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NY takes steps to fight spread of spotted lanternfly, which is a threat to agriculture

Posted 2 October 2018 at 2:18 pm

New quarantine will restrict movement of goods brought into NY from 4 states

Press Release, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

Photo by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is implementing new actions to protect New York, and its surrounding states, from the establishment of the invasive spotted lanternfly.

The Department, working in collaboration with the State Department of Environmental Conservation, issued a quarantine that will restrict the movement of certain goods brought into New York from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, states impacted by the spotted lanternfly. The first SLF findings were reported earlier this month in New York State in Yates and Albany counties.

“The spotted lanternfly is a major concern for us when it comes to our agricultural crops and our forest land, so we can’t take any chances that this invasive species will become established here in New York State,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “The goal of the quarantine we have implemented is to help reduce the opportunities these pests may have in hitching a ride on firewood, plants and other common outdoor items and entering our state in the first place.”

SLF, which is known to do significant damage to agricultural crops as well as plant nurseries and the forest products industries, was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014. Established populations of SLF have since been found in New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia.

Two cases of a single reported bug have been confirmed in New York. Given the proximity to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey infestations, NYS is at high risk for infestation. While these insects can jump and fly short distances, they spread primarily through human activity. SLF lay their eggs on any number of surfaces such as vehicles, stone, rusty metal, outdoor furniture and firewood. They can hitch rides on any outdoor item and be easily transported into and throughout New York.

“The newly designated exterior quarantine is part of the State’s aggressive effort to protect our natural resources from the destructive, invasive pest spotted lanternfly,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “If this insect becomes established in New York it would threaten our agricultural and tourism industries, including outdoor recreational activities. DEC will continue to work with our state and federal partners to prevent the introduction of this pest into New York State and do what we can to help educate and prepare communities for spotted lanternfly.”

SLF is a destructive pest that feeds on more than 70 plant species including tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), maples, apple trees, grapevine, and hops. SLF feedings can stress plants, making them vulnerable to disease and attacks from other insects, and cause significant damage to New York’s agricultural industry. SLF also excretes large amounts of sticky “honeydew,” which attracts sooty molds that interfere with plant photosynthesis, negatively affecting the growth and fruit yield of plants. SLF also has the potential to significantly hinder quality of life due to the honeydew and the swarms of insects it attracts.

To help slow the spread of SLF into New York, the quarantine requires certificates of inspection issued from the impacted states on the following regulated articles entering New York State:

• Any living life stage of the SLF.

• Brush, debris, bark, or yard waste.

• Landscaping, remodeling, or construction waste.

• Logs, stumps, or any tree parts.

• Firewood of any species.

• Packing materials, such as wood crates or boxes.

• All plants and plant parts, including but not limited to nursery stock, green lumber, fruit and produce and other material living, dead, cut, fallen (including stumps), roots, branches, mulch, and composted and uncomposted chips.

• Outdoor household articles, including, but not limited to, recreational vehicles, lawn tractors and mowers, mower decks, grills, grill and furniture covers, tarps, mobile homes, tile, stone, deck boards, mobile fire pits, and any equipment associated with these items, and trucks or vehicles not stored indoors.

• Any other article, commodity, item, or product that has or that is reasonably believed to be infested with or harboring SLF.

New York’s order requires travelers transporting any of the above items to have documentation listing the origin and destination of shipments. It also prohibits unnecessarily stops while traveling through the quarantine area. The State Department of Agriculture and Markets will operate compliance checks at strategic locations around the State to enforce the regulations.

The State’s quarantine order was developed in consultation with representatives from the forest products industry, including manufacturers and harvesters, and nurseries/landscapers, orchard and vineyard owners, and others potentially impacted by the restriction. New York also collaborated with other states where quarantines have been enacted to slow the SLF’s spread.

Earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture and Markets and DEC confirmed that SLF was found in Albany and Yates counties. A single adult insect was discovered in a vehicle in the Capital Region and a single adult insect was reported on a private Keuka Lake property in Penn Yan, Yates County.

Following both reported cases, the Department and DEC immediately began extensive surveys throughout the area.  The public is encouraged to continue to report any potential sightings of SLF and to send a photo to Please note the location of where the insect was found, egg masses, and/or infestation signs.  The public is also encouraged to inspect outdoor items such as vehicles, furniture, and firewood for egg masses. Anyone that visits the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia infested areas should thoroughly inspect their vehicle, luggage and gear for SLF and egg masses before leaving and scrape off all egg masses.

