Conservation, biodiversity and produce safety

CN-MR-2-Conservation-Biodiversityby Tamara Scully

The USDA recently announced that organic farmers are eligible to enroll land utilized as conservation buffers in the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP). Buffers include windbreaks, pollinator strips, riparian buffers, filter strips and field borders planted with native vegetation. Grass strips, wetlands restoration, and living snow fences are also eligible practices. These types of conservation practices promote biodiversity, encourage farmers not to grow crops on marginal lands, provide waterways and soils with protection from contaminants, and create wildlife habitat. [Read more…]

Avoiding the unexpected (and potentially expensive) with H2A and other labor rules and regulations

CN-Hiring-H2A-pt3-0891by Bill and Mary Weaver

H2A workers are not an inexpensive source of labor. “The visa fee is $190 per worker, paid across the border, and you’ll need to budget about $250 per worker for transportation direct to your farm,” said Kerry Scott of MAS Labor, who specializes in the H2A program.

“Plan to reimburse your workers for their travel soon after they arrive,” added Scott, “They most likely will arrive stone broke, either because they are very poor, or because their money was taken from them.” [Read more…]

New spokesperson crowned for New York Dairy industry

CW-MR-2-New-Spokesperson-2cSyracuse, NY — Emily Ooms, of Valatie, was crowned the 2016-2017 New York State Dairy Princess on Feb. 17, at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, NY. Having served as the Columbia County Dairy Princess since spring of 2015, Ooms will devote an additional year promoting milk and dairy products with the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc. (ADADC). As state princess, Oooms receives a $1,200 scholarship and will represent ADADC at county dairy princess pageants, farm meetings and a variety of special events. In addition, she will help train new county promoters at seminars and workshops. Sponsored by ADADC, the 53rd annual coronation completed the yearlong reign, of Stephanie McBath, of Saratoga County, NY. [Read more…]

Real Christmas trees remain a popular treat for the public and with fussy deer, too

CW-MR-3-Christmas3by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY – The unusually mild winter of 2015-16 has been a blessing for some people. Can it also become a curse for Christmas tree farmers in New York State?

Many of the farmers were pleased to see a robust business in early November. Farmers attending the Christmas Tree Farmer’s Association of New York’s recent convention reported that the public took advantage of rare good weather last fall to personally pick out a homegrown conifer. [Read more…]

Hiring your farm workers through H2A ~ part 2

CM-MR-1-Hiring-H2a-pt2-2105by Bill and Mary Weaver

If you are having difficulty finding enough help for summer and fall farm work for this year, the H2A program is definitely an avenue to consider. Despite the paperwork, which an agent can assist you with, most farmers tend to be happy with the quality of the workers they receive through H2A. These workers are hoping to return next year so they are generally productive and looking to please their employer. [Read more…]