agriculture

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, Business, Warsaw, agriculture, agribusiness.

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Her excitement about her newest venture was evident in her voice and the light in her eyes.

“On Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 7) we are going to have a 'sha-bang',” said Burley Berries and Blooms owner Megan Burley. “We are going to have pumpkins, flowers, kid activities, apple dumplings, and we hope to sell East Hill (Creamery) cheeses as well and hope to have melted cheese on potatoes.”

Late last month, Burley officially opened the “Blooms” portion of her business at 6335 Route 20A, Warsaw, with a ribbon cutting and plans on expanding both berry and flower varieties next season.

“Growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania I learned so much…and it's a good way to raise children. And it gave me the people interaction. So it's helped in this venture.”

Burley moved to Wyoming County five years ago following her marriage to Ryan Burley. Four years ago they planted strawberries. This summer she expanded her U-pick offerings to include U-pick flowers.

Although this is Burley’s first year experimenting with the flowers, this season was the third for her berry patches.

“I added the flowers because I love flowers and the garden in front was filled with flowers. I liked them growing up, so I decided to do my own. I didn’t want to go into debt to build the business so I am starting out small.”

However, Burley didn’t start out with an entrepreneurial career plan, after graduating from Penn State with a degree in Agricultural Science, she planned on doing crop consulting. Instead, she married Ryan and moved to New York.

“We met on Farmersonly.com and I presented the idea of my own business pretty early on in the relationship. I also work for Cornell Cooperative Extension and work with beginning farmers, so it’s helped me in what I’m doing as well.”

Although Megan grew up on a farm, she didn’t know much about cows until she met Ryan. Ryan continues to work his family farm – East Hill Farms – in Warsaw. Her family’s farm was focused on vegetable crops.

“Even in high school I grew strawberries. When we first moved here we put in a half acre of strawberries and added a half acre every year since. We are almost up to two acres of strawberries.”

Although planting the berry can begin as early as March, the picking season has a much shorter window – three to four weeks – and it takes two years for the plants to produce fruit. In order to extend the picking season as long as possible, Burley planted a variety of strawberry called Malwina. She hopes this will give her an extra two weeks of picking season.

“We’ve planted 15 varieties and next year we will have eight pickable varieties. We have Early Glow, which are the first strawberries of the season and are very sweet, and Jewel and Honeoye…they are all sweet varieties.”

To make the best use of the land, Burley plans on rotating the crops every few years. She intends on keeping a planting of strawberries for three to four years. By that fourth year, the yield is less. Subsequently, the patch of land Burley used for her initial crop of strawberries will now become a blueberry patch, she says.

In addition to her part-time employment with CCE and Berries and Blooms, Megan and Ryan have two toddlers – Judson, 2 years old, and Leena, 1.

“They are 11 months apart so it was a big surprise when we knew we were having them so close together… Strawberry season is more overwhelming than the flowers…there is more effort with the strawberries.”

However, she said she couldn’t do it without the help of her husband and augmenting child care with daycare.

“Half if not more of the people who come here are moms and they bring their kids. I’m a mom so I understand the juggling act, so I encourage them to bring the kids. I’m more in this for the people than growing the crop. However, I do hope to make this a full-time venture.”

In addition to the Warsaw location, goods from Burley Berries and Blooms can be found at the Geneseo Farmers Market from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 19, and in a possible new craft beer from the Silver Lake Brewing Project.

“They bought strawberries, blueberries and currants. The idea is to give the ale an aroma.”

Burley Berries is still offering U-pick flowers this year and are sold on a self-serve, U-pick basis. Flowers can also be bought at bulk pricing for weddings or events.

For more information about Burley Berries and Blooms call (585) 687-7050 or click here.

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Friday, September 22, 2017 at 12:13 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, agriculture, Warsaw, 4-H.

Information sourced from a press release

The Wyoming County Cornell Cooperative Extension Board of Directors recently selected Laura Fuller as its new executive director. Starting on Oct. 2, Fuller will lead the 100-year-old organization, as well as provide regional oversight for the Western Shared Business Network.

Fuller received her master’s degree from Ohio State University with specializations in sociology of agriculture, rural community studies, and community development.

“I am so excited to join the Wyoming County CCE team. Seeing the beauty of Wyoming County and the dedication of the staff and volunteers made it an easy decision,” Fuller said. “From meeting local stakeholders who took time out of their busy days to show me their farms and businesses, to the incredible turnout at the job presentations, it is clear that the citizens in Wyoming County care about what we do, and I look forward to being a part of that.”

Early in her Cooperative Extension career, Fuller worked in Ohio’s urban communities setting up 4-H After School clubs for at-risk youth. Additionally, she taught healthy nutrition in fourth-grade classrooms. She has held appointments as a 4-H educator and community development educator specializing in workforce, organizational, and leadership development. She is an experienced grant writer and has also served on regional and national committees to advance the work of Cooperative Extension.

