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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]

April 6, 2019 - 2:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, batavia, walmart.

Submitted photo of two Walmart officials and three officers of the Batavia Police Department.

Press release:

Batavia-area residents can now enjoy the benefits of the newly remodeled Walmart Supercenter at 4133 Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia.

The highly anticipated project was recently completed, and customers are taking advantage of the upgrades, which emphasize convenience and service to meet customers' needs.

“This remodel, along with our everyday low prices, represents our continued investment in Batavia," says Store Manager Roger Couch. "Listening to our customers and incorporating what they want is the meaning of being a community store.

"We were thrilled to provide them with a small celebration of food samplings from our vendors and face painting for kids as a thank you for being loyal customers.”

Along with the grand reopening on Friday, donations totaling $6,470 were made to local organizations. They are: the Batavia Police Department, Project Stork, Elba School, Kaleida Health Foundation, Batavia City School District, John Kennedy School, and UMMC.

April 5, 2019 - 3:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Le Roy, The Greens of Le Roy, senior housing, notify.

This week The Greens of Le Roy senior assisted living facility announced that it has been acquired by St. Ann's Community, a leading provider of senior housing and health services in Rochester with a 134-year history there.

New signage and papwerork will display its new name, St. Ann's Community at The Greens.

Day-to-day operations will continue as they have and Director Kim Pasquale will continue as the day-to-day point of contact person. The St. Ann's finance team will contact residents and their families soon and provide a new W-9 form.

A letter to stakeholders from officials says: "By bringing together The Greens of Le Roy with St. Ann's Community, we benefit from out collective histories, values and missions to provide residents with the best quality of life.

"It quickly became apparent after working together, that our organization becoming one will enhance our abiluty to serve seniors."

The announcement was made by Michael E. McRae, president and CEO of St. Ann's Community, and A. John Bartholomew, president of Bartholomew Healthcare Group.

St. Ann Community is headquartered at 1500 Portland Ave. in Rochester.

April 4, 2019 - 10:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, agriculture, business.

Press release:

More than 150 workers at local dairy plants in Genesee County have completed advanced training programs through a dairy workforce solutions initiative.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) recently was the recipient of a $50,000 grant from National Fuel’s Area Development Program that paved the way for programs led by Cornell University’s Dairy Foods Extension & Harvest New York teams.

Employees from HP Hood, O-AT-KA, and Yancey’s Fancy recently participated in the training, which focused on food safety, dairy science, milk processing technologies, among other topics.

The training sessions are part of a certificate program, which offers continuing education units. Participants received a certificate of achievement from the Dairy Foods Extension program after passing a post-test and completing course evaluations.

“Training over 150 workers is a major achievement, and we were fortunate to have two great partners in National Fuel and Cornell’s Harvest New York program to provide a direct impact to our local workforce,” said Chris Suozzi, vice president of business and workforce development for GCEDC.

“Last year, National Fuel’s Area Development Program awarded $2.5 million in grants to businesses that are locating to or expanding in the Western New York area, so we take pride in partnering with organizations like GCEDC and Harvest New York to further promote local economic growth,” said Cathryn Hilliard, energy consultant for National Fuel.

“Dairy is New York’s top agricultural industry, so with there being a great need for dairy processing in Genesee County, we were thrilled to teach local employees very valuable skills that will ultimately aid in the growth of the industry,” said Anika Zuber, dairy processing specialist for Harvest New York.

Genesee County’s dairy, food and beverage industries increased employment by 29 percent from 2014 to 2018, supporting operations that have since 2010 invested more than $500 million into over 1 million square feet of dairy production facilities at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and Buffalo East Tech Park.

Submitted Video

April 3, 2019 - 3:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, USDA.

Press release:

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched two new features on farmers.gov to help customers manage their farm loans and navigate the application process for H-2A visas.

“Customer service is our top priority at USDA and these new features will help our customers as they manage their farm loans and navigate the H-2A temporary agricultural visa program,” Secretary Perdue said. “In my travels across the country, I have consistently heard people express a desire for greater use of technology in the way we deliver programs at USDA.

