Online News. Community Views.

>> Download <<
The Batavian Mobile
Droid | iPhone

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

agriculture

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 [email protected] 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.

September 7, 2016 - 1:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, business, news, steve hawley, disaster relief.

Press release:

Due to harsh drought conditions experienced by many of New York’s farmers, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced that Genesee, Monroe and Orleans counties have been designated natural disaster areas and are eligible for assistance through the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.

State officials will be conducting on-site assessments of the damage to local farms and working with Cornell University experts to devise recovery solutions.

“Farmers are the backbone of New York’s already excellent, diversified and growing agriculture sector,” Hawley said. “As the former owner and operator of our family farm for many years, I can personally attest to the determination of our famers to battle ever-changing weather and devastating floods and drought in Western New York.

"It is important to protect the livelihood of our producers and assist them when unforeseen circumstances threaten their prosperity. I am pleased the federal government is offering our famers this much needed assistance.”

Further information and a list of services available can be found here.

August 25, 2016 - 10:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, agriculture, business, batavia.

collinsagaug242016.jpg

Rep. Chris Collins hosted members of his Agriculture Advisory Committee -- local farmers and people involved in the local ag industry -- at Genesee Community College yesterday for a briefing on issues at the federal level affecting agriculture.

Collins noted that while he's not on the Ag Committee in Congress, he is on a committee with key oversight of a number of issues that affect agriculture.

"I am on Energy and Commerce, a more powerful committee, with oversight over the EPA and FDA," Collins said. "It’s certainly a good place to be."

Collins also addressed the issue of immigration, an important issue to farmers who, in recent years, have struggled to fill their farm labor force.

The NY-27th's representative is one of the few members of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president and until this past week, Trump was calling for the deportation of 11 million immigrants who may have entered the country illegally. In the past week, Trump modified his position and is no longer promising to deport migrant workers living in the United States peacefully. 

Collins said the shift reflects Trump growing into the job of presidential candidate and one who is open to discussion.

"We will secure the borders and make sure the workforce that many of you have do have legal work papers and can figure out visas and other things that might ensure you’re not short of help," Collins said. "I think that’s a positive."

collinsagaug242016-3.jpg

collinsagaug242016-4.jpg

Mark Zittel, from Erie County, who brought samples of some of the produce he grows.

collinsagaug242016-5.jpg

Collins staff member Jeff Freeland.

August 19, 2016 - 1:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, business.

During the last week of September, a Bovine Reproduction & Artificial Insemination Training Course in collaboration of Genex Cooperative, Inc., will be offered IN SPANISH at HY-Hope Farms in Stafford.

(The English version of this two-day class will be offered in Shortsville on Sept. 26-27 at Willow Bend Farm.)

The Stafford course on Sept. 29-30 is an excellent opportunity for Spanish-speaking farmers and employees who are interested in learning the important points of artificial insemination. It runs both days from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. HY-Hope Farms is located at 5908 Horseshoe Lake Road.

Jonna Egli and Abraham Cohen of Genex will be teaching the class. While the course will offer as much hands-on practice as possible, it's important to note that it is a beginner's course meant to teach the basics of artificial insemination. Participants should expect to practice inseminating cows on a regular basis in order to become proficient.

Cost is $175 for those enrolled in NWNY Team, others pay $225. Cost includes classroom material and lunch both days

Register today at https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/BovineReproduction-2_256 or by calling Zachary Amey at 585-786-2251. Contact Libby Eiholzer (607-793-4847) with any questions.

August 7, 2016 - 10:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire services, agriculture, batavia, news.

grainbintraining2016.jpg

It's been a long time since there was a grain bin incident in Genesee County, which is one reason a training session for volunteer firefighters at the Fire Training Center on State Street Road was so important yesterday, said Jim Bouton, one of the county's emergency management coordinators.

"It's important to keep up your skills and learn what has been working and not working over the years," Bouton said. 

Saturday's training was conducted by Dan Neena, director of the National Education Center for Agriculture Safety. The training session was co-sponsored by the Genesee County Farm Bureau and some local farmers attended, as well.

A farm worker might enter a grain bin because the top has become encrusted or for other maintenance work, and if he or she falls into the grain, can easily become trapped.

A rescuer can't simply grab a person buried in grain and pull him or her out.

