Local Matters

Community Sponsors

farm

June 23, 2009 - 1:47am

 

HAWLEY PASSES 15 BILLS FOR WESTERN NEW YORK

 

As the regularly scheduled legislative session drew to a close, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) was pleased to have been able to have over a dozen pieces of his legislation passed, despite a banner year for Albany’s notorious dysfunction.

 

“Despite all the chaos, changes in leadership and gridlock, I was able to get some common-sense and important pieces of legislation passed that will greatly help the communities in Western New York, as well as the rest of the state,” said Hawley.

 

Of the 15 pieces of legislation that Hawley sponsored, which passed the Assembly, five bills specifically helped local communities in Western New York.  These bills include measures to help town court proceedings in the towns of Elba, Oakfield and Batavia, and the city of Batavia.  These four municipalities are leading the way in the state for finding an innovative solution, to their individual need for new and upgraded court facilities, will help local governments save taxpayer dollars by sharing services and building a joint court facility.

 

Perhaps Hawley’s largest statewide initiatives that passed were measures to help firefighters.  Assembly Bill 2733-A establishes the volunteer firefighter and volunteer emergency services recruitment and retention fund.  Assembly Bill 6051-A allows firefighters to operate a fire truck without possessing a commercial driver’s license, saving fire districts endless amounts of time, which can be better spent training, as well as thousands of dollars annually.  This measure was passed by both houses and signed into law.

 

            Hawley’s passed legislation also includes a number of initiatives to help those with disabilities.  Assembly Bill 7848 requires access aisles of handicapped parking spaces to be marked with a sign and stripes; and Assembly Bill 7849 requires that handicapped parking spaces be at least 8 feet wide.

 

            The Assemblyman also played an instrumental role in leading the fight against some of the more dangerous bills that came to the floor, such as the “Farm Death Bill.”  Hawley stated, “The fight against this harmful bill, brought together farmers, farm workers, and agribusinesses, and bipartisan legislators from across the state.  This opposition was an example of Albany at its finest.  Unfortunately, its passage in the Assembly highlighted the standard dysfunction in the State Capitol, but I am hopeful that our collective voices will help prevent this bill from coming to fruition in the Senate.”

 

            Hawley also lead the charge for other important measures, such as property tax relief.  During and after budget negotiations the Assemblyman stood on the Assembly floor to demand relief for overburdened homeowners and businesses, specifically calling on both houses and the Governor to reinstate the STAR Rebate Check and restore cuts made to the traditional STAR programs.  Hawley also called on the Governor to make smart usage of the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars which have not yet been appropriated.  He commented, “We need to begin looking at ways to make it easier for residents and businesses to survive.  Maintaining jobs, and attracting new ones, are necessary to keep our economy moving.”

 

###

June 9, 2009 - 5:55pm
posted by Steve Hawley in dairy, steve hawley, farm, NY Farm Bureau.

 

HAWLEY CELEBRATES NYS DAIRY DAY

CALLS ON GOVERNOR & SENATE TO “VOTE NO”
ON “FARM DEATH BILL”

 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) today joined Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R, C, I – Canandaigua), bipartisan members of the State Legislature, representatives from the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York Farm Bureau, New York Grange, Northeast Dairy Foods, and American Dairy Association, along with local New York State farmers in celebration and recognition of New York State Dairy Day. 

 

Additionally, the coalition discussed the negative impacts of Assembly Bill 1867, dubbed the “Farm Death Bill” and called on the State Senate and Governor to “vote no” on the bill, which was passed by the Assembly last evening.

 

Hawley stated, “I was a third generation family farmer and I know firsthand how difficult it is to run a farm successfully.  Right now farmers are losing money on every gallon of milk, every pound of grain, because production costs here are so high.  We are in the midst of one of the worst recessions in decades and now is not the time to add additional burdens on our farmers.”

 

The Assemblyman continued, “This onerous bill, if passed into law, will be the death of New York State’s farms.  Farming is not just a job, it is a way of life and I want to keep that quality of life around for many more generations.”

