Monday, March 27, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Press release

The Senate passed a comprehensive package of bills that would strengthen and preserve agriculture as New York’s leading industry March 22. The bipartisan measures help support farm workforce retention and expansion; create new tax credits for preserving farmland, transitioning to organic certification, and offering healthy options in communities; promote the use of local produce in schools; and help prepare new farmers for successful careers, among other initiatives.

"Agriculture is one the most important industries in New York and we need to do all we can to ensure its growth and success, especially for young farmers and those just starting out,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma). “These initiatives will support hardworking farmers, their families and others who rely on a strong and vibrant agriculture industry.” 

The measures build upon the Senate’s ongoing commitment to agriculture, including its role as the undisputed leader in restoring more than $55 million in proposed state funding cuts since 2011. This funding has helped support investments in cutting-edge agricultural research, education for the next generation of family farmers, environmental stewardship, and protections for plant, animal, and public health. 

The bill package would help further support the growth of agriculture in New York and create jobs by:
    • S2905, doubling the existing Farm Workforce Retention Credit: co-sponsored by Gallivan, would help farmers meet consumer demands with a strong and steady workforce. The bill increases the credit to $500 per eligible employee this year, and $1,200 per employee when fully effective, saving farmers an estimated $60 million when fully implemented.
    • S1430, helping schools purchase local produce: would allow school districts offering bids for food services to include language that favors local or regional farm producers. This expands the market for local produce, encourages larger distributors to invest in smaller farms, and could help co-ops or farms without the resources to independently participate in a bidding process access local school procurement programs.
    • S4021, establishing a Young Farmer Advisory Board: co-sponsored by Gallivan, establishes a young farmer agriculture advisory board designed to advise and make recommendations on policies and programs affecting agriculture. Young and beginning farmers play a fundamental role in preventing the threat posed by the gradual aging of famers and in the future success and growth of New York farms.
     • S4660, creating a Future Agriculture Readiness Marketing camp (F.A.R.M.): helps those new to the agriculture industry gain the valuable knowledge and tools needed to promote their businesses. Offered once yearly to a select group of successful farmer applicants, this camp will expose selectees to several of the best agriculture programs in the state. Each participant will have access to all that SUNY has to offer, allowing them to develop their business and themselves. An exclusive group of graduates from the program will also be granted additional aid in the form of grant funds to help them make their marketing plan a reality.
    • S4900, increasing new farmers’ access to land: directs the State Department of Agriculture and Markets to enhance access to viable agricultural land for new and beginning farmers. The agency would work with the Office of General Services to develop an inventory of state-owned real property that may be viable for farming. This would help younger farmers overcome frequent barriers that prevent them from gaining access to land and contribute to the aging of the farming population, such as the complex process of transferring ownership of farms and prohibitive capital costs.
    • S2479, conserving productive land: would create a statewide blueprint for conserving productive land and maintaining the vitality of agricultural production in New York State. The measure would require the state to propose programs that encourage the growth of emerging trends and practices that might benefit small- to mid-sized farms.
    • S3835, creating a farm savings account: establishes a tax-deferred savings account that will allow farmers to self-insure part of their risk to counteract strong cyclical downturns in the farm economy. Some of the methods used by farmers to help offset losses due to weather or other market forces include delaying the purchase of equipment and the repayment of loans. A farm savings account will offer farmers another management tool to help offset their costs.
    • S4721, providing tax credits for organic farm transitions: creates a tax credit to increase the profit margin for certain agricultural products that meet any one of several industry standards for crop quality during the three-year transitional period to USDA Organic Certification. This will reduce the uncertainty farmers face when attempting to achieve USDA Organic Certification by providing them with an expanded market for their products and greater financial security during the transition period.
    • S562, offering tax exemptions for organic farm transitions: creates a real property tax exemption for the lands of a farm operation that are transitioning to organic. In 2011, New York ranked third in the nation in the total amount of organic farms with 597, with the state’s certified organic farms selling a total of $107 million produced commodities. This credit would foster the growth of these farms and is similar to an existing tax exemption for the replanting of vineyards and orchards.
    • S4265, lifting size restrictions on wine ice cream: would lift the current minimum packaging requirements (at least one pint) for the sale of wine ice cream to meet consumer demand for smaller containers of wine ice cream for weddings, fundraisers, recreational tours and other events.
    • S943, creating the Healthy Options and Community Outreach program: would create the program to increase public awareness and address the issue of “food deserts.” It would create a new tax credit for small grocery and convenience stores that commit to selling healthy food and drinks at their shops. Up to 100 percent of an improvement project’s cost could become eligible for a credit if the owner expands, purchases coolers or shelving for the purposes of selling healthier food options.
    • S4535, preserving farmland: encourages farmers – particularly those located in areas of the state with greater development pressure – to participate in farmland preservation efforts and remain stewards of their land for future generations. It would change the maximum acreage for agricultural assessment of farm woodlands from 50 to 100 acres.
    • S368, helping timber harvesters: authorizes the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to execute contracts for timber or other forest products valued at under $50,000 without approval from the state comptroller. Currently, any contract to harvest more than $10,000 of timber on non protected state lands must be approved by DEC and the State Comptroller's Office, which can be time consuming and jeopardize timber-harvesting timeframes.
    • S1078, promoting farm cideries: would expand products sold by farm cideries and authorizing such farms to sell cider to other licensees for resale.
    • S1240, reducing transportation costs: allows the New York State Thruway Authority to provide a discounted toll rate of half the normal toll to farmers transporting agricultural products. This measure would give farmers some relief from high transportation costs for shipping goods to markets throughout the state.
    • S1333, awarding Excellence in Agriculture: provides a mechanism for the state to develop an agriculture and food awards program. It would be provided to farmers, manufacturers and processors that produce exceptional products using locally sourced ingredients, and the businesses that make a special effort to market and promote them. These awards could also be presented to restaurants, food retailers, and schools and colleges that feature and promote New York farm foods.
The bills acted upon on National Agriculture Day were among the latest efforts by the Senate to focus on growing New York agriculture from the ground up. Recently, the Senate passed a budget resolution that included extensive measures that invest in the state’s farm workforce, support the next generation of farmers, and help farmers connect to new markets, among other initiatives to support farming’s growth. 

