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September 22, 2022 - 5:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in mucklands, news, agriculture, Decision Makers Ag Tour.


This year's Decision Makers Agriculture Tour hosted by Chamber of Commerce focused on one of the wonders of Genesee County, the mucklands and  the onions those fields produce.

"We got to see the Big O onion facility and it was beautiful, a really high-tech way of processing onions," said Tom Turnbull, interim president of the Chamber. "It's just amazing. Every time I come on one of these tours, the technology that goes into producing our food in this county is amazing."

As Turnbull and tour participants stood on the black soil of the mucklands on a cloudless afternoon near rows of onions waiting to be harvested, he marveled at unique enterprise.

"Seeing what the muckland is and the history, which I really didn't know the full story, about what is strange swamp land that's high in nutrients, and there's only a finite amount of in the country," Turnbull said. "It's just fascinating."

For The Batavian's previous coverage of the mucklands and onion production, click here.

Photos by Howard Owens









September 8, 2022 - 6:27pm
posted by Press Release in farm labor, NY-27, news, agriculture, Chris Jacobs.

Press release: 

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) introduced the Protect Local Farms Act (H.R. 8756) to prevent the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board's recommendation to lower the overtime threshold from 60 hours to 40 hours per week from taking effect. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21) is a co-sponsor of the legislation as well.

“Two days ago, the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board handed down their final recommendation to lower the overtime threshold for farm workers from 60 hours to 40 hours – this is a devastating decision made by out-of-touch bureaucrats which will bankrupt family farms throughout our state and end farming as we know it. If Governor Hochul approves this recommendation, she is signing the death warrant for thousands of farms,” Jacobs said. “Farming is not like other industries. It is not a normal work week, is subject to weather, and operates within very slim margins. None of these factors were properly considered before this recommendation was made. Our already small workforce will be further depleted as workers seek more hours in other states, and our farmers will face dire financial burdens. That is why I am proud to introduce the Protect Local Farms Act to combat this ignorant decision and keep the threshold at 60 hours. We need our New York farmers – they’re critical to our community, economy, and health.”

“I’m standing up for our hardworking farmers and workers devastated by Albany’s out-of-touch decision to lower the farmworker overtime threshold. As this decision jeopardizes New York’s agriculture industry, puts thousands of farm laborers out of work, and makes New York less competitive by sending our workers to neighboring states in the midst of a labor shortage, this bill will set a federal standard to ensure the overtime threshold for agricultural workers cannot be lowered beyond 60 hours a week, so our farmers can continue to operate their farms and New York can continue its strong contributions to our food security. I am proud to provide this critical check on Far-Left Democrats who are crushing out Upstate farmers. Upstate families will always support our farms, because we understand: No farms, no food,” Stefanik said.

"The farmworker overtime threshold in New York makes it harder for our farms to make ends meet when we face higher labor costs than nearly every other state in the country. Rep. Jacobs common sense legislation looks to put every farm on the same level playing field. A set minimum federal overtime threshold will eliminate the competitive edge one state has over another and benefit farmworkers at the same time," said Patrick McCormick, dairy farmer and New York Farm Bureau State Director.

The Protect Local Farms Act (H.R. 8756) is designed to combat the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board decision by mandating federally that the overtime threshold for the agriculture industry cannot be set lower than 60 hours per week – keeping New York’s current threshold in place.

September 6, 2022 - 11:58pm
posted by Press Release in agriculture, farm labor, business.

Press release:

After today’s release of the Farm Laborers Wage Board report, members of the Grow NY Farms Coalition called on Governor Hochul and Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon to reject the report and maintain the current overtime threshold at 60 hours per week. 

Members of the Grow NY Farms Coalition stated that the report is the product of a flawed process. They explained how the report downplays important testimony and data from farm workers, farmers, and researchers from Cornell University, and it omits reference of important workforce training and workplace protections already in place – many of which are nation-leading and even stronger than what’s provided in other industries.

Statement from the Grow NY Farms Coalition:

“New Yorkers depend on the viability of local family farms. Yet, recommendations put forth by the Department of Labor in the Farm Laborers Wage Board report will put the future of farming in New York at risk. In fact, this report and its recommendations are not reflective of the significant data and research conducted by academics and industry experts, or the majority of public testimony provided throughout the public hearing process.  We urge Governor Hochul to direct Commissioner Reardon and the Department of Labor to dismiss this report and pause any decisions relating to overtime until the USDA Census of Agriculture is released in 2024, which will help inform potential changes to our state’s volatile, fragile, and necessary agriculture industry.”

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, “I believe the report which was written by the Department of Labor does not reflect the data, research and scope of the full testimony that was provided. It gave added weight to the opinions of those in favor of a lower threshold and discounted the majority of the in-person and written testimony of farmers, farmworkers and agricultural experts. The facts cannot be ignored, even if the report does not give them their due consideration.”

