rations as well has how to control parasites. 

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June 15, 2015 - 5:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, mucklands, business.

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The weather is once again playing havoc with the potential onion crop in the mucklands.

Early in the season, it was too dry and too hot. Now, saturated ground is stressing some tender plants.

Perhaps as much as 20 percent of the crop won't make it to harvest.

Paul Mortellaro said the situation is hardly a disaster at this point.

"It would be nice to get some normal weather," Mortellaro said, "rather than ' it's too hot, it's too cold, it's too dry, it's too wet.' "

June 5, 2015 - 3:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, elba, Le Roy, agriculture, dairy.

Press release:

Thatcher Mowry, of Le Roy, and Kayla Wormuth, of Elba, are among the 29 New York Junior DAIRY LEADERs, representing 17 counties, that will graduate at Empire Farm Days on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, at 1:30 p.m. in the Dairy Profit Seminar Center at Empire Farm Days, the Northeast’s largest outdoor farm show at Rodman Lott & Son Farms in Seneca Falls.

Junior DAIRY LEADER Program coordinator Deborah Grusenmeyer and assistant coordinator Betsey Howland, both with the Cornell PRO-DAIRY Program, will welcome families and visitors to the graduation that includes a presentation of the program year by the 29 graduating members, and recognition of the 2015 Junior DAIRY LEADER class sponsors.

The Cornell PRO-DAIRY Junior DAIRY LEADER is a statewide program for youth between the ages of 16 and 19 with an interest in learning more about career opportunities in the dairy industry and gaining hands-on experience in the field.

The Junior DAIRY LEADER graduation ceremony at Empire Farm Days gives young people the opportunity to highlight their year-long experiences and demonstrate to visitors, family, friends, agribusiness professionals, and educators the dynamic aspect of dairy education and career options.

The Junior DAIRY LEADER Program begins in September with a seven day trip to Madison, Wis., to tour dairies and agribusinesses, followed by attending the annual National 4-H Dairy Conference. Throughout the year, class members participate in eight workshops, focusing on team building, personality styles, resume development, change, and leadership skills development, as well as facets of dairy production, tours, and exposure to numerous career options in the dairy field.

Hands-on workshops offer learning opportunities on specific facets of the dairy industry, including veterinary science, dairy nutrition, production management, and on-farm production analysis, plus interaction with dairy producers, industry professionals, and other dairy-interested young people. Building communication and leadership skills enhanced by a team approach to problem solving adds to the Junior DAIRY LEADERS’ personal and professional development.

The 2015 sponsors of the Junior DAIRY LEADERS program are PRO-DAIRY, the Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation, Professional Dairy Producers Association, DEHM Associates, SHUR-GAIN USA, Genex-CRI, Select Sire Power, Northeast Farm Credit AgEnhancement Program, Cargill Animal Nutrition, Northeast Ag and Feed Alliance, New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association, and the Cornell University Department of Animal Science, and New York’s dairy producers.

The 2015 Junior DAIRY LEADER class members are:
. Chautauqua County: Justin Dye, Trenton Meeder
. Columbia County: Benjamin Gardner, Courtney Dearnley, Emily Ooms
. Delaware County: Dylan Walley
. Erie County: Natalie Strub, Zane Hubbard
. Genesee County: Thatcher Mowry, Kayla Wormuth
. Jefferson County: Krystle Burger, Joshua Chisholm
. Lewis County: Harley Hancock
. Montgomery County: Justin Ryan
. Oneida County: Stephanie Finn, Andrew Smith
. Ontario County: Jacob Maslyn, Thomas Mueller, Alfredo Resendiz-Rojo,
  Robin Smithling
. Otsego County: Rachel Stone
. Rensselaer County: Lindsey McMahon
. Schoharie County: Eric Bates
. Tompkins County: Brian Lampman
. Washington County: Margaret Brownell, Kaylah Gulley
. Wayne County: Jessica Skellie
. Wyoming County: Emily Lampson, Katie Sondericker.
 
