Letter to the Editor: Agriculture education advocacy

indexAgriculture education in our secondary schools continues to be a high priority for New York State. With looming projections of teacher shortages both statewide and throughout the nation, coupled with Cornell’s elimination of the Department of Agriculture Education and termination of its teacher certification program, New York agriculture education and FFA are at a crisis situation that must be addressed! [Read more…]

Washington County welcomes New District Manager

CE-MR-1-Wash Cty ManagerGREENWICH, NY — The Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors announce the promotion of Corrina Aldrich to the position of District Manager.  She will take the helm Jan. 1, 2015 replacing Joseph Driscoll, the current District Manager who will be retiring at the end of the year. Joe is leaving after a 32-year storied career with Washington and Montgomery County Soil and Water Districts, The Washington County SWCD Board of Directors would like to wish Joe the best of luck in his new endeavors.

Corrina Aldrich has worked with the Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District as a Natural Resources Technician for five and a half years and brings a broad spectrum of experience to the position. Corrina received an AAS Degree in Agricultural Science from SUNY Cobleskill in 1988. Since then she has worked in a variety of agricultural industries including many dairy operations, equine training and breeding facilities, and the greenhouse and nursery industry. [Read more…]

Tracking Lyme disease

CDM-MR-1-LymeDisease1188by Steve Wagner

After years of coping with Lyme disease, it sometimes seems as if little more is known about it today than it was when it was first discovered. We know that its presence has been around for about 20 million years, but we can date modern problems with the bacterium to 1975, when several cases were identified in two Connecticut towns, Lyme and Old Lyme. In 1978, it was learned that the disease is tick-borne.

“My son got so sick from Lyme and associated diseases that I honestly didn’t believe he was going to survive,” said Dr. Kathy Spreen. “Chris had a tick bite that he got while doing an internship in Delaware. He came home and asked, ‘Does this matter?’ There was a tick in there wiggling, and I said, ‘Well, let’s just take this thing out and put it in a jar and see what happens.’” [Read more…]

Alkaloid management: What level of toxicity are you willing to accept in your pastures?

CM-MR-1-Alkaloid2aby Karl H. Kazaks

About 50 people gathered at the Weyers Cave Community Center on Nov. 20 to hear Dr. Joe Bouton ask, “What alkaloid levels are you willing to live with?”

It’s not a question commonly asked by farmers today, but Bouton hopes that in the future, testing for alkaloid levels will be as common as measuring forage for nutrients, protein and NDF.

Alkaloids are naturally occurring compounds produced by fungi, bacteria, plants and animals. Alkaloids can have medicinal properties. Morphine, caffeine and ephedrine are alkaloids. Some alkaloids are toxic to other organisms — for example, nicotine. Tobacco dust is an effective pesticide, if not used today as widely as it once was. [Read more…]