 

June 1, 2009 - 7:39pm
posted by Steve Hawley in steve hawley, farm bureau, farm, NY Farm Bureau.

 

HAWLEY JOINS NY FARM BUREAU, STATE LEGISLATORS

AND AGRICULTURALISTS TO OPPOSE

 FARMWORKERS OMNIBUS LABOR STANDARDS BILL

 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) joined New York Farm Bureau President and Batavia dairy farmer Dean Norton, bipartisan state legislators, farmers and agriculturalists from across the state at a press conference today opposing Assembly Bill 1867, the Farmworkers Omnibus Labor Standards Bill.

 

As a former crop and hog farmer and Genesee County Farm Bureau President and as a current member of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, Hawley joined the group in calling on the three legislative leaders to halt action on the bill, stating, “Albany has a real opportunity to help businesses, yet here we go again.  Albany seems to do all it can to discourage business: whether it be raising property taxes, imposing expensive and unnecessary mandates, or raising the cost of business.  As a third generation family farmer, I have seen first-hand that our children are leaving the state.  This impact is felt greatest on our farms.  This legislation adds to that burden for farmers and agri-business owners.  Albany needs to learn how to say to businesses ‘we want you here’ and passing meaningful legislation to attract and retain businesses for our future.”


###

 

 

March 3, 2009 - 4:37pm
posted by Jan Beglinger in Announcements, agriculture, outdoors, farm.

It’s that time of year again. As the days grow warmer and the nights stay cold, the sap starts to flow.  Did you know that New York State is the third largest producer of maple syrup in the world? Maple producers are celebrating that fact at this year’s 14th Annual Maple Weekend™. This year the event takes place on March 21-22 and 28-29 from 10am - 4pm each day. Maple producers throughout New York State will open their sugarhouses to demonstrate the making of maple products "from the tree to your table." Almost 50 maple producers throughout

Western New York will participate. You can check this website for a list of participants: http://www.mapleweekend.com/locations.htm.

This free, family-oriented event gives you a chance to see how New York maple producers make some of the world's finest maple syrup and maple products. Visitors can see all aspects of maple making, from tapping the trees to get the sap, to boiling sap into maple syrup. Some producers will also demonstrate the making of maple syrup into other products including maple cream, maple cotton candy and maple sugar.

The public is encouraged to visit more than one farm as some producers use traditional methods while some employ new methods. Many of the farms will also have a variety of other activities including horse and wagon rides, snowshoeing, guided walks in the woods and kids' corners.

Mark your calendars for March 21-22 and 28-29, 2009 and take the family out to experience New York State maple!

February 10, 2009 - 3:05pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in agriculture, food, locavore, farm, Porter Farms, CSA, organic.

On this particular Wednesday morning in February, a thermometer posted outside the School for the Blind in downtown Batavia reads an air temperature of nearly five degrees below zero. Cold enough to freeze the spit in your mouth before you can even get out the words: cold enough...

Cold enough that the steering wheel on my '93 rustbucket of a wagon needs more coaxing than usual to make a full left turn. Still. I make it to Porter Farms whole. Shivering, but whole. I'm not sure what to expect, though I've got an image of farmhands tucked into woolen socks, sitting around the fireplace thumbing seed catalogues and dissertations on soil conservation. I've got what you might call a novelistic imagination that doesn't often sync up with the way things really are.

Of course, there's too much work to be done to sit around the fireplace.

The farm's patriarch, Mike Porter, looks over paperwork in the cab of his pickup. He's got the engine running for heat. Inside the barn behind where he's parked, the hundred or more sheep mill about in their stalls, caterwauling like the dullards that Porter assures me they are.

After he shuffles a few of them out into the bleak white light of day, they start to cough. Agitated from the rush to get outside, they stir up some of the dust in the feed they just sucked down. They sound like old men, hacking up a lifetime's worth of lung tar.