"As we adopt new technology, we are introducing simple yet innovative approaches to support our farmers, ranchers, producers, and foresters as they support the nation every day. It’s my goal to make USDA the most effective, most efficient, most customer-focused department in the entire federal government, and farmers.gov is a big step in that direction.”

In 2018, Secretary Perdue unveiled farmers.gov, a dynamic, mobile-friendly public website combined with an authenticated portal where customers will be able to apply for programs, process transactions and manage accounts.

Navigating the H-2A Visa Process

Focused on education and smaller owner-operators, this farmers.gov H-2A Phase I release includes an H-2A Visa Program page and interactive checklist tool, with application requirements, fees, forms, and a timeline built around a farmer’s hiring needs.

You may view the video at this link

The H-2A Visa Program – also known as the temporary agricultural workers program – helps American farmers fill employment gaps by hiring workers from other countries. The U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of State, and state workforce agencies each manage parts of the H-2A Visa Program independently, with separate websites and complex business applications.

Over the next several months, USDA will collaborate further with the U.S. Department of Labor on farmers.gov H-2A Phase II – a streamlined H-2A Visa Program application form, regulations, and digital application process that moves producers seamlessly from farmers.gov website to farmers.gov portal to U.S. Department of Labor’s IT systems.

Managing Farm Loans Online

The self-service website now enables agricultural producers to login to view loan information, history and payments.

Customers can access the “My Financial Information” feature by desktop computer, tablet or phone. They can now view:

  • loan information;
  • interest payments for the current calendar year (including year-to-date interest paid for the past five years);
  • loan advance and payment history;
  • paid-in-full and restructured loans; and
  • account alerts giving borrowers important notifications regarding their loans.

To access their information, producers will need a USDA eAuth account to login into farmers.gov. After obtaining an eAuth account, producers should visit farmers.gov and sign into the site’s authenticated portal via the “Sign In / Sign Up” link at the top right of the website.

Currently, only producers doing business as individuals can view information. Entities, such as an LLC or Trust, or producers doing business on behalf of another customer cannot access the portal at this time, but access is being planned.

Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge are the recommended browsers to access the feature.

About farmers.gov

USDA is building farmers.gov for farmers, by farmers. Future self-service features available through the farmers.gov portal will help producers find the right loan programs for their business and submit loan documents to their service center.

With feedback from customers and field employees who serve those customers, farmers.gov delivers farmer-focused features through an agile, iterative process to deliver the greatest immediate value to America’s agricultural producers – helping farmers and ranchers do right, and feed everyone.

April 3, 2019 - 8:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia's best businesses, thebatavian, news, business.

Today we're excited to debut a new video series exclusive to Genesee County: Batavia's Best Businesses.

We are producing this series in partnership with WBTA AM/FM.

The series offers local businesses an opportunity to promote themselves through a short documentary-style video about their business hosted by Nici Johnson. Our goal is to make short videos about a business that both informs and entertains local viewers and further encourages them to support all of the great locally owned businesses we have in Genesee County.

The videos will be distributed on The Batavian, WBTA, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Twitter. Businesses owners can also download a copy of the video to distribute their own social media channels. Soon, we will also have a website dedicated to Batavia's Best Businesses (bataviasbestbusinesses.com, of course).

Local business owners interested in more information: Call Lorne Way or Jim Ernst at WBTA at (585) 344-1490. 

April 1, 2019 - 1:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Western OTB, business.

Press release:

Today, leaders from Batavia Downs/Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation (WROTB) thanked leaders in Albany for allowing 15 local counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo to receive additional revenue to help hold the line on property taxes, fund first responders and public libraries.

Prior to this change in the tax code, Batavia Downs was losing critically needed revenue because we paid the highest tax rate of any Upstate New York gaming facility. With the 2-percent increase approved in the State Budget, localities will see a significant increase effective immediately.

“The passage of this tax fairness legislation is critical for our continued success,” said Henry F. Wojtaszek, president/CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming WROTB.  “We are proud to have a wonderful partnership with Governor Cuomo and our local elected leaders -- especially Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Tim Kennedy.

"Our representatives in Albany understand the important economic impact Batavia Downs Gaming has in Western New York and we are so thankful to them for their hard work on getting this legislation passed today. Thanks to their efforts, we are looking forward to increasing our financial contributions to our community, which will be seen and felt across Western New York.”

