Agriculture News
Steuben and Schuyler Counties
January 2021
Dear Readers:

The new year came in with a bang! Here's our belated January edition with resources to keep you up to date with opportunities and information from the agriculture and living world.

- Ariel Kirk, Agriculture Educator
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Program Committee
Joe Castrechino          Prattsburgh
Linwood Ford             Savona
Drew Heisey               Hornell
Allison Lavine             Savona
Gary Mahany             Arkport
Greg Muller               Bath
Bob Nichols                Addison

Legislative Representatives:
Jeff Horton
Fred Potter

Taking Inventories of Stored Forages
CCE reminds livestock farmers to check their winter feed supplies.
SOUTHWEST, NEW YORK (January 22nd, 2021) – Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Program (SWNYDLFC) reminds farmers to check forage inventories regularly. This ensures there is enough feed available until pastures regrow and provide a plentiful source of feed.

For farmers with cattle, sheep, and goats, the growing season is typically spent grazing their animals and growing fields of grasses (like oats, timothy, or orchard grass) and legumes (like clovers and trefoil) to store for the upcoming winter. Sometimes, farms are not able to put up as much hay and baleage (fermented wet hay) as they would like to. The wet spring and dry summer of 2020 created a poor growing season that led to reduced hay production. Pastures also suffered, and some farms had to supplement livestock with feed during the grazing season that was set aside for winter. In years where stored forage may be lower than usual, it is especially important to check forage inventories thoroughly. If there is not enough stored feed available to make it through the winter and early spring, the information from a forage inventory will help farms make decisions about whether they will need to buy in forage or sell some of their stock to make sure there is enough feed to go around.

To calculate a farm’s forage inventory, start with counting the number of animals on the farm as well as identifying their age and stage of production. Different animal groups (adult males vs pregnant females vs young animals) will consume different amounts of feed. Then, take the weights of 6 bales of each bale type (small square, large square, round, and baleage) and count the number of bales available. Next, estimate the amount of hay wasted from each bale during storage and feeding. This will be used to estimate the true amount of forage being consumed by the herd or flock. Having an idea of the number of days that forage will need to be fed will help get a good estimate of feed needs for the remainder of the winter. From these numbers, an estimate of the amount of feed that will be consumed can be compared to the forage currently available.

Because feed consumption will vary based on the weather and what stage of production the animals are in, farms should calculate their inventories at least twice during the time when stored feed is being provided to shore up estimates. Ideally, feed stocks should be checked at the end of the grazing season, in the middle of winter, and in early spring.

For more information on or help with determining forage inventories, contact Livestock and Beginning Farm Specialist, Amy Barkley, at or (716) 640 – 0844.

Learning Opportunities
USDA Value Added Producer Grant Program

Free to attend

Three sessions available-
Wednesdays on February 3, 17, and March 3
6:00-7:30pm each day
Are you interested in learning about Value Added Producer Grants through the USDA? Join CCE Educators for a 3 session program brought to you by CCE Madison County, CCE Oneida County, Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Team, and Central NY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team

Wednesday, February 3rd – What is VAPG?

Presenters: Myron and Nicole
Have you ever thought about applying for a Value Added Producer Grant through the USDA? Did you know that you could get up to $75,000 to pay for planning costs or up to $250,000 in capital costs associated with expanding value added products on your farm? This session will explain the basics of what the Value Added Producer Grant is, how it works, and what types of information you will need to fill out the extensive application form.
Wednesday, February 17th – How do I apply for VAPG?

Presenters: Helen, Bonnie, Marty
Now you have decided to apply for a Value Added Producer Grant. How do you fill out the application? How do you make your application as appealing as possible to the person who will review it? This session will outline the process of writing and submitting the Value Added Producer Grant. Our team of experts will walk through the application and make suggestions on how to make your application as strong as possible.
Wednesday, March 3rd – How are VAPG applications selected for funding?

Presenter: Liz
Your application is ready but you want to be sure that you have included all the right information. What is that information? What will the person that is reviewing your grant application be looking for and how is that application scored? This session will be led by someone who has reviewed VAPG applications and can give some insight on what types of applications get funded. We will also discuss what the funding process looks like.
Upcoming workshops and events
Photo credit: North Georgia Master Gardeners

Pruning Your Home Orchard Online Class via Zoom

Wednesday, March 10th at 6:30pm

Roger Ort from CCE Schuyler County will present on pruning fruit trees. One of the prime reasons for annual pruning is to encourage lots of productive fruiting wood. How you prune your trees affects how they grow as well as how much they fruit.

Learn how to manage your home orchard to keep your trees producing. The fee for the class is $10.00 per email address.

This class will be held via Zoom, a link for the Zoom meeting will be sent to you via e-mail on the day of the event.

