Western Edition

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…]

Seed potatoes

CM-CN-1-Seed-potatoes1by Tamara Scully

Although there have been recent efforts to grow potatoes directly from true seed, rather than tubers, the commercial potato industry relies on tuber seed potatoes to maintain disease-free planting stock. Growing from tubers is a type of cloning, as the progeny has the same genetic makeup of the parent.

When tubers are grown in the field, both the tubers and the soil accumulate pathogens. Therefore, the number of generation of progeny is limited in certified seed production although this varies by certifying agency. Many states have their own certified seed potato services. Seed certification is handled either by a land-grant university, a state department of agriculture, or a growers’ association. [Read more…]

The Global Food Security Act ~ part 2

CW-MR-2-Global-Food-pt2-11by Steve Wagner

HR1567 is better known as the bill that came out of the House of Representatives dealing with Global Food Security. Congressman Scott Perry (R, PA) is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I was a co-sponsor of the bill,” says Perry, “and it’s hard to get these things together. What it does is to codify the ‘whole of government’ strategy for U.S. global food and nutrition security.” Essentially, ‘whole of government’ means that everyone is working together toward one thing. Often you see one agency doing this and another doing that, seemingly working at cross-purposes. People then tend to think that there should be someone coordinating such programs lest they be deemed as too many fingers in a single pie; “so the food that we’re sending doesn’t end up with the bandits as opposed to the people that need it,” Perry said. “Where’s the State Department in this? And why are we sending to this country and not that one? What we really want to do is to help people feed themselves.” [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…]