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May 7, 2019 - 1:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in chamber of commerce, business.

There will be a speed networking (or speed business meeting) sponsored by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning, May 15, at the Arc of Genesee Orleans Community Center in Batavia. Time is 8 to 9:30 a.m.

It's a meeting format designed to accelerate business contacts. It involves participants gathering together to exchange information. Participants greet each other in a series of brief exchanges during a set period of time.

Fill your tank and come ready to network! Coffee and tea and other light snacks will be provided.

Arc of Genesee Orleans Community Center is located at 38 Woodrow Drive.

May 3, 2019 - 12:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCEDC, New, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) voted Thursday to approve reassigning the terms of previously approved PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreements for Upstate Niagara Cooperative.

The company recently announced the purchase of the former Alpina Foods manufacturing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Under the PILOT agreements, local taxing jurisdictions will receive $378,010 in revenues over the life of the PILOT. Upstate Niagara Cooperative plans to invest $22 million in the facility to meet the company’s operational needs.

“Genesee County has benefited greatly from the repeated investments by food and beverage companies into dairy production facilities,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park provides excellent opportunities for the Upstate Niagara Cooperative and businesses in the dairy and food industries to succeed.”

The GCEDC Board also approved a loan from the Growing the Agricultural Industry Now! (GAIN) fund for New York Craft Malt. The $82,000 GAIN loan is part of a $206,968 investment for the purchase of new equipment and building improvements at the company’s facility at 8164 Bank Street Road in the Town of Batavia. The project will create two new jobs.

“NY Craft Malt’s project builds on our successful GAIN Loan Fund program, which supports the growth of agricultural products and businesses in Genesee County,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde. “Low-interest GAIN loans have enabled producers to invest over $1 million into dairy, maple and malting operations.”

The NY Craft Malt is the fifth project in Genesee County to receive a GAIN loan. Previous recipients include Cottonwood Farms in Pavilion, Sandvoss Farms in East Bethany, and Junior’s Maple in Batavia.

May 2, 2019 - 2:57pm

BATAVIA – Tompkins Financial Corporation has announced the acquisition of Cali Agency Inc. by Tompkins Insurance Agencies Inc., an affiliate of the financial corporation. The acquisition was effective May 1.

“We are happy to continue to grow our business in Warsaw and serve more of our neighbors there through this acquisition,” said David S. Boyce, president and CEO of Tompkins Insurance. “Our roots run deep in Warsaw; we’ve been proudly serving families and businesses there since 1935.”

The change is a win-win for customers, Boyce said.

“In addition to continuing to receive personal attention from local insurance professionals who place a high value on customer service, customers will have 'one stop shopping' access to the comprehensive array of financial solutions offered by our affiliation with Tompkins Bank of Castile and Tompkins Financial Advisors,” Boyce said.

According to Boyce, the Cali Agency location will close and customers will be served from the Tompkins Insurance Warsaw location at 2367 State Route 19 North beginning on May 6.

In the very near future, clients of Cali Agency may also receive service at any of the convenient locations nearby, including offices at 25 State St. in Nunda; 102 N. Center St. in Perry, 14 Market St. in Attica; 11 South St. in Geneseo; through any of the agency’s Western New York locations, or through its Customer Care Center at 888-261-2688.

Tompkins Insurance serves 30,000 personal insurance customers and 7,600 commercial insurance customers, making it the third largest commercial insurance firm in the Rochester/Monroe County area and among the 100 largest agencies in the country. 

About Tompkins Insurance Agencies:

Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc., operates 17 offices in Western New York, seven offices in central New York and seven offices in southeast Pennsylvania. A part of Tompkins Financial Corporation, (trading as TMP on the NYSE - MKT), the agency is affiliated with Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins VIST Bank, Tompkins Mahopac Bank and Tompkins Financial Advisors. It is an independent insurance agency offering personal and business insurance and employee benefits services through more than 50 of the nation’s leading insurance carriers. Further information is available at www.tompkinsins.com. Tompkins Insurance ranks No. 2 on the Rochester Business Journal’s 2018 list of top Commercial Insurance firms.*

*Source: Rochester Business Journal, January 2019

May 2, 2019 - 2:43pm

Press releaase:

The Mancuso Business Development Group is happy to be celebrating the 60th anniversary of The Harvester Center with the inaugural Harvester Crawl, today from 5 to 6:30 p.m., May 2. It will feature a poker run!

Food and beverages provided.

The event will begin promptly at 5 o'clock, with entry to the event through Sarah’s Studio, 56 Harvester Ave.

Please RSVP to [email protected]

Featured sites include:

  • Old Bear Recording Studio featuring "Brothers McClurg" Christian Rock Band
  • Rashaad Santiago, SFX Artist. Winner of Season 6 of the Syfy Channel's “FACE OFF" Reality Show
  • John Canale Drum Studio -- offers variety of drum lessons *Sarah’s Studio – craft beer and wine purveyor
  • Smart Design Architecture -- A full-service Architecture & Design Firm
  • Motoclectic -- Magazine printing headquarters for a new Free Motorcycle Magazine
  • Co-work space at Mancuso Management Group
May 1, 2019 - 12:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCEDC, news, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider reassigning the terms of previously approved PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreements for Upstate Niagara Cooperative, which recently finalized the purchase of the former Alpina Foods manufacturing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.  

The PILOT agreements would provide local taxing jurisdictions with $378,010 in revenues over the life of the PILOT. Upstate Niagara Cooperative plans to invest $22 million in the facility to meet the company’s operational needs.

The GCEDC Board also will consider a request by New York Craft Malt for a $82,000 loan from the Growing the Agricultural Industry Now! (GAIN) fund.  The GAIN loan would be part of a $206,968 investment for the purchase of new equipment and building improvements at the company’s facility at 8164 Bank Street Road in the Town of Batavia. The project would create two new jobs.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at its offices at 99 MedTech Drive in Batavia at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 2. The meeting is open to the public.

April 30, 2019 - 5:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, tompkins financial corporation.

Press release:

ITHACA -- Tompkins Financial Corporation (NYSE American: TMP), parent company of Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, and Tompkins Financial Advisors, has reported record year-to-date and second quarter earnings.

The company also has announced that its Board of Directors approved payment of a regular quarterly cash dividend, and has authorized a new stock repurchase program.

Tompkins Financial Corporation announced Monday that its Board of Directors approved payment of a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.50 per share, payable on May 15, 2019, to common shareholders of record on May 7, 2019.