Empire Farm Days is the Northeast’s largest outdoor farm show, held on 300 acres at the Rodman Lott & Son Farms in Seneca Falls. Admission is free; parking is $10 car. Find a full schedule of activities and more information for the Aug. 11-13 show at www.empirefarmdays.com

June 3, 2015 - 4:06pm
posted by Traci Turner in agriculture, education, Pavilion.

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Kindergarteners from all over the county took a field trip to Grassland Dairy in Pavilion to learn about milk production and other aspects of farming for the annual Kinderfarmin' Day.

The purpose of the farm tour is to teach children where their food comes from.

"The tour helps to inform kids in the community about agriculture," said Jeff Post, president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau. "They need to understand food doesn't come from the supermarket."

Grassland Dairy is owned and operated by Brent and Polly Tillotson. The Tillotson family milks 190 organic Jersey cows. They provide natural feed for the cows by farming 300 acres of organic land.

More than 400 kindergarteners and 100 teachers, parents and chaperones visited the farm. Children from schools in Batavia, Oakfield, Elba, Pavilion, Alexander and Byron-Bergen participated in the tour. The four suggested learning stations that all of the groups were scheduled for included the milkhouse, milking parlor, comfy cows and cow cuisine. At other stations around the farm children could experience what it's like to milk a cow using a milk simulator, make s'mores using a hi-tech camp stove and pet various farm animals.

Barb Sturm, agriculture in the classroom educator from Cornell Cooperative Extension, visits schools in Genesee County to educate students in agriculture and set up the stations to go along with agricultural lessons she has taught them.

"The learning stations have keywords that align with the Common Core curriculum," Sturm said.

As a part of the Common Core farming unit, Amand Wachter's kindergarten class at Pavilion has been learning about cows, chickens and crops that farm animals eat.

"The tour connects to what we have talked about in class," Wachter said. "Kids can see how to milk a cow and what goes into their food."

Julie Tryon, a mother from Jackson Primary School, went through the barns and stations with her children. Their favorite part about the tour was getting to see the baby calves.

"It's a great opportunity for my kids to learn about agriculture and become familiar with it," Tryon said.  

Kinderfarmin' Day was sponsored by the Genesee County Farm Bureau and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County helped organize it. Some of the other contributors to the event included Upstate Niagara who donated cartons of milk and Cargill Animal Nutrition who donated ice cream for the kids to enjoy.

The dairy days have been going on for more than 30 years and different farms have taken turns hosting the event. For future years, the farm bureau welcomes any farm that would be interested in volunteering to host the event to contact them.

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Photos by Howard Owens.

To purchase prints, click here.

June 3, 2015 - 2:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dairy princess, agriculture, UMMC, business.

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Press release:

The Genesee County Dairy Princess honored the first baby born in Genesee County during the month of June 2015 as the Dairy Baby. Marleigh Grace Wright, a baby girl, was born to Tammy and Jeffery Wright, of Warsaw, on Monday, June 1st at 3:51 a.m. at United Memorial Medical Center. She weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces and measured 19 inches long. She was delivered by Dr. Richard Edwards. Marleigh joins an older brother, Mason, 14, at home.

June is National Dairy Month which honors traditions and celebrates the contributions of the dairy industry by promoting nutrient-rich dairy foods.

The Genesee County Dairy Princess, Pavilion sophomore,Emily Mikel, and her mother, Sue Mikel, presented the Wright family with a basket of dairy products including yogurts, product coupons, cheeses, and a number of other infant items.

June 2, 2015 - 4:51pm

Press release:

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge will offer for bid 139 acres of grassland hay in five different fields ranging in size from 58 to 81 acres. The refuge annually provides a total of 1,400 acres of grassland habitat for migratory birds and resident wildlife. Active management of these grasslands is necessary to provide the highest quality nesting and migration habitat. The refuge haying program helps in this management process by reducing encroachment of broad leaf weeds and shrubs.