Initiatives included:

    • $12 million in restored funding for important agricultural programs cut by the 2017-2018 Executive Budget;
    • $60 million in tax relief for farmers by doubling the existing Farm Workforce Retention Credit, as outlined above in S2905;
    • $10 million to help make additional investments in county fair facilities so that New Yorkers can continue to learn about agriculture and farms in their area.
    • Support for $3 million for drought relief in parts of Central and Western New York when lack of rain in 2016 caused severe crop losses;
    • $1.8 million to expand access for 120,000 seniors to get free, fresh produce at area farmer’s markets;
    • An additional $200,000 for Farm-to-Schools, for a total of nearly $1 million;
    • Expand Future Farmers of America (FFA) by supporting and building upon the $542,000 in the Executive Budget;
    • $500,000 to help farmers with questions about employment laws and regulations by providing access to Cornell-based specialists;
    • $450,000 to help farmers expand to new markets, especially those needing assistance to achieve organic certification;
    • $250,000 for the Future Agriculture Readiness Marketing (FARM) Camps, also outlined above in S4660;
    • $200,000 for a "Seeds of Success" award to promote and recognize school gardens and gardening programs across the state;
    • $100,000 for "Farm to Table Trail" development that directs consumers to local food and beverage options; and
    • An expansion of Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) agriculture programs to create opportunities for high school students to achieve credits towards college study in agriculture.

Monday, March 20, 2017 at 9:04 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Eagle, maple weekend, agribusiness, Business.



More than 20 years ago, 14 members of the Wyoming County Maple Association wanted a better way to market their maple products in a fun-filled way, hence the creation of Maple Sunday. When county maple producers realized there was a real disconnect between the producers and the consumers, the one-day event became a way to showcase one of Wyoming County’s largest agricultural commodities.

“We didn’t really have any idea what was going to happen,” said Gary Bray, owner of Bray Farms, Bray Road, Eagle, “but we wanted to give it a try.”

Now called Maple Weekend, the festivities comprise back-to-back weekends at the end of March. 

“We started out as one day, then two, and now…,” Bray said. “When we had people calling us asking if they can come to the farm another time, not only couldn’t we turn them down, we realized there was a real interest and had to add days.” 

According to Bray, New York State is number two in maple production – behind Canada, but ahead of Vermont. Additionally, maple syrup is only produced from Southeastern Canada, to the mountains of Virginia, west to Kansas, and north to Michigan and Wisconsin. Producers also tap in Ohio and Indiana.

“We are in the middle of maple country in the whole world. While you can tap red maples, the sugar density is different, thus not as flavorful.”

The flavor of maple syrup is derived from the soil where the tree grows, therefore, syrup from New York will have a different flavor than syrups from other areas. Yet syrup isn’t the only product sap is used for, it can also be processed into sugar, cream, candy, barbecue sauces, and other value-added products.

“Back in my grandparents' day, they would make blocks of maple sugar and take it to the market to trade. They would barter the maple sugar for groceries. The grocers would then turn around and sell the sugar to other consumers. During the war (World War II) sugar was in short supply, maple sugar was a way to sweeten things up. It can also be used in place of dry sugar in recipes, as can maple syrup; there is a conversion chart for that purpose.”

Not only has Bray opened his doors to residents of Western New York, other visitors to his farm hailed from Italy, France, Spain, Japan and England. 

“In other countries, maple syrup is a total luxury.”

The only thing in pure maple syrup is, well, syrup. For a Wyoming County producer to have their product labeled as pure New York State maple syrup, it must be accurately graded according to its color.

Part of the weekend also serves to educate the public on the nutritional value of syrup. Bray says, pure maple syrup has nutrients the body needs. 

Producers make the golden sweet liquid by concentrating the sap from the maple tree, which then produces a usable product. All the minerals and sugars in the sap are concentrated to 67-68 percent on the Brix scale (named after Adolf F. Brix (1798-1870)). The hydrometer scale is used for measuring the amount of sugar in a solution at a given temperature.

“Making syrup is entirely dependent on nature…the type of soil, the weather, the atmosphere. Even the barometric pressure affects the producer and when and if they can boil. The process of making syrup is to boil off the water, the more moisture in the air, the harder it will be to boil. Syrup boils at 7 degrees over the boiling point of water; depending on the day and barometric pressure, the boiling point can differ, even within the same county.

“The more educated we become, it actually becomes more complicated. However, new technology allows us to better come to our final product.”

In the 21 years Bray has been a part of Maple Weekend he has not only seen changes in how maple is produced – from buckets to vacuum lines, and from woodstove processing to using reverse osmosis – he has also seen the market for maple products grow.

“We want people to come and ask us questions and learn what syrup is, how it’s made and how it can be used. It’s more than just pancake syrup. Maple is versatile…and it’s good for you.”

Maple Weekend continues March 25 and 26. For more information click here.

See related: Maple Weekend kicks off Saturday











Friday, March 17, 2017 at 8:11 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Business, agribusiness.

Press release:

America’s farmers and ranchers will soon have the opportunity to strongly represent agriculture in their communities and industry by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them. The census is expected to be mailed at the end of this year.

“The Census of Agriculture remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “As such, census results are relied upon heavily by those who serve farmers and rural communities, including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, extension educators, researchers, and farmers and ranchers themselves.”

The census highlights land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, and other topics. The 2012 Census revealed that more than three million farmers operated more than two million farms, spanning over 914 million acres. This was a 4-percent decrease in the number of farms in the United States from the previous census in 2007. However, agriculture sales, income, and expenses increased between 2007 and 2012. This telling information and thousands of other agriculture statistics are a direct result of responses to the Census of Agriculture.

“Today, when data is so important, there is strength in numbers,” Hamer said. “For farmers and ranchers, participation in the 2017 Census of Agriculture is their voice, their future, and their opportunity to shape American agriculture – its policies, services, and assistance programs – for years to come.”

Producers who are new to farming or did not receive a Census of Agriculture in 2012 still have time to sign up to receive the 2017 report form by visiting and clicking on the "Make Sure You Are Counted" button through June. 

NASS defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year (2017).