Northeast Dairy Producers Association Vice Chair Keith Kimball said, “The entire Farm Laborer Wage Board process has lacked transparency and integrity from the start, and the final report is no exception. The Wage Board report fails to represent the outpouring of testimony from New York’s agriculture industry, which resulted in over 70% of testimony asking to keep overtime at 60 hours. There’s also no mention of the hundreds of letters or other written and video testimony provided by farmworkers. And, it discredits the economics of family farms and the unique challenges no other industries are faced with. This has not been a fair process. As a farmer who testified himself and whose workers also testified, it is extremely disheartening to feel like those impacted by this decision were never heard and are in fact being ignored.”

New York State Vegetable Growers Association President Brian Reeves said, “I’m disheartened and disappointed that the voices of farmworkers, farmers, and researchers who spoke in support of the current overtime threshold have essentially been ignored. This report shows that the majority of the Wage Board never truly considered all of the information and insights offered to them during this process. I strongly encourage Governor Hochul and Commissioner Reardon to reject this flawed report and maintain the current overtime threshold.”

New York State Horticulture Society and the New York State Berry Growers Association Executive Director Jim Bittner said, “As a farmer and agriculture advocate, I’m extremely concerned about the future of farming in New York if this report is accepted by Commissioner Reardon. The report completely fails to take into account the massive cost increases – especially for fuel and fertilizer – that farmers have faced during the pandemic. There’s also no mention of the fact that New York has lost almost 5,000 farms over the last 20 years, and we’re expecting a new USDA Census report in 2024 which should inform decisions moving forward. We need Governor Hochul and Commissioner Reardon to support our farms and stay at 60.”

Cornell Research ReportClick here to watch a video presentation by Cornell University E. V. Baker Professor of Agricultural Economics Chris Wolf.

Cornell TestimonyClick here to watch a video presentation by Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development Director Dr. Richard Stup.

Farm Credit East ReportClick here to watch a video presentation by Farm Credit East.

Once the board delivers its report, Department of Labor Commissioner Reardon will have 45 days to review and announce her decision. Within five days of receipt, DOL will publish notice in at least 10 newspapers of general circulation in the state. Any objections to the report and recommendations can be sent to the Commissioner within 15 days after such publication.

State Senator Ed Rath:

“I am extremely discouraged by the Farm Laborers Wage Board’s decision to lower the overtime threshold from 60 to 40 hours. I have spoken with numerous farmers and farm workers.  Both have made it abundantly clear that this will be extremely detrimental to our family farms and farm workers. This is another example of Albany failing to do its due diligence by listening to critical stakeholders.” 

August 26, 2022 - 11:05am
posted by Press Release in 4-H, state fair, news, agriculture.


Press release:

Genesee County 4-H members Bing Zuber, Tate Zuber and Annalise Sybertz competed at the 4-H Dairy Judging Contest at the New York State Fair on Aug. 26.  Their team placed third in the Junior Division of the contest.  Individually, Annalise also placed in the top ten juniors.

Dairy Judging contests teach youth to critically evaluate dairy animals based on breed standards and gain an understanding of how form affects function. Youth participating in these competitions learn the anatomy and physiology of the dairy animal and gain the capability to choose the proper animal to take in the show ring or keep for breeding on the farm. They also learn confidence and public speaking skills while defending the reasoning for their placements to the judges.

The Genesee County 4-H Program is a youth development program for youth ages 5-18.  New 4-H youth members, adult volunteers and clubs are always welcome to join.  For information about how to join the Genesee County 4-H Program, please contact the 4-H Office at [email protected] or (585) 343-3040 ext. 131.  Enrollment information is also available on our website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth-development/how-to-join-4-h

Submitted photo.  Tate Zuber, Bing Zuber, Annalise Sybertz.

August 24, 2022 - 2:07pm
posted by Press Release in agriculture, news.

Press release:

Corn silage harvest is approaching. The way corn silage is harvested and stored is a single event that affects your operation for the entire next year. Are you prepared to set your operation up for success? Plan to attend one of the following free on-farm Corn Silage Pre-Harvest workshops to hear the latest research-backed strategies you can implement on your dairy this corn silage season. No registration is necessary.

Speakers and topics include:

  • Joe Lawrence Dairy Forage Systems Specialist; PRO-DAIRY: Success of harvesting quality forage out of the field; best practices for monitoring corn dry down and kernel processing.
  • Kirsten Workman Nutrient Management and Environmental Sustainability Specialist; PRO-DAIRY: Why collect field (or more precisely) yield data?
  • Manuel P. Marcaida III Crop and Soil Data Specialist; Nutrient Management Spear Program (NMSP); How to collect accurate yield data?
  • Jodi Letham Field Crops, Forages, Nutrient Management and Soils Specialist; NWNY CCE Team: What can we do with accurate yield data? 

Friday, Aug. 26, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Noblehurst Farms, 2795 Stewart Road (CR-58), Linwood

Friday, Aug 26, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Lamb Farms, 6880 Albion Road, Oakfield

August 15, 2022 - 9:05am
posted by Press Release in 4-H, agriculture, news.


