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January 18, 2023 - 2:42pm
posted by Press Release in Celebrate Ag Dinner, agriculture, news, chamber of commerce.

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Press release:

Plans are well underway for the 19th Annual Celebrate Agriculture Dinner which will take place Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 6 pm at the Alexander Fire Hall. This annual event is a celebration of Genesee County’s #1 Industry, Agriculture! The highlight of the night is a delicious meal using locally produced foods prepared by the Culinary Arts Students from the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center. Let by Chef Tracy Burgio and Denise Kaus, Culinary Arts teacher aide, this will be the second year of this perfect collaboration between the Chamber’s Agricultural Committee & Culinary Arts Program. The dinner is open to the public.

Tickets go on sale December 5th at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, 8276 Park Road, Batavia. Tickets are $30 each or a table of 10 can be purchased for $275. Sponsorships are also available which help support agriculture educational events in Genesee County. Only 400 tickets will be sold. Please RSVP BY MARCH 17, 2023. For more information or to download the registrations flyer visit the Chamber’s Website www.geneseeny.com.

The Celebrate Ag Dinner is coordinated by the following partners: Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District and Genesee County Farm Bureau.

Sponsors of the 2022 celebration included: Alleghany Farm Services, Arctic Refrigeration, Baskin Livestock, Inc., Carolina Eastern Crocker, CPL, New York State Senator Edward Rath, Farm Credit East, Farm Family Insurance, Fieldstone Private Wealth, Five Star Bank, Freed Maxick CPA, Growmark-FS, L&M Specialty Fabrications, LLC, Lamb Farms, Lawley, My-T Acres, National Grid, OXBO International, Perry Veterinary Clinic, Scott Adams Trucking, Tompkins Community Bank, Torrey Farms, Western New York Energy, LLC, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. William Kent, Inc. and Windy Acres Farm.

Farms and businesses that donated locally grown food for the 2022 dinner included: Angry Bees Apiary, Dorman Farms, Fenton’s Produce, SJ Starowitz Farms, Torrey Farms, Upstate Farms, Harrington Produce, Farm Fresh First Inc. Star of the West, Jeremy Neal Poverty Hill Farms. 

 File photo by Howard Owens

January 12, 2023 - 10:59am
posted by Press Release in agriculture, NY-24, news, Claudia Tenney, Winter Storm Elliott.

Press release:

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24) yesterday alongside Congressman Nick Langworthy (NY-23) sent a letter to Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack calling on his agency to do all it can to ensure Western New York farmers can quickly recover from the deadly Winter Storm Elliott.

Winter Storm Elliot has been referred to as the storm of the century, and rightly so. This storm produced over four feet of snow and hurricane-strength winds, resulting in at least 40 deaths across our region and $5.4 billion in losses nationwide. Numerous businesses suffered countless damages, specifically the Western New York agriculture sector.

“[The storm was] devastating to our agricultural producers, who are already struggling with record inflation, high energy and fertilizer prices, and the existing supply chain dysfunctions,”  wrote the Republican Lawmakers. “It is imperative for our local and national economy that we provide these producers the help they need to quickly recover from this severe winter storm.”

The Republican lawmakers are calling on the Department of Agriculture to use all the tools at its disposal to accelerate aid distribution and assistance to the affected agricultural businesses across Western New York.

Previously: After digging out of the storm, Lamb Farms thankful for community and safety of staff and animals

December 7, 2022 - 6:44pm
posted by Press Release in 4-H, agriculture, news.

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Press release:

Genesee County 4-H members participated in a Holiday Greens Workshop at the Cooperative Extension Office on December 1st.  The workshop was presented by Genesee County Master Gardener Volunteers.  Youth learned about using fresh-cut evergreens to make a holiday arrangement. After the presentation, youth created their own holiday centerpiece to take home.

4-H is a nationwide youth program that connects youth age 5-18 to a variety of hands-on learning opportunities.  For more information about joining the Genesee County 4-H Program, please contact the 4-H Office at [email protected] or (585) 343-3040 ext. 131.  Enrollment forms are also available on our website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth-development/how-to-join-4-h

December 7, 2022 - 2:32pm
posted by Press Release in Tractor Safety, 4-H, agriculture, news.

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Press release:

The Genesee County 4-H Program is now accepting registrations for its 2023 4-H Tractor Safety Program.  The program is open to youth age 14 and over and covers farm safety, tractor safety, tractor operation and other related topics. 