For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture and to see how census data is used, visit or call (800) 727-9540.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 5:42 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, maple weekend, agribusiness, Business.



File photos

The 22nd Annual New York Maple Weekend celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 18,19, 25 and 26, at participating maple sugarhouses throughout Wyoming County. The Maple industry in the county is large and thriving, and even after this mild winter there is maple syrup in production.

Bring your whole family for an educational and fun experience. Learn how pure maple syrup is made from the sap of sugar maple trees. Tapping demonstrations, sap house tours, sugar-bush tours, and wagon rides- see, taste, and smell the maple-making process.  

Participating businesses include:

    • Merle Maple Farm, 1884 Route 98, Attica;

    • Hidden Valley Animal Adventure, 2887 Royce Road, Varysburg;

    • Beaver Meadow Audubon, 1610 Welch Road, North Java;

    • Maple Moon Farms, 1058 Attica Gulf Road, Attica;

    • Sage Family Maple, 4449 Sage Road, Warsaw;

    • Sweet Time Maple, 5680 Webster Road, Wyoming;

    • Wolcott Maple Syrup Products & Equipment, 1247 Dale Road, Dale (Wyoming);

    • Bray Farms, 1597 Bray Road, Arcade;

    • Georges Maple Products, 1766 Route 77, Strykersville;

    • Kibler Maple Products, 1802 Perry Road, North Java;

    • Kirsch’s Maple, Route 77, Varysburg;

    • Mohler Maple Products, 1627 Route 19, Wyoming; 

    • Over the Hill Maple, 2089 Maxon Road, Varysburg;

    • Siler’s Sugar Shanty, 2401 Pee Dee Road, North Java; and

    • Sudzy’s Purely Maple, 1076 Maxon Road, Attica.

For a complete list of activities, pancake breakfasts, and other happenings on Maple Weekend click here.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 6:30 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, health, Business, WCCH, ECMC, Warsaw.

Wyoming County Community Health System (WCCH) and Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMC) have signed an administrative services agreement to strengthen and reposition WCCH for the future. On March 14, the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors accepted the recommendation of WCCH’s Board of Managers and authorized WCCH Chief Executive Officer Donald Eichenauer to sign the agreement.

As WCCH has expanded its services, it has developed relationships with providers from the Buffalo area. Many of those providers are affiliated with ECMC and/or Kaleida Health. These include Dr. Lindsey Clark, Dr. John Karpie and Dr. Paul Mason, all of who provide orthopedic services at WCCH; and Western New York Urology Associates, a Kaleida Heath entity. Clark is a provider through UBMD Physicians Group. Karpie and Mason are providers with Buffalo Orthopedics Group. Additionally, new agreements are currently being finalized through existing agreements with ECMC or Kaleida Health-related providers, which will enhance Ear, Nose and Throat, Allergy and Nephrology Services at WCCH.

“Like most community hospitals, the path to survival in an ever-evolving health care market will be enhanced by relationships with larger facilities that are able to support the community hospital with administrative and provider resources they are not able to obtain independently,” Eichenauer said. “It is WCCH’s objective to take advantage of the opportunities provided by ECMC and its affiliation with Kaleida Health and the University at Buffalo through their mutual partnership in Great Lakes Health System, which will provide better access to a wide range of health care services at WCCH; we will now look at the necessary steps towards a future management agreement with ECMC.”

The Board of WCCH says it was also impressed with ECMC’s experience and knowledge related to the governmental and human resources requirements of WCCH. Both ECMC and WCCH have employees who are represented by the Civil Service Employees Association Inc. (CSEA). Although an independent Public Benefit Corporation since 2004, ECMC is one of the few remaining county-owned hospitals in the state.

“ECMCC is excited with the board’s decision, which will permit ECMC to work closely with WCCH and share best practices and scale that will create cost reductions and efficiencies,” said ECMC President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., Ph.D.

“Importantly, through this agreement, we will integrate our health care service teams to identify opportunities to share practices that will enhance and strengthen the delivery of quality health care services to patients across the entire organization.”

As part of the new relationship, ECMC will also be working with WCCH to provide upgraded administrative and financial management resources and support.

“Through a deliberate and careful process over several months, the necessary steps have been taken toward an administrative services agreement with ECMC that will maintain the financial viability of WCCH,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Douglas Berwanger. “It will preserve quality health care at the hospital well into the future.”

Since October 2012, WCCH has had a previous collaboration agreement with (University of Rochester) UR Medicine, Rochester. WCCH anticipates having a continued positive relationship with UR Medicine and the services and providers it supplies to the hospital.

WCCH is a 62-bed rural, acute-care hospital accredited by The Joint Commission. It is the sole inpatient provider for Wyoming County, which has a population of approximately 43,000. In addition to an Acute Care Hospital, its services include an attached 138-bed Nursing Home, Adult Day Health Care, and an Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit. The hospital has approximately 3,000 inpatient admissions, and 14,000 Emergency Department visits per year.

Its mission is to provide outstanding healthcare services and to have a positive impact on the health of its rural community. For more information visit or its Facebook page.

The ECMC Corporation was established as a New York State Public Benefit Corporation. Since 2004 it has included an advanced academic medical center with 602 inpatient beds, on- and off-campus health centers, more than 30 outpatient specialty care services and Terrace View, a 390-bed, long-term care facility.  

ECMC is Western New York’s only Level 1 Adult Trauma Center, as well as a regional center for burn care, behavioral health services, transplantation, medical oncology and head and neck cancer care, rehabilitation, and a major teaching facility for the University at Buffalo. Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the university and/or members of a private practice plan.

For more information visit and follow ECMC on social media via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Monday, March 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm


From left: Lindsay Chamberlain, of Wyoming, representing Collegiate Cornell Farm Bureau; Ben Restivo, Future Farmers of America member, and Brian Parker, representing Wyoming County Farm Bureau, with Sen. Patrick Gallivan.

Press release (photo submitted):

Members from the Wyoming County Farm Bureau spent two days in Albany last week, meeting with lawmakers to highlight the organization’s state public policy priorities for the year.