Tompkins Financial Corporation is a financial services company serving the Central, Western, and Hudson Valley regions of New York and the Southeastern region of Pennsylvania.

Headquartered in Ithaca, Tompkins Financial is parent to Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Mahopac Bank, Tompkins VIST Bank, Tompkins Insurance Agencies Inc., and offers wealth management services through Tompkins Financial Advisors. For more information on Tompkins Financial, visit www.tompkinsfinancial.com.

Tompkins Financial Corporation reported net income of $21.0 million for the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 3.0 percent from the $20.4 million reported for the same period in 2018. Diluted earnings per share were $1.37 for the first quarter of 2019, a 3.0 percent increase from $1.33 reported for the first quarter of 2018.

President and CEO Stephen S. Romaine said “We are excited to start 2019 with the best first quarter in our Company's history. Growth in loans and deposits, higher fee income, and improved credit quality all contributed to the improved results in 2019.

"During the quarter we celebrated the grand opening of our office in Amherst. This is our first office in the Buffalo market and provides banking, wealth management and insurance services."

Selected highlights for first quarter:

•      Diluted earnings per share of $1.37 represent the best first quarter in Company history, and are up 3.0 percent over the same period in 2018

•      Total loans of $4.8 billion were up 1.8 percent over the same period in 2018

•      Total deposits of $5.0 billion reflect an increase of 1.2 percent over the same period last year

•      Total nonperforming loans were down 8.9 percent compared to the same period last year, and down 13.6 percentfrom Dec. 31, 2018

•      Tangible book value per share is up 14.4 percent from the first quarter of 2018 and reflects the fifth consecutive quarterly increase

NET INTEREST INCOME

The net interest margin was 3.34 percent for the first quarter of 2019, flat compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, and is down from 3.42 percent for the first quarter of 2018. The net interest margin in the prior year benefited from reduced interest expense associated with accelerated accretion of purchase accounting related to certain acquired deposits.

Net interest income of $51.9 million for the first quarter of 2019 decreased by 1.5 percent compared to the same period in 2018, and was down 2.5 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. The decrease in net interest income over prior year was mainly due to higher cost on interest-bearing deposits, which was largely driven by the higher market interest rate environment.

NONINTEREST INCOME

Noninterest income represented 27.2 percent of total revenues in the first quarter of 2019, compared to 25.3 percent in the same period in 2018, and 23.9 percent for the most recent prior quarter. Noninterest income of $19.4 million was up 8.8 percent compared to the same period last year, and down 2.3 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. Insurance revenue was the largest contributor to noninterest income and reflected an increase of 8.8 percent over the same period last year. Noninterest income also included a one-time incentive payment of $500,000 (pre-tax) related to our card services business in the first quarter of 2019.

NONINTEREST EXPENSE

Noninterest expense was $44.2 million for the first quarter of 2019, which was up 1.1 percent from the same period in 2018, and down 6.4 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. The increase in noninterest expense from the same period last year was mainly related to higher salaries and wages in the first quarter of 2019. The decline from the most recent prior quarter was primarily due to higher cost in the fourth quarter of 2018 for professional fees, primarily related to investments in strengthening the Company’s compliance and information security infrastructure.

INCOME TAX EXPENSE

The Company’s effective tax rate was 21.0 percent in the first quarter of 2019, compared to 22.0 percent for the same period in 2018.

ASSET QUALITY

Asset quality trends remained strong in the first quarter of 2019. Nonperforming assets represented 0.36 percent of total assets at March 31, 2019, down from 0.42 percent at Dec. 31, 2018. Nonperforming asset levels continue to be below the most recent Federal Reserve Board Peer Group Average1of 0.59 percent.

Provision for loan and lease losses was $445,000 for the first quarter of 2019, down from $567,000 reported for the first quarter of 2018, and $1.6 million reported for the fourth quarter of 2018. Net charge-offs for the first quarter of 2019 were $3.5 million compared to $127,000 reported in the first quarter of 2018. The first quarter of 2019 included a write-down on one large credit in the commercial real estate portfolio, the credit did have an impairment reserve at Dec. 31, 2018.

The Company’s allowance for originated loan and lease losses totaled $40.2 million at March 31, 2019, and represented 0.89 percent of total originated loans and leases at March 31, 2019, compared to 0.91 percent at March 31, 2018, and 0.95 percent at Dec. 31, 2018. The total allowance coverage of nonperforming loans and leases increased to 175.50 percent at March 31, 2019, up from 159.34 percent at March 31, 2018, and 163.25 percent at Dec. 31, 2018.

CAPITAL POSITION

Capital ratios remain well above the regulatory well capitalized minimums. The ratio of tangible common equity to tangible assets was 8.24 percent at March 31, 2019, improved from the 7.81 percent reported for the most recent prior quarter ended Dec. 31, 2018, and 7.29 percent at March 31, 2018.

About Tompkins Financial Corporation

Tompkins Financial Corporation is a financial services company serving the Central, Western, and Hudson Valley regions of New York and the Southeastern region of Pennsylvania. Tompkins Financial operates in Western New York as Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, and Tompkins Financial Advisors. Further information is available at www.tompkinsfinancial.com

Tompkins Bank of Castile is a community bank with 16 offices in the five-county Western New York region. Services include complete lines of consumer deposit accounts and loans, business accounts and loans, and leasing. Further information about the bank is available on its website, www.bankofcastile.com.

Tompkins Insurance Agencies Inc., offers personalized service, local decision-making and a broad range of services for consumers and businesses. It is an independent insurance agency offering personal and business insurance and employee benefits services through more than 50 different companies. The firm operates six offices in central New York, 16 offices in Western New York and seven offices in Southeast Pennsylvania. Further information is available at www.tompkinsins.com.

Tompkins Financial Advisors is the wealth management firm of Tompkins Financial Corporation. With more than a century of experience in helping clients to build, protect, and preserve wealth, Tompkins Financial Advisors provides financial planning, investment management, trust services and estate administration. For more information, visit www.tompkinsfinancialadvisors.com.

April 30, 2019 - 2:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake, darien lake theme park, business, Darien.

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Press release:

Six Flags Darien Lake is proud to announce construction work on the park’s newest attraction, Six Flags SkyScreamer, is in its final stages. At a staggering 242-feet high Six Flags SkyScreamer will be the tallest thrill ride in New York State. This high-flying new addition solidifies the park as the “Thrill Capital of New York State."