I ask Mike what life is like on the farm in the middle of a desolate upstate winter. He shrugs. It's much the same as what life is like on the farm in the middle of a grueling humid upstate summer. Only, you get home by 6 o'clock instead of 10 o'clock.

"We're busy in the winter, but not as busy," he says. "I don't get here until between seven and eight, and I'm home by six. That's a short day."

Winter work is much like work the rest of the year for Mike. Only he's not in the fields pulling or planting crops in addition to doing everything else he does. As I said, I came expecting quiet study indoors while the fields outside crackled in the frost. Not so.

"We have livestock," he says, "so we're busy every day of the year."

They've got lambs and beef cattle. They're also still packing and shipping onions and cabbage. Plus they'll be starting the greenhouses in a few weeks. Then there's the work on the farm equipment that is about due to start... and the renewal for the organic certification... and all the planning. Always planning. Planning on what to plant, when to plant it, where to plant it.

So yeah. They're not sitting around darning socks and learning about soil erosion. "It's always a work in progress," he says. "If you stand still, you go backwards."

Porter Farms also maintains a Community-Supported Agriculture program that keeps folks busy throughout the year. They're about to start their 14th season. They wrapped up last year with 650 members. A CSA program allows folks in the community—some join from Rochester and Buffalo, too—to pay a lump sum to receive 22 weeks of farm fresh produce. They can pick up a bag of mixed vegetables from the farm every week from about the middle of June up until the week before Thanksgiving.

They grow everything for the program: beets, bell peppers, poblano peppers, summer squash, pumpkins, beans, lettuce, roma, heirloom and sun gold tomatoes, swiss chard, butterscotch melons, cucumbers... I could go on. You get about 10 to 12 pouns per bag. Plus they give you recipe suggestions and a weekly newsletter about the selection.

Mike's daughters take care of most of the work for the CSA program. He's busy with the livestock and the day-to-day running of the farm. A couple times of month, he makes the trek down to New Holland, Penn., where most of his sheep go to auction. Those are the really long days, he says. Some nights he may even end up staying over and driving back in the morning... to start it all again.

If you want to find out more about the CSA program, please check out the Web site for Porter Farms, which has all the info you need on how it works and how you can do it.

And now... some sheep butts for your viewing pleasure:

January 20, 2009 - 12:25pm
posted by Jan Beglinger in farms, agriculture, Cornell Cooperative Extension, farm.

New to Farming in New York?  Take the Beginning Farmer On-line Course.

Beginning in February, the NY Beginning Farmer Project in conjunction with Cornell Cooperative Extension will hold its next on-line course for new farmers throughout New York State.  The course is designed to help plan new agriculture enterprises, and this is a great time of year to start planning!  The course allows you to work at your own pace. You can give the class as much time as you want - a minimal three hours per week allows time to read the material, explore some resources, respond to course assignments and interact with CCE educators.
 
Part one:  Evaluating Yourself, Your Land, and Choosing an Enterprise starts February 18, 2009 and lasts five weeks.
Part two:  Marketing and Profits, is six weeks long and begins March 18.
 
Both courses can be taken independently or in sequence.  There are only a few requirements for this on-line course - a reliable Internet connection, an email account, and the ability to access the class throughout the week.  Course participants are required to work through assignments on-line at http://beginningfarmers.cce.cornell.edu/
 
Complete registration information is available on-line at www.cce.cornell.edu/chenango.
The Beginning Farmer On-line Course will be taught by educators from Cornell Cooperative Extension, and both courses will incorporate real-time interaction and learning.  Space is limited!  Cost is $100 per course or $150 for both.
January 9, 2009 - 3:33pm

 

