The memories of the Saratoga County Fair

CE-MR-4-Saratoga County#3A0by Richard Smith, Saratoga County Extension Agent
Summers bring out the best in farm youth. Many of them besides doing their normal chores around the farm spend time preparing their animals for exhibition at the county fair. The 172nd Saratoga County Fair just finished and the 4-H’ers of Saratoga County took home numerous ribbons and trophies. Perhaps the realization of the overall wonderful experiences have not settled within their youthful and energetic minds just yet but they will for sure become part of their fond memories in time.
Whether it was the youngest of the eligible showman entering the ring with modest self-confidence for the first time, they all experienced the thrill of arriving at a moment in time that they’ve worked and waited for a very long time. When those proud youngsters proceed into the ring with heads held high and smiles that are endless little do they know their moment of pride is mild compared to the warmth and love within each parent or relative on the outside looking and tensely observing from the rings’ edge. Some parents coach by trying to catch their youngster’s eye, giving nonverbal instructions, while others look on with a silent prayer that their youth hasn’t forgotten all they’ve practiced for days on end prior to show day.
Now every youngster doesn’t end up the top showman of the day but all end up far ahead of those youngsters who grow up never realizing the skill, talent, determination, and confidence of character that each and every 4-H’er gains once they enter that ring. In the future they will be the doers and the individuals who will tackle the challenges presented to them and know that they can lead. [Read more…]

What’s driving agriculture in the year ahead?

C4-MR-2-What's driving 2by Stephen Wagner
Mike Pearson is familiar to viewers of Weekly Journal of Rural America. Speaking on the topic titled above at the 135th Penn-Ag annual meeting, he acknowledges that one of his guiding principles is ‘Trust, But Verify!’
Before you know where you are going in the next marketing year, you have to know where you’ve been, Pearson says. “Obviously, the big issue, the driving force in all ag media in 2012 was the drought. It is still an issue this year. It’s one of those things that carries forward. Thanks to the drought last year we saw tremendous spikes in commodity prices. The drought was a compelling story for non-commercial folks to get into commodities.” Pearson cited the lack of a Farm Bill passing. Instead an extension was signed which means this conversation will be re-visited. Last year, interest rates hit new all-time lows, but farmland values climbed to record or near-record highs. [Read more…]

Tractor club finds 48 year old sugar beet harvester

CEW-MR-5-Tractor Club4by Howard Hemminger
During early 1993 a small group of ag people from the Penn Yan, NY area started talking about developing an International Harvester Club. A small ad was placed in the local paper with a location and time for this first meeting and 70 new members came. With this many new members enthusiasm and ambition was high and this young club was ready to tackle any task. A local church agreed to meetings being held at the church and research was done on setting up By-Laws. The official club name would be “International Harvester Club Inc.” Tractors were not show ready as they were still being used in the fields. Restoration went into full swing at a lot of farm shops and garages in the area. Money is always an issue at every organization and this club had none. Through donations and volunteers a weight transfer sled was made with the first tractor pull scheduled for June 19, 1993. Money was now being made. [Read more…]

North Branch Farm: Innovative growing

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAby Tamara Scully
It is something to be known for growing the largest rutabaga in the Adirondacks. Putting that impressive anecdote aside, and Joseph Orefice, owner of North Branch Farm, still has accomplished quite a lot in his first three years of owning the farm. Orefice, who purchased the farm at 24 years old, is actively working to raise livestock, grow vegetables, and manage the forests on his diverse farm.
North Branch Farm, in Saranac, NY, consists of 78 acres, with about 1/3 of that being actively farmed. A large part of the remainder is managed forest. Orefice is a forester by trade, and an assistant professor at Paul Smith’s College. Plus, he’s a student at the University of New Hampshire. Add farming — more specifically silvopasturing — to the list, as Orefice is active in this relatively new movement — at least in the United States. Silvopasturing combines forest and livestock management into a system of farming designed to enhance both, and to provide two crops — woodland and animal — to farmers making the most of their land. [Read more…]

NYS consolidated funding application

by Katie Navarra
Time is running out for farms and agricultural enterprises to submit an application through New York State’s Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process. In 2013, Governor Cuomo has made $760 million in grants and tax credits available through 30 programs across 13 state agencies.
The CFA process is a streamlined approach for the submission of funding requests and provides a single portal for individuals, businesses and organizations to access state funding.
“This is a one-stop shop for grant monies and tax credits,” Joe Martins, Commissioner of the DEC said at a workshop held at SUNY Adirondack in Queensbury, NY on July 15. [Read more…]