“As a shining beacon of Six Flags Darien Lake, this monstrous tower will serve as an iconic new landmark, calling out to thrill-seekers everywhere,” said Park President Chris Thorpe. “Soaring high among the clouds with majestic views of the park and surrounding countryside far below, guests will take to new, record-setting heights in New York State this season.”

By night, Six Flags SkyScreamer’s bold, synchronized light package will light up the skies.

  • A soaring 24-stories tall approximately 242-feet high;
  • 32 riders, sitting two across in open-air swings; and
  • Spinning round and round a 98-foot circle at 35 miles per hour. 

Six Flags SkyScreamer is scheduled to open by mid-May. For more information on Six Flags Darien Lake’s 2019 season visit www.darienlake.com

Six Flags 2019 Memberships and Season Passes are now available. Members can enjoy priority park entry, preferred parking and tremendous discounts of up to 50 percent on nearly all food and merchandise purchases all season long.

Gold Plus, Platinum, Diamond, and Diamond Elite levels are available featuring all the perks of a Season Pass plus other benefits including admission to all Six Flags-branded theme and waterparks, skip the line passes, unlimited soft drinks and much more!

For more information, visit the Membership Sales Center or go online to sixflags.com/darienlake and sign up.

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April 30, 2019 - 1:32pm

Press release:

WASHINGTON, April 30 – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today unveiled a groundbreaking report, A Case for Rural Broadband: Insights on Rural Broadband Infrastructure and Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technologies (PDF, 2.5 MB).

The report finds that deployment of both broadband e-Connectivity and Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technology on farms and ranches throughout the United States could result in at least $47 billion in national economic benefits every year.

“Broadband and Next Generation Precision Agriculture are critical components for creating vital access to world-class resources, tools and opportunity for America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters and producers,” Secretary Perdue said.

“Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to doing our part to clear the way for nationwide broadband connectivity that will allow the next generation of precision agriculture technologies to thrive and expand.”

Download A Case for Rural Broadband: Insights on Rural Broadband Infrastructure and Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technologies (PDF, 2.5 MB). To see how Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technologies can work on farm and ranching operations, view the Connected Technologies infographic (PDF, 910 KB).

The report also finds that if broadband infrastructure and digital technologies at scale were available at a level that meets estimated producer demand, the U.S. economy could realize benefits equivalent to nearly 18 percent of total agriculture production. Of that 18 percent, more than one-third is dependent on broadband e-Connectivity, equivalent to at least $18 billion in annual economic benefits that only high-speed, reliable internet can provide.

For many years, USDA and the American agriculture industry have been actively researching the feasibility, usage and potential upside of Next Generation Precision Agriculture technologies. Until now though, the interdependency of these technologies and broadband e-Connectivity has not been evaluated.

The report released today explores this symbiotic relationship and quantifies the potential economic benefit of broadband buildout and the complementary adoption of connected agriculture technologies. Going forward, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be engaged in multiple facets of infrastructure and technology deployment, including financing rural capital investments and supporting producers who are exploring which Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technologies are best suited to improve their operations and serve their customers.

In April 2017, President Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump.

These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. The Report identified Achieving e-Connectivity in Rural America as a cornerstone recommendation. The Administration has been executing this priority call to action through the American Broadband Initiative (ABI) (PDF, 647 KB), which reflects rural broadband build-out as one of President Trump’s directives to the Federal government. A Case for Rural Broadband: Insights on Rural Broadband Infrastructure and Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technologies (PDF, 2.5 MB) opens the next chapter in the USDA’s response to this call to action.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

April 27, 2019 - 3:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, education, news, Le Roy, DECA, le roy high school.

Submitted photo and press release:

The DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC) is the culmination of the DECA year. More than 19,000 high school students, teacher-advisors, business professionals, and alumni gather in Orlando, Fla., April 27-30 for DECA excitement.

One of the students participating is from Le Roy High School -- Ethan Smith, who is a senior.

DECA (formerly known as Distributive Education Clubs of America) members demonstrate their college and career ready knowledge and skills by participating in DECA’s industry-validated Competitive Events Program, aligned with Career Clusters, National Curriculum Standards, and 21st Century Skills in the areas of marketing, finance, hospitality, management and entrepreneurship.

These members have qualified to attend based on superior performance at the district and association levels. More than 1,000 business professionals serve as expert judges to evaluate DECA members’ mastery of these concepts.

Thousands of DECA advisors and educators participate in administering DECA’s Competitive Events Program and Emerging Leader Series while also participating in professional learning activities.

“I am very excited that in our first year of running a DECA Chapter we have a member advancing to ICDC," said Sarah Ford, DECA advisor at Le Roy High School. "I have gained a wealth of knowledge from the regional and state levels; now I am looking forward to gaining even more through advisor workshops and the overall experience at the ICDC.

"I am very proud of all of our DECA members this year and I am looking forward to Ethan’s participation at ICDC! As a chapter we are very appreciative of all the support our organization has received, especially from our administration, Board of Education, and the generous people and organizations who have donated throughout the year.

"With their support, all of these great opportunities became possible for our students here at Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School!”

Ethan said "I am looking forward to representing my school at DECA ICDC. DECA allowed me to explore careers in the business field and help me decide my major and desired career path.”

“We are so proud to be represented at ICDC in our first year of DECA this year by Ethan and Mrs. Ford," said Le Roy Principal Tim McArdle. "This is such a huge opportunity and launching pad for Ethan who has worked very hard to put himself in this situation.

"The exposure at this level will also be very beneficial for Mrs. Ford to bring back vital knowledge to continue to grow our DECA program and send our students to this international competition. This is yet another example of the potential of our Oatkan Knights and when given opportunity how they rise to the occasion.”

Ethan will be competing in the Financial Consulting event at DECA ICDC. He is planning on attending Drexel University in Philadelphia and majoring in Finance.

April 25, 2019 - 3:16pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Last week, the Collegiate Science Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) at Genesee Community College held a free STEM Conference and Exhibitor's Fair bringing together local businesses, faculty, current GCC students and community members in the name of science technology.

In addition to local STEM businesses at the Exhibitor's Fair, GCC faculty and students from the Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Math, and health-related fields hosted informational tables to teach guests about their programs of study and career and learning opportunities in their respective fields.

The educational components and professional realms of STEM industries collaborated for the Exhibitor's Fair to promote the targeted industries, discuss career/employment opportunities and provide insight on the changing trends in the STEM workforce.