Friday, February 20, 2009
Cornell Cooperative Extension - Niagara County, 4-H Training Center
4487 Lake Avenue (Rt. 78 just north of Lockport)
Agenda:
10:30 am Welcome/introductions: Paul Lehman, CCE, Extension Educator
10:40 Crop insurance policies with March 15th sales closing deadlines, such as corn
(IIP, APH, CRC, GRP), soybeans, dry beans, grain sorghum, oats, processing
snap beans and oats. Adjusted Gross Revenue-Lite (AGR-L). Minimal treatment of
specialty crops - Charles Koines, Consultant
11:25 Break
11:30 Comments from crop insurance representatives
11:40 SURE disaster program - Farm Bill provisions - Jim McNeil, Director, FSAUSDA,
Niagara County; Jim Bittner, Singer Farms
12:30 pm Program ends - lunch
Lunch will be available for those who contact Karen (716-433-8839 x221, or [email protected]) by Feb. 19th.
January 9, 2009 - 3:25pm
posted by Jan Beglinger in agriculture, Cornell Cooperative Extension, farm.

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Vegetable Program will present the 2009 Annual Fresh Market Produce Winter Educational Meeting.  The meeting will be held at the Niagara County Cornell Cooperative Extension Center in Lockport (4487 Lake Ave. Lockport, NY 14094) on Tuesday, January 20, 2009. The program runs from 9am - 3pm with walk-in registration starting at 8:30am.  DEC credits will be available.  The cost is $25 for CCE enrollees and $35 for non-enrollees if you pre-register by 1/12/09.  At the door registration is $30 for enrollees and $40 for non-enrollees.  To register call 716-433-8839 ext. 221.  For more information call Robert Hadad 585-739-4065.

January 8, 2009 - 1:39pm

Fromthe Cornell Cooperative Extension:

Course instruction and intensive training in tractor and farm machinery safety, leading to certification, is being planned for Saturday mornings in Genesee County beginning on February 14th, 2009.  Classes include general tractor maintenance, safe farm equipment operation and safety issues in general. This training is offered only once a year and is for youth ages, 14-15.  Please call Amy Berry at 343-3040, ext. 106 to register to receive further information about this class when it becomes available.

December 17, 2008 - 3:30pm

Christmas is only 8 days away! Have you gotten your Christmas tree yet? If not, consider going local this year. There are Christmas tree growers in our area that sell trees direct or you can pick and cut your own tree. Not sure if that perfect tree you are looking at was grown in NY? Then ask the seller. New York has more than 1,000 Christmas tree farms so it should be easy to find a tree that was grown in New York.

New York Christmas tree farms offer a wide variety of Christmas trees.  Fraser Firs and Balsam Firs are the most popular varieties in New York State, while White and Blue Spruce, Scotch Pine, and other firs, such as Douglas and Concolour are also available.  Many local Christmas tree farms offer other holiday items such as wreaths, swags and fresh roping, along with wonderful handmade crafts. I found some great wooden ornaments and other decorations at the Christmas tree farm I visited. All were locally crafted.

Are you going green? Christmas trees are a renewable resource. For every Christmas tree harvested, up to 3 seedlings are planted in its place the following spring.  When you are done with your tree, recycle it. It can be chipped and used as mulch or put it outside and decorate it for the birds with edible treats.  It can also be put near your birdfeeder for additional shelter.
 
Christmas trees are grown on land that may not be suited for traditional agricultural crops.  They help stabilize soil and protect local water supplies.  Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases.  Did you know that one acre of Christmas trees emits enough oxygen for 18 people?  Christmas tree farms also provide year round habitat for birds and other animals. 32,600 acres of Christmas trees are grown across New York.
 
Support your local economy. Christmas trees provide additional income for farmers and rural landowners.  They also create seasonal jobs and serve as an economic stimulus for local communities, offering not only trees, but tourism opportunities.
 
What should you do with your tree when you get it home? Follow these guidelines to keep your real Christmas tree fresh throughout the holiday season:
 
1. Cut one-quarter inch off the base of the trunk.  Keep the tree outdoors or in an unheated garage in a container of water and protect it from the wind and sun until you’re ready to decorate.  This helps the tree retain moisture.
 