"Once you’re trapped in the grain, the deeper you are, the more pounds that have to be exerted to release the person," Bouton said. "If we were try to pull a farmer who was trapped up to his neck, it would take like 650 pounds of pressure to try and pull him straight out. Well, that’s not possible."

Neena showed rescuers how to use a modular tube that is fitted around the victim's body, sunk into the grain, and then grain can be removed with an auger to suck the grain out of the tube, allowing the person to climb out of the grain.

The other danger for firefighters and the victim is that a grain bin is a confined space, which means potentially lower oxgyn levels, so rescuers need to be aware when breathing aparatus is required.

Firefighters were also trained how to use an especially designed saw for the task, to cut vents in the side of the grain bin so that grain can be released from around the person.

To learn about becoming a volunteer firefighter in your community, visit ReadyGenesee.com.

grainbintraining2016-2.jpg

grainbintraining2016-3.jpg

grainbintraining2016-4.jpg

grainbintraining2016-5.jpg

grainbintraining2016-6.jpg

grainbintraining2016-7.jpg

July 20, 2016 - 10:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in 4-H, Livestock Auction, Genesee County Fair, agriculture, news.

Photo (by Howard Owens): Tyler Jirovec with his Champion Market Steer.

Press release:

Thank you to everyone who supported 4-H at the 46th Annual Genesee County 4-H Market Animal Auction! On Thursday, July 14, market goats, lambs, steers and hogs which were raised and shown by local 4-H members were auctioned by William Kent, Inc., at the Genesee County Fair.

The Champion Market Goat was exhibited by Michael Ehrmentraut and purchased by HLW Acres of Attica. The Reserve Champion Market Goat was exhibited by Cody Ehrmentraut and purchased by Crossen’s Christmas Tree Farm of Basom.

The Champion Market Lamb was exhibited by Maisy Ross and purchased by Dave Reisdorf, Inc., of Batavia. The Reserve Champion Market Lamb was also exhibited by Maisy Ross and purchased by Ed Roggen of Basom.

The Champion Market Steer was exhibited by Tyler Jirovec and was purchased by Turnbull Heating and Air Conditioning of Batavia. The Reserve Champion Market Steer was exhibited by Becky Kron and purchased by Clyde’s Feed & Animal Center of Hamburg.

The Champion Market Hog was exhibited by Cole Carlson and was purchased by The Red Osier Landmark Restaurant of Stafford. The Reserve Champion Market Hog was exhibited by Caleb Carlson and was purchased by Dave Reisdorf, Inc., of Batavia.

The objective of the Genesee County 4-H Market Animal Program is for engaged 4-H youth to gain valuable life skills such as responsibility, goal setting, decision making, communication, record keeping and community service through learning the basic principles of research-based animal science/husbandry practices, quality assurance and marketing of their project through hands-on learning opportunities in a positive youth development environment.

Thank you to all bidders and buyers! The Genesee County 4-H Livestock Committee and 4-H club leaders would also like to extend a special thank you to William Kent and Family for 46 years of continued services and outstanding support of the 4-H Market Animal Program.

Previously: 4-H'ers display their hard work at Genesee County livestock auction

July 19, 2016 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in solar farms, land use, solar energy, agriculture, news.

Local municipalities with farmland should consider whether they want to address the issue of a zoning code for solar farms, Genesee County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari told members of the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board at last night's meeting.

There are a couple of companies who have approached local landowners, Oltramari said, and if towns in the area want solar farms within their borders, they need to address it with a zoning code change and then decide how to regulate the farms.

Towns that do nothing, that currently have no permitted use for solar farms, will be deciding by default not to allow solar farms in those jurisdictions, Oltramari said.

If a land use isn't expressly mentioned in the local zoning code than it is completely prohibited.

Only the Town of Batavia has created provisions for solar farms, and it's a pretty bare-bones code at this point, Oltramari said.

The Town of Batavia took the action after SunEdison approached a local landowner about building a solar farm. An attorney representing SunEdison attended a couple of town meetings, but there's been no apparent progress with SunEdison since then and currently SunEdison is going through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

Since then, no other town has moved forward with solar farm zoning, but the Town of Oakfield is considering a solar farm on its land adjacent to its wastewater treatment plan and the Town of Alabama is considering a solar farm for the retired quarry in the town. 

