Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor
Richard A. Ball, Commissioner of Agriculture
November 2017

    In this issue :
Thank you for participating in the Farm Bill Listening Tour FBLThankYou

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Farm Bill Listening Tour or submitted comments online. The Department just wrapped up its last listening session after visiting Watertown, Morrisville, Middletown, Rochester, New York City and Alfred.   

The Farm Bill Listening Tour provided an opportunity to engage with and hear from constituents about the importance of the 2018 Farm Bill to New York State. It was hosted jointly by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. 

We will now be compiling your comments, which will be provided to Governor Cuomo to help develop New York's Farm Bill priorities for critical funding and policy changes in the areas of agriculture, nutrition, and the environment. 

From funding programs that feed our families, to protecting the environment, there is a lot at stake for New York in the 2018 Farm Bill and we appreciate the feedback we received. Written comments can still be submitted to
Second Annual NY Veterans in Ag Conference on Nov. 29 VetsinAgConference
Veterans interested in careers in agriculture are encouraged to participate in the 2017 New York State Veterans in Agriculture Conference on Wednesday, November 29, 2017. This second annual event provides targeted technical training and professional development sessions for veterans and service providers, as well as an opportunity for veterans to network and obtain information on resources available across various agencies. The conference will also celebrate the formation and official launch of the NY Farmer Veteran Coalition.
The conference is hosted by the Cornell Small Farms Program and the New York Farmer Veteran Coalition and co-sponsored by the Department and other partners, including the NY Farm Bureau. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Arts & Home Center at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Entry is $25. Interested participants can register here until November 15, 2017. For more information, please visit Learn more here
More than $1.2 million available for new farmers and military veterans NewFarmerMilitary
Funding of more than $1.25 million is now available through two grant programs that are designed to assist farmers across the state. The New Farmers Grant Fund helps new and early-stage farmers, and the New York State Veterans Farmer Grant Fund supports farms owned and operated by military veterans. Both programs are designed to promote growth and development in the state's agriculture industry.
Now in its fourth round, the $1 million New Farmers Grant Fund will provide grants of up to $50,000 to assist with up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. To qualify, all farm business owners must be within the first ten years of having an ownership interest in any farm business, and the farm must have a minimum of $10,000 in income from sales of products grown or raised on the farm. Eligible project costs include the purchase of machinery, equipment, supplies, and the construction or improvement of agricultural structures.
A new $250,000 grant program, the New York State Veterans Farmer Grant Fund, will also provide grants of up to $50,000 for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. To qualify, at least 50 percent of the farm business must be owned, operated and controlled by a veteran, as defined in the program guidelines. The farm must also have a minimum of $10,000 in farm income; however, this program is not limited to beginning farmers. Eligible project costs are the same as for the New Farmers Grant Fund.
The applications and guidelines for the  New Farmers Grant Fund  and the  Veterans Farm Grant Fund  are available online. The deadline for submission is January 26, 2018. Learn more here
County fair infrastructure improvement projects awarded $5 million  CtyFrInfrastructure

County and youth fairs across the State are being awarded $5 million through the 2017 Agricultural Fairgrounds Infrastructure Improvement Program. 

The funding will be divided equally among the State's 52 eligible local fairs, with each receiving an award of $96,153 to offset the cost of improvements and renovation projects, including new construction, that support New York's agricultural industry. This second round of funding approved in the New York State Budget builds on the $5 million allocated for county fairs in 2016.
First-in-the-nation State Capital Fund for critical improvements to animal shelters AnimalShelters

$5 million is available to support critical improvement projects at New York's non-profit and municipal animal shelters, humane societies, and societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals. As the first state-funded program of its kind in the nation, it will allow eligible organizations to make significant updates to their facilities to enhance animal care and health, as well as to support companion animal adoptions.
Administered by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Companion Animal Capital Fund is available to not-for-profit pounds, shelters and humane societies that are operated by or are under contract with a municipality. According to the New York State Animal Protection Federation, more than 150,000 animals are brought to these facilities each year and many are adopted by New York families. The deadline to submit applications for funding is January 10, 2018. Learn more  here

Record funding for Farm-to-School programs across the state FTSFunding
The third round of the State's Farm-to-School grant program is providing a record $1 million for eligible school districts across the state. The program helps Kindergarten through Grade 12 schools connect with local farmers, increase the use of locally grown food on school menus, improve student health, and educate young people about agriculture. Since the Governor launched New York's Farm-to-School Program in 2015, $850,000 has been awarded, so far, to 13 Farm-to-School projects that benefit 108 school districts across the state.
The $1 million program was announced in October at the Farm-to-School Summit held in Binghamton. The Summit delivered on the Governor's promise made in his 2017 State of the State address to expand programs to provide school children with healthier meal options and grow the agricultural economy. Winning proposals will be announced in December. Learn more here .
NYS Grown & Certified program grows to include new commodities NYSGnC

The Department of Agriculture & Markets is excited to add additional agricultural commodities ranging from beef and poultry to Christmas trees in the New York State Grown & Certified program. In the coming months, we will be rolling out additional information and details. Producers can find out more about the guidelines and apply for the program  here.