2. Before you bring the tree into your home, make another fresh cut a minimum of one-quarter inch off the base of the trunk.  This reopens the tree stem so it can take up water immediately.  Place it in a stand with fresh water.  Do not allow the water level to drop below the fresh cut or the stem will reseal.
 
3. Trees may drink from 2 pints to 1 gallon of water a day.  Use a stand with 1-gallon capacity or more.  Keep your tree away from drying heat sources such as sunny windows, hot air ducts and fireplaces.  Check the water level daily and supply fresh water as needed.
 
There is nothing like the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree. This year take the family out and enjoy the adventure of finding that perfect tree.
 
Sources: NY Dept of Ag & Markets
Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York
National Christmas Tree Association
December 6, 2008 - 9:59am
posted by Peter Fleming in fire, farm, Call, My-T Acres.

This was the view from Lewiston Road, facing south toward Batavia, right after it started.

 

 

December 2, 2008 - 9:31am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wind power, agriculture, Pavilion, farm.

Pavilion's Steve Rigoni is the subject of an article in today's Buffalo News. Rigoni is a cash crop farmer, descendent of three generations of upstate dairy farmers, who has been featured in a pair of videos on The Batavian for his construction of a corn dryer that is fueled by switchgrass rather than propane. (If you haven't seen either of those videos yet, please check them out. It's pretty remarkable what Rigoni put together... from scratch.)

In the Buffalo News piece, Rigoni is in the spotlight again for his allegiance to alternative energies—this time, for mounting a windmill outside his home. From that article:

It’s easy to spot Steve Rigoni’s place in Pavilion — just look for the wind turbine spinning high above his house.

“I look at it as my midlife thing,” Rigoni said. “Some people get a Corvette, or a new woman — I got a windmill.”

His 10-kilowatt Bergey Windpower rig is hardly a wanton spree, however. While it cost him $25,000, after state incentives, it has nearly wiped out electric bills that used to average $120 to $140 a month.

Reporter Fred O. Williams calls it "wind power to the people."

For Rigoni, converting to wind power was as much a labor of love, he said, as it was about economics. A proponent of alternative energy, he also heats his home partly with wood, and burns switchgrass instead of propane to dry corn for his farming operation.

But the wind turbine pays its way. For the last two years, it has pumped out about 800 kilowatt-hours a month, powering Rigoni’s washer, dryer, water heater, fridge and lights.

When the wind is blowing but the appliances aren’t on, the turbine spins his electric meter backward, generating a small credit toward future energy use.

“We don’t ever make much money on it,” he said.

It turns out that the Great Lakes region is "a prime wind-resource area," especially in the colder months, which would be good news for folks like us who max out our energy bills come January and February. But is it really worth it?

Does small wind save money? The rule of thumb is that a well-located turbine with an average wind speed of 12 mph and with 10-kilowatt capacity can generate about 1,000 kilowatt- hours a month, or enough to power a typical home — not counting heating or air-conditioning. Whether that will break even over the 20-year life of a turbine depends on current and future electricity rates. Utility rates of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour begin to make the cost of wind attractive.

Wind power economics just got a push from Congress. The financial bailout package enacted in October included a tax credit of up to $4,000 for small wind systems.

So, would you do it?

November 25, 2008 - 2:32pm

 Thanksgiving is this Thursday and Americans will come together to give thanks and enjoy a safe and affordable meal with their families.  It's important to remember where our food comes from and the family farmers and ranchers who provide America with such a bountiful harvest.

Did you know that farmers and ranchers receive only 20 cents of every food dollar that consumers spend on food at home and away from home? According to the USDA, off farm costs including marketing, processing, wholesaling, distribution and retailing account for 80 cents of every food dollar spent in the United States.
 