Conference attendees were able to attend specialized workshops on topics such as: Computer Aided Drafting and Design: Mapmaking; Scratch Combo - Computer Programming for Gaming Simulation; Making STEM a Reality and more!

"We are excited about the success of our first CSTEP Exhibitor's Fair," said Jamie Schultz, project coordinator for CSTEP at Genesee Community College "and really looking forward to working with our students and partners for next year's event."

With the success of this year's event barely behind the committee, plans are already underway at GCC for the 2020 CSTEP STEM Conference and Exhibitor's Fair.

April 24, 2019 - 1:16pm

Press release:

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting online applications for funding through the new ReConnect Rural Broadband Pilot Program.

These funds will enable the federal government to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service. Insufficient service is defined as connection speeds of less than 10 megabits per second download and 1 megabit per second upload.

ReConnect funding applications can be submitted now at reconnect.usda.gov.

“Reliable, high-speed broadband internet e-Connectivity is critical for economic prosperity and quality of life in the 21st century, from education to health care to agriculture to manufacturing and beyond,” Secretary Perdue said.

“We at USDA are very excited to begin accepting applications for funds from this new and innovative program, which will bring critical infrastructure investments to homes, farms, ranches, schools and health care sites in rural America.”

Congress first appropriated funds for the new Rural e-Connectivity Pilot Program, known as ReConnect, in 2018. The program will be a proof-of-concept, enabling USDA to create and implement innovative options for rural connectivity by providing various financial packages to our customers.

In this first round of funding, USDA is making available at least $600 million in rural broadband projects, through $200 million in grants, $200 million in loan and grant combinations, and $200 million in low-interest loans. The application deadlines for each of these funding packages are as follows:

  • May 31, 2019, for projects seeking federal funds from the grants-only package;
  • June 21, 2019, for projects seeking a combination of federal loans and grants; and
  • July 12, 2019, for projects seeking low-interest federal loans.

This $600 million appropriation from Congress more than doubles federal funding available through USDA’s longstanding broadband programs. Future rounds of funding for ReConnect will be announced later this year.

For additional information about the ReConnect program, see page 5981 of the Feb. 25, 2019, Federal Register (PDF, 230 KB) and page 64315 of the Dec. 14, 2018, Federal Register (PDF, 286 KB).

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump.

These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure, including rural broadband infrastructure, is a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

April 19, 2019 - 3:06pm

Submitted photos and press release:

In celebration of Spring, beautiful bouquets of flowers were hand delivered on Wednesday (April 17) to more than 90 Meals on Wheels recipients. This delightful surprise brought smiles all across Genesee County -- and even some tears of joy.

The Genesee County Office for the Aging and the RSVP Volunteer Placement Program were pleased to partner with the Kohl’s Batavia store for Kohl’s Cares Associates in Action.

Five local employees volunteered their morning to help bring joy to area older adults. Additionally, Kohl’s Corporation will make a monetary donation to the Genesee Senior Foundation to further support programming for residents 60 and older and their caregivers.

The special delivery of posies was made possible through the generosity of a private donation, specifically to benefit the lives of those receiving Meals on Wheels.

The Program offers a nutritionally balanced, hot meal at lunchtime, five days per week. The meals are delivered by dedicated RSVP volunteers and Office for the Aging staff. Each person receives social interaction and a safety check with each delivery as well as ongoing case management, an important piece of the program, which supports their health and independence in the community.

Anyone interested in helping with these efforts by way of a donation is encouraged to do so through the Genesee Senior Foundation, a nonprofit affiliated with the Office for the Aging. Please call Dorian Ely, services coordinator, at (585) 343-1611 to learn more about charitable donations to the Foundation.

The Office for the Aging wishes to thank everyone involved in making this day special, including staff and volunteers from Kohl’s, OFA, RSVP and the ARC Culinary Program.

April 18, 2019 - 4:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in CountryMax, business, news, batavia.

Submitted photos and press release:

CountryMax announces the opening of its new Batavia store located at 4160 Veterans Memorial Drive. The new Batavia location is the 17th store operated by the local, Western New York family-owned business.

The 23,000-square-foot store showcases multiple custom-built, wood-themed interior elements reflecting local history, as well as climate-controlled small pet rooms, a wild bird center, and over 2,000 square feet of premium, healthy foods for dogs, cats, and pets of all shapes and sizes.

In addition to the massive selection of healthy pet options, the new location features a large selection of barn and stable feed and supplies, as well as expansive lawn and garden offerings for all seasons.

Additional features include “Scrub House” self-serve dog wash, a “Ship” Fish Room, special events room, and a custom-built wood lodge filled with homesteading products; beer, wine, cider, and cheese making kits; housewares; gifts and novelty items.

CountryMax is celebrating 35 years in 2019. It has grown by being known as the neighborhood store that can compete with competition both big and small, with prices and selection consumers have come to demand, as well as a customer service experience that goes above and beyond traditional expectations of today’s retail stores, such as their full carry-out service for purchases big and small.

"I think anyone who shopped with us in the past knows we have a huge, unique selection of products that fits the Batavia area," said Brad Payne, director of Sales, “and they are going to be thrilled to see the amount of time, effort, and work that has gone into creating the new CountryMax store experience.”

Grand Opening Celebration

A Grand Opening Celebration is being planned for the weekend of May 18 and 19. Vendors will be on hand, along with experienced CountryMax team members to provide valuable product information, free samples, and demonstrations to benefit customers. FREE CountryMax Tote Bags full of “goodies” will be handed out to the first 250 people both Saturday and Sunday.

Bring the whole family and enjoy face painting, bounce house, games, prizes, food and fun!

Pets are welcome, too! Details will be available at www.countrymax.com.

Batavia new store hours are Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

April 18, 2019 - 2:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Tops Friendly Market, Le Roy.

Press release:

As part of a $40 million capital improvement program, Tops Friendly Markets is investing back into a number of its stores with several major floor-to-ceiling interior renovations and updated exterior facades, landscaping, and parking lots. These stores will remain open during their respective renovation projects so as not to inconvenience shoppers.

One of the six stores to be renovated during phase one is in Genesee County -- the Le Roy store at 128 W. Main St. When the renovation is complete, there will be a Grand Reopening at the store at 11 a.m. on July 16.

Stores will be remodeled to provide customers with a warm, inviting atmosphere that highlights the fresh departments. Shoppers will find an expansion of Tops’ produce, bakery, and deli/carry out café areas as well as finding a wide selection of natural and organic and gluten-free offerings conveniently integrated throughout the main aisles.