"I think that’s a perfect use for that, too," Oltramari said.

The Town of Batavia is also looking into a solar farm on its former landfill.

The big issue for agricultural land, however, is that a solar farm would take the land out of crop production.

Agriculture average typically leases for about $60 a year and solar companies will pay $1,500 per acre per year for 20 years.

"This has alarmed farmers that rely on rented land for their operations," Oltramari said.

Companies looking to set up solar farms are typically looking for 20-acre parcels and they must be within two miles of a power substation.

Donn Branton, chairman of the Farmland Protection Board, thinks landowners should look carefully at any deal offered by a solar company.

"The frosting sounds pretty good, but the cake batter seems to get pretty messy," Branton said. 

There's a two-year planning process and the company decides what part of your farm it wants, he said, and then during construction they decide where the roads go.

"They pretty much have the run of your farm," he said. 

And taking the land out of production could cause it to be reclassified as commercial property rather than farmland, increasing the property tax rate. 

'It's something you want to investigate thoroughly with a legal service," Branton said. "$1,500 sounds great, but then you've got all the stipulations that go with it."

Oltramari recommended that towns -- and potentially landowners -- address issues such as preserving topsoil and herbicide use (in the event the land ever reverts to food production).

Zoning could also be used to limit the location and size of solar farms, buffer zones and visual screening.

Typically, in this area, solar companies are looking for 20-acre farms that produce two to four megawatts of energy.

One megawatt of solar energy could power 165 homes.

An energy generation facility (solar or wind) that produces more than 25 megawatts is exempt from local zoning laws, but such a farm in Western New York would need 125 to 200 acres of land, so Oltramari doesn't foresee such a farm coming to Genesee County.

July 15, 2016 - 3:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in mucklands, business, agriculture, elba, news.

oniontourjuly152016.jpg

Representatives from onion companies from all over the world were in Genesee County today to see the world famous Elba Mucklands.

The tour is part of a convention of onion industry leaders hosted by the National Onion Association in Niagara County this week. The attendees had breakfast in Batavia and then toured the mucklands.

The visit included a presentation by Christy Hoepting, a researcher with the Cornell Cooperative Extension, who is studying the impact of weeds on onion growth and how best to control them in the field.

There was also a presentation on experimental onion varieties being grown in the muck.

There were people in the tour group from not only the United States, but also Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico.

"This is a beautiful and productive place," said Kim Reddin, director of public and industry relations for NOA. "Absolutely, it's unique and one of the main growing areas in the eastern part of the United States."

oniontourjuly152016-2.jpg

oniontourjuly152016-3.jpg

oniontourjuly152016-4.jpg

July 14, 2016 - 11:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Fair, batavia, news, agriculture.

fairphotosjuly14206.jpg

Here are a few photos from Thursday at the Genesee County Fair. We'll have more photos and a story about the 4-H Livestock Auction sometime Friday afternoon.

fairphotosjuly14206-2.jpg

fairphotosjuly14206-4.jpg

fairphotosjuly14206-5.jpg

fairphotosjuly14206-6.jpg

fairphotosjuly14206-7.jpg

fairphotosjuly14206-8.jpg

July 13, 2016 - 9:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Fair, fair, batavia, news, agriculture.

gcfairparade2016.jpg

gcfairparade2016-2.jpg

gcfairparade2016-3.jpg

gcfairparade2016-4.jpg

gcfairparade2016-5.jpg

gcfairparade2016-6.jpg

gcfairparade2016-7.jpg

gcfairparade2016-8.jpg

gcfairparade2016-9.jpg

gcfairparade2016-10.jpg

gcfairparade2016-11.jpg

gcfairparade2016-12.jpg

To purchase prints, click here.

July 6, 2016 - 2:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in 4-H, Genesee County Fair, agriculture, Announcements, news.

Press release:

Remember to visit 4-H at the fair! This year’s 4-H fair theme is “4-H Grows Here” and local 4-H’ers have been working hard all year to show the community what 4-H means to them. Check out the 4-H exhibits, club displays and animal shows at the Genesee County Fair July 12-16 at the Genesee County Fairgrounds, located at 5056 E. Main Street Road in Batavia.