A Smartphone application is also available to help citizens and conservation professionals quickly and easily report new invasive species sightings directly to New York’s invasive species database from their phones. For more information, visit New York’s invasive species database.

The Department, DEC, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the US Department of Agriculture will continue to survey throughout the Capital District and the Finger Lakes focusing on travel corridors and high-risk areas. Extensive surveys will continue to be conducted in high-risk areas throughout the state as well as inspections of nursery stock, stone shipments, commercial transports, etc., from Pennsylvania. Education to the public as well as industry personnel will also continue. For more information on spotted lanternfly, visit DEC’s website.

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Collins credits Trump with revisions to NAFTA, which will help dairies in WNY

Posted 1 October 2018 at 2:32 pm

Press Release, Congressman Chris Collins

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (R-Clarence) praised President Trump and his administration for reaching a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada to be called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

USMCA will make significant changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that will put the United States on more equal footing with the other nations. Specifically with regard to the dairy industry, Canada’s pricing program has created an unfair playing field and has essentially eliminated U.S. exports of certain dairy products, harming Western New York’s dairy industry.

“Today’s announcement is proof that House Republicans under President Trump’s leadership are getting our nation back on track and standing up for American interests,” Collins said. “President Trump has stood with Western New York’s dairy farmers to protect this industry and make sure American farmers are being treated fairly. The USMCA is a big win for Western New York and I applaud the President’s hard work.”

Collins has fought to end Canada’s unfair Class 7 pricing program, which has severely impacted New York dairy farmers. Under the USMCA, Canada has agreed to eliminate this program in order to level the playing field between the U.S. and Canada while allowing our dairy producers the ability to expand sales overseas.

Outside of the dairy industry, this trade agreement will increase the production of American goods and services. The agreement requires that 75 percent of auto content be produced in North America and makes critical reforms that will boost autoworkers’ wages. Additionally, the USMCA includes strong labor provisions that prioritize and protect American manufacturing jobs.

Furthermore, the agreement provides strong protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. This includes 10 years of data protection for biologic drugs and a large scope of products eligible for protection. These reforms are critical to driving innovation, creating economic growth, and supporting American jobs.

“President Trump is fulfilling his campaign promises and Republicans in Congress are eager to keep working with the White House to Make America Great Again,” Collins said.

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Ortt has $25K from state to continue Ag in the Classroom, 4-H at schools

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 September 2018 at 10:12 am

Provided photo

KNOWLESVILLE – State Senator Rob Ortt, left, last week presented a ceremonial check for $25,000 to Robert Batt, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County.

The funding will be used to continue the Agriculture in the Classroom program, which currently goes to Kendall and Lyndonville schools as well as Rainbow Preschool in Albion. The Extension is open to expanding the program to other local school districts, Batt said this morning.

The state funding also will help fund the 4-H program at three local school districts. 4-H staff have been running clubs at Kendall and Lyndonville, and this year will be starting a program in Medina.

“The kids are there and they’re excited to be doing it, and takes out the extra step of transportation,” Batt said about the 4-H programs at schools.

All three are for students in elementary school. The Kendall program meets twice a month before school, while Lyndonville is twice a month after school. Medina will start in October with a monthly meeting after school, Batt said.

“We have seen incredible success with agricultural-based education in rural communities across the state,” Ortt said.

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Apple industry leader with local connections new chairwoman of national organization

Staff Reports Posted 1 September 2018 at 5:09 pm

Kaari Stannard is the new leader of the U.S. Apple Association

Kaari Stannard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kaari Stannard, a New York marketer, packer and grower is the new chairwoman of the U.S. Apple Association. She will lead the organization’s board of directors.

Stannard is the owner of New York Apple Sales, Inc., one of the largest marketers of New York state apples. She has been in the apple business since 1996. She is a partner in both Pomona Packing and Lake Ontario Fruit, which are apple packing facilities located in western New York. Stannard is also a partner in Fish Creek Orchards, located in Orleans County. Lake Ontario Fruit also is in Orleans County, on Ridge Road in Gaines.