March 29, 2019 - 6:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in tompkins financial corporation, business, news, Milestones.

Press release:

Tompkins Bank of Castile is celebrating its 150th anniversary this spring. Together with our partners at Tompkins Insurance Agencies, and Tompkins Financial Advisors, we plan to acknowledge this important milestone in a number of ways and at several key events throughout the year.

The anniversary celebrations will kick off at the original Tompkins Bank of Castile branch on May 1 and continue at the bank’s annual WNY informational shareholders meeting on May 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford.

A century and a half is certainly a long time, but it’s even more impressive when you consider that fewer than 5 percent of the banks currently operating today in the United States have been around as long as Tompkins Bank of Castile. What’s even more impressive is that Tompkins’ mission and values have remained the same, allowing us to consistently perform at a level ranking among the best in the industry. 

“For years, we’ve taken great pride in supporting the communities where we operate,” says John McKenna, president and CEO of Tompkins Bank of Castile. “We look forward to serving our customers for the next 150 years.”

Tompkins Financial Corporation is committed to creating long-term value for its clients, communities, and shareholders. Based in Batavia, Tompkins Bank of Castile serves the GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties and beyond), Rochester, and recently expanded into Buffalo with the opening of the new Amherst location.

“We believe in the power of the local people working together to help our communities grow and thrive,” McKenna continued.

Since 1869, Tompkins has valued its employees and invested in the communities they serve by volunteering and donating to charities, nonprofits and civic organizations.

The Bank is a subsidiary of Tompkins Financial Corporation, which is also parent company to Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins Mahopac Bank, Tompkins Insurance Agencies and Tompkins Financial Advisors.

Together, Tompkins operates a total of 65 banking offices serving throughout New York and Pennsylvania. The Corporation as a whole takes pride in providing its clients with the highest-quality financial products and exceptional service.

March 29, 2019 - 6:00pm

Press release:

In keeping with its longstanding commitment to the community and marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Financial Corporation, one of the largest employers in the City of Batavia, has pledged $150,000 to support the new joint YMCA and Rochester Regional Health Healthy Living Campus in Genesee County.

The project benefits YMCA members and senior citizens by providing services to thousands of individuals currently residing in Genesee and neighboring counties.

This donation supports a $22.5 million land redevelopment project that includes the current YMCA and United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) Cary Hall on Main Street in Batavia. The initiative will have a substantial impact on Main Street, which is home to the headquarters of Tompkins Bank of Castile and Tompkins Insurance Agencies.

“This project will be transformational for downtown Batavia and benefit thousands of community residents for many years to come,” said John McKenna, president and CEO of Tompkins Bank of Castile.

David Boyce, president and CEO of Tompkins Insurance, added, “We’re excited to play a pivotal role in a project that is going to bring such positive change to the community.”

This community initiative is expected to boost the regional economy by about $60 million in over a decade. Rob Walker, YMCA chief executive officer and Daniel Ireland, UMMC president, said that the Genesee County Economic Development Center anticipates $60,478,540 in benefits to the GLOW region— including jobs at the new campus and during construction.

March 29, 2019 - 9:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, news.

Press release:

Mostert, Manzanero & Scott LLP presented a summary of the audit procedures, undertaken in accordance with the scope of their engagement, and the final audit results to the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) Board at its March 28 meeting.   

The GGLDC Board engaged Mostert, Manzanero & Scott LLP, a certified public accounting firm, to perform an independent audit of the 2018 financial statements. The independent audit was performed to issue: an opinion on the financial statements of the GGLDC for the year ending Dec. 31, 2018; a management letter to the Board of Directors and management; and, a report about internal controls over financial reporting in accordance with Government Auditing Standards. 

Included in the management letter is a statement from Mostert, Manzanero & Scott LLP affirming that no material deficiencies in internal controls were identified during the audit. The firm also affirmed that, in their opinion, the audited financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the GGLDC as of Dec. 31, 2018, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

“I am pleased with the continued positive audit results, and it speaks to the professionalism and transparency of the organization,” said Tom Felton, chairman of the GGLDC. “The GGLDC is actively marketing our industry-specific shovel-ready real estate and continues to see significant interest in our parks.”