New York State Grown & Certified is the first statewide, multi-faceted food certification program designed to strengthen consumer confidence in New York farm products and assist New York farmers in taking advantage of the growing market demand for goods that are locally and responsibly grown. There are over 100 producers operating on nearly 50,000 acres of farmland that are currently participating in the program. Retailers across the state including Tops, Price Chopper, Hannaford, Stewarts, Aldi, and ShopRite have committed to carrying New York State Grown & Certified food and beverages. Learn more here
2017 Census of Agriculture happening this month
Questionnaires for the 2017 Census of Agriculture will be mailed starting this month through December to New York farmers and agricultural producers.
Producers can return their completed forms by mail, or respond through an online questionnaire. Conducted every five years by the United States Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census is the only complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and their operators. Census data are used to create and fund agricultural programs and services at the federal level. Learn more here.
"It has never been easier to complete the Census of Agriculture and I encourage every New York Farmer to make sure they are counted," said Agriculture Commissioner Ball. "The census results directly influence funding for research, marketing, services and valuable programs for our industry."
Emerald Ash Borer discovered in Brooklyn EABBrooklyn
The State Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Conservation have confirmed the first-ever discovery of Emerald Ash Borer in New York City. 

NYC Parks, the two state agencies, and Prospect Park Alliance - the non-profit that cares for the park in partnership with the City - are taking immediate action to limit the spread of infestation and protect New York City's more than 51,000 ash trees. 

Of an initial survey of 10 suspected trees, three were confirmed to be infested by EAB by a Cornell University researcher. Three trees have been removed to date and additional trees will be removed over the winter. Learn more here
Grant funding available for water quality protection projects on livestock farms WaterQualityProtection
Grant funding of $50 million is available over three consecutive application rounds to help New York livestock farms implement water quality protection projects. The funding is a part of the Governor's $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017, which invests resources for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and other water quality protection projects across the state, including proper management and storage of nutrients such as manure on farms. The application period for the first $20 million is currently open and closes November 20, 2017.
The maximum award amount per proposal is $385,000, which includes funding for engineering and construction expenses. Grants will help farms permitted as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) to offset the cost of water quality protection projects, such as manure storage construction, site preparation and associated best management practices.
The application and additional information is available on the Department of Agriculture and Markets'  website . In addition, the Department of Agriculture and Markets along with the Department of Environmental Conservation have developed an informational document to educate communities on the importance of manure storage facilities to maintain New York State's environmental standards. The fact sheet can be found  here . Learn more here .
More than $1M awarded to strengthen NY's agricultural industry AgIndustry1M

Nearly $1.1 million has been awarded for nine projects to strengthen New York agriculture through research, grower education and promotional marketing of the state's specialty crops. Funding is provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and supports projects designed to increase the competitiveness of New York farms and improve the long-term viability of the State's agri-businesses. Learn more here.
The following projects were awarded funding:
  • $99,987 to assess the risk of fire blight, a common and destructive disease that impacts fruit trees, to improve accuracy of fire blight prediction models, prevent unnecessary fungicide applications, enable and implement new pruning practices for best management, and distribute the research results to growers.
  • $99,902 to produce new tomato hybrids with optimal natural fungal disease control to fight common tomato diseases such as early blight, late blight and Septoria leaf spot. This work will lower production cost and loss for conventional and organic growers.
  • $98,988 to improve and expedite oak wilt detection methods, and increase outreach and education about oak wilt and the need for early detection. Oak wilt is a highly contagious fungal disease that devastates oak trees, a staple of the nursery industry.
  • $97,903 to develop and test sustainable, environmentally friendly, organically approved management strategies to address the threat of spider mites and powdery mildew in hop orchards.
  • $99,834 to identify superior seed treatments for early season disease control and to improve crop stands in conventional and organic table beet fields.
  • $88,479 to test the potential of soil stimulators to encourage the formation of a beneficial fungus on vine roots that helps plants grow by increasing the surface area of their roots. If these soil stimulators prove effective, they may reduce the need for chemical fertilizers in the vineyard.
Are you registered to vote? Register to vote online today.
Moved recently? Update your information with the NYS Board of Elections.
Not sure if you're registered to vote? Search your voter registration status
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
10B Airline Drive, Albany, NY 12235