“Kaari’s breadth of knowledge about and dedication to the apple industry have been instrumental in helping shape the direction of USApple during her board tenure over the last several years,” said USApple President and CEO Jim Bair. “Her passion for the apple industry, coupled with her ‘can-do’ leadership style, will serve USApple and its members well during the next year.”

Aside from her leadership with USApple, Stannard is a past treasurer and current board member of the U.S. Apple Export Council and served two terms as board member of the New York Apple Association. She is a past member of the grower shipper board for United Fresh Produce Association and is a graduate of their leadership program. She has and continues to serve on various Produce Marketing Association committees.

Stannard is a licensed CPA and holds a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting from the State University at Buffalo. Stannard succeeds 2017-18 Chair Mark Boyer, co-owner of Ridgetop Orchards near Fishertown, Penn.

U.S. Apple Association is the national trade association representing all segments of the apple industry. Members include 40 state and regional associations representing the 7,500 apple growers throughout the country, as well as more than 400 individual firms involved in the apple business.

Jason Woodworth, a partner with Fish Creek Orchards (formerly called Lamont Fruit Farm Inc.), also serves on the board of directors for USApple. Woodworth oversees 500 acres of wholesale fresh fruit orchards near the shoreline of Lake Ontario. His responsibilities include marketing, pack house relations, quality control and on farm nursery. He is a past chairman of the board for the New York Apple Association.

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NY Farm Bureau wants end to tariffs

Posted 31 August 2018 at 1:31 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers – Honeycrisp apples are pictured in October 2016 at the Roberts Circle R fruit stand and farm market on Route 18 in Carlton. NY Farm Bureau says apples face retaliatory tariffs in trade disputes.

Press Release, NY Farm Bureau

SYRACUSE – New York Farm Bureau held a news conference at the Great New York State Fair on Thursday and called for the quick end of a trade war that is creating economic hardship on family farms across New York.

Farm Bureau leaders were joined by Richard Ball, commissioner of State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner, and Farmers for Free Trade. They highlighted the importance of open markets for the state’s farmers.

A number of New York commodities – including dairy, soybeans, wine, maple and apples – face retaliatory tariffs in several countries including China, Canada, Mexico and in the European Union. In turn, commodity prices have fallen on agricultural products.

Equipment prices are rising due to the steel and aluminum tariffs, and farmers are concerned about losing long established markets as countries turn to other, cheaper sources for their food. These losses, in turn, will impact rural communities that depend on agriculture to support their local economies.

“We understand that trade agreements may need to be updated, but we have to be careful not to damage the relationships that we already have and depend on,” said New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher. “We are encouraging our leaders in Washington, to move quickly at getting the parties back to the negotiating table, much like we have seen this week with Mexico, and to move forward on improving trade relations with our partners.”

While U.S. agriculture has had a trade surplus, the farm economy has not been a bright spot for this country. Net farm income was already down by 50 percent before the trade wars began.  When times are tough, this is when this country needs to be looking for new opportunities to expand markets to sell the quality products produced on our farms. The principle agreement announced this week with Mexico is a positive step in the right direction, but ultimately, we will need Canada to complete an effective NAFTA deal. Farmers also encouraged a resolution to disputes elsewhere, including China.

“The tariffs being imposed on our agricultural commodities are compounding an already difficult marketplace and putting New York’s farmers in a precarious situation,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “Once these markets are lost, we could find it extremely difficult to regain that footing. We have an opportunity here to collaborate with our partners and to call for new free trade agreements and thoughtful, long-term solutions.”

“Farmers for Free Trade is proud to join the New York Farm Bureau at the state fair to discuss the importance of trade to New York’s agriculture and manufacturing industries,” said Angela Hofmann, Deputy Director of Farmers for Free Trade. “Today’s joint event will highlight the price that New York agriculture and manufacturing workers are paying from the trade war and call attention to the need for consistent and fair trade policies.”

“Our farmers are reliable, they are resilient, and they are responsible. They are ingenuitive and they are innovative in producing an excellent product for consumers both stateside and abroad amid a myriad of unpredictable challenges including the weather and ever-changing consumer demand. As steadfast patriots, we look to our government to recognize that our growers already operate in an environment of uncertainty and hope that this administration will facilitate opening the doorway to global opportunities in a way that is good for our country and its farmers,” said Colleen Klein, New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association’s Executive Director.