Serving as an ombudsman for the Navy, Fuller worked with reservists and their families to overcome problems during mobilizations. She also served to support military families in times of crisis.

“We have long-tenured staff and volunteers who are competent, respected leaders and we sought someone with business acumen and roots in research to ensure that our future programming fully explores the needs of our community while addressing our long-term viability,” said Board President Keith Kibler. “We are confident Laura will add incredible energy and passion to an already impressive team at CCE of Wyoming County.”

For more information on Wyoming County CCE visit Wyoming.cce.cornell.edu.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 2:43 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, agriculture, announcements, Pike, 4-H.

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Information sourced from a press release, photos submitted:

A total of 1,040 exhibits were judged and awarded ribbons this year at the Wyoming County Fair in Pike. Additionally, 153 4-H Cloverbud exhibits were on display and awarded participation ribbons. Several displays and activities in the Youth Building reflected this year’s fair theme – Hometown Pride Shared County Wide.

Castile County Kids 4-H Club received First Place Blue for their 4-H Club educational exhibit. Master Builders 4-H Club won Second Place Blue and The Zoo Crew 4-H Club earned Third Place Blue.

Throughout the week, 32 4-H’ers repeated their public presentations and 22 mannequin-modeled in the Youth Building at the Pike Fair.

There were 160 exhibits from Wyoming County 4-H'ers at the New York State Fair in Syracuse Sept. 1-4. At State Fair, Wyoming County 4-H'ers were awarded 106 Blue Ribbons, 34 Red Ribbons, four White Ribbons and 13 Participation Ribbons (for Cloverbud exhibits).

The following 4-H member's projects were chosen to represent Wyoming County at the Pike fair and were on exhibit at this year’s New York State Fair:

Communications & Expressive Arts

    • Elliana Wolcott

Food & Nutrition (including Preserved Foods)

    • Jack Heppner

    • Allison Herrick

    • Derek Ikeler

    • Jodilee Ikeler

    • Aidan Kimpel

    • Lilah Stroud

    • Nathan Zywiczynski

    • Macy Boss

    • Danielle Herrick

    • Noelle Milhollen

    • Morgan Milhollen

    • Autumn Milhollen

    • Dylan Mirrione

    • Autumn Patterson

    • David Zywiczynski

    • Abigail Parker (3 items)

    • Grace Zywiczynski

    • Nathan Perl

    • Rachel Zielinski

    • Kelsey Arnold

    • Katie Fisher

    • Mya Hardie

    • Gae Mysliwiec

    • Isabella Noon

    • Elliana Wolcott

Fine Arts & Crafts

    • Rebecca Semmel

    • Emelyn Bell

    • Grace Kunze (2 items)

    • Megan Minkel (3 items)

    • Payton Romance

    • Grace Zywiczynski

    • Ashley Peila

    • Sorrell Brown

    • Bridgette Deer

    • Sylvia Waligora

    • Alexis Johnson

    • Katie Fisher

    • Danielle Herrick

    • Mary Jane Mathis (2 items)

    • Abigail Schreiber (2 items)

Hobby Crafts & Home Environment

    • Mary Jane Mathis (2 items)

    • Abigail Schreiber

    • Alexa Wolcott

    • Elliana Wolcott

    • Kelsey Arnold

    • Katelyn Hardie

    • Macy Boss

    • Rebecca Semmel (2 items)

Child Development/Care

    • Rebecca Semmel

Wearable Art

    • Emily Brown

    • Abigail Skillman

Textile & Clothing

    • Katie Fisher

    • Lilly Auger

    • Alexa Wolcott

    • Carlee Fisher

    • Linsey Rissinger

    • Katie Terry (2 items)

    • Miriam Shepard

    • Lea Tokarczyk

***Additionally, Abigail Parker had her dress selected for State Fair but could not have it formally judged due to her participation in the NYS Fair Fashion Revue.

Visual Arts/Photography

    • Nate Zywiczynski (2 items)

    • Rebecca Semmel

    • Noah Almeter

    • Caleigh Castlevetere

    • Alexa Domes (2 items)

    • Isabella Noon

    • Katie O’Hare (2 items)

    • Sarah Phillips (2 items)

    • Rebekah Spicer (2 items)

    • Katie Terry

    • Meredyth Weaver

    • David Zywiczynski

Vegetables

    • Elizabeth Skrzpek (4 items)

    • David Zywiczynski (8 items)

    • Grace Zywiczynski (8 items)

    • Joe Zielinski (5 items)

    • Mary Zielinski (4 items)

    • Rachel Zielinski (5 items)

Cut Flowers

    • Erika Conrad (3 items)

    • Rachel Hatch (4 items)

    • Grace Kunze (6 items)

    • Addison Zielenieski (4 items)

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

    • Abby Lewandowski

    • Colton Auger

    • Ella Szucs

    • Alexa Wolcott

    • Naomi Shepard

Cloverbud Exhibits

    • Eleanor Perl

    • Mary Harwood

    • Emily Harwood

    • Trinity Smith (2 items)