Press release:

Congratulations to the Genesee County 4-H members who participated in the 4-H Livestock Shows at the 2022 Genesee County Fair.  At the completion of the individual 4-H Livestock Shows, an Overall 4-H Livestock Master Showmanship Contest was held on Friday, July 29th.  The winners of master showmanship in each individual livestock show competed in the contest and Clare Mathes was named the 2022 Overall 4-H Livestock Master Showman. 

4-H Beef Show:

  • Senior Showmanship – Autumn Mathisen
  • Junior Showmanship – Colten Sugg
  • Master Showman – Colten Sugg
  • Supreme Champion Heifer – Colten Sugg
  • Champion Market Steer – Madelynn Pimm

4-H Goat Show:

  • Senior Dairy Goat Showmanship – Ella Christ
  • Junior Dairy Goat Showmanship – Adeline Mangino
  • Novice Dairy Goat Showmanship – Eleanor Hudson
  • Master Dairy Goat Showman – Ella Christ
  • Best in Show Dairy Doe – Levi Miller
  • Senior Meat Goat Showmanship – Clare Mathes
  • Junior Meat Goat Showmanship – Emma Tanner
  • Master Meat Goat Showman – Clare Mathes
  • Best in Show Meat Doe – Lily Haacke

4-H Hog Show:

  • Senior Showmanship – Brendan Pimm
  • Junior Showmanship – Thomas Keele
  • Master Showman – Thomas Keele
  • Champion Gilt – Thomas Keele

4-H Market Animal Auction Beef Steer Show:

  • Senior Showmanship – Caleb Carlson
  • Intermediate Showmanship – Kylie Paddock
  • Junior Showmanship – Makayla Sugg
  • Beginner Showmanship – Logan Bezon
  • Master Showman – Caleb Carlson
  • Reserve Master Showman – Makayla Sugg
  • Champion Beef Steer – Caleb Carlson
  • Reserve Champion Beef Steer – Colten Sugg

4-H Market Animal Auction Dairy Steer Show:

  • Senior Showmanship – Maggie Winspear
  • Junior Showmanship – Chase Zuber
  • Master Showman – Maggie Winspear
  • Champion Dairy Steer – Chase Zuber
  • Reserve Champion Dairy Steer – Bing Zuber

4-H Market Animal Auction Goat Show:

  • Senior Showmanship – John Riley
  • Junior Showmanship – Riley Smith
  • Beginner Showmanship – Kiely Coast
  • Master Showman – John Riley
  • Champion Market Goat – Layla Baker

4-H Market Animal Auction Hog Show:

  • Senior Showmanship – Caleb Carlson
  • Intermediate Showmanship – Cody Carlson
  • Junior Showmanship – Thomas Keele
  • Beginner Showmanship – Brynn Weaver
  • Master Showman – Caleb Carlson
  • Reserve Master Showman – Thomas Keele
  • Champion Market Hog – Aiden Warner
  • Reserve Champion Market Hog – Carson Warner

4-H Market Animal Auction Lamb Show:

  • Senior Showmanship – Taylor Fancher
  • Junior Showmanship – Colten Sugg
  • Beginner Showmanship – Adeline Mangino
  • Master Showman – Colten Sugg
  • Champion Market Lamb – Colten Sugg
  • Reserve Champion Market Lamb – Taylor Fancher

Submitted photo: Participants in the 2022 4-H Overall Livestock Master Showman Contest, Left to Right: Ella Christ, Maggie Winspear, Brendan Pimm, Clare Mathes, Thomas Keele, Colten Sugg, Madelynn Pimm, Amelia Brewer, Kasey Pagels.

August 2, 2022 - 10:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, Genesee County Fair, notify, agriculture.


There was only one thing to say about the fantastic weather, record numbers, dependable help and community support at this year’s Genesee County Fair, volunteer Norm Pimm says.

“It’s pretty wild,” he said to The Batavian Monday afternoon. “When last year just blew away our numbers that we hadn’t done before — for the last 13 years we had double-digit growth — we figured that no way we were going to top that. After the first Saturday and Sunday, we were already ahead of the pace.”

The fair has risen from attendance of 13,000 a dozen years ago to this year’s intake of 75,000. That’s a 15 percent increase from 2021, which was touted as a record-breaking year for the Agricultural Society’s yearly event.

Pimm believes that, at least in part, people were really anxious to get out and do something after the pandemic lockdown. Plus, the event itself has added new attractions, a midway vendor, more 4-H participants and farm animals, and the volunteer group has invested money into water, electrical and other amenities to continuously improve the grounds, he said. Its reputation has spread beyond Genesee into neighboring counties, often due to word-of-mouth praise, he said.

“I truly believe we’ve had a great county fair; it’s sort of in the back yard of Western New York,” he said. “People say ‘this is the fair I grew up on.’”

There was an impressive 1,100 animals at the fair, albeit in shifts, since they all couldn’t fit into the barns all at once, he said. The meat auction drew 60 new bidders from last year, which raised more than $320,000, and “smashed” the current total. Most of the proceeds went to each youth participant, with a “very small” percentage to help cover Cornell Cooperative Extension’s costs, he said.