“Since the end of May, following Mexico’s announcement of 25 percent retaliatory tariffs on US cheeses, the price we receive for our milk has dropped by 14 percent. To put that into realistic terms for our dairy farm, that is a loss of over $3,000 a day. Farm families like mine and our dairy farming friends across New York State are asking for a quick end to the trade war affecting our families’ livelihoods and our country’s backbone, the American farmer,” said Johanna Fox-Bossard, Barbland Dairy in Fabius, NY.

“New York maple producers are concerned about trade from two fronts. The tariffs in both Asia and Canada mean a potential loss of markets for American made maple syrup as cheaper Canadian maple syrup moves in to fill the void. In addition, the steel and aluminum tariffs have resulted in price hikes for equipment we need to produce maple syrup. My company alone was forced to increase prices 10 percent, prices that eventually will be passed down to consumers. We need a fix now before there are long lasting repercussions on New York’s maple industry,” said Dwayne Hill, Shaver-Hill Maple Farm.

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Apple harvest gets started with sizable crop expected in NY

Posted 29 August 2018 at 4:27 pm

Press Release, New York Apple Association

Photo by Tom Rivers – This photo from October 2015 shows apples in an orchard on East State Street near the Butts Road intersection in Albion.

New York City may be the original “Big Apple” but the entire state of New York is worthy of the name too, based on the New York Apple Association’s recent fall harvest estimate. NYAA forecasts New York apple growers will produce 31 million 42-pound cartons of apples this fall, an estimate that is up slightly over last year and on par with the state’s five-year average.

“New York apple lovers know our apples taste great but what they may not realize is just how big our state industry is in the larger picture,” said NYAA President Cynthia Haskins. “New York is the second largest apple producing state in the nation, and the largest east of the Mississippi but that’s not all. Our distinctive flavor gives us a competitive advantage and it is produced by the ideal growing conditions in New York which are unique to our state.”

Apple production in New York takes place on 41,000 acres spanning the state – in orchards near you – where hundreds of varieties are grown. It is likely more varieties than are grown here than anywhere else in the country and most varieties are only available at farm markets and you-pick operations.

A diverse array of New York varieties is also available in retail stores. These include iconic favorites like New York McIntosh; legendary “born in New York” varieties like Empire and Cortland; the popular Honeycrisp and Gala; and exciting new managed varieties like SweeTango and the two “exclusive to New York” varieties, RubyFrost and SnapDragon.

To encourage New Yorkers to enjoy all the apple industry in New York state has to offer, NYAA maintains a locator map on its website,, which finds orchards, you-pick operations and cideries by zip code.

NYAA will be engaging with people across New York this fall with pop-up exhibits at Green Markets throughout New York City in September and October. The organization is also sponsoring the Big Apple Crunch, a statewide event involving public schools and millions of New Yorkers biting into a New York Apple at precisely 2 p.m. on Thursday, October 25. NYAA partners with the FarmOn! Foundation to support the event and recently distributed a variety of posters to 780 school districts throughout the state to raise awareness around New York apples and apple products.

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Growers urged to be on lookout after Late Blight detected in Genesee County

Posted 29 August 2018 at 10:08 am

Press Release, Cornell Vegetable Program

Photo from USA blight

Late blight, a devastating airborne disease of tomatoes and potatoes, was detected in Genesee County on Tuesday. Late blight is best known for causing the Irish Potato famine. Late blight is caused by a fungus-like organism that spreads dozens of miles on storm fronts.

Late blight can kill plants in just one week. Disease spots are often dark gray to brown in color and may or may not have a ring of pale green tissue around them. They are typically irregular in shape and size, and frequently become as large as a quarter. Leaf spots will often have small fuzzy white spores on the underside of the leaf in wet and humid conditions.

Late blight will put dark brown to black smears on plant stems. Tomato fruit may also develop large, firm, greasy-looking, brown, gray, or black smears on the upper part of the fruit. Late blight does not resemble lower leaves that yellow and contain numerous small black specks. Potato leaves show dark spots with fuzzy white spores on the underside during humid weather. Potato stems show similar lesions to those seen in tomato.