Here's a look at the farmer's share for a traditional Thanksgiving meal: 

Food
Retail Price $
Farmer’s Share $
10 lb. Turkey
11.90
6.46
Boneless Ham
 4.29
0.51
Sweet Potatoes
 2.98
0.41
Mashed Potatoes
 2.64
0.40
Stuffing
 4.77
0.73
Bread
 2.99
0.12
Broccoli
 4.19
1.21
Carrots
 2.99
0.71
Apple Pie
 6.29
2.25
Milk
 3.75
1.77
 Source: http://nfu.org/
 
If you are interested in where you can find some locally grown products, Cornell Cooperative Extension has put together an Agri-Tourism Guide. The brochure was made possible with grant funding from the NYS Department of Ag & Markets. You can call the office at 585-343-3040 for one or check out our website http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/home for the most up to date version.  Look under Agri-tourism Guide - Listings.
November 18, 2008 - 12:45pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, agriculture, jobs, farm.

A front-page story by Tom Rivers in today's Daily News examines the toll taken on the health of migrant workers by "grueling farm work." We wouldn't do the article much of a service by trying to sum it up here. It's lengthy and detailed. So if you're interested in the topic, you may want to pick up a paper today.


Several articles are featured on the front page and elsewhere in today's paper on the proposed state budget cuts. They tackle, in particular, the issue of cuts to school aid and agriculture. A chart on page five lists the school districts in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties and the amount of proposed cuts along with percentages. In what looks to be a wire story on the back page, the state Farm Bureau criticizes Gov. David Paterson for his proposed cuts, which "disproportionately" target agricultural programs. The article is informative, but it's hard not to wonder that every member of every group that may see their programs cut in the state budget wouldn't make the same claims of a governor who is being unfair and "disporportionately" targeting them. As we mentioned in a post earlier today, the Albany Times Union noted that busloads of protestors—at least 1,000 of them today—have been disembarking at the capitol to make noise about "unfair" cuts.


Main Street Coffee owner, Rob Credi, plans to close up shop likely by the end of the year and sell the business to property owner Ken Mistler. Credi will then manage the Daily Grind, the coffee shop and juice bar that Mistler will be opening inside a health club going up at the corner of Main and Jackson streets. Credi hopes the place will be open by the end of January.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 14, 2008 - 12:56pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Daily News, agriculture, farm.

About 16 people gathered in the town of Batavia last night for a meeting to discuss possibly formulating a farmland protection plan for the town, according to the Daily News.

The town has about 19,000 acres of agricultural land, which accounts for roughly 60 percent of total land in the town.

Roger Muehlig writes:

The goal is to create a land use policy on how to keep agricultural land in production and protect it from commercial and residential development.


In other news, the city of Batavia has hired a new code enforcement officer. Apparently, Ronald Panek has been working since last week. Panek, 41, is from Wyoming.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 11, 2008 - 4:43pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in video, agriculture, oil, energy crisis, farm.

This past July, we paid a visit to Rigoni Farms in Pavilion. Steve Rigoni was a dairy farmer his whole life, and his father and his father's father before him. Not long ago, however, Steve made the switch to cash crops and began experimenting with alternative sources of energy. When we visited him in July, Steve showed us the tank in which he planned to burn switchgrass to heat the air to dry his corn crop—bushels of dried switchgrass would replace propane as the fuel source. He told us about how he manufactured the device and a little about his reasons. Please, be sure to go back and watch that video.

Well, we got a message from Steve last week asking us to come back out and see his invention in action. Long story short: it's a success. There are some things that need to be tweaked, as there are always things that need tweaking. But all in all, it works great. We put together another video to show you the burner and hear a little bit more from Steve about how it works. You can check that out below.

Before you watch it, however, let me say one thing. This video does not quite capture the marvel that I felt—and that I would hope some of you would feel—when I saw up close what Steve had built. This burner was made by hand, by Steve from whatever he could find to piece it together. He welded, he fanagled, he improvised. He manufactured a heat exchanger out of metal sheets and pipes. It's a thing of beauty, really. And that's before you consider that he now grows his own fuel and saves some 1,000 gallons of propane per day, every time he uses the dryer.

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31
 
 
 
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2019 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button