The county Farm Bureau hosted a table at the Taste of New York Reception for state lawmakers, commissioners, and staff, which featured local farm products. Members also participated in the annual Lobby Day on Tuesday where they met with both their local senator and assemblyman as well as New York City lawmakers that the county Farm Bureau adopted.

At State Capitol, county members advocated for a number of priorities this year, including securing a refundable investment tax credit for farmers. With 2015 farm income down nearly 20 percent to $5.3 billion across the state, according to the latest figures from the National Agriculture Statistics Service, tools need to be in place to help farmers weather the downturn. This initiative would incentivize farm investment to meet the needs of global competition.

Additionally, advocates pushed to double the minimum wage tax credit from $30 million to $60 million. The first step of the minimum wage hike climbed at the beginning of the year on its way to $15 an hour for farms on Long Island and $12.50 for Upstate farmers. New York Farm Bureau (NYFB) led the way in opposition to the hike last year, resulting in a $250 tax credit per employee for this first year of the increase. That will cover only a small fraction of what it will cost family farms to implement the wage hike.

State funding for critical farm programs is another top priority for Farm Bureau. Governor Andrew Cuomo included a number of things in his budget plan which would help agriculture in the state. This includes funding for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPA), which will assist farms with water quality, conservation and farmland protection programs, as well as necessary investments into animal health programs. 

Farm Bureau asked lawmakers to restore funding for promotion and research programs that also benefit agriculture. NYFB also supports the governor’s proposed $2 billion clean water infrastructure program that includes $70 million for nutrient management and conservation programs to reduce farm runoff.

The Farm to Food Bank bill is another top priority for NYFB members who have seen the governor veto the popular legislation the past two years. Members asked their lawmakers to include the tax credit that encourages greater fresh food donations to regional food banks and local food pantries to be included in their one-house budget bills.

These priorities are based on member-approved public policies that originate every year at the county Farm Bureau level and are passed by the full delegate body at NYFB’s State Annual Meeting in December.

In addition to advocating for priorities with lawmakers, county Farm Bureau members also participated in a special panel discussion with the commissioners from the departments of Agriculture and Markets, Environmental Conservation, and Labor.

The Wyoming County Farm Bureau is dedicated to advocate for public policies that will not only benefit agriculture but support rural communities as a whole.

NYFB is the State’s largest agricultural lobbying/trade organization and is “the voice of New York agriculture.” It is dedicated to solving the economic and public policy issues challenging the agricultural community.

Monday, March 13, 2017 at 9:41 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, announcements, Business, education, Perry.

A message from the Perry Central School District (PCSD): 

We would like to make our local business owners and community members aware that the Perry Central School District is not soliciting funds in support of PCSD through the All American T-shirt Company. 

Its representatives worked with the district Friday to end the solicitations.

We have asked that if businesses did purchase advertising, that any payments already made be refunded. All American T-shirt agreed to do so and we thank them for working with us to correct this situation.

We greatly appreciate the support of our local businesses and community members and apologize for the confusion. 

In instances that the District is engaged in fundraising efforts, we will inform you directly. Should you receive any calls soliciting your support in the future, you can contact the district Business Office at (585) 237-0270, ext. 1001, to verify the validity of the efforts before giving any information to the caller.

Friday, March 10, 2017 at 6:53 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Agri-Palooza, Business, agribusiness, Castile.


Press release (file photo).

The seventh annual Agri-Palooza 2017 will be held at Southview Farms, 5073 Upper Reservation Road, Castile. It is sponsored by Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism and the Wyoming County Farm Bureau and highlights agriculture in Wyoming County. The public is invited to discover, experience, and enjoy farming and all that it entails by spending the day on a working farm. 

The free event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 4.

Southview Farms got its start in 1940 when James VanArsdale III  purchased a small farm in Castile. Today, it has become one of Wyoming County’s leading dairy producers. 

In 1964, Dick Popp joined the operation as a partner. Following his death in 1997, current General Manager John Noble joined the business. Jamie VanArsdale IV along with his wife, Margaret, continue to live and work on site. 

Cows are milked three times a day at two locations by the 47 employees.. In addition to taking care of more than 2,000 cows and 1,600 young stock, they harvest more than 3,100 acres of corn, alfalfa and wheat.

Agri-Palooza features educational displays, farm tours, and children’s games and activities. Attendees will also see the variety of Wyoming County products on both display and for purchase. 

For more information and updates follow Agri-Palooza on Facebook.

The Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism is the leading membership organization for local and regional growth, advocacy, and connection for Wyoming County’s business community. Its mission is to serve the members and community; promote and grow the area’s economic and tourism assets; and work collaboratively to create an environment that leads to the success and economic prosperity of Wyoming County. 

For more information or to become a member call (585) 786-0307 or visit

Friday, March 10, 2017 at 10:49 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Business, education.

Press release:

For the ninth consecutive year, the Buffalo Bills and M&T Bank are calling on fans to nominate Western New York’s Hall of Fame-caliber educators for the 2017 M&T Bank Touchdown for Teachers program. The program recognizes local teachers for extraordinary service to their schools and communities.

This year, the Bills and M&T are hoping to gather the most nominations in the program’s history. To make it happen, they’re challenging each of the schools throughout the 15-county region that is eligible for the competition to nominate at least one of their outstanding teachers.

“The Touchdown for Teachers program has allowed M&T Bank and the Buffalo Bills to provide some of our region’s best educators with the recognition they deserve,” said Pegula Sports and Entertainment Executive Vice President of Business Development Erica Muhleman. “Our children rely on the hard work and dedication of local teachers to achieve their fullest potential, and it is an honor to celebrate their exceptional efforts.”

Five finalists will be selected based upon their involvement in their school and community, the significance of their positive impact and their proven commitment to the education of their students. One of the five finalists will be named the Grand Prize winner.

Educators must be nominated by the public through the application form at no later than March 31. Finalists will be notified no later than April 14.

“You may not see their names next to Jim Kelly or Thurman Thomas on the Bills’ Wall of Fame, but our community is home to so many Hall of Fame-caliber educators who truly are heroes for local students and their schools,” said M&T Bank Retail Market Manager in Western New York Jim Jarosz. “As we celebrate the ninth year of the Touchdown for Teachers contest, we encourage students, parents and school officials to take a moment to nominate an educator who’s making a difference today.”