For more information contact: Dan Cargill at 

To register and pay online please visit:

Photo Credit: University of New Hampshire

Indoor Seed Starting Online Class via Zoom 

Wednesday, February 24th at 6:30pm

Broome County Master Gardener James Dunn will lead you through all you need to know for successful indoor seed starting. Lighting fixtures and requirements, seed starting media, seed germination and how to successfully acclimate and transplant your seedlings to their garden settings.

The fee for the class is $10.00 per email address. This class will be held via Zoom, a link for the Zoom meeting will be sent to you via e-mail on the day of the event.

For more information contact: Dan Cargill at

To register and pay online please visit:
2021 Virtual Soybean and Small Grains Congress
February 10-11, 2021; 10:00 am - Noon

Join virtually for the Soybean and Small Grains Congress. DEC credits available. Hosted by Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Team. As information becomes available, it can be found at Information and registration for Soybean Congress
Dear Readers:
The NYS Integrated Pest Management Program needs your help in data collection and developing research ideas. Please see below.

New Weed Management Technology

Want to move away from herbicide reliance? Are you using novel technologies to manage weeds? We want to know about it to inform our weed science research.

As you know, weeds can be a significant problem in berries, tree fruits, tree nuts, and vine crops (e.g. grapes, hops, etc.) especially after transplanting and during flowering and fruit set. Despite herbicide resistance limiting efficacy and off-target risk of phytotoxicity damage to trunks, shoots, leaves and flowers, herbicides remain a primary tool for managing weeds. Many growers are transitioning to organic systems to address consumer preferences or satisfy export markets.

Novel technologies in perennial cropping systems such as automated harvesters and pruners and canopy sensing sprayers can reduce labor costs and the amount of pesticides applied to bushes, trees, and vines. Novel weed control tools that eliminate or reduce the need for herbicides are actively being developed and marketed. These new technologies could play an increasingly large role in future crop production, particularly in high-value specialty crops that 1) have limited herbicide options, 2) are sensitive to herbicide injury, and 3) are heavily reliant on a labor market that is simultaneously growing more scarce and more expensive.
A team of weed scientists from University of California Davis, Oregon State University, and Cornell University are asking berry, tree fruit, tree nut, and vine crop growers to take 5 to 10 minutes and answer this short and anonymous survey. 

Tell us about your current weed management practices and your interest in novel technologies, like vision-guided sprayers and cultivators, and electric, steam, and pressurized water weeders. This will help us plan future research and extension projects on weed management with your needs in mind.

There’s always a chance that we forgot to include some amazing tools that are emerging on the horizon; please feel free to e-mail Lynn Sosnoskie at and let her know what you think the future of weed control looks like.

Thanks for your time! We appreciate your support of weed science research.

Please use this link to fill out the short survey: Weed Technology Survey

Sourced from the SWD/NYS IPM blog. This original post was contributed, as well as photo credit, by Lynn M Sosnoskie, PhD, Assistant Professor, Weed Ecology and Management for Specialty Crops, School of Integrative Plant Sciences - Horticulture Section, 221 Hedrick Hall, Cornell AgriTech, Geneva NY 14456,
Issued by NYSDEC 1/26/21


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today issued guidance to help prevent conflicts between people and coyotes. 

“Coyotes may become more territorial during the breeding and pup-rearing seasons, which in New York run from January through March, increasing the risk for potential conflicts with people and pets,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “While coyotes are an important part of New York’s ecosystem, New Yorkers are encouraged to be aware of the increased risks for conflicts and follow DEC’s guidance to prevent coyote encounters.” 

The Eastern coyote is found in many habitats, from rural farmland and forests to populated suburban and urban areas across New York State. Coyotes are well adapted to suburban and even urban environments and tend to avoid conflicts with people. However, conflicts with people and pets may occur, particularly during the spring denning and pupping period. If coyotes learn to associate food, such as garbage or pet food, with peoples' homes, these animals may lose their natural fear of humans and increase the potential for close encounters or conflicts. 
To reduce or prevent conflicts with coyotes, New Yorkers are encouraged to take the following steps: 

  • Do not feed coyotes.
  • Do not leave food outside. Pet food and garbage attract coyotes and other wildlife and increase risks to people and pets:
  • Do not feed pets outside.
  • Prevent access to garbage.
  • Fence or enclose compost piles.
  • Eliminate availability of bird seed. Concentrations of birds and rodents that come to feeders can attract coyotes.

  • Do not allow coyotes to approach people or pets. If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior: stand tall and hold your arms up or out to look as large as possible. If a coyote lingers for too long, make loud noises, wave your arms and throw sticks and stones.
  • Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.
  • Do not allow pets to run free. Supervise outdoor pets to keep them safe from coyotes and other wildlife, especially at sunset and at night. Small dogs and cats are especially vulnerable.
  • Fence yards to deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level and taller than four feet.
  • Remove brush and tall grass from around homes to reduce protective cover for coyotes. Coyotes are typically secretive and like areas where they can hide.
  • Contact the local police department and DEC regional office for assistance if coyotes exhibit bold behaviors and have little or no fear of people, or if seen repeatedly during the daytime in a human-populated area or near residences. Seeing a coyote occasionally throughout the year is not evidence of bold behavior.
  • Ask neighbors to follow these steps to prevent coyote conflicts. 