New flooring, energy efficient equipment, cart corrals, shopping carts, as well as a whole new interior décor will give stores a refreshed and vibrant appearance.

“Throughout our stores, shoppers will see expanded refrigerated produce allowing for more variety and convenience, new offerings including an in store cut fruit and vegetable program, and an increase of antibiotic-free meat and seafood selections,” said John Persons, president and chief operating officer. “We’re also looking to bring a new coffee shop and comfortable sit-down area to a few of our locations which is an exciting addition for our shoppers.”

Additionally Tops is aggressively investing in its stores by rolling out new services where customers can shop online for store pick up, without even getting out of their cars, or have their groceries delivered to their homes or businesses in as little as an hour.

“By the end of May 2019 Tops will have 20 stores that will offer grocery pickup service to its customers with expansion into our other major markets on the horizon,” said Persons. “When we create an even more exceptional shopping experience and help make grocery shopping simple, friendly and easy, our shoppers benefit at the end of the day.”

The first phase of renovations are already underway at the Tops locations noted below with Grand Reopening events already earmarked on the calendar.

The other locations to be renovated during phase one are in, respectively: Elmira, Saranac Lake, Cheektowaga, Alden, and on Sheridan Drive in Buffalo.

Additionally Tops is pursuing more stores for renovations for phase two of the program and are currently in the planning and permitting process. These stores will be named at a later date.

###

Tops Markets LLC is headquartered in Williamsville and operates 159 full-service supermarkets with five additional franchise stores and is the largest private, for-profit employer in Western New York.

As a leading full-service grocery retailer in New York, Northern Pennsylvania, and Western Vermont, and with the support of 14,000 associates, at the core of our mission is to help our communities flourish.

We support programs that seek to eradicate hunger and disease; promote the education of our youth; and to ensure we reduce environmental waste and energy consumption while providing our customers with sustainably sourced, high quality products. For more information, visit www.topsmarkets.com

April 18, 2019 - 1:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, trade.

USDA press release:

Washington, D.C., April 18 -- U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel found that China has administered its tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) for wheat, corn, and rice inconsistently with its WTO commitments. Contrary to those commitments, China’s TRQ administration is not transparent, predictable, or fair, and it ultimately inhibits TRQs from filling, denying U.S. farmers access to China’s market for grain.

This panel report is the second significant victory for U.S. agriculture this year, and, together with the victory against China’s excessive domestic support for grains, will help American farmers compete on a more level playing field. 

“This second important victory for the United States further demonstrates that President Trump will take all steps necessary to enforce trade rules and to ensure free and fair trade for U.S. farmers. The Administration will continue to press China to promptly come into compliance with its WTO obligations,” said Ambassador Lighthizer.

China’s grain TRQs have annually underfilled.  USDA estimates that if China’s TRQs had been fully used, it would have imported as much as $3.5 billion worth of corn, wheat and rice in 2015 alone. 

“Making sure our trading partners play by the rules is vital to providing our farmers the opportunity to export high-quality, American-grown products to the world,” said Secretary Perdue. “Today’s announcement is another victory for American farmers and fairness in the global trade system. We will use every tool available to gain meaningful market access opportunities for U.S. grains and other agricultural products.”

Background:

Upon accession to the WTO, China made commitments specific to its administration of TRQs, including the commitment to administer its TRQs in a transparent, predictable, and fair basis, using clearly specified administrative procedures and requirements that do not inhibit the filling of each TRQ. In August 2017, the United States requested that the WTO establish a dispute settlement panel to consider whether China administers its TRQs for long-grain rice, short- and medium-grain rice, wheat, and corn in a manner inconsistent with its WTO commitments. 

Today’s panel report agrees with the United States that China administers its TRQs in a manner inconsistent with its Accession Protocol obligations, through its eligibility criteria, allocation and reallocation procedures, public comment process, and processing restrictions. In addition, China allocates a significant portion of each TRQ to a designated state-trading enterprise (STE) and does not subject the STE to the same rules applied to non-state trading enterprises applying for and importing grains under the TRQs. Each finding individually established that China’s TRQ measures are inconsistent with its obligations. 

Compliance with WTO rules will lead to market-oriented TRQ administration and improved access for U.S. and other exporters, overall creating a more level playing field.

April 17, 2019 - 6:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, news.

(Washington, D.C., April 17) -- U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that the government of Tunisia and the United States have finalized U.S. export certificates to allow imports of U.S. beef, poultry, and egg products into Tunisia.  This announcement follows meetings between U.S. and Tunisian officials on the safety and wholesomeness of U.S. beef, poultry, and egg products.

“President Trump continues to prioritize the opening of new markets for U.S. agricultural products, and we welcome Tunisia’s agreement to begin imports of U.S. beef, poultry, and egg products,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “New access to the Tunisian market is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports of U.S. agricultural products.”

“I'm convinced that when the Tunisians get a taste of U.S. beef, poultry, and eggs, they're going to want more. These products coming into Tunisia are safe, wholesome, and very delicious,” said Secretary Perdue. “At the direction of President Trump, USDA remains committed to opening up new markets across the globe. While we continue to supply Tunisia’s domestic animal proteins sector with quality U.S. grains and oilseeds, I have no doubt that U.S. beef, poultry, and eggs will only help increase competitiveness and consumer choice within Tunisia.”

In 2018, U.S. exports of agricultural products to Tunisia exceeded $264 million. Over 90 percent of exports were corn, soybeans, or corn and soy products.  Initial estimates are that Tunisia would import annually $5-10 million of beef, poultry, and egg products from the United States, with additional growth over time.

More details on requirements for exporting to Tunisia are available from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Export Library.

April 17, 2019 - 4:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, news, business, batavia, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Press release:

Upstate Niagara Cooperative announced today that they have completed their acquisition of a yogurt plant located at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia.

The Western New York-based dairy cooperative had signed a purchase agreement on Feb. 28th to buy the facility from Climb Your Mountain Inc. in a transaction facilitated by Harry Davis & Company.

“We’re very excited to have finalized our purchase of this manufacturing plant in Batavia,” said Larry Webster, CEO of Upstate Niagara Cooperative. “As a dairy cooperative owned by farm families throughout the region, this acquisition is located central to our member milk supply. 