Each of the five finalists and a guest will be invited to a Bills private event where they will be honored, and the winner of the 2017 Touchdown for Teachers program will be announced. The Grand Prize winner will receive:

    • $2,000 in grant funds, payable to their school or district, to advance their efforts to improve the school community;
    • An in-class visit from a Buffalo Bills player or alumnus.

The four remaining finalists will receive $500 in grant funds, payable to their school or district to strengthen their impact.

To be eligible, educators must live in one of the eight Western New York counties, which includes Wyoming County; the Rochester area; and McKean County, Pa., or Ontario County, Ontario, Canada.

Educators qualifying for nomination to this program are defined as individuals directly involved in the instruction and education of students, including but not limited to: teachers, guidance counselors and teacher’s aides. School and district administrators are not eligible for recognition as finalists but are welcome to nominate educators for recognition.

Information and nomination forms are available at They can be submitted online, or downloaded and mailed to: Pegula Sports and Entertainment, to the attention of Sara Petrone at 199 Scott St., Suite 200, Buffalo, NY 14204.

M&T Bank is the official bank of the Buffalo Bills and the exclusive provider of Bills checks and check cards. Further information about different fan contests and promotions through M&T Bank is available at  

About M&T Bank

Founded in 1856, M&T Bank ( is one of the 20 largest U.S. commercial bank holding companies, with more than $96 billion in assets and more than 650 branch offices in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 9:59 am



The Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism announces that Merle Maple Farm of Attica, has been named the 2017 Agribusiness of the year. The annual award was presented at the 10th Annual Pride of Agriculture dinner Saturday at the North Java Fire Department, Java.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we were very pleased to present the Agribusiness award to Lyle and Dottie Merle and Merle Maple Farm for their commitment to Wyoming County’s agriculture industry and their support of the community,” said Chamber President Scott Gardner. “The Merle’s are a strong voice for the maple industry, dedicated to education and their craft, and are outstanding agricultural ambassadors for Wyoming County.”

In his opening remarks, Gardner touched upon the legacy those in agriculture leave.

“In that word are meanings like family, tradition, commitment, passion, and an eye to the future. The legacy is borne out of the blood, sweat and tears of our pasts, the hard decisions and the growing pains, achievements of innovation, and knowing that you’re doing this for posterity.

“To leave a legacy you have to love what you do and instill that in your children and grandchildren by fostering pride, purpose, and ownership, through dedication and a belief in the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ agriculture is important.”

The annual agribusiness award is given to a business that exemplifies the following criteria: contributions to the economic vitality and quality of life of Wyoming County, capital investments, business expansions, job growth, community involvement, and their contributions that strengthen their industry sector.

The Pride of Agriculture dinner also featured the annual presentation of the coveted Pride of Agriculture -- Good Neighbor Award, given to Charles and Velma Seewaldt, of Varysburg, and the new Friend of Wyoming County Agriculture award given to Jodi Smith, of Arcade. Both awards are given by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County, the Wyoming County Farm Bureau, and the Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism offices. 

See related: Merle Maple Farm awarded Agribusiness of the Year











Monday, March 6, 2017 at 5:16 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, mAPLE, Attica, Business, agribusiness.



A reporter caught them at lunchtime and with the graciousness of those accustomed to a tight-knit rural community, Lyle and Dottie Merle spent the next couple of hours chatting about their maple farm.

During the annual Ag Awards dinner Saturday evening, Lyle and Dottie were the recipients of the Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism Agribusiness of the Year Award for 2017.

“The annual agribusiness award is given to a business that exemplifies the following criteria: contributions to the economic vitality and quality of life of Wyoming County, capital investments, business expansions, job growth, community involvement, and their contributions that strengthen their industry sector,” said Chamber President Scott Gardner.

Merle (pronounced Mer-Lee) Maple Farm began around the 1870s with the “farm up the hill,” Lyle says.

The farm “up the hill” was located on Merle Road off Merkle Road in Attica. Although the farm was lost during the depression, their current farm, on Route 98 in Attica, well, “technically the Town of Bennington, with an Attica address, but with a Varysburg phone number,” has been in use since then. And it’s a good thing too, Lyle had said, because “fortunate for us, sap runs down – his family hails from both France and England – he is the fourth generation, of the six generations of Merles involved in agriculture, on the maple side of farming.

“When I was still in high school, my dad gave me the option of going to school (college) or continue on the farm,” Lyle said. “I opted to continue the tradition of making syrup.”

As with many of those who are self-employed, Lyle went to the “school of hard knocks,” learning the family business by virtue of growing up with parents who have carved out a niche by the sweat of their brow and determination.

“My dad was quite creative and innovative and involved in the cutting edge of the industry. I guess I inherited that from him.”

Lyle not only owns and operates the maple farm, he is also on the Cornell University advisory committee for New York State, as well as a delegate for the State’s International Maple Syrup Institute.

Merle Maple Farm has received a number of Best in Show ribbons for its maple syrup at the New York State Fair. And it was one of the very first maple producers to be listed with the Taste of New York tourism campaign, which featured their products at Taste of NY kiosks up and down the NYS Thruway.

Additionally, the Merles received the Maple Producer of the Year award in 2007. In 1988, Lyle’s father, Arthur, was inducted into the Maple Hall of Fame, and received the Hubbell Award by the New York State Department of Ag and Markets, which acknowledged their work to further education of maple sugaring.

Maple season typically begins in January with the season occasionally lasting until April 15, but is entirely weather dependent. While tapping can be done anytime the temperature rises above freezing, it’s the overnight temperatures that ensure a lengthy season. When it freezes overnight the tree draws up the sap from the roots. Anytime you have cold weather you can tap, but it has to be consistently cold at least a week or the syrup has a different flavor. Depending on the type of weather you have that season can also change the flavor of the syrup. Once the weather consistently stays above freezing both during the day and overnight, tapping is finished.

“The season is typically 25 days, but in those 25 days it’s pretty close to a 24-hour operation.”

When the Merle family began tapping, they never had more than 1,000 buckets to catch the sap and they used horse-drawn carriages to collect the buckets. That all changed with they began to use a tubbing system in 1958. 

