Minimum wage increase ~ maximum impact on New York farmers

by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

In a press conference with NY Farm Bureau President Dean Norton, farmers presented their concerns about the impact raising the minimum wage will have in agriculture.

Expecting farmers to pay more to employees will mean even less income for farmers and cause a greater disadvantage in competing with ag products being imported from other states where production costs are less.

“The choices become very dark and very serious for everyone that is milking cows and farming in New York,” said Sandie Prokop of Crossbrook Farm in Schoharie County. Crossbrook is a multi-generation dairy farm, milking 375 and is still recovering from the effects of tropical storms Irene and Lee, which left the farm stranded for 11 days and caused $500,000 in damage. [Read more…]

Maple Syrup Program enriches Central New York FFA students in many ways

CEW-FF-3-VVS-Maple1by Pat Malin

VERONA, NY — There’s no doubt the Future Farmers of America chapter at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Central School is a student group.

It’s also highly successful, winning recognition as the best FFA chapter in the state four of the last six years, according to the club’s adviser and VVS agriculture teacher, Keith Schiebel.

It takes an actual visit to the school in Oneida County during its annual maple syrup weekend, to realize this is also a thriving business. [Read more…]

Encouraging young people to take up “The Dirty Life”

CE-MR-1-Essex farm side1by Pat Malin

CLINTON, NY — Mark and Kristin Kimball of Essex Farm in northern New York think of themselves as more than farmers. They’re also educators, environmentalists, community activists, and mentors to the next generation of farmers. They have already succeeded in helping new farms become established, as they did with Matt Volz of Greyrock Farm in Cazenovia, NY.

Volz and his partner, Gillian Goldberg, showed up at the Kimballs’ lecture at Hamilton College with a Swiss calf to share one small aspect of farming with the students and the public. [Read more…]

250 farmers unite to support West Charlton farm family

CEWN-MR-3-Farmers unite1GLENVILLE, NY — Glenville Town Justice Paul Davenport seemed a bit distracted as over 200 farmers and supporters filled his court room to show their solidarity for local farmer, Joshua Rockwood of West Wind Acres in West Charlton, NY.

The 36-year-old farmer who is facing 13 animal neglect charges pled not guilty to the charges in court Tuesday, March 24. According to court documents, authorities found sheep in an unheated barn with frozen water with animal feces mixed into the ice. The documents also stated 15 pigs had frozen, undrinkable water, and they were confined in a barn without food. In addition, three horses, around 30 cows and 10 pigs were without proper food or water, and goats did not have access to food. [Read more…]