Currently, there is $6.7 million of land held for sale and development under the agency's control, including 25 acres at the Buffalo East Technology Park; 130 acres at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park; 14 acres at Med Tech Park; and the Upstate MedTech Centre Building, including an Innovation Zone for entrepreneurial business development.

March 28, 2019 - 5:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, BCSD, business, Top Workplaces Award.

Press release:

The results are in on workplace satisfaction and, for the second year in a row, the Batavia City School District was recognized as one of the best places to work in the Rochester area.

In addition to receiving a Democrat and Chronicle 2019 Top Workplace Award at a celebration event held at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, the District also received an “I Love My Job” award in the large business category for the quantity and quality of the employee responses to a satisfaction survey.

Each year, the Democrat and Chronicle partners with a research and consulting firm to administer an anonymous employee survey on which the awards are based. All employees are invited to respond to questions that cover a variety of workplace factors such as meaningfulness of work, confidence in leadership, availability of training and support, inter-departmental cooperation, evidence of ethics and values, communication, and fair wages and benefits.

For Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey, the results of the anonymous and voluntary survey confirmed what he already believed to be true: “Our administration, faculty and staff are outstanding,” he said. “Together they create a culture that is dedicated to helping each student in our schools achieve his or her potential in every aspect of personal growth.

"In addition, our Board of Education, backed by our community, supports the administration in creating a positive environment for our students and staff to work, learn and grow.”

“This independent survey of all of our employees is an excellent recognition that defines our district as a great place to have a career that makes a difference in our world."

The future, he noted, will hold more of the same.

“We offer very competitive salaries and benefits to our employees, and outstanding professional development opportunities for their continued growth and development," the superintendent said. "BCSD also has tremendous facilities for enabling our employees to positively impact the lives of our students, and our 2020 Vision Capital Project will serve to enhance that.”

March 26, 2019 - 3:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider approving incentives for Custom Vehicle Operators (CVO), which is transferring operations from its existing facility on Ganson Avenue in the City of Batavia to the former PW Minor manufacturing facility at 3 Treadeasy Ave.

CVO is investing $2 million to purchase and make capital improvements at the 80,000-square-foot building. The project will retain 36 jobs.

CVO is the authorized distributor/installer of accessories for General Motors automobile dealer locations in Central and Western New York and Western and Northeast Pennsylvania.

CVO is seeking sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions of approximately $60,000.

March 20, 2019 - 1:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, GCC job fair, employment.

Press release:

Genesee Community College is pleased to announce another exciting annual Spring Job Fair with more than 50 companies expected on Thursday, April 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the College's centrally located William Stuart Forum.

Genesee's Student Success Center continues to solicit businesses from all types of industries to join the popular, two-hour event that introduces potential new employees to employers, and also provides businesses an opportunity to present their trade and services to the local community.

The event is free to employers and attendees. Employers must register; job seekers are not required to register prior to the event but must sign-in upon arrival.

As of March 19, the following employers are scheduled to be in attendance:

Participating employers include:

  • ARC of Genesee Orleans
  • Aveanna Healthcare 
  • Batavia Downs Gaming 
  • Barnes & Noble College 
  • Brookdale Brockport
  • City Year Buffalo
  • Coast Professional Inc.
  • Combined Insurance
  • Darien Lake Amphitheater Legends Hospitality
  • Delaware North
  • Dept. for Corrections & Community Supervision
  • Dept. for Exceptional Children, Monroe 2-Orleans
  • ESL Federal Credit Union
  • Everdry Waterproofing
  • Farm Fresh LLC
  • Genesee ACE Employment
  • Genesee Community College
  • Genesee Community College -- The BEST Center
  • Genesee County Human Resources
  • Heritage Christian Services
  • Hidden Valley Animal Adventure
  • Highland Hospital
  • HomeCare & Hospice & Totale Senior Care
  • Independent Living of the Genesee Region
  • Jewish Senior Life
  • KR Communications
  • Leisure Care East/The Village at Unity/The Village at Mill
  • LiDestri Food, Beverage & Spirits
  • Lifetime Assistance Inc.
  • Lifetime Care
  • Live Nation
  • Living Opportunities of DePaul
  • Manpower
  • Mariner Finance
  • Monroe County Sheriff's Office
  • Monroe Veterinary Associates 
  • New York National Guard
  • NY Air National Guard
  • People's Inc.
  • Pioneer Credit Recovery 
  • Premier Designs Inc. 
  • Real Agent Pro LLC
  • Remedy Staffing
  • Rochester AmeriCorps
  • Rochester Psychiatric Center
  • Rolling Hills Asylum
  • Sherwin Williams
  • Showcase Sound
  • Six Flags Darien Lake
  • Southern Tier Security & Event Management
  • Sutherland Global Services
  • Tahoe Pines Custom Sewing & Design
  • Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES
  • Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP 