The National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program is a certification program that allows youth ages 14 and 15 to be certified to legally operate farm equipment for hire.  After completing the training course, youth will need to pass a written knowledge test and driving test to receive the certification.

The program is scheduled to run Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon, from January through April at farm machinery dealerships throughout Genesee County.  The fee for the program is $25, and youth must also be currently enrolled 4-H members.  Registrations are due January 28, 2023.  To register for the program or receive more information, please contact the Genesee County 4-H Office at [email protected] or (585) 343-3040 ext. 101.  Registration forms are also available online at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/4htractorsafety

Photo: File photo from 2016 by Howard Owens

November 23, 2022 - 1:39pm
posted by Press Release in Celebrate Ag Dinner, agriculture, chamber of commerce, news.

Press release:

Plans are already underway for the 19th Annual Celebrate Agriculture Dinner, which will take place Saturday, March 25, 2023, at 6 pm at the Alexander Fire Hall. This annual event is a celebration of Genesee County’s #1 Industry, Agriculture! The highlight of the night is a delicious meal using locally produced foods prepared by the Culinary Arts Students from the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center. Led by Chef Tracy Burgio and Denise Kaus, Culinary Arts teacher aide, this will be the second year of this collaboration between the Chamber’s Agricultural Committee and the Genesee Valley BOCES Culinary Arts Program. The dinner is open to the public.

Tickets go on sale December 5th at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, 8276 Park Road, Batavia. Tickets are $30 each or a table of 10 can be purchased for $275. Sponsorships are also available, which help support agriculture educational events in Genesee County. Only 400 tickets will be sold. For more information or to download the registrations flyer, visit the Chamber’s Website www.geneseeny.com.

The Celebrate Ag Dinner is coordinated by the following partners: Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District and Genesee County Farm Bureau.

Sponsors of the 2022 celebration included: Alleghany Farm Services, Arctic Refrigeration, Baskin Livestock, Inc., Carolina Eastern Crocker, CPL, New York State Senator Edward Rath, Farm Credit East, Farm Family Insurance, Fieldstone Private Wealth, Five Star Bank, Freed Maxick CPA, Growmark-FS, L&M Specialty Fabrications, LLC, Lamb Farms, Lawley, My-T Acres, National Grid, OXBO International, Perry Veterinary Clinic, Scott Adams Trucking, Tompkins Community Bank, Torrey Farms, Western New York Energy, LLC, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. William Kent, Inc. and Windy Acres Farm.

Farms and businesses that donated locally grown food for the 2022 dinner included: Angry Bees Apiary, Dorman Farms, Fenton’s Produce, SJ Starowitz Farms, Torrey Farms, Upstate Farms, Harrington Produce, Farm Fresh First Inc. Star of the West, Jeremy Neal Poverty Hill Farms.

For ticket information or questions, contact the Kelly B. at The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, at (585) 343-7440 or [email protected]

October 28, 2022 - 3:55pm
posted by Press Release in FFA, Pavilion, schools, education, news, agriculture.

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Press release:

Evan Sidhu and Evelyn Northrup of Pavilion ranked seventh in the nation among Future Farmers of America for their agricultural science research project in the field of natural resources and environmental science.

The two students spent countless hours researching the effects of roadway pollution shown through the dissolved solids in snow.

Evan and Evelyn designed, organized, and executed their research project last winter. They placed first at the New York State FFA Convention in May 2022 and earned a spot in the Top 10 in the nation.

This fall the team competed in an intense interview regarding their research and conclusions. This earned them the seventh spot in the nation. 

"This is a great honor for the Pavilion FFA and Pavilion School Community," said teacher Kylie DeBerardinis

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October 25, 2022 - 3:43pm
posted by Press Release in Business, agriculture, Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Press release:

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s (CCE) Northwest NY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team (NWNY Team) is hosting “Hands-On Feeder School Training” for area dairy producers and employees who feed cows with a total mixed ration. Feed costs, which include the cost to produce home-grown feeds and the cost of purchased feed, are the largest expense on a dairy farm. Carrying out an accurate and consistent mix of feed is critical to achieving high production and healthy cows.  This training will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will be offered at two different locations. November 10 at Old Acres Farm in Perry, NY and on November 11 at Bonna Terra Farm in West Bloomfield, NY. Register online at: https://nwnyteam.cce.cornell.edu/events.php or call Brandie Waite at 585-343-3040 ext. 138.