    • Abilene Foss

    • Owen Norton

    • Ashley Youngers

    • Madison Youngers

    • Izabelle Carmichael

    • Kaylee Powell

    • Charlotte Kirsch

Below are 4-H'ers who represented Wyoming County in the following events at the State Fair:

State Fair Fashion Revue

    • Caleigh Castlevetere

    • Genevieve Homac

    • Abigail Parker

    • Hannah Spicer

    • Rebekah Spicer

    • Natalie Standish

    • Margot Treadwell

    • Mary Zielinski

State Fair Produced in NYS Foods Presentation

    • Macy Boss

    • Alexa Wolcott

    • Elliana Wolcott

Teen Evaluators

    • Caleigh Castlevetere

    • Genevieve Homac

    • Abigail Parker

    • Mary Zielinski

    • Aurora Mysliwiec

County Booth Teen Leaders

    • Abigail Schreiber

    • Aurora Mysliwiec

    • Mary Zielinski

    • Caleigh Castlevetere

    • Genevieve Homac

    • Abigail Parker

    • Hannah Spicer

    • Rebekah Spicer

    • Natalie Standish

    • Margot Treadwell

Iron Chef Competition Wyoming County 4-Her’s

    • Abigail Schreiber

    • Caleigh Castlevetere

    • Abby Parker

    • Natalie Standish

Adult Volunteer Helper

    • Kay Swyers

The following Wyoming County 4-H’ers for received purple “Special Recognition” rosettes at the State Fair:

    • Nathan Perl – maple syrup

    • Danielle Herrick – basket

    • Abigail Schreiber – genealogy

    • Mary Jane Mathis – crocheted wool slouch hat

    • Emily Brown – knitted cable hat

    • Katie Fisher – lined Jacket

    • Katie Terry – prom dress

For more information about 4-H, call the CCE of Wyoming County 4-H office at (585) 786- 2251 or visit http://wyoming.cce.cornell.edu/

Top photos -- captions:

Top photo: Castile County Kids 4-H Club members and their First Place education booth at the Wyoming County Fair.

Second photo: Wyoming County 4-H'ers mannaquin model at the NY State Fair. First row: Margot Treadwell. Second row, seated from left: Hannah Spicer, Rebekah Spicer, Natalie Standish. From left, standing are: Mary Zielinski, Caleigh Castlevetere and Abby Parker.

Bottom photos -- captions:

Below: NYS Fair Produced in NYS Foods Contest participants, from left: Elliana Wolcott, Macy Boss and Alexa Wolcott.

Bottom: Wyoming County 4-H'ers who participated in the NYS Fair Iron Chef Competition, from left: Natalie Standish, Abigail Schreiber, Caleigh Castlevetere and Abby Parker.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 12:27 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, agriculture, Warsaw.

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Combine generous portions of food and drink, a dash of local flavor, and two worthwhile causes and you have the recipe for “Harvest Fest: A Celebration of Food from Field to Table.” The event runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the American Legion Hall in the Warsaw Village Park.

Now in its sixth year, Harvest Fest uses a food sampling format to celebrate local growers, restaurants and culture. For one price, attendees can taste a variety of local food and drink in a farm-market atmosphere that also includes raffles and family friendly activities.

The money raised will benefit The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming and the Wyoming County Business Education Council (BEC). The Arc provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The BEC assists local youth in becoming productive workers, lifelong learners, and better prepared for career choices.

Participating vendors include Byrncliff Resort and Conference Center, Deer Run Winery, Finger Lakes Cookie Company, Gordon and Karen Almeter, HLW Acres Poultry Processing, Honeygirl Gourmet, KidStart, The Lumber Yard Restaurant, Perry School Hightunnel & Garden, Pioneer FFA, the Wyoming County Dairy Princess, and Yummies.

Harvest Fest is made possible by a contribution from M&T Bank, with additional funding from Genesee Valley Federal Credit Union, and Farm Credit East.

Admission is $10 per person, and children 10 years old and under are free.

For tickets or more information, call Arc of Livingston-Wyoming event coordinator Suzanne Johnsen at (585) 658-2828, ext. 133, or visit harvestfest17.eventbrite.com.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Press release:

Adam Marquart has recently been named to the newly created New York State Young Farmer Advisory Board on Agriculture.

Recommended by Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma), Marquart is to serve on the 20-member board comprised of representatives of the agriculture industry from across the state.

“I always wanted to be a part of agriculture and have been blessed to be able to do so,” Marquart said. “I look forward to working together on a committee that encourages local agriculture sustainability and ensures New York State continues to be a place for agriculture and family farms to thrive.”

The board will identify issues relating to young and beginning farmers. Additionally, it will provide advice to the commissioner, the governor and relevant state agencies regarding the promotion of agriculture as a career path and the economic development of young and aspiring farmers.

