New York Farm Bureau 2016 Legislative priorities

CEW-MR-1-NYFB-priorities11by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

In preparation for Legislative Lobby Days in Albany, New York FB President Dean Norton and NYFB’s Public Policy Director Jeff Williams spoke at a press conference to inform people of priority issues concerning the Ag community.

Topping the list of priorities is NYFB’s opposition to the minimum wage hike.

Norton said that currently the average agricultural wage is above $12 per hour and commented that New York State could not compete with other states to sell Ag products, when farms would be forced to raise their prices even higher to accommodate paying their employees higher wages. He pointed out that New York State already has a higher minimum wage than other surrounding states, and competition for marketing out of state will be even more negatively impacted if the minimum wage is increased. [Read more…]

Dealing with animal rights activists

Part 5: Making sure employees aren’t acting as activist plants

by Sally Colby

Dealing with animal rights activists is a new reality for livestock producers. Although the majority of farm visitors and new employees are not interested in posing as activists or intentionally harming livestock on a farm for the sake of a video, the small minority who are can do great harm. How can an employer ensure that new employees are doing their jobs as assigned and not mishandling livestock or intentionally setting up scenes that could be viewed as animal abuse?

“Sometimes people are hired on farms to do jobs that have nothing to do with the animals,” said Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO of Animal Agriculture Alliance. “If such people are hired for a non-animal job, then express an interest in switching to a position that involves working directly with the animals, that can be a red flag. Someone who asks questions about security, whether or not the farm has cameras, or the schedule of the manager – that might be a red flag.” [Read more…]

Global Food Security ~ part 1

CW-MR-42-1-Global-Food-11by Steve Wagner

“Welcome to the 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show,” said Russell Redding. Pennsylvania’s Ag Secretary told his audience that the expo’s milestone was the perfect backdrop for discussing food and the importance of it both domestically and internationally.

“Global food security is not just an issue when it comes to making sure that people around the world have enough to eat,” said Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Robert Casey, a member of the discussion panel. “I think it’s a moral issue, but it’s even deeper in terms about why we should be concerned about it. When folks don’t have enough to eat, they are a lot more desperate, and that leads to instability around the world.” Casey said he didn’t need to remind anyone in the audience about the threat we face with terrorism on a daily basis. [Read more…]

Mother Nature deals farmers an unpredictable hand of “climate poker”

CEW-MR-1-Mother-Nature11by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY – The weather was unusually mild, yet not unwelcome, for the 184th annual gathering of the New York State Agricultural Society and Forum.

The mild winter didn’t surprise keynote speaker Dr. Art DeGaetano.

The professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell University and director of the Northeast Regional Climate Center came armed with enough statistical data about upstate New York’s weather in the last century to make the earth spin. He shared his insights during the keynote address on the theme of climate smart farming. [Read more…]

Antibiotics: impact of production use

by Tamara Scully

Depending on what livestock you raise, and how you raise it, antibiotic use for anything other than treating a disease may not even be on your radar. But antibiotics are utilized for purposes other than disease control across livestock industries to varying degrees.

In livestock production, antibiotics are utilized for more than disease treatment. They are also used to prevent existing illness from spreading through the population, as well as prophylactically, to prevent illness from arising in the population. They are also used for production purposes. [Read more…]