“This is huge for the kids, because many of them use the money to purchase their following year’s project,” he said.

About 150 Genesee County 4-H youths participated, with 88 in the auction, and another 100 from throughout New York State in the open livestock shows, he said. Come September, 20 of those youths will go on to participate in events at the State Fair in Syracuse.

Arcade resident Thomas Keele’s steer brought in a whopping $32,000, thanks to a community that agreed to jack up the bids to help his family out after his father was tragically killed in an automobile accident. Pimm knew the boy’s father, and also knew that people had loosely set a goal to raise $10,000 before the bids just kept going and going, he said.

“People just stood up for him,” Pimm said.

In addition to the animals, there was also a baked goods auction that helped the grand total, he said.

No slacker at the grandstand, the demolition derby seated 2,500 people, and opened up the infield to accommodate the overflow.

“So that we didn’t have to turn away people,” he said. “They were excited to see it.”

He credited Bruce Scofield of Stafford for overseeing the derby and securing a 25 percent increase in attendance from last year. Even the amount of cars broke a record, with 60 entered for the smash ‘em up event.

There were problems, Pimm said, such as running out of food at least three or four times at the Chuckwagon, and other vendors reporting that they sold out of products a few times as well. That was “a great problem to have,” he said.

A mini car race was supported by area businesses that sponsored each car, which helped to cover costs and made it free for kids to do. Pig races, a dog comedy act, “fantastic” bands and Hammerl Amusements were all new or fairly new additions that kept bringing the crowds in, he said.

As for the work involved, Pimm laughed as he shared his daughter’s reaction while riding in her dad’s car with him. He kept making calls regarding next year’s fair festivities.

“She said, ‘it never stops, does it?” Pimm said. “For us to continue to grow, we have to add new stuff, and we’re tweaking some things. If it wasn’t for the businesses … and the volunteers, there’s no way we could do this.”

Top photo by Kristin Smith


Photo by Kristin Smith


Photo by Kristin Smith


Photo by Kristin Smith


Photo by Kristin Smith


Photo by Debra Reilly


Photo by Debra Reilly


Photo by Laura Luft





July 28, 2022 - 6:16pm
posted by Press Release in agriculture, American Dairy Association, Le Roy, Attica, Pavilion.

Press release:

Offering a glimpse into the lives of hardworking farmers, American Dairy Association North East released a new episode of “This American Dairy Farmer,” a digital series highlighting family, tradition, and sustainable food production on local dairy farms.

Every gallon has a story, and “This American Dairy Farmer” offers a behind-the-scenes look at dairy farms and the families who operate them while helping viewers make personal connections with those who produce their food.

In "Happiest Person I Know," which debuted July 27 on AmericanDairy.com, viewers meet Natasha Stein Sutherland from Stein Farms in Le Roy. Sutherland is herd manager at the dairy farm that her grandfather started in 1956 with two cows that came with the property.

“The neighbors literally came over and taught my grandfather how to milk those cows, and that’s how Stein Farms got its start,” Sutherland said. “The farm shaped my childhood and now I’m blessed to work with five family members every day.”

Sutherland brings a unique perspective to the New York dairy industry, having spent seven years managing herds in New Zealand, where she met her husband while studying dairy science through Cornell University’s exchange program.

“I am the happiest person I know because I get to care for an amazing group of cows. I love what I get to do,” Sutherland said.

Watch “This American Dairy Farmer” to see how Sutherland tends to her dairy herd while also looking after the pristine blue-ribbon trout stream that runs alongside Stein Farms.

“This series is an opportunity for consumers to meet and learn about the people who produce the milk for everything from their morning coffee to their children’s school meals,” said John Chrisman, CEO of American Dairy Association North East. “You see the passion dairy farmers have for taking care of their animals, protecting the environment and leaving a legacy for the next generation.”

“This American Dairy Farmer” will visit 12 dairy farms in 2022. Previous episodes are available on AmericanDairy.com. Other dairies featured from New York’s GLOW region include farms in Linwood, Pavilion and Attica.

Visit AmericanDairy.com to see all of the dairy farms featured and catch new episodes!

July 25, 2022 - 6:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Fair, news, agriculture.


Photos by Kristin Smith.  For more, click here.






June 15, 2022 - 4:23pm
posted by Press Release in business, agriculture, USDA.

Press release

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is now accepting nominations for county committee members. Elections will occur in certain Local Administrative Areas (LAA) for members. LAAs are elective areas for FSA committees in a single county or multi-county jurisdiction. This may include LAAs that are focused on an urban or suburban area. 

County committee members make important decisions about how Federal farm programs are administered locally. All nomination forms for the 2022 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2022. 

“It is a priority for USDA to integrate equity into its decision-making and policymaking, and that starts with our local FSA county committees,” said Jim Barber, State Executive Director for FSA in New York. “We need enthusiastic, diverse leaders to serve other agricultural producers on these committees as we work to build equitable systems and programming inclusive of all employees and all of our customers. I ask that you consider making a difference in your community by nominating yourself, or another agricultural producer, to serve on your local FSA county committee.” 