The program features experts in the field of dairy nutrition and will include several hands-on learning stations. Topics will include how to conduct a TMR audit, mixer wagon troubleshooting, feeder safety and bunker silo management. The training will be offered in English and Spanish at each site.

Registration is required by November 7, 2022. Cost is $50 per person and includes lunch and all materials. Register at the link above.  Contact Margaret Quaassdorff for more information by email at [email protected] or call 585-405-2567.

October 1, 2022 - 12:08am
posted by Press Release in farm labor, agriculture, Business.

Press release:

New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) Commissioner Roberta Reardon today issued an order accepting the recommendation of the Farm Laborers Wage Board to lower the current 60-hour threshold for overtime pay to 40 hours per week by January 1, 2032, allowing 10 years to phase in the new threshold. The Board included its recommendation in a report that the Board voted to advance to the Commissioner during its final meeting on September 6, 2022, following a two-year process and 14 public meetings and hearings. Following a rulemaking process to enact the Commissioner's Order, farm work in excess of 40 hours per week would be required to be compensated at overtime rates, as it is in other occupations.

“I thank the Farm Laborers Wage Board and all New Yorkers who provided insight and input during this inclusive process,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “I come from a farm community myself, so I know how important the agricultural sector is to the New York State economy. Based on the findings, I feel the Farm Laborers Wage Board’s recommendations are the best path forward to ensure equity for farm workers and success for agricultural businesses.”

Beginning in 2020, the Board held public hearings to gather testimony from farm owners, workers, advocacy groups, and academic researchers. Recordings of these hearings and additional materials are available on the NYSDOL’s Farm Laborers Wage Board webpage. The report released on September 6 documents and summarizes the Board’s process and its findings. The Board was convened pursuant to the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act passed by the New York State Legislature and signed by the Governor in 2019.

The Board’s report recommended that the reduction in overtime hours take place by reducing the overtime work limit by 4 hours every other year beginning in 2024 until reaching 40 hours in 2032, giving agriculture businesses proper time to adjust.

During the course of the Board's deliberations in 2022, the Governor and Legislature enacted three new tax credits to assist farm employers in transitioning to a lower overtime standard.  

  • The Investment Tax Credit was increased from 4 percent to 20 percent for farm businesses, providing an encouragement for potential automation of farm production.
  • The Farm Workforce Retention Tax Credit was increased to $1,200 per employee to provide near-term relief to farmers.
  • Most importantly, a new refundable overtime tax credit was established for overtime hours paid by farm employers at the level established by the Board and confirmed by the Commissioner up to 60 hours.

The Board noted that these actions by the Governor and Legislature were supportive of food production and provided a means for farms to transition to a lower overtime standard.

NYSDOL will now be undergoing a rule-making process which will include a 60-day public comment period.  Further details about the rulemaking process will be posted on the NYSDOL’s Farm Laborers Wage Board webpage.

More information on the Farm Laborers Wage Board process and next steps can be found on NYSDOL’s Farm Laborers Wage Board webpage.

September 29, 2022 - 6:00pm

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Elba Central School’s Future Farmers of America cleaned house at the New York State Fair, picking up several awards for the 2022 Premier National Junior Dairy Show and All-American Dairy Show.

The students and their awards are:

Senior showmanship

  • Maggie Winspear - 12th place and in the finals drive
  • Amelia Brewer - participant in the semi-finals

Intermediate showmanship

  • Addison Keberle - participant in the semi-finals
  • Bing Zuber - participant

Junior showmanship

  • Tate Zuber - participant

All-American Junior Show

  • Bing Zuber - 16th with his Brown Swiss
  • Tate Zuber - 15th with his Brown Swiss
  • Amelia Brewer - 10th with her Ayrshire
  • Amelia Brewer - 35th her Holstein
  • Addison Keberle - 3rd with her Holstein heifer
  • Maggie Winspear - 5th with her Jersey heifer
  • Maggie Winspear - 3rd place with her Holstein heifer
  • Maggie Winspear - 1st place aged cow, senior champion, grand champion

Photo submitted by Elba Central School.

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Photo by Debra Reilly

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Photo by Laura Luft

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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.

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Photos by Kristin Smith.  For more, click here.

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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.

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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."

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