"This production-ready facility is only a few years old and represents an investment by our member-owners towards continued and long-term growth for our cooperative. We look forward to adding manufacturing jobs within the Genesee County community while offering additional products and manufacturing capabilities to our customers.”

Exact plans regarding when the plant will reopen and what products will be manufactured at the facility have yet to be announced.

The Upstate Niagara Cooperative is continuing to work with the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) on this project. In the last decade, dairy products manufacturing companies have invested more than $500 million into facilities in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and Genesee County has more than 1,500 acres of shovel-ready sites to accommodate additional growth in the dairy, food and beverage industry.

“The Genesee County Economic Development Center is pleased that the Upstate Niagara Cooperative is strengthening their investment into producing excellent products and great careers at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC.

“With our tradition of agriculture and strong farm families, as well as our infrastructure assets, shovel-ready sites, and workforce talent, Genesee County is truly a dairy, food and beverage powerhouse.”

The Upstate Niagara Cooperative and its members were recognized earlier this year by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce as their 2019 Agricultural Organization of the Year.

April 12, 2019 - 2:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, 2018 Farm Bill.

Press release:

(Washington, D.C., April 12, 2019)— U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the implementation status of the 2018 Farm Bill. President Trump signed this Farm Bill into law on Dec. 20th, 2018 and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) promptly began implementation of key programs.

USDA held several listening sessions with stakeholders and the public, specific to each agency’s respective mission areas.

“At USDA we are implementing the 2018 Farm Bill as quickly as possible. We know the programs that are renewed and updated in this farm bill are critical to farmers, ranchers, and producers as they plan for the future,” said Secretary Perdue. “Our mission areas have all held several public listening sessions, both formally and informally, to receive stakeholder input.

"Our goal is to have programs that function best for the people that we serve. We have made progress in new Farm Bill provisions, and look to implement programs that are customer service focused and economically efficient. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are diligently working on behalf of all of USDA’s customers.”

Implementation Progress: 

TITLE I – Commodity Programs

  • Dairy Forward Pricing Program: On March 1, 2019, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a final rule reauthorizing the Dairy Forward Pricing Program in the Federal Register.
  • Class I Skim Milk Price: On March 11, 2019, AMS published a final rule implementing the Class I Skim Milk Price provision in the Federal Register.
  • Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy): On March 22, 2019, Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that dairy producers who elected to participate in the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program in 2018 can now retroactively participate in the MPP-Dairy for 2018.
  • Dairy Margin Coverage Program: On March 28, 2019, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) revised monthly price survey reports to include prices for high-quality alfalfa hay in the top five milk producing states to be utilized in the new Dairy Margin Coverage feed calculation.
  • FSA will begin offering reimbursements to eligible producers for MPP-Dairy premiums paid between 2014-2017 by May 1.
  • The Office of the Chief Economist has entered into an agreement with the University of Wisconsin to develop a Dairy Margin Coverage decision tool that will be available to producers by May 1.
  • FSA will open sign-up for the new Dairy Margin Coverage Program beginning June 17, providing coverage retroactive to January 1, 2019, with applicable payments following soon after enrollment.
  • Emergency Conservation Program (ECP): On April 4, 2019, FSA announced several changes to ECP as provided by the 2018 Farm Bill, including increasing the payment limit from $200,000 per person or legal entity per natural event to $500,000.
  • On April 4, 2019, FSA announced that socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers or ranchers are now eligible for up to 90 percent ECP cost share of their total allowable cost.
  • Noninsurance Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP): On April 8, 2019, FSA announced that producers now have a one-time opportunity until May 24, 2019, to obtain buy-up coverage for 2019 or 2020 eligible crops for which the NAP application closing date has passed. In addition, qualified military veteran farmers and ranchers are now eligible for a service fee waiver and premium reduction.
  • Marketing Assistance Loans (MAL): On April 10, 2019, FSA announced the 2019 Marketing Assistance Loan rates for wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, rice and pulse crops. Relative to 2018-crop MAL levels, the 2018 Farm Bill increased the national loan rates for most of these commodities for each of the 2019-2023 crops.
  • Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Programs: FSA will open ARC/PLC elections for the 2019 and 2020 crop years beginning in September 2019.

TITLE II – Conservation

  • Conservation Innovation Grants: On March 26, 2019, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) state offices began publishing notices of funding availability for the Conservation Innovation Grants state competitions.
  • Agricultural Conservation Easement Program: On March 27, USDA published an announcement regarding the availability of $450 million for wetland and agricultural land easements that will help private landowners, tribes, land trusts and other groups wanting to restore and protect critical wetlands and protect agricultural lands and grasslands.
  • Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP): On April 5, 2019, NRCS announced the next deadline for CSP applications to be raked and considered for funding this year is May 10, 2019. It includes higher payments for enhancements that include cover crops, resource conserving crop rotations, and advanced grazing.
  • Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP): On April 9, 2019, NRCS determined that RCPP projects with agreements entered into prior to September 30, 2018, may continue to enter into new RCPP-CSP contracts with eligible producers, which will be administered under the new CSP authority.
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program: This program operates through a continuous signup process. Applications may be submitted throughout the year. At the state level, NRCS has periodic funding cutoff periods when applications are evaluated for selection.

TITLE III – Trade

  • Agricultural Trade Promotion and Facilitation Funding: On February 7, 2019, the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) allocated more than $204 million in Market Access Program and Foreign Market and Development Program.
  • Food for Progress: On March 26, 2019, FAS announced $155 million funding opportunity for the Food for Progress program.
  • McGovern-Dole School Feeding Program: On March 26, 2019, FAS announced $191 million in a funding opportunity for the McGovern-Dole School Feeding Program.
  • Local and Regional Food Aid Procurement: On March 26, 2019, FAS announced up to $15 million funding opportunity for Local and Regional Food Aid Procurement.
  • Cochran Fellowship Program 2019: On March 26, 2019, FAS announced the availability of $1.8 million for the Cochran Fellowship Program.

TITLE IV – Nutrition Programs

  • Simplified Homeless Housing Costs: On February 8, 2019, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) issued an informational memorandum on Simplified Homeless Housing Costs.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training: On March 6, 2019, FNS issued an information memorandum on the Employment and Training provisions, including those that are self-executing.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): On March 7, 2019, FNS issued an information memorandum for the self-enacting provisions of the SNAP Provisions of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.
  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP): On March 8, 2019, FNS issued the information memorandum for CSFP and the exception for temporary monthly certification periods.
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR): On February 14, 2019, FNS held an in-person consultation with tribal leaders to discuss a variety of topics regarding FDPIR, including Farm Bill provisions. On April 5, 2019, FNS issued an informational memorandum to announce the availability of FDPIR administrative funding for two-years at the State/Indian Tribal Organization level. 