Barber said agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in a USDA program and reside in the LAA that is up for election this year, may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee. A cooperating producer is someone who has provided information about their farming or ranching operation to FSA, even if they have not applied or received program benefits. Individuals may nominate themselves or others and qualifying organizations may also nominate candidates. USDA encourages minority producers, women, and beginning farmers or ranchers to nominate, vote and hold office. 


Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated members of the agricultural community serve on FSA county committees. The committees are made up of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Producers serving on FSA county committees play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of the agency. Committee members are vital to how FSA carries out disaster programs, as well as conservation, commodity and price support programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues. 

June 2, 2022 - 2:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, kinderfarmin', Pavilion, news, notify.


More than 600 kindergarten students from Genesee County, along with teachers, parents, and chaperones, visited Hildene Farms on Roanoke Road in Pavilion on Wednesday to experience a bit of farm life firsthand.

Cal Ayers-Tillotson, Hildene's co-owner, said she and her husband decided to host the event because with four kids of their own, and one in kindergarten, it would be a great way for them to visit their own farm.  She said she hopes it's a rewarding experience for the children.

"We hope they become more educated with farming in general," she said. "I think that people have become so far removed and I think it's great to just teach the kids where their food comes from."

Helping children understand the concept of where food comes from is a big part of the reason the Genesee County Farm Bureau sponsors the annual event -- which had a two-year hiatus during the pandemic -- said Natasha Stein Sutherland.

"This is important because dairy is the powerhouse of Genesee County," Sutherland said. "For every dollar we earned, we triple it back out into the community with every dollar we spend on our staff members, on our commodities we buy, and the milk hitting the grocery store shelves. Dairy is surrounding this county. It keeps it green. We need these kids to understand the dairy-to-table concept. This is such a connecting force for these kids who eventually someday will be consumers."












May 18, 2022 - 8:50pm
posted by Press Release in FFA, elba, news, agriculture.


Press release:

After hosting the New York FFA State Convention virtually for two years, more than 2,000 students, teachers, and guests gathered in person to celebrate and recognize members for all their accomplishments on May 12-14 in Syracuse, New York.

New York FFA currently supports over 9,000 middle and high school students in programs of varying size from the heart of New York City to the shores of Lake Erie. Agricultural education programs across the state offer relevance of core academic concepts as they are applied to the food and fiber systems and prepare students for career success, in and out of agriculture. One of the hallmark events for NYS FFA each year is the annual New York State FFA Convention where students, teachers, and guests gather to celebrate their accomplishments from the year. The State Convention has been a culminating activity for many members over the years, allowing them to compete in career and leadership development events, network with agricultural colleges and industry reps, and be inspired by keynote speakers and the State Officers’ retiring addresses.

This year we were excited to offer in-person opportunities for students, teachers, and supporters. People from all over New York State gathered for this annual event to hear inspiring speeches from peers and agricultural professionals, expand their knowledge during workshops and tours by exploring different fields of the agricultural industry, and networked with agricultural business professionals and colleges during the Career Engagement Expo.

The Elba FFA Chapter Advisor, Tracey Dahlhaus, stated: “This was an amazing opportunity for our students to not only participate in contests, and workshops but to also meet other FFA members from across the state.”

Ian Keberle, a member of the Elba FFA chapter stated, “I can’t wait to participate again next year and am already planning which contests I want to participate in.”

In addition to participating in tours, workshops, service projects, and sessions, students were recognized for their accomplishments during one of six general sessions. The following members of the Elba FFA chapter were recognized:

Amelia Brewer and Ian Keberle were recognized for receiving their Empire Degrees.  The Empire Degree is awarded based on a member's leadership qualities, community service and time spent on an SAE (Supervised Agriculture Experience).

New York FFA is grateful for all of our supporters, students, and teachers who have helped make this year’s State Convention a success and who have continued to display excellence and leadership skills they have developed throughout their time in FFA. The 2023 New York State FFA Convention will take place in Buffalo, New York from May 18-20.

FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agriculture education. For more information regarding FFA, please visit either www.nysffa.org or www.ffa.org.

May 9, 2022 - 4:46pm
posted by Press Release in Cornell Cooperative Extension, business, agriculture.


Press release:

If you are looking for resources for producing and marketing livestock, then visit the NEW Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Livestock Program Work Team website https://www.ccelivestock.com.

The CCE Livestock Program Work Team recognized New York livestock producers’ need to have a trustworthy central location for all things livestock and developed the website in response. The website is organized into themes based on species and information can be found on a variety of production topics including breeding and reproduction, nutrition, and health as well as marketing.

“Our goal is to continue adding resources and have it be the go-to place for workshops, training, and webinar recordings”, states Nancy Glazier, Regional Small Farms/Livestock Specialist.

Dana M. Havas, Ag Team Leader from CCE Cortland, expressed, “It is exciting to have extension livestock experts from all over the state working together to develop a robust and valuable collection of resources for our communities.”

As the website grows we look forward to hearing how you use the website and invite you to tell us what you think by contacting the website administrator https://www.ccelivestock.com/contact-us.