Marquart has a degree in Logistics and Business Management from Niagara University and is Operations Manager for his family’s farm, Marquart Brothers LLC in Gainesville. The vegetable and dairy farm produces potatoes, green beans, corn, wheat and hay. The farm has also introduced a line of potato chips called New York Chips, made with 100-percent New York potatoes.

"I am confident that Adam and other members of the Young Farmer Advisory Board will provide valuable guidance to help ensure New York’s vital agriculture industry continues to grow and succeed,” Gallivan said. “The best way for the state to support our farmers is to hear directly from those who provide the food and farm products we depend on.”

The Board was established by legislation cosponsored by Gallivan and approved by the Legislature and the governor earlier this year. Its members include people of the agriculture community appointed by the governor, the Senate and the Assembly. Members serve without salary and will meet quarterly. The board must also issue an annual report identifying and prioritizing policy issues, which affect young and aspiring farmers.      

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets will provide support services to the Young Farmer Advisory Board.

Monday, August 14, 2017 at 11:40 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Pike Fair, agriculture, events.

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It was a pleasant start to the Wyoming County Fair this weekend.

Before getting ready for the Grand Parade at 7 p.m. check out the midway, vendors and animal displays.

For more information and a listing of events visit http://www.wyomingcountyfair.org/

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Friday, August 11, 2017 at 4:54 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, government, agriculture, 4-H, announcements.

Press release:

Legislation is currently being debated in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce that would lower the tax burden for students involved in 4-H programs and provide them with an opportunity to invest their earnings in future projects, college funds, or savings accounts. Congressman Chris Collins released the following statement, in which he highlighted his support for the bipartisan legislation titled the Student Agriculture Protection Act of 2017.

“4-H programs offer constructive ways for students to expand their knowledge of agriculture and animal sciences,” Collins said. “With agriculture being the largest industry in New York’s 27th Congressional District, those who participate in local 4-H programs will soon be amongst the primary contributors to Western New York’s economy. For this reason alone, it’s critically important that incentives are set in place that will drive up participation and spread awareness of 4-H programs.”

If signed into law, the Act would create a tax exemption for the first $5,000 of revenue earned by students 18 years old or younger from either the sale of livestock or agriculture projects completed through 4-H or Future Farmers of America programs. In effect, it will eliminate the tax-filing burden for eligible students and allow them to invest their earnings in future projects or college funds.

“Plain and simple, the Student Agriculture Protection Act is an investment in the next generation of American farmers. This bill will have a direct and positive impact on New York’s 27th Congressional District and will ensure the U.S. remains the world leader in agriculture. As a proud cosponsor, I will continue my advocacy in support of this legislation to ensure it is put up for a vote on the House Floor.”

For more information on H.R. 1626, the Student Agriculture Protection Act of 2017, click here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 8:17 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Business, EPA, Chris Collins, agriculture.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins and local Farm Bureau presidents applauded the Trump Administration’s decision to either rescind or revise the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Obama administration.

“This rule was an example of reckless government overreach, that brought undue burdens to farmers in Western New York,” Collins said. “I was proud to lead the bipartisan effort in Congress to scrap the WOTUS rule and applaud President Trump and Administrator Pruitt for taking this common sense step to support our nation’s agriculture industry.”

Both Collins and Farm Bureaus located within New York’s 27th Congressional District have been vocal in their opposition to the WOTUS rule. In May 2014, Collins led a bipartisan letter signed by more than 200 members of Congress to former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Department of the Army Secretary John McHugh outlining concerns related to this rule. Collins believed the WOTUS rule was “built on incomplete scientific study and a flawed economic analysis” and formally requested the rule be returned to their respective agencies.

“Today’s announcement is a win for New York’s agricultural community. Wyoming County is a top agricultural producer in New York State and the repeal of WOTUS will help ensure the future of farming in Western New York,” said Jeremy Northup, president of the Wyoming County Farm Bureau. “We commend Congressman Collins for his aggressive efforts to repeal WOTUS and will continue to work with him on the issues important to Wyoming County family farms.”

“The WOTUS rule was an overreach since it was first proposed and we’ve seen the negative impact it has had and would continue to have on our local agriculture industry,” said Christian Yunker, president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau. “In the end, common sense prevailed and everyone’s hard work has paid off. I appreciate all of Congressman Collins efforts—this is fantastic news for all of agriculture, not just here in Genesee County.”

“Today’s announcement is great news for Ontario County agriculture and will help to protect the future of our region’s family farms,” said Lisa Grefrath, president of the Ontario County Farm Bureau. “We commend Congressman Collins for his efforts to repeal this burdensome mandate and look forward to continuing to work with him on the issues impacting local family farms.”