Genesee County 4-H Schedule (dates and times subject to change):

Tuesday, July 12th

9 a.m.                     4-H Market Hog Show (Show Ring)

12 p.m.                   4-H Market Goat Show (Show Ring)

2:30 p.m.                4-H Market Lamb Show (Show Ring)

4 p.m.                     4-H Market Steer Show (Show Ring)

6:30 p.m.                Fair Parade – 4-H Theme: “4-H Grows Here”

Wednesday, July 13  

9 a.m.                      4-H Goat Show (Show Ring)

10 a.m.                    4-H Livestock Judging Contest (Show Ring)

1:30 p.m.                 4-H Breeding Sheep Show (Show Ring)

4:30 p.m.                 4-H Goat & Sheep Costume Contest (Show Ring)

4:30 p.m.                 4-H Cloverbud Activity (Kennedy Building)

6 p.m.                      4-H Hog Show (Show Ring)

6:30 p.m.                 4-H Rabbit Show (Merton Building)

6:30 p.m.                 4-H Poultry Show (Merton Building)

Thursday, July 14

9 a.m.                     4-H Dairy Cattle Show (Show Ring)

10 a.m.                   4-H Horse Show – English Classes (Horse Ring)

2 p.m.                     4-H Goat & Sheep Quiz Bowl (Merton Building)

5:30 p.m.                4-H Horse Hullabaloo Contest (Horse Ring)

5:30 - 7 p.m.           4-H Market Animal Auction Buyer’s Dinner (Kennedy Building)                       

7 p.m.                     4-H Market Animal Auction (Show Ring)

Friday, July 15

10 a.m.                   4-H Horse Show – Western Classes (Horse Ring)

11 a.m.                   4-H Beef Cattle Show (Show Ring)

12 p.m.                   4-H Livestock Skillathon (Location TBA)

1 p.m.                     4-H Sheep & Goat Obstacle Course Contest (Location TBA)

2 p.m.                     4-H Energy Bike Activity (Location TBA)

3 p.m.                     4-H Sheep Blocking and Trimming Contest (4-H Sheep Barn)

5:30 p.m.                4-H Tractor Driving Contest (Kennedy Building)

7 p.m.                     4-H Energy Bike Activity (Location TBA)

Saturday, July 16

10 a.m.                   4-H Horse Show – Gymkhana & Games Classes (Horse Ring)

12 p.m.                   High Tech S’mores with 4-H Biofuel Stove Activity (Location TBA)

2 p.m.                     4-H Fair Tour hosted by the Cloverbud Club, for youth ages 4 - 9

2 - 4 p.m.                4-H Vegetable Art Contest (Kennedy Building)

2:30 p.m.                4-H Rabbit Knowledge Contest (Merton Building)

4 p.m.                     4-H Market Program Master Showman Contest (Show Ring)

5 p.m.                     4-H Livestock Master Showman Contest (Show Ring)

The complete 2016 Genesee County Fair Schedule is available online at: http://gcfair.com/Home/FairInformation/DailySchedule.aspx

July 2, 2016 - 1:28pm
posted by Zachary Lee in news, Batavia Muckdogs, dwyer stadium, business, agriculture.

The Batavia Muckdogs at Dwyer Stadium is one of five Minor League Baseball teams statewide offering New York food and beverages this season, Gov. Cuomo's office announced this week. This is the second year that the Muckdogs have partnered with the Taste NY branding and sales initiative began by Cuomo in 2013.

Taste NY is overseen by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and was launched to create opportunities for our food producers to showcase their goods at large public events like the Great New York State Fair and other places crowds gather, like Minor League Baseball games.

The expanding program has also opened stores at Thruway rest stops along the state’s highways and in transportation hubs, enabling travelers to buy New York State’s homegrown and homemade products. Approximately 1,100 local companies have participated in these opportunities, thereby expanding New York's food and beverage markets, according to a press release from the governor's office.

For the 2016 season, four craft beer companies in the Empire State have products for sale at Dwyer:

  • Brooklyn Brewery
  • Ellicottville Brewery
  • Genesee Brewing Company
  • Rohrbach Brewing Company

Plus, there are hot dogs and sausages from Zweigle's, breads and rolls from Di Paolo Baking Company, both of Rochester, and Akron-based Perry's Ice Cream.