About 10 years ago about a quart of sap a day was harvested from the trees, which produced about 4,200 gallons of syrup a day. To further increase production, they now use a reverse-osmosis process and vacuum pumps to extract and process the sap. 

The Merles have approximately 17,000 taps and at least 100 miles of line on the 400-acre farm. Of those taps, 4,500 run directly into the tap house, the remaining run into holding tanks scattered throughout the property. The sap is then collected and brought to the storage tanks at the tap house. 

Generally speaking, it takes approximately 50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. On any given day, the farm produces two gallons of syrup a day per tap, which equates to approximately 20,000 gallons of sap a day to produce around 400 gallons of syrup a day. That’s about 8,500 gallons of syrup in one season.

In addition to the syrup production, the farm also makes sugar, spreads, candies, gummy leaves, and even barbecue sauce. To make the value added products it takes approximately 400 gallons of syrup to make sugar, 800 gallons for the maple spread, and 1,600 gallons for the candies. 

When asked how they keep up with production, Lyle’s answer was an easy “Well, there’s 24 hours in a day…” 

Operating one’s own business is no easy task, but they “do what it takes to get the job done.” With 15 employees – mostly part-time – Lyle says a typical day begins around 6:30 a.m.. And while his 102-year-old mother, Florence, still gets up and helps when she can, he said – with tongue-in-cheek – “since she turned 100, it was tough to get a full day's work out of her.”

Although working in the woods is taxing, Lyle said he has no desire to retire and “shuffle cards in Florida.”

“Many people may think we (business owners) only work half a day. And really, that’s true, it just depends on which 12 hours it is. Many people don’t get the opportunity to be a part of a family business, I’ve been fortunate in that department.” 

One of the most rewarding experiences Lyle has with working and owning the Maple Farm is that he is able to create new products and able to keep ahead of the industry. He also enjoys the value of Maple Weekend, which he says he is able to educate the general public about the maple industry and how it has evolved over the years.

A few of the innovative changes he has made to the business is the use of UV lighting which sterilizes the sap to allows them to keep the sap longer before processing without losing the quality of the product. The advances in how the sap is boiled has also allowed the company to produce more with using less energy. For example, instead of using wood to boil the sap they use fuel oil. Even with the use of fuel oil, Lyle has developed a way to use less fuel oil for boiling now than was used in years past.

“It used to take four gallons of fuel oil for every gallon of syrup made. Now it takes one gallon of fuel oil for processing. We are doing our part to be green and produce for efficiency.”

itstheir consumption of fuel oil, they also replace trees that are too old or have been damaged in some way for use. Additionally, Lyle “thins” the woods to allow for better growth of mature trees. A tree has to be about 30 years old for it to be tapped. Some of the trees he currently taps are around 100 years old. However, even with the thinning of the woods, he is conscientious in replacing the trees he removes with new ones. 

Sprawling over the land across the road, one can notice several dozen saplings planted for use for future generations, and as he says he likes “watching the trees grow.”

“What can I say, I like to plant trees. They don’t argue and you don’t have to send them to college. Some of those trees will be around 100 years after we are gone.”

In addition to developing better practices to increase productivity, the couple has developed a barbecue sauce recipe with no corn syrup in it. Dottie is certified to make acidified products – barbecue and hot sauce fall into this category.

Ever thinking of new products to make, the Merle’s decided to try their hand at making gummy leaves. 

“The first batch didn’t have the right consistency,” Dottie said. “We needed to find a way to make the product not quite as sticky.”

Working with students from the food science class at Cornell University, they have developed a better consistency for the product.

“Farmers don’t do it all by themselves,” Lyle said. “It also takes engineers that have developed the technology to help us advance in our field.”

Maple syrup is only produced in the northeastern part of the United States and Canada. And while there is a bit of “friendly competition” between the States and its northern counterpart, the demand for maple products has a growth rate of about 10 percent per year.

“Fifty years ago it was a 24 million pound worldwide market for maple products. Today, it has grown to about 170 million pounds,” Lyle said. “We in the industry feel that we can grow to 300 million pounds worldwide. People in Quebec (Canada), use maple products seven times more than we do here and live three years longer. I just think we need to use more maple products.

“We work to educate the consumer, because when you grow up in the field, it becomes second nature.”

As Lyle says, our customers don’t necessarily have to be our neighbors, a developed area to a farmer is an acre of woods or corn or wheat, because cities, well, they are “customer storage units.”

“I was told way back when that Western New York was a leader in agriculture. The reason we are leading is because we work with our neighbors and share ideas and knowledge. In a conversation, you always get something out of it. You may be giving away information, but you’re always getting something back.”

Lyle and Dottie have both contributed many hours and a great deal of maple products at various conferences and workshops, with the aim of helping other maple producers learn to make better maple, create a better value added maple product, and even the marketing and improvement of a maple display.

Last fall Lyle and Dottie hosted a value-added workshop at their maple kitchens, with the help of Eileen Downs and NYS Maple Specialist Steve Childs. Several batches of syrup were cooked for melt-in-your-mouth maple sugar pieces, including cinnamon flavored and cinnamon cream, and granulated maple syrup.

“A group came from Michigan to learn how to make a maple product. And the universal comment was that ‘no one would ever show us how to do this back home.’ But that’s the way it is here, not just in the maple business, but across agriculture in all of Western New York,” Lyle said. “If you get into other areas of the state, you may find a different view, but here, we believe in all boats rising.”

Even though Lyle and his brothers are no longer in business together – they had a combined farm that included some crops and cows – they still all support each other. During maple weekend, a patron may find at least 30 members of the Merle family working in some capacity to assist the 3,000 people that visit the farm during the event. And even though some of those who help during the two-day affair aren’t blood related, to the Merles, they are still family.

Maple Weekend will be held March 18 and 19, and 25 and 26.

For more information about Merle Maple Farm visit or their Facebook page.











Friday, February 24, 2017 at 4:17 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Business, Warsaw, Castile.

Press release:

Proving that a minute can matter, Tompkins Bank of Castile is launching its third round of the quarterly Community Minute Challenge. Each quarterly winner is awarded $2,500; by the end of the contest, a total of $10,000 will have been provided in much-needed funds to local not-for-profit organizations.