“For the last three years, we have worked with Congressman Collins to end this unfair federal overreach and protect local farms. Today’s announcement is exciting news for local farm families,” said Joe Swyers, president of the Livingston County Farm Bureau. “We will continue to work with Rep. Collins regarding protecting the future of family farms in Livingston County and appreciate his efforts to end WOTUS. No one cares about more about our environment than local farmers that make their living on our land and we will continue to be the best stewards possible.”

See related: The Farm Bureau and county board oppose the new Clean Water Act ruling

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 1:25 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, agriculture, agribusiness, Castile.

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Southview Farm on Upper Reservation Road, Castile, was the site for the seventh annual Agri-Palooza held Sunday. 

This one-day event highlights one of the county’s greatest resources – agriculture. Patrons were able to visit a working farm and find out what it’s really like to work in one of the county’s biggest industries.

While the seed of the farm was first planted in the 1800s, the roots firmly took hold in Wyoming County in the 1940s when Jim VanArsdale bought the farm.

Six years after Jim started the farm in 1949, he partnered with Dick Popp. Although Popp died in the 1990s, his legacy lives on at the farm. He was instrumental in bringing new agricultural technology to Wyoming County, says Tanya Nickerson, education specialist with the county’s 4-H program. 

One of the biggest changes on the farm is the technology, says Jim’s son, Jamie, current owner of Southview.

“Things change so fast, you just have to keep up with it,” Jamie said.

One of the greatest advances is the use of GPS planting. The farm uses a GPS-driven tractor that puts the holes in the earth for seed corn, following the pattern laid out by the tractor another follows to actually plant the seed. The idea behind GPS planting is soil conservation. Less tilling of the land not only helps keep the nutrients in the soil, but also keeps the soil in place. Additionally, the less the land is driven over by farm equipment keeps the soil loose and less compact which allows for better crop growth.

“We use the same line to till, fertilize and plant so it doesn’t disturb the ground as much when planting,” Jamie said. “Less disturbance keeps the soil soft and pliable so the roots grow better.”

One of the goals of Agri-Palooza is to dispel the myth that farms are a corporate entity – focused only on the bottom line. The event showcases the partnership, so to speak, farmers have with not only the land, but also the health and well-being of the animals in its charge. It also highlights the families that work to keep agriculture alive in Wyoming County.

In addition to better soil conservation, the farm employs nutritionist Pat Brennan to help maintain a proper balance of nutrients to the bovines.

“Every visit has me checking the computer for records of milk production, reproduction and herd health,” Brennan said. “Then I take a look at the animals and look how they walk, chew, their body condition and manure. Then based on that information, I put together a recipe based on the need of the cows.”

A cow eats approximately 120 pounds of feed a day, produces about 90 pounds of milk (10 gallons) a day, and drinks about 30 to 40 gallons of water per day.

To better use and manage the feed the farm grows or feeds the animals, it uses a bunker-style silo instead of the traditional upright silo. The bunker silo allows for better mixing of the feed as well as nutritional consistency. The silage is layered, then compacted, to get the air out of the feed which helps with fermentation -- key for cow palatability.

“It takes all of that to keep the cows healthy and producing milk,” Brennan said.

In addition to good nutrition, a well-ventilated barn is essential in keeping the cows comfortable during warm or muggy weather. To help minimize disease, especially lung disease in the young animals, white tubbing has been added to the newborn calf barn. The tubbing sucks outside air into the barn and fans it over the calves to keep fresh air circulating, which is better for the calves. The other barns not only have fans to circulate the air, they are also equipped with water misters to keep the cows cool and comfortable. 

“We use the same line to till, fertilize and plant so it doesn’t disturb the ground as much when planing,” Jamie said. “We use the same line to till, fertilize and plant so it doesn’t disturb the ground as much when planing,” Jamie said. 

Other conservation or repurposing efforts Southview Farms employ include:

    • Solar panels on barns, which warms rainwater or snowmelt to be used for cleaning and in the milk parlor;

    • A scale, which weighs harvested food and feed. This helps keep track of how well a field is producing or how much feed they have on hand; and 

    • Five manure lagoons. The lagoons store the manure until a time where it would be beneficial to spread on the fields, thus reducing runoff into groundwater. It also minimizes the use of fertilizers, which in turn saves the farmer money.

The farm also uses manure for bedding by squeezing out the water, which rids the manure of bacteria, then the remaining material is stored for future use.

Additionally, while the farm traditionally breeds Holstein cows – they are the best milk producers – the farm is beginning to breed Jersey cows. Though the animals aren’t big milk producers, they do produce milk with a higher fat content. Recent research has shown that people are consuming more dairy products with a higher fat content – butter, ice cream and cheese. To fill the demand, Southview Farms is making the transition to the Jersey breed, a more compact bovine.

Southview Farms has 47 employees and milks three times a day at two locations. The herd included more than 2,000 cows and 1,600 young stock. Additionally, more than 3,100 acres of corn, alfalfa and wheat are harvested annually.

Agri-Palooza is made possible by the partnership of the Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism Department and the Wyoming County Farm Bureau.