The CCE Livestock Program Work Team is comprised of educators working to build a collaborative network of experts and resources to foster the success of livestock farms across New York State. Find your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office here, https://cals.cornell.edu/cornell-cooperative-extension/local-offices.

May 3, 2022 - 8:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Fair, news, agriculture.


Last year's Genesee County Fair was so popular there was actually a run on waffles one Friday night.

"The waffle person said they used his entire week's supply on that Friday," said Norm Pimm, treasurer of the Genesee County Ag Society. "There were people waiting in line for like an hour and a half for a waffle."

Pimm was speaking Monday at the Human Services Committee of the County Legislature during an annual review of the Ag Society.

"We had a little over 55,000 people at the fair this past year, which was a 52 percent increase over 2019," Pimm said.

It was the highest attendance on record and the 10th straight year of increased attendance. 

All of the vendors ran out of food multiple times, Pimm said.

Several shows drew larger participation, including the open beef show, the open swine show, and the draft horse show, with 12 six-hitch teams. Some of the teams came from Virginia, Vermont, and Canada.

"There's also a waiting list of teams that want to get in, but we just don't have any more facility," Pimm said.

The Ag Society board will attempt to outdo itself in July with new attractions and events.

This year's fair will include radio-controlled race cars that children can operate. The six cars are sponsored by local businesses. There are also going to be pony rides, a trick dog show, three kids' days with children's entertainment and possibly free rides on the midway, a petting zoo, and some sort of entertainment every day, including the return of karaoke, and a couple nights of fireworks.

"We're gonna have a Country Jamboree," Pimm said. "We're gonna have three country acts in a row starting like midday, rolling through the night. The last band is gonna be a Waylon Jennings tribute band that's really, really good."

During the year, especially in the summer, the Ag Society is putting the fairgrounds to good use to generate revenue, Pimm told the committee.

Saturday night stock car races are continuing with a new operator. The New York Junior Beef Producers are planning a show. There are six large horse shows planned over the next few months.  And once again, the fairgrounds will host the career-development event, GLOW With Your Hands.

There will also be three food truck rodeos -- on June 17, July 8, and Aug. 26.  The food truck rodeo is looking like it will be popular, Pimm said, so the board is planning on adding trucks. The nights will include live entertainment.

With all of the activity, there are several upgrades to facilities that the Ag Society is planning. The total investment will come to $250,000 this year, Pimm said.

Top Photo: Norm Pimm provides an update during the Human Services Committee meeting this week. Photo by Howard Owens.

April 30, 2022 - 12:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, agriculture, news.


Friday was "Drive Your Tractor to School Day" at Elba Central School and several students did just that,

Photos by Debra Reilly.







April 22, 2022 - 7:05pm
posted by Press Release in Steve Hawley, dairy, agriculture, news, 139th assembly district.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, C, I-Batavia) is supporting the passage of a bill that would allow New York schools to purchase whole and 2% milk that’s produced within the state, modeled after similar legislation that was recently passed in Pennsylvania. 

While the regulation banning these types of milk was put in place to combat rising trends of childhood obesity rates and type 2 diabetes diagnoses, these trends have only continued following its enactment. Countering the narrative that whole and 2% milk is unhealthy for children, recent studies have shown children who drink full-fat dairy products tend to be leaner than their peers and have a lower risk of becoming overweight. Other studies have found those who consume whole-fat dairy may have a lower risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure, increased satiety without weight gain and better sleep.

The removal of these milk options has also had a negative effect on dairy farms throughout upstate New York, which have long counted on revenue from milk sales to schools to keep their businesses operational. Already facing numerous obstacles in maintaining their viability as a business in recent years, including the lowering of the farm laborer overtime threshold, Hawley is hopeful this bill’s passage will help dairy farmers survive these new challenges to their livelihoods.

“The removal of 2% and whole milk from school cafeterias has had nothing but negative impacts on all stakeholders involved, including children and farmers,” said Hawley. “Providing more dairy options to students will only encourage them to get the nutrition their growing bodies need from milk, and help farmers recoup revenue lost since the passage of this ill-conceived prohibition.”

April 10, 2022 - 3:43pm
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in batavia, agriculture, news, history.


Whenever the Peca kids would hear the clippity-clop of the horse’s hooves on our street, we knew our friend “Sugar” (his real name was Jimmy) was delivering milk for Branton’s Dairy. It was the year 1954, and we lived on Highland Park. The milkman would always give us time to pet the horse and give the horse a treat. That was such a great memory from our childhood. Later, when we moved to another location, we still excitedly waited in anticipation for the milkman. Gone was the exciting horse hooves sound, but it was replaced with a milk truck. There was this one Fargo Ware milkman, Mr. Barlow. All of the children loved him because he always had a smile for us. He would give you an orange drink if it was your birthday. Even though some of us had at least two birthdays a year, he never let on that he knew what we were up to.

Many changes have occurred over the years with the “milkman.”  In our early history, any farmer with a herd of cows could deliver milk. There was no fuss about sterile instruments or the butterfat content of milk. A homemaker could choose a milkman based on his route or the taste of the milk.