TITLE V – Credit

  • Modified Micro Loan Limits: On March 7, 2019, FSA implemented a change to allow agricultural producers to receive both a $50,000 Direct Operating Microloan and a $50,000 Direct Farm Ownership Microloan. Previously, agricultural producers were limited to a combined total of $50,000.
  • Increase in Percent of Guarantee for Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers: On March 7, 2019, FSA increased the percent for new guaranteed loans to any beginning or socially disadvantaged agricultural producer to 95 percent.
  • Increased Loan Limits: On April 11, 2019, FSA announced that eligible agricultural producers have access to higher loan amounts, to better provide them with the credit needed during this period of lower market prices and numerous natural disasters.

TITLE VI – Rural Development

  • Cushion of Credit Program: On December 21, 2018, Rural Development informed all the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) borrowers of the new provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill affecting the borrower’s participation in the Cushion of Credit Program.
  • American Broadband Initiative: On February 13, 2019, Rural Development released the American Broadband Initiatives Milestones report, describing how the Federal government is partnering with the private sector expand rural broadband.
  • Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Program: On April 1, 2019, the Rural Housing Service began soliciting applications for the Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Programs.
  • Council on Rural Community Innovation and Economic Development: The Council is the successor to the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. The Council held its first call on April 8, 2019, to coordinate rural community innovation and economic development across the federal government.
  • Rural Water and Waste Water Technical Assistance and Training Programs: On April 1, 2019, the Rural Utilities Service published a Notice of Solicitation of Applications in the Federal Register.

TITLE VII – Research and Related Matters

  • Matching Fund Requirements: On March 20, 2019, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) published the updated matching requirements chart on its website, sent an update to all stakeholders via the weekly NIFA Stakeholder Update. Relevant future RFA’s will include updated matching requirements.
  • Indirect Cost Limitations: On March 20, 2019, NIFA published the updated indirect cost rate requirements by program chart on its website. Relevant future Requests for Applications (RFA’s) will include updated indirect cost rate requirements.
  • The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP): On April 5, 2019, NIFA published the Request for Applications (RFA) for BFRDP.
  • Barley Estimation Program: On March 7, 2019, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) established that New York will be added to the Barley estimation program.
  • Nominations of Members: On March 28, 2019, the Request for Nominations of Members for the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board, Specialty Crop Committee, Citrus Disease Subcommittee, and National Genetic Resources Advisory Council published in the Federal Register.

TITLE VIII – Forestry

  • Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 Amendments – On March 14, 2019, the Forest Service announced the changes and the extension to 2023 of these provisions.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: On March 22, 2019, Under Secretary Hubbard and Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen held a public listening session to receive stakeholder input on 2018 Farm Bill provisions regarding national forests and grassland.

TITLE IX – Energy

  • Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program: On April 1, 2019, the Rural Business and Cooperative Service posted an Administrative Notice to the Rural Development web site implementing the Farm Bill provisions for Section 9003 administratively. The Administrative Notice applies to all existing active 9003 program applications.

TITLE X – Horticulture

  • Hemp: On February 27, 2019, AMS issued a Notice to Trade regarding the hemp provisions in the Farm Bill and on March 13, 2019, AMS held a listening session on the hemp provisions in the Farm Bill.  The 2018 Farm Bill extended the 2014 Farm Bill provisions for hemp production by 12 months to allow USDA to complete the required rulemaking process, and USDA intends to issue regulations in the Fall of 2019 in order to accommodate the 2020 planting season.  For the 2019 planting season, the 2018 Farm Bill provides that States, Tribes, and institutions of higher education can continue operating under authorities of the 2014 Farm Bill.
  • Specialty Crop Block Grant Program: On March 7, 2019, AMS announced the availability of approximately $70 million for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
  • National Organic Standards Board (NOSB): In March 2019, AMS issued a Call for Nominations for the NOSB that included 2018 Farm Bill provisions that will lead to a more diverse candidate pool for the NOSB.

TITLE XI – Crop Insurance

  • Specialty Crop Insurance: On March 6, 2019, Risk Management Agency (RMA) created a dedicated Specialty Crop website to fulfill the requirements of the 2018 Farm Bill. The website lists specialty crop liaisons by Regional Office and provides a link to the 2019 Specialty Crop Report as well as a link to archived prior reports.
  • Beginning Farmer and Rancher: On March 12, 2019, RMA implemented the new definition for the Whole Farm Revenue Protection program that extends the time for new beginning farmer and rancher eligibility from 5 years to 10 years for the sales closing dates after the passage of the farm bill. 
  • Multi-County Enterprise Units: Starting with sales closing dates after the passage of the farm bill RMA is offering a new endorsement for farmers. Producers of corn, grain sorghum, soybeans, cotton, canola, peanuts, rice, barley, wheat, and sunflowers now have the option to combine acreage in one county that does not qualify for enterprise units with crop acreage in another county that does qualify. The option offers flexibility and a low-cost option for producers.
  • Yield Cups: RMA has fully implemented yield cups that provide producers with an election to limit the decrease in actual production history (APH) to not more than 10% of the prior crop year’s APH. This prevents abnormally low yielding years from dramatically impacting a producers APH and stabilizes insurance guarantees.

TITLE XII – Miscellaneous

  • Agriculture and Food Defense: The Office of Homeland Security has commenced a series of events to educate the Intelligence Community on threats to agriculture and the collection of information on emerging threats.
  • United States Drought Monitor (USDM): The Office of the Chief Economist has initiated a thorough review of the data being used in the USDM, the geographic coverage of data collection sites, and other climatological data that will improve the USDM.
  • Agriculture Wool Apparel Manufactures Trust Fund: The Wool Apparel Manufacturing Trust Fund application period closed March 1, 2019.  FAS reviewed 38 affidavits and is on course to issue payments by the statutory deadline.
  • Pima Agriculture Cotton Trust Fund: The Pima Agriculture Cotton Trust Fund application period closed March 15, 2019.  FAS reviewed 8 affidavits and is on course to issue payments by the statutory deadline.
  • U.S. Grain Standards: On March 5, 2019, AMS posted a Notice to Trade announcing the restoration of certain exceptions under the U.S. Grain Standards Act.
  • Acer Access and Development Program: On March 12, 2019, AMS announced the availability of funding under the Acer Access and Development Program.
  • Peanut Standards Board: On March 19, 2019, AMS published in the Federal Register a notice requesting nominations to the Peanut Standards Board. The notice adds South Carolina as a part of the Virginia/Carolina peanut producing region for purposes of appointments to the board.
April 11, 2019 - 6:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, 2017 Census of Agriculture.