For more information about agriculture in Wyoming County visit http://wyoming.cce.cornell.edu

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Friday, June 2, 2017 at 12:06 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, agriculture, agribusiness, Business, Castile.

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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. June 4.

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 visit GoWyoming.com.

Friday, June 2, 2017 at 12:01 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Castile, agriculture, agribusiness.
Event Date and Time: 
June 4, 2017 - 12:00pm to 4:00pm

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.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 4:15 pm
posted by Howard Owens in Warsaw, agriculture, GCC, education, schools, news, Business.

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Press release:

"What is the biggest challenge you face in your business?" is a question often asked by the Agri-Business Academy students during tours of local agriculture businesses. The answer is almost always the same. "Labor."

The challenge of finding dependable, hardworking individuals for stable, well-paying careers in agriculture has been a constant battle for agriculturalists for years. As the instructor of the Agri-Business Academy, I've spoken with local agribusiness people from more than 100 local agribusinesses and the need for good employees is a common thread.

The common misconception is that these are not careers, but physically demanding jobs that do not require a college degree and involve a way of life that many would not willingly choose. Today, agribusinesses are usually seeking applicants with college degrees, technology and management experience, and business and communication skills. What is most important is that the compensation aligns with these requirements. In addition, the benefits and satisfaction that comes from working in the agriculture industry is unlike any other.

Agriculture continues to be the number one industry in Genesee County and the driving force of the local economy. When students of the Agri-Business Academy toured Torrey Farms, among the largest agribusinesses in New York state, they heard Maureen Torrey Marshall explain that Torrey Farms does not simply employ a few people in the surrounding community. She described the multiplier effect, which means that other businesses, such as trucking companies, mechanic shops, equipment dealerships, transportation hubs, technology, fuel and fertilizer suppliers, and many others are all part of the agribusiness economy.

Most people do not recognize the many different aspects of agriculture and the need for individuals with a broad array of interests and expertise. Animal and plant systems, food products and processing, agricultural mechanics, precision agriculture, agribusiness networks, international trade, environmental and conservation systems, and energy use are just a few of the trades under umbrella of agriculture.

To ensure that the agriculture community has the employees they need to thrive, and to continue to be the bedrock of our community the Agri-Business Academy is again seeking high school seniors to learn about careers in all aspects of agriculture. The Agri-Business Academy is a one-year partnership program between the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and Genesee Community College.

Through this program, the students earn 15 college credits through the ACE program at Genesee Community College. They spend half the school day in the Agri-Business Academy enrolled in the following five college courses: Western New York Agriculture, Career and Educational Planning, Principles of Business, Principles of Biology and Public Speaking.

Throughout the year students tour area agribusinesses to learn and experience these businesses, job shadow professional producers and at the end of the year each student participates in a two-week internship. This year's Agri-business Academy students are working at their internships experiencing many different aspects of agribusiness -- from robotic and organic dairies to maple syrup and crop management and much more.

The following locations throughout Western New York are currently sponsoring student internships: DeLaval Dairy Services in Corfu, WBB Farm in Alden, Beaver Meadows Audubon Center in North Java, Merle Maple Farm in Attica, Cottonwood Farms in Pavilion, Cornell Cooperative Extension in Wyoming County, Schierberdale Holsteins, Perry and WNY Crop Management in Warsaw.

If you know of a current junior or underclassman who is interested in business or agriculture, or is unsure of a career path, please encourage them to apply for the Agri-Business Academy at the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. Through the Agri-Business Academy, students explore the plethora of wonderful careers available to them -- locally, internationally or often it is a dynamic blend of both.

Whether they like working inside or outside, with their hands or crunching numbers, handling heavy equipment or studying the nuances of soil (agronomy), tending to livestock or discovering how technology can help feed the world -- the "Ag Academy" is a career starter.

Jack Klapper, an Agri-Business Academy graduate and Cornell University assistant men's basketball coach said, "I would recommend this academy to anyone, whether they are pursuing a career in agriculture or not. The life skills I developed in this program are some of the best skills I have ever learned."

Applications are available at http://www.genesee.edu/home/ace/career-pathways/agri-business-academy/. The first 20 students to submit their application will receive a free Genesee Community College flash drive wristband. Questions? Please do not hesitate to contact me at 585-344-7783 or kirchardson3@gvboces.org. Check out the Agri-Business Academy on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Agri-Business-Academy-680673051998953/

Top photo: Agri-business Academy student Cherie Glosser of Warsaw High School with calf at Post Dairy Farms.

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Agri-business Academy students at Torrey Farms, in Elba.

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Agri-business Academy students at Porter Farms in Elba.

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Agri-business Academy students at SJ Starowitz Farm, in Byron.

Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 5:55 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Warsaw, garden, agriculture.

Press release

In response to the ever increasing demand for late blight resistant tomato plants, Wyoming County Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners have chosen to continue the blight resistant tomato plant sale in 2017.