Many dairies delivered milk in Batavia. The three dairies that delivered the longest belonged to Augustus Branton, Warren Fargo, and Henry Ware.

fargo_trucks.jpgIn 1873, Henry B. Fargo started a milk route from his farm on Bank Street. 1907, his son Warren Fargo bought the farm and called it The Evergreen Farm Dairy. In 1907, he purchased the Coates home at 208 East Main Street. In 1912, he built a modern dairy plant behind 208 East Main Street home. This was where he installed milk pasteurizing equipment and machinery for making ice cream. For several years, his brother Robert ran the ice cream parlor and confectionery store in the old Main Street house.

In 1916, Warren Fargo sold the ice cream part of the business to Dewitt C. Hopkins and just focused on milk and cream. Cyrus and Wallace joined him in the industry, but the sons took over the company when Warren semi-retired. In 1954, the Fargo brothers built a small dairy store at 208 East Main Street in front of their dairy.  

picturefairfield.jpgWilliam H. Ware started the Fairfield Dairy in 1927 on his farm on Ellicott Street Road near Cedar Street. In 1928 John Witruk joined Henry Ware, William’s son, in building a modern mechanized plant on Cedar Street. In 1958, William Ware closed the Fairfield Dairy to join the Fargos and become Fargo-Ware, Incorporated.

In 1969, Genesee Farms Incorporated bought out Fargo-Ware, which was run under the Genesee Farms name. The owners were Richard and Robert Call. Alvin Scroger from Oakfield was the manager.

In 1889, Augustus Branton started his dairy business when the Fargos were setting up their milk route.   He bought an earlier milk route from Robert Earll and began to deliver milk to Earll’s customers. He moved from his farm on South Main Street to one on West Main Street Road two years later. Augustus’ two sons, John A. and Raymond, lived on the farm on West Main Street. John Branton delivered milk with his father and was in the milk business for more than 63 years. He married Isabell Kellogg of Stafford, NY, on October 19, 1921, and together they moved to a home at 12 River Street and built a milk processing plant behind their house. Mrs. Branton was very active in the business. During World War II, young men were off to war, so Mrs. Branton and their son and daughter delivered milk. In 1954 when her husband John died, she became the president of Branton’s and ran it with the help of their children Raymond J.  and Jean Branton and Richard and Sibyl Branton Zorn.  

Branton’s began pasteurizing milk in 1922 and in 1947 began to clarify and homogenize the milk. In 1952, Branton’s installed a new milk processing plant that weighed and clarified milk in one process. After the milk had been tested for butterfat content, it was pasteurized, cooled rapidly, bottled by automatic machinery, and stored until time for delivery. 

In 1959, Branton’s opened the dairy store on West Main Road.

brantons_dairy_store.jpgIn 1964, the last delivery horse, “Sammy,” retired as trucks delivered the milk. Branton’s was the last dairy to use horse delivery in New York State. In June 1974, Genesee Farms, Incorporated bought the dairy business, and only the dairy store on West Main Road remained from the 85-year-old Branton business. In December 1978, Genesee Farms bought the dairy store as well.

Hackett’s Milk and Cream were also in the business of delivering milk. Henry Hackett founded his dairy business in 1914, and his brother Edgar joined him in 1920. They felt the bottling of the milk needed to be conducted under the highest sanitary standards. The dairy plant was located on Oak Street.

Today we buy milk at almost any place in the area, from supermarkets, chain stores, gas stations, and our very own Northside and Southside Delicatessens.  

Photos courtesy of the Genesee County History Department

CORRECTION: "Robert and Richard Call owned Fargo-Ware Dairy. Oakfield Farms Dairy was owned by Albert Scroger who also used to deliver milk to homes. When Albert retired, his son Alvin took over the business and they merged with Fargo-Ware to become Genesee Farms Dairy, Inc. Alvin Scroger was manager of the business but he was also a 50% owner in partnership with the Call brothers."