"The Muckdogs are proud to be a part of the Taste NY program," said Muckdogs' General Manager Travis Sick. "We believe strongly in supporting as many local vendors as possible and look forward to featuring all of their great and, more importantly, delicious products at Dwyer Stadium this season."

The other participating teams and stadiums are:

  • Tri-City ValleyCats at Joe Bruno Stadium
  • Auburn Doubledays at Falcon Park
  • Staten Island Yankees at Richmond County Bank Ballpark
  • Rochester Red Wings at Frontier Field

Together, these stadiums see approximately 820,000 seasonal visitors and those fans will be treated to the same great ballpark staples, such has hot dogs, hamburgers, and ice-cold beer -- now sourced from some of New York State’s best agricultural producers. Taste NY has helped vendors triple their gross annual sales from 2014 to 2015, and with this increased promotion, they are on track to doubling those sales in 2016, according to the governor's office.

“New York grown and made food and beverages are second to none and building upon the great success of the Taste NY program, we are partnering with local baseball stadiums to expose even more New Yorkers to these great Empire State products,” said Governor Cuomo in a press release.

“When New Yorkers buy New York products from New York businesses, the home team wins every time.” 

For more information about Taste NY, click here.

July 1, 2016 - 7:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, agriculture.

Genesee County is officially in a moderate drought condition and it's having an impact on our local farmers. The Batavian's news partner, 13WHAM produced this story.

The map below of the Northeastern United States shows where it's considered "unusually dry" (in yellow) and where moderate drought conditions (tan) exist.

We got less than an inch of rain in June, two inches below average and the fourth lowest rainfall total for June since the 1940s.

droughtmapjuly2016.png

June 20, 2016 - 3:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, NY Farm Bureau, business.

Press release:

New York Farm Bureau seeks to intervene in the farm labor lawsuit filed against the State of New York and Governor Cuomo. The grassroots farm organization will file a motion today in State Supreme Court of Albany County to gain intervenor status in a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation. The NYCLUF seeks to create a constitutional right for farmworkers to collectively bargain. The ultimate goal of NYFB with today’s motion is for the court to dismiss the lawsuit.

NYFB is taking this major step to defend farmers, who feel they have been abandoned by the Governor and the New York Attorney General. Both leaders have made public statements supporting the lawsuit and refusing to defend state law, despite its importance to agriculture in New York State.

NYFB believes it has the right to intervene because the interest of its members will not be represented by the defendants – the Governor and Attorney General - and the ability of the organization’s members to continue to produce food for New York residents would be harmed in the event the plaintiffs prevail in this action.

The motion reads, “Farm Bureau is uniquely situated to represent the varied perspectives of its member farms and to zealously defend the constitutionality of the challenged farm labor exemption.”

Farm Bureau believes that the exemption of farmworkers from collective bargaining rights is constitutional, and that the exclusion of farmworkers from the State Labor Relations Act law is based on decades of rational public policy and legal precedent that will be outlined in NYFB’s motions to intervene and to dismiss.

New York Farm Bureau believes that the legal precedent is clear. This is not a question for the courts, and the NYCLUF is attempting to make an end-run around the legislature, which has not approved collective bargaining for farmworkers despite numerous opportunities.

“New York Farm Bureau has a century-long record of defending the state’s family farms, and today’s action is one of the most important in our long history. If we can’t count on our state leaders to do the right thing in this case, we are prepared to stand up for our members in court to protect their rights,” said Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau president.

June 7, 2016 - 1:52pm

Press release:

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is offering for bid 139 acres of grassland hay in five different fields ranging in size from 36 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., Saturday, 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.

May 28, 2016 - 3:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, elba, soil health.

Press release:

Orleans and Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation districts have been awarded grant funds to support the formation of the farmer-led Western New York Soil Health Alliance (WNY SHA). The goal of this funding is to help create a sustainable alliance to continue on in the future for farmers, led by farmers.

The WNY SHA is planning a Soil Health and Cover Crop workshop to take place on June 30 at the Elba Fireman’s Recreation Hall (7143 Oak Orchard Road, Elba) at 9 a.m.

This free event will allow farmers to get acquainted with the Alliance and to learn the basics of soil health and how cover cropping works to enhance your soil and profits. A keynote speaker will explain what makes a healthy soil. Also, a panel of local farmers will share success stories on planting cover crops, how to get started using them, and the results they see on their farms.