As this disease is aggressive and very damaging to area farmers, Cornell Cooperative Extension asks that anyone suspecting they have late blight please contact their local CCE office for assistance. In Orleans County, the office can be reached at 585-798-4265. Commercial vegetable farmers may contact the Cornell Vegetable Program at 585-406-3419.

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USDA has funds for farmers hurt in tariff battles

Posted 29 August 2018 at 7:47 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Corn is shown in Barker in this photo from August 2013.

Press Release, USDA

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced details of actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture will take to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations.

President Donald J. Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. As announced last month, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with our World Trade Organization obligations.

“Early on, the President instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to make sure our farmers did not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs,” Perdue said. “After careful analysis by our team at USDA, we have formulated our strategy to mitigate the trade damages sustained by our farmers. Our farmers work hard, and are the most productive in the world, and we aim to protect them.”

These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets:

• USDA’s Farm Service Agency will administer the Market Facilitation Program to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers starting September 4, 2018. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted.

The Market Facilitation Program will boost revenues by $4.6963 billion for farmers. Soybeans account for the bulk of the funds at $3.6297 billion or $1.65 per bushel. Corn growers will get 1 cent per bushel for an estimated $96 million total, while dairy farmers receive 12 cents per hundredweight for $127.4 million. Wheat growers will get 14 cents per bushel or $119.2 million. (Click here for more information on other crops.)

• USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program and child nutrition programs.

The federal government plans to buy $93.4 million worth of apples, $84.9 million in dairy, $14.8 million worth of beef, $48.2million in grapes, $44.5 million in potatoes, and other crops that total $1.2388 billion.

• Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.

Background on Market Facilitation Program:

MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and administered by FSA. For each commodity covered, the payment rate will be dependent upon the severity of the trade disruption and the period of adjustment to new trade patterns, based on each producer’s actual production.

Interested producers can apply after harvest is 100 percent complete and they can report their total 2018 production. Beginning September 4th of this year, MFP applications will be available online at Producers will also be able to submit their MFP applications in person, by email, fax, or by mail.

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Despite recent rains, Orleans still in moderate drought

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 August 2018 at 1:08 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: The farm fields and grass in Orleans County are greener after some recent rains. This photo shows a historical marker in Gaines, just west of the Gaines Basin Road bridge, which is the northernmost point on the canal. The sign was recently repainted by students in Tim Archer’s seventh grade service learning class at Albion, with Melissa Ierlan of Clarendon doing the lettering.

Orleans County farmers breathed a big sigh of relief with about an inch of rain two weeks ago, followed by another sizable rainfall.

But there hasn’t been much rain since. Orleans County, in fact, remains in a moderate drought, according to The National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“The rain we got was very, very beneficial, said Larry Meyer, director of the Farm Service Agency in Orleans and Monroe counties.

The rain helped corn to grow and pollinate, and many farmers planted cabbage, cucumbers and green beans in last two weeks.

But with another dry spell, the groundwater is starting to get used up.

“We haven’t had the rain to make everything look real healthy,” Meyer said. “It’s been raining to the south of us. But our section in Niagara, Orleans and part of Monroe, it’s been skipping us.”

State-wide, New York is in better shape now than last week. As of Tuesday, 40.7 percent of NY was considered abnormally dry (down from 72.5 percent on July 24). The percentage considered in moderate drought didn’t change much, from 20.23 percent on July 24 to 20.08 percent on July 31, according to the Drought Monitor.

In Western New York, the area with moderate drought includes all of Orleans, most of Niagara and some of the western end of Monroe County.

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County’s Ag District adds 116 acres

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2018 at 11:00 am

ALBION — The Orleans County Consolidated Agricultural District is growing by 115.66 acres.

The County Legislature last week held a public hearing on the additions for the countywide district. The Legislature then approved the acreage for the Ag District.

The changes go for a final OK in Albany by the State Department of Agriculture and Markets. That is expected in September or October.

The additions include:

• 4.10 acres on Greenman Road in the Town of Yates, which are owned by Sandy Knoll Farms

• 44.10 acres on Gray Road in the Town of Barre, owned by the Barre Sportsmen’s Club

• 0.86 acre on Gaines Waterport Road in Gaines, owned by Robin L. Root

• 54.80 acres on Gaines Waterport Road in Gaines, owned by Robin L. Root

• 11.80 acres on Horan Road in Ridgeway, owned by Timothy D. Marker.

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