The 12th annual Garden Day Plant Sale & Gardening Resource event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, rain or shine, May 20 at the Ag & Business Center, 36 Center St., Warsaw. Moving the date a little further into spring allows us to focus on providing plant stock, which will have less holdover time before being planted outdoors.

A likely cause of an unsuccessful tomato crop – when the fruit begins to turn brown just before they are ripe – is late blight. While there are other tomato diseases present in the garden, late blight is by far the worst to deal with.  Late blight arrives on potato and tomato plants through air borne fungal spores that are transported by the wind. 

Garden Day will focus on education and prevention of the disease in the home vegetable garden. Materials on controlling common tomato diseases, late blight, and many other vegetable diseases, will be available to keep your garden producing well in 2016.

The varieties offered were tested in 2014-2016 and have proven to produce an excellent tomato crop, even while being infected with late blight. Additionally, a new variety for vegetable gardeners to trial in their own gardens has been added.  

Learn how managing potatoes and tomatoes grown in the home garden can help avoid, and prevent the spread of, late blight other gardens in the neighborhood.

All of the hanging baskets, flowers, and perennials we have had in past years, will also be available. Local artisans will be there showcasing their unique products, as well.

For more information, visit  wyoming.cce.cornell.edu/events/2017/GardenDay or contact Don Gasiewicz at (585) 786-2251 extension 113 or drg35@cornell.edu

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 11:45 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, dairy, agriculture, agribusiness.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) recently led a bipartisan letter sent to President Donald Trump applauding his acknowledgements of Canada's protectionist trade policies related to dairy products and advocating for swift action to ensure Canada upholds its trade agreements.

"President Trump campaigned on putting America first, and protecting American jobs," Collins said. “The letter highlights how vital the U.S. dairy industry is to Western New York and dairy producing regions across the country. The U.S. dairy industry supports billions of dollars in exports and hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs.

"Unfortunately, due to unfair competitive practices by Canada, we must take action to ensure our dairy products will be able to compete on a level playing field. I am glad President Trump has recognized how important this issue is to hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans, and I will continue working with my colleagues to protect the U.S. dairy industry."

The letter, which 68 lawmakers signed, was also co-led by congressmen Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Ron Kind (WI-03), Sean Duffy (WI-07), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), and Peter Welch (VT-AL).

The letter details Canadian trade practices that "may violate Canada's existing trade commitments to the United States by effectively discouraging U.S. dairy exports to Canada." It also reinforces that "our districts and states rely on the jobs the dairy industry provides and cannot afford further protectionist policies from our northern neighbor."

The letter to the president states in part:

The U.S. dairy sector relies on its exports to survive. In 2016, the industry exported approximately 15 percent of its milk production, worth roughly $5 billion. To our NAFTA partners alone, the United States exported $1.2 billion of dairy products to Mexico and $631 million to Canada. To that end, U.S. exports helped the dairy sector maintain roughly 110,000 U.S. jobs in farming and manufacturing.

Unfortunately, Canada's recent revisions to its milk classification system have prompted serious concerns. Canadians traditionally used five classes to price its products, ranging from fluid milks and creams to milk used for further processing. In April 2016, the Canadian province of Ontario began implementing a new milk price class, Class 6, which has dramatically altered dairy imports and skewed the market…

To read the full text of the letter click here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 12:39 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, agriculture, agribusiness, Business.

Press release:

The newly adopted state budget includes important financial support for New York’s agriculture industry. The Senate succeeded in restoring nearly $10 million in funding, for a total of $51 million toward agriculture.

"In the 59th Senate District and across the state, agriculture plays a vital role in New York’s economy,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma). “Once again this year, we are investing in our future by promoting the growth and success of our farmers, especially those just starting out. These programs not only support hardworking farm families, they ensure that agriculture will remain New York’s leading industry.”    

The state budget provides for almost $10 million in restorations and adds to agriculture programs as follows:

    • $1.5 million, for a total of $1.9 million, for the Farm Viability Institute
    • $1 million, for a total of $9.3 million, for Agribusiness Child Development
    • $1 million, for a total of $5.4 million, for the Cornell Diagnostic Lab
    • $544,000, for a total of $750,000, for the Apple Growers Association
    • $560,000, for a total of $610,000, for Cornell Rabies
    • $516,000, for a total of $1.2 million for FarmNet, Farm Family Assistance
    • $378,000, for a total of $l.2 million, for Pro-Dairy
    • $307,000, for a total of $l.5 million, for the Wine and Grape Foundation
    • $300,000, for a total of $842,000, for Future Farmers of America
    • $160,000, for a total of $160,000, for Local Fair Assistance
    • $500,000 for the Apple Research and Development Board
    • $600,000 for the Northern NY Agriculture Development Program
    • $260,000 for Cornell Berry Research
    • $250,000 for Tractor Rollover Prevention Program
    • $215,000 for Maple Producers Association
    • $200,000 for a “Seeds of Success” award to promote school gardens
    • $150,000 for Turfgrass Association
    • $125,000 for Christmas Tree Growers
    • $125,000 for Cornell Maple Research
    • $115,000 for Cornell Veterans to Farms
    • $100,000 for Cornell Vegetable Research
    • $50,000 for “Farm to Table Trail” development
    • $75,000 for Corn and Soybean Growers Association
    • $50,000 for Honeybee Research at Cornell
    • $50,000 for Cornell Onion Research
    • $100,000 for Wood Products Council
    • $25,000 for Low-Cost Vaccine Program
    • $20,000 for Island Harvest
    • $10,000 for NYS Brewers Association
    • $10,000 for NYS Cider Association
    • $10,000 for NYS Distillers Guild
    • $10,000 for Chautauqua County Beekeepers Association
    • $10,000 for Cornell Sheep Farming

