Organic standards and rodent control

by Tamara Scully

A petition to allow exhaust gas to be used underground for rodent control in certified organic production has been submitted to the National Organic Standards Board. The NOSB will need to consider whether or not the gas is potentially toxic to humans, to soil microbes, non-borrowing animals, or natural rodent predators, as well as the availability and efficacy of alternative control methods. In October, 2014, the NOSB released its technical data report on exhaust gas.

Several prominent New York state farmers have been among those contributing to the discussion, via posts on the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA) ODairy list serve forum. The ODairy forum is a very active public forum, where many prominent members of the organic community across the nation comment on and discuss a variety of agriculturally relevant topics. [Read more…]

Avoiding the unexpected with the Affordable Care Act

by Bill and Mary Weaver

Adam Kantrovich, Farm Management Educator for MSU Extension, has heard “just about every notion known to mankind” on the topic of how to avoid having problems with the ACA. He has also studied the law carefully enough to be able to point out what sorts of things might get an employer in trouble.

For example, Kantrovich advises, don’t decide to divide your larger business into multiple smaller entities, solely for the purpose of getting around the ACA.

“If you develop a series of separate business entities, even with limited differences in ownership, they may still be considered a single ‘control group’ by the IRS. This would mean an owner is required to count all employees from all entities in determining their status as either a ‘Small’ or ‘Large’ employer under the ACA guidelines. [Read more…]

“Fill A Glass With Hope” PDA Initiative kicked off Farm Show Butter Sculpture

CEWM-MR-3-Butter-sculpture26by Jon M. Casey

The 25th Annual Pennsylvania Farm Show butter sculpture, unveiled at a ceremony on Jan. 8, depicts the groundbreaking milk distribution designed to provide milk to at-risk Pennsylvanians through the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. The Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program sponsored the sculpture which features the milk distribution program implemented in June 2014, an initiative implemented by the PDA and the two organizations. [Read more…]

Bill Magee earns Distinguished Service Citation from NYS Agricultural Society

CEW-MR-2-Bill-Magee1by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY — Bill Magee, a fixture in the New York Assembly, received the well-deserved New York State Agricultural Society’s Distinguished Service Citation at the conclusion of the 183rd meeting and agricultural forum at the Holiday Inn on Jan. 8.

Magee, a native of Madison County in central New York and a Cornell University graduate, has served the interests of New York agriculture and the 121st Assembly District since 1990. He has been chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee since 1999 and has been a longtime ally of the Farm Bureau.

The citation was established in 1956 as the Ag Society’s highest honor. [Read more…]

NYS Ag Commissioner Ball reviews his first year in office

CEW-MR-1-Comm-Ball-2by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY -— Richard Ball has been a farmer for four decades, but in the past 12 months he was surprised to witness some very different aspects of agriculture.

After he donned the hat of New York Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets in January 2014, Ball traveled constantly, listening to and helping other farmers with their concerns. Occasionally, their concerns were beyond his personal experience.

Last July, for example, he visited farms in Lewis County in far northern New York that were hard hit by a rare tornado. In November, he commiserated with farmers in Erie County in western New York following an unusually-heavy snowstorm that leveled, by local accounts, nearly 100 barns and greenhouses and wiped out livestock and crops. Yates County farms suffered from a severe hail storm. [Read more…]