Hay will be allocated on a highest bid per field basis for each field. Sealed bids will be accepted until 12 p.m., July 2. An official Bid Sheet, available from the refuge headquarters, is required to make a bid. Completed Bid Sheets can be mailed to, or dropped off at the refuge headquarters at 1101 Casey Road, Basom, NY 14013 and must contain all the information requested.

If you have any questions about the haying program or would like to see the fields, please call Madeline Prush at 585-948-5445, ext. 7036.

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is located midway between Rochester and Buffalo, and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

June 2, 2015 - 4:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, batavia.

Press release:

When it opens for the season June 9, Genesee Country Farmers' Market will be celebrating its 41st year of providing "Locally Grown" fresh fruits, vegetables, and specialty items to the Greater Batavia Area.

The Genesee Country Farmers' Market will take place in the Batavia Downs Parking lot located on Park Avenue. Market hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays with the season running from Tuesday, June 9th, through Friday, Oct. 30th.

Market Manager Mike Bakos says "This market is the original Farmers' Market in Genesee County and remains a Grow-Your-Own market featuring locally grown produce and specialty items. Many of last year's vendors will be returning along with some new additions."

Parties interested in joining the market to become a Seasonal Vendor or Day Vendor may contact Sharon Brent at (716)-560-0853 or by e-mail at sharon_brent@hotmail.com.

Qualifying charities, service-groups, or 501c3 organizations that would like to participate in the market may obtain a "FREE" market stall by contacting the market at (716) 866-4958 or by e-mail at mbakos@rochester.rr.com.

May 27, 2015 - 2:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in EPA, agriculture, farm bureau, chris collins, NY-27.

From Rep. Chris Collins:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after the Obama Administration finalized its Clean Water Act "Waters of the United States" Rule.

“The Obama Administration's ruling today is a continuation of their regulatory assault on our nation's farmers," Congressman Collins said. "The EPA’s overreach is causing real harm for local farmers and stalling business development. When I visit with local farmers, the heavy burdens under the Clean Water Act come up each and every time. When the bureaucrats at the EPA decide to call a divot in the ground that fills with rain a ‘navigable waterway’ under the CWA, we know our federal government has run amuck. I will continue to do all I can to fight this burdensome and business crushing ruling."

Last May, Congressman Collins led a bipartisan letter, signed by a majority of Congress, to the EPA Administrator asking for the Waters of the United States Rule to be withdrawn. Full text of the letter can be read here. This Congress, Congressman Collins co-sponsored H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, which would require the Administration to withdraw its Waters of the United States Rule. H.R. 1732 passed the House of Representatives earlier this month.

From Dean Norton, Elba farmer and president of the NYS Farm Bureau:

“Today the Environmental Protection Agency released the final rule on the definition of “Waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act. New York Farm Bureau members have been strongly opposed to the changes proposed by the EPA because of the potential regulatory overreach that will allow for federal control over land that is typically dry. Clean water has always been a priority and necessity for farmers, but we are concerned that the rule will strip property owners of long-held land rights.

New York Farm Bureau has serious concerns that the EPA has failed to take into consideration the thousands of comments from farmers, business owners, and property owners, who feel this rule would add unnecessary burdens on their land. EPA would have accomplished much more working with farmers than just brushing their legitimate concerns aside. We will be carefully reviewing the final rule, but based on comments from EPA, we remain concerned that the agency did not listen to our nation’s farmers or made significant changes to the rule,” NYSFB President Norton said.

May 26, 2015 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, Announcements, dairy.

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s NWNY Team is planning a pasture walk at the farm of John and Sue Mikel Friday, June 26 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 6321 East Bethany-Le Roy Road, Stafford. John and Sue own and operate Mikelholm Holsteins, a small grazing dairy they started on a 30-acre field they purchased seven years ago. They built a house and barn with a parlor. They graze their 35 cows plus youngstock on the remaining land and supplement with purchased feed. They also knew grazing would provide health benefits to the cows and reduce demands on labor. An added benefit was the reduced bedding costs while the cows are out on pasture.