Press release:

(WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture, spanning some 6.4 million new points of information about America’s farms and ranches and those who operate them, including new data about on-farm decision making, down to the county level.

Results are available in many online formats including video presentations, a new data query interface, maps, and traditional data tables.

***All information is available here.***

To address questions about the 2017 Census of Agriculture data, NASS will host a live Twitter chat (@usda_nass)

Ask the Census Experts #StatChat on Friday, April 12 at 1 p.m. ET.

Information collected by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) directly from farmers and ranchers tells us both farm numbers and land in farms have ongoing small percentage declines since the last Census in 2012. At the same time, there continue to be more of the largest and smallest operations and fewer middle-sized farms. The average age of all farmers and ranchers continues to rise.

“We are pleased to deliver Census of Agriculture results to America, and especially to the farmers and ranchers who participated,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We can all use the Census to tell the tremendous story of U.S. agriculture and how it is changing.

"As a data-driven organization, we are eager to dig in to this wealth of information to advance our goals of supporting farmers and ranchers, facilitating rural prosperity, and strengthening stewardship of private lands efficiently, effectively, and with integrity.”

“The Census shows new data that can be compared to previous censuses for insights into agricultural trends and changes down to the county level,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer.

“While the current picture shows a consistent trend in the structure of U.S. agriculture, there are some ups and downs since the last Census as well as first-time data on topics such as military status and on-farm decision making.

"To make it easier to delve into the data, we are pleased to make the results available in many online formats including a new data query interface, as well as traditional data tables.”

Census data provide valuable insights into demographics, economics, land and activities on U.S. farms and ranches. Some key highlights include:

  • There are 2.04 million farms and ranches (down 3.2 percent from 2012) with an average size of 441 acres (up 1.6 percent) on 900 million acres (down 1.6 percent).
  • The 273,000 smallest (1-9 acres) farms make up 0.1 percent of all farmland while the 85,127 largest (2,000 or more acres) farms make up 58 percent of farmland.
  • Just 105,453 farms produced 75 percent of all sales in 2017, down from 119,908 in 2012.
  • Of the 2.04 million farms and ranches, the 76,865 making $1 million or more in 2017 represent just over 2/3 of the $389 billion in total value of production while the 1.56 million operations making under $50,000 represent just 2.9 percent.
  • Farm expenses are $326 billion with feed, livestock purchased, hired labor, fertilizer and cash rents topping the list of farm expenses in 2017.
  • Average farm income is $43,053. A total of 43.6 percent of farms had positive net cash farm income in 2017.
  • Ninety-six percent of farms and ranches are family owned.
  • Farms with Internet access rose from 69.6 percent in 2012 to 75.4 percent in 2017.
  • A total of 133,176 farms and ranches use renewable energy producing systems, more than double the 57,299 in 2012.
  • In 2017, 130,056 farms sold directly to consumers, with sales of $2.8 billion.
  • Sales to retail outlets, institutions and food hubs by 28,958 operations are valued at $9 billion.

For the 2017 Census of Agriculture, NASS changed the demographic questions to better represent the roles of all persons involved in on-farm decision making. As a result, in 2017 the number of producers is up by nearly 7 percent to 3.4 million, because more farms reported multiple producers. Most of these newly identified producers are female. While the number of male producers fell 1.7 percent to 2.17 million from 2012 to 2017, the number of female producers increased by nearly 27 percent to 1.23 million. This change underscores the effectiveness of the questionnaire changes.

Other demographic highlights include:

  • The average age of all producers is 57.5, up 1.2 years from 2012.
  • The number of producers who have served in the military is 370,619, or 11 percent of all. They are older than the average at 67.9.
  • There are 321,261 young producers age 35 or less on 240,141 farms. Farms with young producers making decisions tend to be larger than average in both acres and sales.
  • More than any other age group, young producers make decisions regarding livestock, though the difference is slight.
  • One in four producers is a beginning farmer with 10 or fewer years of experience and an average age of 46.3. Farms with new or beginning producers making decisions tend to be smaller than average in both acres and value of production.
  • Thirty-six percent of all producers are female and 56 percent of all farms have at least one female decision maker. Farms with female producers making decisions tend to be smaller than average in both acres and value of production.
  • Female producers are most heavily engaged in the day-to-day decisions along with record keeping and financial management.

The Census tells the story of American agriculture and is an important part of our history. First conducted in 1840 in conjunction with the decennial Census, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. After 1920, the Census happened every four to five years. By 1982, it was regularly conducted once every five years.

Today, NASS sends questionnaires to nearly 3 million potential U.S. farms and ranches. Nearly 25 percent of those who responded did so online. Conducted since 1997 by USDA NASS – the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture – it remains the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation and is invaluable for planning the future.

April 9, 2019 - 1:45pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and Mercy Flight are teaming up to host “Stop the Bleed,” a workshop to be held April 17 at Mercy Flight’s new headquarters, 8050 Call Parkway, Batavia.

The course includes a formal presentation and hands-on practice of direct pressure application, wound packing, and use of a tourniquet. The course was developed for a nonmedical audience to address the needs of the immediate responder to control life-threatening bleeding until help arrives.

“The unavoidable can happen and we need to be prepared,” said Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. “Learning some life-saving tips from professionals can give us the one up we need. Mercy Flight will be giving us firsthand experience and will also allow us to tour their new facility.”

In April 2013, just a few months after the active shooter disaster at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a committee was formed to create a protocol for a national policy to enhance survivability from active shooter and intentional mass casualty events.

The goal of this committee was to turn bystanders into immediate responders at the scene of wounding before first responders arrived. This step would improve the survivability of victims with severe bleeding. As soon as the area became safe, these immediate responders could act to stop bleeding if they were properly trained in the bleeding-control techniques.

The workshop starts at 8 a.m. and should last approximately one hour. This event is free to all Chamber and Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District members. There is a $10 charge for nonmembers.

To register, contact Kelly Bermingham at the Chamber by phone at 585-343-7440 or by email at [email protected]

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