Darcy Telenko will present information on the new Cornell Climate Smart Farming website and describe the tools that will be available there to help with your farm management.

Coffee, donuts, cider and yogurt will be available. Please register by contacting Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District at 585-589-5959, ext. 5, or e-mail [email protected]com

More information on the WNY SHA is available at www.wnysoilhealth.com Look under the Events tab for a downloadable PDF Flyer to see more detailed information on the workshop.

May 21, 2016 - 3:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve, hawley, farmworkers rights, agriculture, business, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) joined Assemblyman Bill Nojay (R,C) and a coalition of lawmakers speaking out against the governor’s decision to not fight a lawsuit relating to the unionization of farmers. The governor’s decision to not defend the complaint, filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union in the State Supreme Court, effectively endorses unionization of farmworkers in New York State, a policy that those in the agriculture community say is not wanted or necessary. In fact, due to the individual climate and environmental concerns of each state affecting their growing season, the federal government specifically excluded farmworkers from the National Labor Relations Act in 1935.

“As the former owner of our family-owned farm, former Genesee County Farm Bureau President and having served on the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee since I was elected in 2006, I can attest to the daily struggles of our farm community. The governor’s decision to support unionized farm labor, coupled with a $15 an hour minimum wage, will be absolutely devastating to Western New York’s agriculture industry,” Hawley said.

“For decades our communities have been crushed by the state’s economic policies and the unionization of farmers will only push our family farms closer to the brink,” said Nojay. “Throughout his tenure Gov. Cuomo has demonstrated a total lack of respect for Upstate’s economy by repeatedly pushing policies, from GMO labeling to the $15 minimum wage, that have had a disastrous effect on our family farms and agricultural communities. The efforts by these wealthy labor unions will not only kill businesses and family farms but continue the exodus of Upstate families to less economically oppressed regions of the country. Agriculture is the foundation of our state’s entire economy and we must give our farming families and communities the attention and support they deserve.”

“Here in Western New York, farmers work extremely hard to develop positive and long-lasting relationships with their farm hands and seasonal workers. Unionization would only add another level of bureaucracy to a system that is not broken, and further complicate the ability of our state’s small family farms to succeed,” said Assemblywoman and Minority Leader Pro Tempore Jane Corwin (R,I,C-Clarence).

Assemblyman Marc Butler (R,C-Newport) said, “Leave it to New York City politicians to get it all wrong about agriculture and family farmers. Gov. Cuomo and others like him have done much to vilify the family farmer. Not only have he and the Assembly Majority increased the minimum wage and operating costs for these important rural job providers, now the governor is joining special interest groups that are trying to force family farms into unionized shops. I will work diligently to block any efforts from the governor or anyone else who tries to impose a New York City progressive agenda on our upstate family farmers.”

Assemblyman and Chairman of the Assembly Minority Conference Clifford W. Crouch (R-Bainbridge), a former dairy farmer, said, “To say that this would be devastating to our farming industry would be an understatement. Over the years it has become very clear that advocates of unionizing farm workers, who predominantly have downstate interests, neither understand the relationship farmers have with their employees nor the negative repercussions this would have on our small family farmers. I have visited and spoke to many farm employees across the state – from Buffalo to the North Country, to the Southern Tier and Long Island.

"In those travels and to date, not one employee or farmer I have spoken to has expressed the need or desire for what is offered by unionizing their employees. With already tremendous expenses - including grain, feed, seed, equipment, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, property taxes, energy expenses, and transportation – compounded with the recent minimum wage increase, how are family farmers expected to survive?

"Unionized farm employees may make sense for states like California that have a year-round growing season, but not in New York. Let’s call it what it is: a money grab by organized labor and their political counterparts in state government to gain an extra 35,000-40,000 new members paying union dues. The government should not be telling family farmers how to operate, especially when its policies will lead to closures of those farms. When there are no farms left, what will be the cost of food and where will it come from?”

“Gov. Cuomo’s next chapter in his war on upstate seems to be financially crippling our family-owned farms. Farmers have just recently begun learning how to absorb a $12.50 minimum wage hike upstate and a cut to agriculture local assistance that New York City politicians slammed down their throats, and now they want to force union mandates on them,” said Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R,C,I-Troy).

Pages

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2016 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
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

blue button