Discussion will include how John and Sue got started, and fence and laneway layout. Come and hear how their nutritionist balances the summer ration, and how to control parasites on pasture, plus more. There will be ample time for open discussion during the walk.

Lunch will be provided and is sponsored by Select Sires and milk will be donated by Upstate Farms.

Registration is required by June 19 to get an accurate count for lunch. The cost of the pasture walk is $10 per person or $20 per farm/family.
 
To register contact Cathy Wallace at 585.343.3040, ext. 138 or cfw6@cornell.edu.
For questions contact Nancy Glazier at 585.315.7746 or nig3@cornell.edu.
 
A check made out to CCE may be mailed to CCE, Attn: Cathy Wallace, 420 E. Main St., Batavia, NY  14020.

May 16, 2015 - 3:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in swine club, 4-H, agriculture, batavia.

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The 4-H Swine Club hosted its annual pulled pork BBQ at the Fairgrounds today.

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May 7, 2015 - 6:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, agriculture.

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Sometime around 5 p.m., a truck carrying crates of tomatoes dumped a few boxes in the curve where Walnut becomes South Main in Batavia. A witness told police, the driver stopped, gathered his empty crates and left the tomatoes in the roadway. Police responded to a report of a "dangerous condition" and requested city DPW to the scene for clean up. The tomatoes were hauled to the city's compost heap. The driver, who left the scene, could not be identified.

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May 5, 2015 - 2:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dairy princess, agriculture.

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Emily Mikel, of Pavilion, was crowned 2015 Genesee County Dairy Queen in a ceremony at Genesee Community College on Monday evening.

Tristan Zuber presented Mikel with her crown and sash.

Pictured below in a photo taken by Laura Luft, are Mikel and her court, from left, Rebecca Slattery, Mary Sweeny, Carolyn Sybertz, Georgia Luft and Amelia Brewer.

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May 5, 2015 - 12:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Fair, fair, business, agriculture.

The Genesee County Fair has gotten better each of the last two years and attendance figures bear that out, Norm Pimm told the County Legislature's Human Services Committee.

Last year, attendance was up 30 percent and fair organizers are taking aim at even more growth in 2015.

"Attendance is up double figures two years in a row," Pimm said. "That doesn't happen if you're not putting on a good product."

This year, there will be new local bands, bigger tractor pulls and a significantly expanded Midway.

The board is planning on nearly doubling the budget for rides, going up to $40,000 this year.

The midway isn't a big money maker for the fair, but a good midway is essential to overall fair attendance. Not everyone is interested in livestock and stock cars.

"When we looking for vendors, we said we had $25,000 to spend and we couldn't even get vendors to call us back," Pimm said. "The ones that did sort of laughed and said 'that's 20 years ago money.' So we realized we had to invest more money into the midway so we had something where people want to come and bring their kids."

The fair runs July 21 through 25.

The county will contribute $11,000 to the 4-H program.

Pimm said the fair's success can also be judged by the number of local businesses supporting the fair, either through donations, sponsorships or taking a booth as a vendor. In all three categories, the fair did better last year than previous years and will at least match that level of participation this year, based on indications so far, Pimm said.

"This is the most active board we've had in years, and it's making a difference," Pimm said.

Pimm is confident that people who haven't been to the fair in recent years, if they come this year, they will have a good time.

"It's just $5 a car load to attend," Pimm said. "Come on, spend your $5 and you won't be disappointed. If you are, come and find a member of the board of directors and we'll give you your $5 back."

April 15, 2015 - 8:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, mucklands.

Activity is picking up on the muck this week as onion growers finally have suitable conditions for planting. One onion grower told us yesterday that ideally, growers like to have all of April to plant and they're getting a late start this year, but they should still get all of the fields filled with seeds and seedlings by May, if the weather holds.

April 7, 2015 - 2:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture.

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $1.4 million in funding for projects related to the research, promotion and development of New York’s flourishing agricultural economy. Approved by the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, this funding includes support for a second year of malting barley research at Cornell's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, equipment and operating expenses at the New York Wine & Culinary Center, and funding to help Western New York maple syrup producers better market their products.

