The poster child for marginal ground

CEW-MR-3-Switchgrass1015by Sally Colby

Most farmers in the northeast aren’t doing much baling in April, but because of the early winter and persistent snow cover in the winter of 2013/2014, it was impossible for Andy Bater to harvest his crop until just a month ago. Bater’s crop is switchgrass, a native, warm-season grass that is gaining recognition as a crop suitable for marginal ground. Switchgrass can be used as a ground cover for erodible soil, as cover for game or for mine reclamation, and is often harvested green for hay or after frost kill for livestock bedding. There is also considerable research into using switchgrass as a renewable energy source, or biofuel. [Read more…]

Sane Energy Project Releases Findings of Stanford University Study Indicating New York State Could Be……

The Sane Energy Project, a non-profit organization that supports renewable infrastructure, has released details of a Stanford University study on renewable energy indicating the state of New York could be entirely renewable by the year 2030.

According to Sane Energy Project founder Clare Donahue, Stanford University’ Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi had already published a 2009 study, showing how the entire world could run on renewable energy by 2030. Now, Professor Jacobson has published — together with Robert Howarth, Mark Delucchi, Jannette Barth, and others — a new study that outlines how New York State can convert solely to wind, water and solar power by 2030. A video summary of the study can be viewed by visiting the following link: http://saneenergyproject.org . [Read more…]

Say cheese!

CW-MR-3-Shtayburne farm3456by Sally Colby

Lorin Hosteter’s family has been dairying for years — as far back as anyone in his family can remember. Although Lorin wanted to continue in the dairy business, he decided to take a different approach.

“In 2009, I was working on the dairy and had to decide what to do,” said Lorin. “I really liked working with my dad here, but at that point, milk prices were bad and the farm couldn’t support two families. My family has been interested in making and selling a product from the farm for quite a while, and producing cheese was a way we could add value to our product and support more people on the farm.” [Read more…]

Ask the Lawyer

by JAY GIRVIN, Esq., Girvin & Ferlazzo. P.C., Albany, NY

Q. If I’ve received an agricultural assessment exemption in the past, what are the consequences if I convert the property to a nonagricultural use going forward?

A. As local assessors are working to complete their final assessment rolls for the coming year, this is a good time to review agricultural assessment exemptions and to address what happens if land previously afforded an exemption is converted to a nonagricultural use. [Read more…]