“The response to the Community Minute Challenge has been tremendous, and we’re thrilled to be able to help shine a light on the important services that are provided by not-for-profit organizations in our area,” said John McKenna, Bank president and CEO.

The third round will begin February 27 and run through March 13. The winning organization is determined by public voting on the Bank of Castile Facebook page, where visitors can watch the one-minute videos produced by participating nonprofits and then vote for their favorite. Each video explains how the nonprofit would use the awarded funds. The six organizations competing in this round are:

    • Wyoming County Community Action (Wyoming County)  

    • Al Sigl Community of Agencies (Monroe County)

    • Batavia Rotary (Genesee County)

    • Focus on the Children (Livingston County)

    • Genesee Amateur Hockey Association (Genesee County) 

    • Villa of Hope (Monroe County) 

To show support for the initiative and cast a vote, participants should “like” the Tompkins Bank of Castile Facebook page at and click on the Community Minute Challenge app. They can then select their favorite nonprofit after watching the one-minute videos. Individuals can vote once per day during the contest period.

Launched in August 2016, the Community Minute Challenge has awarded $5,000 to date. The first-round winner was Going to the Dogs Rescue in Wyoming County, an organization dedicated to helping homeless pets find loving forever homes. The second-round winner was ARC of Genesee Orleans, a resource of choice for people with disabilities and their families in both Genesee and Orleans counties. Photos of the previous winners are available upon request. A fourth round of the Community Minute Challenge will launch later this year.

Tompkins Bank of Castile is a community bank with 16 offices in the five-county Western New York region. Services include complete lines of consumer deposit accounts and loans, business accounts and loans, and leasing. In addition, insurance is offered through an affiliate company, Tompkins Insurance Agencies. Wealth management, trust and investment services are provided through Tompkins Financial Advisors. Further information about the bank is available on its website,

Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 3:05 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Castile, fire, crime, Business, news.



 Amy S. Goodenow

Amy S. Goodenow, no age provided, of Castile was charged with arson in the third degree, a Class C felony, for allegedly setting a fire that destroyed a Castile business.

The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office says, during the early morning hours of Feb. 15 a fire broke out at the Castile Diner, 125 S. Main St., Castile. When deputies arrived at the Main Street restaurant they noticed a “working structure fire” and say Goodenow was at the scene at the time of the incident.

After both a fire and criminal investigation, officials determined that the fire was intentionally set. 

Although Goodenow owns the business, the contents and building are owned by Steve Gitsis.

Members from Castile, Silver Springs, Gainesville, Bliss, Pike, and Nunda fire departments were on the scene for close to five hours putting out the flames. 

Assisting at the scene included Wyoming County Emergency Services, the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department, the New York State Police, and the Village of Castile. Standing by at empty fire stations included Perry, Warsaw and Fillmore fire departments.

Goodenow, who was jailed on $5,000 cash bail and $10,000 bond, subsequently posted bail and was released. 

She is due in the Village of Castile Court at 7:30 p.m. April 3.

See related: Castile Diner fire remains under investigation



Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 7:56 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Business, agriculture, Warsaw, DEC.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County (CCE) is offering a pesticide applicator training session and recertification course from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. March 21 at the Wyoming County Agriculture and Business Center, 36 Center St., Warsaw. The exam begins at 1 p.m..

This session is geared for individuals planning to take the Core and Category Pesticide Certification exam specific to the focus of their work. 

If applying for Core Recertification credits, you must bring your Pesticide Certification ID card with you. This session will carry 3.50 Core Recertification Credits. This course is open to those seeking private or commercial category Pesticide Applicator certification. 

Individual responsibilities with CCE include:

    • Preregister with CCE for the training session only, by calling Don Gasiewicz at (585) 786-2251 or emailing him at There is a $20 fee for extension enrollees and a $25 fee for non-enrollees. Any questions regarding the certification class can be directed to Gasiewicz as well.

    • You need to purchase the required training manual(s) from the CCE office. Manuals for all categories must be ordered through CCE. Once you know which manual(s) you need, contact Gasiewicz to purchase and/or order. Questions regarding which manual(s) you may need to order, must be directed the NYSDEC at (716) 851-7220.

Individual Responsibilities with New York State DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation)

    • DEC pesticides test. The pesticide exam is conducted by the DEC and is held at the Wyoming County Agriculture and Business Center at 1 p.m. March 21.

    • NYSDEC requires advance registration to be eligible to take the certification exam. If you are planning to take the exam, you must first call the NYSDEC Pesticide Division at (716) 851-7220 to discuss eligibility.

    • If you are eligible, DEC will send you an exam packet, which you must fill out and return to them with your examination fee of $100. You must be preregistered with DEC to take the exam. No walk-ins will be allowed. All questions regarding your certification should be directed to the DEC.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, education, Business, Warsaw, healthcare.

Press release:

Western New York Rural Area Health Education Center (R-AHEC), Warsaw, recently received a $607,616 in funding for healthcare and workforce development programs. The Health Workforce Retraining Initiative (HWRI) funding was awarded by the New York State Department of Health and Labor.

The time period covered by this grant is Jan. 1, through Dec. 31, 2018.

Since 2001, R-AHEC has completed several successful cycles of HWRI funding and provided training opportunities to 7,052 healthcare professionals. With the new grant award, more than 2,500 healthcare professionals are expected to be trained. 

The trainings topics will include: Computer Skills of Short Duration, Healthcare Leadership, and LPN Training. 

Under this grant, healthcare employers in Wyoming County, as well as counties in Central and Western New York, and the counties surrounding the Rochester area, may be eligible to receive training for their employees.

R-AHEC is committed to assisting and supporting healthcare employees in reaching their professional goal and in providing the highest quality healthcare possible through the Health Workforce Retraining Initiative.

For more information on this program, contact Kathy Wood at

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 2:47 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, Business, Warsaw, Attica, Arcade, Perry, Main Street.


New York adopted the "click-through nexus" law in 2008. It requires certain out-of-state or online merchants to collect tax on sales of their own merchandise. That first-in-the-nation law is the template for statutes in nearly two dozen other states and survived court challenges, including the New York State Court of Appeals.