The Senate succeeded in including Farm-to-Food-Bank in the final budget after last year's legislation was vetoed. More fresh, New York-grown produce will be available to help feed the hungry by allowing farmers to claim a tax credit for produce and other farm product donations to food banks or other emergency food programs.

The budget also includes $5 million in capital funding for local fairs across the state.

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: cosponsored 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: cosponsored 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 farmers' 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 toward college study in Agriculture.

Monday, March 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm

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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.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 10:03 am

The Wyoming County Government Center is “turning green” for the month of March to celebrate the Girl Scouts, the 4-H program and cookie sales, and Wyoming County’s biggest producer – agriculture.

While the color green is most often associated with Saint Patrick’s Day when March rolls around, these organizations allude to the “luck of the Irish” as well. Subsequently, the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors has proclaimed March 2017 to be Girl Scout and Agriculture month – March 21 is National Agriculture Day and March 12 signifies the inception of the first Girl Scout troop in the United States.

This month, the Girl Scouts celebrate not only 105 years as an organization but also 100 years of their most successful fundraising program – the annual cookie sale.

The Girl Scout program was founded by Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low, with the help of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement. Low believed in the power of every girl. 

Low had joined the Girl Guide movement while in Scotland and in 1911 formed a group of Girl Guides while there. When she returned to the United States in 1912, she established the first American Girl Guide troop in Savannah, Ga.

It wasn’t until 1915 that the United States’ Girl Guides became known as the Girl Scouts. 

Modeling the program after the Boy Scouts, she was inspired by its stress of military preparedness and having fun, she encouraged the girls to become self-sufficient. 

While in Scotland, the group learned how to spin wool and care for livestock. She also taught them knot tying, map reading, kitting cooking and first aid. With the help of her friends in the military the girls also learned drilling, signaling and camping.

When she brought the program to the United States, she spread the movement as a way to help girls learn practical skills and build character. 

Although Low died in Savannah on Jan. 17, 1927, her vision lives on in the 1.9 million girls and 800,000 volunteer that continue the Girl Scouts worldwide.

The 4-H programs are based in science, healthy living and citizenship. It is backed by a network of 100 public universities and a community of 4-H volunteers and professionals. 

Through hands-on learning, youth build not only confidence, creativity and curiosity, but also life skills such as leadership and resiliency.

Grounded in the belief that kids learn best by doing for more than 100 years, 4-H has become the nation’s largest youth development organization. 

In the late 1800s, researchers noticed that young people were more open to new thinking in agricultural practices than their adult counterparts. In this way, it was the younger generations that introduced new agriculture technology to communities.

Today, 4-H’ers tackle issues such as global food security, climate change, as well as animal sciences, robotics, environmental protection and computer science to take on the challenges of the 21st century.

The program empowers the youngsters to be well-informed citizens who are actively engaged in their communities.

The month of March also signifies the start of its annual cookie sale. From March 7 through 21, cookies will be on sale.

“This is Wyoming County’s annual fundraiser that helps support programming in the county,” said 4-H educator Holly Harwood. “Proceeds from the sale allow youth to earn camperships at Wyomoco supports educational opportunities throughout the year, supports supplemental project and teaching materials, scholarships and more.”

Harwood says its these opportunities allow the youth to travel outside the county and the state to see the different careers available to them in agriculture, as well as meet other kids who are of similar mindset. It also allows kids to “build friendships that last a lifetime.”

And of course, one cannot travel about in Wyoming County without taking note of the rolling hills dotted with cows, corn, and other crops. These crops make the county number one in the production of milk, potatoes, hay, honey, and corn silage in New York State.

The county boasts 1.1 billion pounds of milk produced annually – 129.5 million gallons, 713 farms and 230,000 acres of cultivated farmland. The greens and golds of the county’s landscape is in large part due to 60 percent of its land being dedicated to farming. 

The economic vitality of Wyoming County is dependent on the food and fiber products agriculture plays a role in. Additionally, the county’s strong agribusiness ensures the maintenance of a strong economy.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 9:59 am

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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

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