“The agricultural industry is vital to the success of Upstate New York, and by making targeted investments like this we are planting the seeds for long-term growth for New York’s farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will support both new opportunities and existing success stories, and ultimately give farmers and vendors the tools they need to thrive in today’s competitive economy.”

Every year, the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, in cooperation with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, solicits applications to assist in the development of agriculture and agriculture-related businesses in a nine-county region, which includes Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties. On Friday, March 27, the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority Board of Directors voted to fund the following projects in 2015:
· NY Wine and Culinary Center - $300,000 – equipment replacement, facility repairs and expansion, and operational costs;
· New York Wine and Grape Foundation - $216,664 – Phase Five of the NY Drinks NY campaign;
· Western NY Maple Producers - $33,336 – Mobile maple exhibit;
· Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wayne County - $60,231 – To provide support and training to farmers through a farmers’ market specialist program;
· Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County - $43,416 – To provide specialty cut flower, vegetable and mushroom production for the county’s Bhutanese market;
· New York State Agricultural Experiment Station – $74,518 – To support research to improve the profitability and productivity of lima beans in New York State;
· New York State Agricultural Experiment Station - $159,893 – To support maintenance and equipment, including a temperature controlled ploy house and summer scholar support.
· New York State Agricultural Experiment Station - $241,716 – To accelerate production of organic grains, corn and soybeans in Western NY;
· New York State Agricultural Experiment Station - $133,242 – To support the second year of a multi-year research plan for malting barley production in New York State;
· Foodlink - $100,000 – To purchase equipment necessary to maximize efficiencies and create product diversity in value-added product lines.

In addition to these projects, Governor Cuomo announced $250,000 in funding to support soil and sediment control projects in counties located in the Genesee River Watershed, including portions of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben and Wyoming counties. Provided by the State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, soil and water conservation districts can apply for grants of up to $10,000 for projects that reduce erosion or control sediment in the Genesee River Watershed. These projects can include reduced tillage practices, cover cropping, critical area seeding, riparian buffer, grassed waterways, filter areas, water and sediment control basins.

Districts can apply for the grant through the Grants Gateway program at https://grantsgateway.ny.gov/intelligrants_NYSGG/login2.aspx.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The Genesee Valley and its surrounding areas are extremely critical to the health and diversity of New York agriculture. This funding will support that diversity by making strategic investments in emerging industries that have a great future here in New York State, while protecting the region’s natural resources.”

Dennis Piedimonte, Chairman of the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, said, “We’re happy that we can be of assistance of the agriculture community in New York State through the money we are able to raise at our market. We believe that this funding is going to be put to good use through research that will in turn help New York’s agricultural economy move forward.”

Jack Moore, board member of Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, said, “It’s very good to see some of the GVRMA profits put to good use in the region for production agriculture. I encourage more entities to apply for such grants in the future.”

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, “For the past several years, our region has benefited from the innovative funding opportunity provided by the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority and the Department of Agriculture. I applaud the State and GVRMA for investing in important organizations like the Wine & Culinary Center and Foodlink, which are using our region’s agriculture to provide a public benefit. This year’s awards reflects the legislature’s intent when we created this mechanism, which continues to provide vital funding to promote and advance our area’s agribusiness.”

Senator Mike Nozzolio said, “This funding is extremely important to the continued success of the growing food and beverage industry in New York State and it enhances the world class agricultural research conducted at the Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. Agriculture is our state and region’s number one industry, and continued support such as this furthers the growth of the industry by providing jobs, increased crop value and product promotion.”

March 21, 2015 - 4:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, education, Empire Tractor, 4-H.

Greg Merrell gets ready for his tractor safety test while instructor and evaluator Tim Adams looks on this morning at Empire Tractor, where students participating in the 4-H Youth Development Tractor and Machinery Certification program were put through their paces. The eight-week course provides 14- and 15-year-olds the opportunity to learn how to safely operate farm machinery.