Within Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget is a proposal seeking to require “marketplace providers” to collect New York’s state and local sales taxes on merchandise shipped into the state from out-of-state sellers. This proposal applies the existing nexus law to a new and growing Internet sales platform.

“Online retailers put brick-and-mortar businesses on our Main streets at a competitive disadvantage,” said Wyoming County Chamber President Scott Gardner. “They (online retailers) may not be collecting the sales tax on merchandise, whereas a local merchant has to because they are located in New York.”

If the online business does not have a physical presence in the state, it can be more difficult for the state to enforce the collection of the sales tax from purchases made by New York consumers.

“It hurts people like our independent booksellers, small retailers, gift shops, clothing stores, etcetera,” Gardner said.

The budget proposal would require online marketplaces with more than $100 million in annual sales to collect and remit tax just as consignment shop owners and auction houses now do. Estimates show that improved enforcement of existing tax laws would result in some $275 million in fiscal year 2018-19.

Wyoming County Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Berwanger was unavailable for comment.

Friday, February 17, 2017 at 2:54 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, announcements, Business, Warsaw.



Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce President Scott Gardner has often said: “The best ambassadors for Wyoming County are those that live and work in the county. And if we can give them to tools to encourage people to visit, we are going to do that.”

Thursday evening the Chamber hosted a get-together for members to officially unveil the 2017 Wyoming County Tourism Guide.

“We wanted to get people together to network and visit on a social level…connect with other businesses in the county.”

The travel guides can be found at area businesses and at the Chamber office at 36 Center St., Warsaw. 

For information about joining the Chamber call (585) 786-0307 or visit






Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 4:48 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Warsaw, Business.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County (CCE), in cooperation with Genesee Valley BOCES, will be offering a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) Training Program for both Class A and Class B licenses from 7 to 9 p.m. March 2, 8, and 9 at the Ag and Business Center, 36 Center St., Warsaw. This course is offered to farm owners, operators, and their employees.

For questions contact Debra Welch at (585) 786-2251 or email

To register contact Zach at (585) 786-2251 or

Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 4:07 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Business, Warsaw, Strykersville.



The term “shop local” isn’t just a fancy catch phrase to entice county residents to support their local businesses. Taxes collected on purchases made within the county’s borders directly impact the amount residents pay in property taxes – more dollars spent in the county means less taxes homeowners pay in the long run.

As a way to encourage consumers to shop in Wyoming County, the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce initiated the Shop Wyoming & Win campaign. Now in its fifth year, the campaign is held during the holiday season – between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. For every purchase of $50 or more made in the county, consumers were able to submit their names for a chance to win prizes donated by local merchants.

“The prizes are made possible with the strong support of two county businesses,” said Wyoming County Chamber President Scott Gardner. “We thank Ace Hardware, of Attica and Warsaw, for the first-time donation of the Weber gas grill, and Harding’s Attica Furniture and Flooring for stepping up again this year and donating a rocker recliner. These two businesses never hesitate to participate and we hope that shoppers will stop in to support these outstanding local family run small businesses.” 

The recent campaign saw 650 shoppers participating, $451,519 in total money spent in Wyoming County, for an estimated $36,121 in sales taxes collected. That represents a 27-percent increase from the previous year.

Of those who dropped their receipts off at the 33 drop boxes located throughout the county, 73 percent were county residents, 25 percent were from outside the county, and 2 percent didn’t disclose an address. Additionally, 21 percent of shoppers hailed from Arcade, 19 percent from Perry, 18 percent from Warsaw, and 14 percent from Attica. Bliss, Castile, Java, Gainesville, Strykersville, Varysburg, and Wyoming residents made up anywhere from 2 to 8 percent of the remaining shoppers. 

Out of county shoppers included those from Mount Morris (13 percent), Batavia (11 percent), South Wales (6 percent), Cuba (5 percent), Rushford (3 percent), and others.

The Chamber held the drawing at the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. As tradition dictates, the most senior members of the Board – town supervisors Jerry Davis (Covington), Doug Berwanger (Arcade), and John Copeland (Wethersfield) – drew the winning tickets.

This year’s winners are: Stephanie Baiocco, of Marilla, who won the Weber Gas Grill; Ron Snell, of Delevan, who won the rocker recliner; and Annette Hyman, of Strykersville, who won the $100 Wyoming County Visa gift card.

“Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Shop Wyoming and Win contest. This year’s promotion was another record breaker and we again exceeded local shopping revenue goals over last year,” Gardner said.

“Thank you to the local businesses who participated, and all the shoppers for making this event a success. Thank you to everyone who participated by shopping locally, placed a drop box in their business, or supported the program in some way.”


Monday, January 16, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Press release:

Up to $600,000 in grant money is available for local growers to submit proposals to enhance specialty crops in New York State. The funding aims to support research and grower education programs through the NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the NY Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI) under the Specialty Crop Block Grant program.

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) is encouraging local growers proposals to include crops such as fruits, vegetables, hops, maple syrup, honey, horticulture, and nursery crops.    

The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to give the state’s specialty crop producers a competitive edge and increase the long-term success of the state’s agricultural industry.

“This funding is designed to support programs and research that help farmers better compete in the marketplace by increasing efficiency and reducing costs,” Gallivan said. “By supporting the latest research and education, we can help ensure New York’s incredibly diverse agriculture industry continues to grow and thrive.” 

The following priority areas have been identified:

    • research and/or education addressing a key conventional or organic production problem or need specific to New York State;

    • developing and increasing the use of Integrated Pest Management strategies and programs;

    • prioritizing and addressing native and exotic pests and disease threats through development of pest risk assessments;

    • supporting plant breeding for the development of specialty crops resistant to exotic and native pests;

    • applied research and development to extend the growing season of New York specialty crops through new technologies, improved management practices, or other innovative production strategies; and

    • developing new seed varieties and specialty crops with optimal performance under New York State conditions.

Eligible applicants include not-for-profit organizations and educational institutions, and local and Indian tribal governments. Grant funds will only be awarded to applicants whose projects have statewide significance to the specialty crop industry and do not propose to only benefit a single organization, institution, individual or commercial product. 

Applications are due Feb. 14. Additionally, projects must be completed within two years from the award date.

For application details visit:


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