For more information, visit: http://www.genesee.edu/career/events/. For a detailed listing of job opportunities by employer, please email a request for the list to [email protected].

March 20, 2019 - 12:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in L.B. Grand, Le Roy, news, business.

lbgrandribbonmarch2019.jpg

Bill Farmer cut the ribbon Tuesday, St. Joseph's Day, for the grand reopening of the L.B. Grand Restaurant, two years after he acquired the business and building at 37 Main St., Le Roy.

In the past two years, Farmer has made a lot of changes inside the building (previously: While Farmer's Creekside Inn prospers, Bill Farmer keeps busy in the Village of Le Roy) and Tuesday he said there is still much work planned for the coming year.

In addition to upgrades inside, Farmer is planning to restore the building's facade (he's already put up a new awning).

After the ribbon cutting, guests enjoyed a traditional St. Joseph's Day's meal. Chef Sean Wolf said based on the response this year to the first St. Joseph's Day meal offered by L.B. Grand, next year the staff will plan on laying out a traditional St. Joseph's Day table.

Top photo: Tom Turnbull, president, Chamber of Commerce, Mary Blevins, with the Chamber, Mayor Greg Rogers, Bill Farmer, Chef Sean Wolf, Ethan Olsowski, L.B. Grand staff, and Chamber Board Member Jeff Cook.

lbgrandribbonmarch2019-2.jpg

Legislator Shelly Stein, Chef Sean Wolf, Bill Farmer, Mayor Greg Rogers.

March 18, 2019 - 3:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, Imagination Station, child care, day care, preschool.

Press release:

Imagination Station Child Care & Preschool is expanding its operation and adding a new location in Batavia. Known as the “Batavia East Center,” the location is scheduled to open mid-May and is located at 5079 Clinton Street Road in Batavia, the former Grandma’s Lovin’ Care building.

The center will have a variety of new features for Imagination Station and upgrades from its current location in Batavia. The building will have cameras in every classroom, a private playground, and doors throughout which lead to the outside, and a brand-new school-age classroom in the lower half of the building, which will be over 1,000 square feet!

Imagination Station is upgrading the building to include painting throughout, all new window treatments, new flooring in needed areas, an improved parking lot, and all new equipment and furniture in the classrooms.

“It’s a beautiful building and we’re excited for children to be occupying it again!" said owner Kelly Kronbeck. "We’re giving the building some love and attention, then we’ll be ready to open in the spring.

"We look forward to being able to create a more intimate environment at each of our Batavia locations since overall they’ll both be smaller in size."

Imagination Station, which is a locally owned and operated child-care provider, currently has a total of five centers, including the newest Batavia addition.

The new and improved center on Clinton Street Road will accommodate children from the ages of 6 weeks to 12 years old and has capacity for 112 students. The center will consist of two infant classrooms, three toddler classrooms, two preschool classrooms, and one school-age classroom.

Imagination Station prides itself in offering an educationally based program that is safe for its students and professionally run for its families. They credit their success to the hands-on approach they take in running their centers, but also by offering a high-quality program at an affordable rate, which is about 20 percent lower than its competitors between Buffalo and Rochester.

Interested families can tour the existing location by setting up an appointment! Enrollment is now available for both locations and is being filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Please call 585-343-0990 or visit the company’s website at www.istationccp.com for more information.

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