March 19, 2015 - 4:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that he has become a co-sponsor on legislation, Assembly Bill 06256, that will ease the financial burden placed on farmers. The bill would forgo the requirement that farmers who employ aliens admitted to the United States to perform farm labor pay unemployment insurance for such workers. Under state law, alien laborers are not eligible for unemployment insurance, so there is no need for employers to pay into the unemployment insurance fund.

“I have introduced this legislation with Assemblyman Bill Magee (D-Madison County), current Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, after meeting with Farm Bureau representatives from my district,” Hawley said. “As the former owner of Hawley Farms, I know firsthand how hard farmers work for their profits and that sustainability of their business is not guaranteed year to year. This is common-sense legislation that will correct a glaring deficiency in the labor law that mandates farmers pay unemployment insurance for workers who are ineligible. My district contains many farm operations and I will do everything I can to help them keep more of their profits.”

March 19, 2015 - 3:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, schools, education, byron-bergen.

It's Ag Literacy Week and farmers from throughout Genesee County are participating by going to their local schools and sharing about their careers and reading from a book picked especially for the occasion.

The book is "Weaving the Rainbow," by George Ella Lyon and Stephanie Anderson. The picture book is the story of a young woman who raises sheep, shears them, cleans, cards, spins and dyes the wool, using it to create works of woven art. The story is aimed at helping students make the connection between agriculture and its many uses and influences.

Above, Sharon Fuerch reads to a group of second-graders at Byron-Bergen Elementary School this morning.  

Below, Colleen Primm and her daughter Madelynn introduce a pair of their lambs to Byron-Bergen students.

March 18, 2015 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture.

Farmers are facing ever escalating expenses, lower prices and now Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to raise the minimum wage on them.

That's just more than many New York farmers are going to be able to bear, said Dean Norton, a farmer in Elba and president of the New York State Farm Bureau.

"New York is already a tough state to do business in and a minimum wage increase is going to continue to make us disadvantageous," Norton said during a conference call this morning with media from throughout the state.

Joining Norton on the call were Sandi Prokop and Brian Reeves, owners of multi-generation farms in Middleburgh and Baldwinsville.

Each said a minimum wage increase would add significant costs to their operations, $44,000 annually for Prokop and $50,000 for Reeves.

And that doesn't include the pressure a minimum age increase would put on suppliers and service companies to raise their rates, driving operational costs up even further.

The average farm worker in New York earns $12.50 an hour already, Norton said. Even though the proposed increase from Cuomo is less than that -- to $10.50 an hour -- a minimum wage increase tends to drive up wages across the board.

When trainees and entry-level workers get more money, the people above them want to keep pace with the higher pay, so they demand higher wages.

Farmers who don't meet those demands, Norton said, risk losing skilled and experienced workers to other farmers willing to pay those wages, or the workers will look for work in other states where conditions are more favorable.

Workers who are dissatisfied with their current conditions will also change careers, going into related industries, Reeves said.

The upward pressure on wages just encourages farmers to abandon labor-intensive crops or move to greater mechanization, such as robotics at dairy farmers, which means fewer workers churning economic buying power in their local communities.

Both Prokop and Reeves noted that in their segments of agriculture -- dairy and vegetables -- they're not price makers, they're price takers."

The food processors and supermarket chains who purchase their crops set the prices, based on supply and demand and in competition with other states.

"We're already one of the higher cost states," Reeves said. "When I sell a box of zucchini, I'll have a buyer tell me he can get it cheaper in another state. He'll say, 'I can buy all I want for $11 a box, why do you want $13 or $14 a box?' "

Dairy prices have been falling for months, Prokop said, and haven't hit bottom yet. In February, she said, she received $24,000 less for milk than the month before, and her revenue was down $13,000 the month before that.

"It's only going to get worse this month," she said. "The price is now below the cost of production."

It would help, Reeves said, if Congress would step in and set a higher minimum wage across the board, because at least then farmers in all states would be paying the same price for labor.

"We need to be able to compete," he said, "with Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan."

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