April 6, 2022 - 2:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Chris Jacobs, NY-27, agriculture.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) joined 96 colleagues in calling on President Biden to reverse his anti-American energy policies and take steps to bring down the cost of fertilizers for farmers.
“Most common fertilizers are petroleum-based. With prices skyrocketing and foreign supplies becoming less accessible, it is critical action is taken to bring down fertilizer costs for farmers. Farmers are struggling under increased fuel costs, labor shortages, and inflationary pressures on inputs. If we do not act now, it could spell even higher prices for American consumers,” Jacobs said. “The President could take immediate steps to bring prices down across the board. His policies have been destructive to the U.S. energy industry, and in turn, our farmers. The President must allow for increased U.S. oil and gas production, take steps to allow for easier access to alternative fertilizers, and ensure critical minerals are made part of the Department of Interior’s mission.”
Recently, Jacobs also co-sponsored numerous pieces of legislation designed to restore American energy independence and bring fuel costs down for farmers and the American people as a whole. More on that legislation can be found here.
“Farming is an industry of incredibly narrow margins – any action the President can take immediately to lower the inflationary pressures facing our farmers, in large part due to his bad policies, must be a priority,” Jacobs said.
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to express our serious concern regarding record-high fertilizer prices impacting American farmers going into the spring planting season. Fertilizer is a primary input and major expense for producers across the country, and price increases will have a significant effect on farm profitability and the prices of food and consumer products.
Since January 2021, according to the most recent data from the United States Department of Agriculture, the prices of key fertilizer sources have substantially increased as follows: anhydrous ammonia (by 203%); urea (by 141%); liquid nitrogen (by 162%); monoammonium phosphate (by 74%); potash (by 125%); and farm diesel (by 95%). Ongoing supply-chain bottlenecks and the rising cost of energy are among the factors sending fertilizer prices soaring, and disruptions stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will only compound the problem. As a result, Americans will pay more at restaurants, grocery stores, and elsewhere.
We are therefore urging your administration to review all available options to lower the cost of fertilizer, including but not limited to: eliminating the cross-border vaccine mandate for transporters of essential commerce; urging the USDA to use its existing authorities under the food supply chain and pandemic response resources to provide support for farmers facing financial difficulties; ensuring agricultural minerals like phosphate and potash are part of the Department of the Interior’s crucial mission; increasing U.S. gas production; and approving pending export permits at the Department of Energy for liquefied natural gas.
Quickly undertaking such measures is the most immediate – and perhaps only – near-term opportunity to partially remedy the high costs of fertilizer hurting American farmers and, ultimately, American consumers. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
March 29, 2022 - 12:14am


Press release:

Since 1959, the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District has honored a deserving agricultural producer with the Conservation Farm of the Year Award. This award is given to a producer that has displayed a long-term commitment to sustainable conservation, leads by example, and implements farm conservation best management practices. This year’s recipient is Grassland Dairy, Inc, an organic dairy farm in the town of Pavilion.

Grassland Dairy, Inc., is a 250-cow organic dairy farm that is owned and operated by Brent Tillotson and his family. The farm raises their Jersey cows on a rotational grazing system with a focus on animal welfare. The farm also operates under a comprehensive nutrient management plan that is updated annually to provide nutrient and manure application recommendations based on soil testing, crop requirements, and environmental conditions. Several best management practices have been installed since the farm’s inception in 2008, including a waste separation facility, waste storage facility, erosion control systems, and subsurface drainage. Currently, the farm is working to incorporate cover crops into their corn production by planting a mix of cover crop species into their standing corn crop during cultivation. This approach will help to improve soil health and reduce erosion on the cropland.

Grassland Dairy, Inc., has voluntarily implemented the aforementioned best management practices to protect the environment and create a more sustainable farm operation. They have also been an active participant with the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. To recognize the work that has been done, the farm will be presented the 2021 Conservation Farm of the Year award at the Celebrate Agriculture Dinner on April 2, 2022, at the Alexander Fire Hall.

Photo: File photo of Brent Tillotson in 2013. Photo by Howard Owens.



March 25, 2022 - 4:57pm
posted by Press Release in agriculture, Cornell Cooperative Extension, business.

Press release:

The Equine Subgroup of the Cornell Cooperative Extension Livestock Program Work Team is hosting a 3-part nutrition webinar series. Each presentation will be held from 6:30-7:30 PM EST. There is no fee to participate however preregistration is required. Each presentation has its own registration link, and you will receive a Zoom link upon confirmation of your registration.

Wednesday, April 13th - Equine Metabolic Diseases and Common Pitfalls When Feeding Horses - Dr. Lindsay Goodale, (Lecturer- Cornell CALS) will describe some common issues we encounter when feeding horses, including dealing with equine metabolic diseases, obesity, gastric ulcers, and other challenging scenarios. We'll also discuss some behavioral considerations that can influence our feeding approaches. Register: https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/HorseNutrition_222

Wednesday, May 11th - Pasture Management with Ken Estes, Jr., Ag Program Leader- CCE Livingston. In this session we will explore the best management practices to provide and maintain forage for your livestock in this case horses in a pasture. With topics including soil health, plant selection, loading density, mowing, dragging, resting, fertilizing, and weed control. We will also look at new trends in pasture design with dry lots and track pastures. Register: https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/PastureMgmt_222

Wednesday, June 8th - Forage Analysis - The cost per ton or bale is not an indicator of value. Forage analysis will make it easier to match nutrient requirements for your horses. Join Sarah E. Fessenden (Business Development Manager, Forage and Soils- Dairy One) and Lynn Bliven (Ag & Natural Resources Issue Leader- CCE Allegany) for a discussion on interpreting forage analysis reports and factors that impact evaluation of hay quality. Register: https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/ForageAnalysis_222

The Hold Your Horses - Equine Nutrition Webinar Series is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension. Part of the national extension system, an educational partnership between County, State, and Federal governments. As New York’s land grant university Cornell administers the system in this state. For more information on this series, call 585-268-7644 or visit www.cce.cornell.edu/allegany.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.

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