For additional information about the Eastern coyote and preventing conflicts with coyotes, visit the DEC webpages below: 

Check out the above link for a wealth of fruit-centric information!

Some of the featured resources include:
Best Management Practices for U-Pick Farms; Spotted Wing Drosophila; Berry Diagnostic Tool; Tunnel Production; NYS IPM Program. Newsletters and Berry Grower Organizations; and Information for Home Fruit Planting.

Compiled by CCE Ontario
Agriculture Literacy Week is Just Around the Corner!

Dear Readers:
Our books for the 2021 Agriculture Literacy Week are on their way! This year's book highlights the dairy industry. Instead of in-person readings by volunteers, we are collaborating with the FFA class at Avoca School District to engage with the younger grades for in-person book readings and an "ice cream in a bag" creative activity.
We will also have other opportunities to learn about dairy from this fun book in a virtual way.

Here is a little more information on this year's book:

Chuck's Ice Cream Wish (Tales of the Dairy Godmother)
Written by Viola Butler
Art by Ward Jenkins

Ice cream is a treat we enjoy in many forms and flavors. But how often do we stop and think about how the ice cream we're eating made its way to the cone or dish we are enjoying it from? Chuck's Ice Cream Wish (Tales of the Dairy Godmother) connects the delicious treat to the work farmers are doing every day to grow, raise and produce our food. This book will take students on an explorative journey learn about dairy and to trace the food on their plate back to its source- the farmer.

With over 4,000 dairy farms and ranking fourth nationally as the largest producer of milk, dairy is vital to New York State. New York State is also the largest producer of yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream in the nation. The dairy community in New York includes both large dairy operations and small, family run farms. It also boasts processing facilities of various types and sizes, from major global processing companies to small artisanal dairy product makers. We are excited to feature a book that displays the unique markets and diversity that encompasses many aspects of New York's dairy industry while also focusing on processing and how consumers contribute to agriculture.

Chuck's Ice Cream Wish (Tales of the Dairy Godmother) highlights the dairy industry with vivid illustrations and a humorous storyline. Students will understand the importance of agriculture as an economic driver in communities across New York and develop an awareness for where their food comes from and its journey.
If you would like to sponsor a book, they are $12.00 each. Every year the featured book teaches children across Steuben County a different aspect of farming, agriculture, and where our food comes from.

You can use the link here and scroll down to the bottom of the page to donate, or call the office at 607-644-2300
Dairy Market Watch

Please find the latest issue of Dairy Market Watch here for those reading the email version of Ag News.
The print version will include an insert of Dairy Market Watch.
Listen in!

Listen to the 1 hour Podcast "to know the land", Episode 147 - Fox and Rabbit Predator-Prey Interactions with Cornell Alum Jeremy Pustilnik and Dr. Paul Curtis, Extension Wildlife Specialist in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University

Find the podcast here

You can also read Jeremy's Honors thesis paper that they discuss, The Effects of Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) Predator Scent on Winter Burrow Use by Eastern Cottontail Rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus), here.

Farm Wage News for New York
New York’s Farm Laborer Wage Board Recommends Retaining 60-hour Overtime Threshold

The year 2020 was certainly eventful for the agricultural workforce, and the drama extended until late in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve. The New York Farm Labor Wage Board was created and charged by the 2019 Farm Laborer Fair Labor Practices Act (FLFLPA) to consider the overtime threshold of 60 hours and make a recommendation about whether the threshold should be lowered. In-person hearings were scheduled early in 2020 but only one event took place before the COVID-19 pandemic obliterated such events. Farm managers and employees were dramatically engaged as essential workers providing needed food supplies throughout the pandemic, nevertheless, they showed up in huge numbers to testify during virtual Wage Board hearings in August and September. The Wage Board continued its deliberations with December hearings that included very unusual, last-minute schedulings and postponements. Finally on December 31, 2020 at 4:00 PM, only hours before the deadline, the board met to render a decision. Chairperson Brenda McDuffie offered a motion to retain the 60-hour overtime threshold for 2021 and to reconvene a Wage Board near the end of 2021 to consider further action. Her motion was based on the extreme uncertainly and stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the agricultural industry. NY Farm Bureau President David Fisher seconded the motion. Former AFL-CIO union president, Denis Hughes, offered a different motion that would include a two-year freeze on the current 60-hour threshold, followed by an 8-year incremental decrease of the threshold until it reach 40 hours per week, this motion died for lack of a second. Ultimately, McDuffie and Fisher voted as the majority to pass the recommendation to retain the 60-hour threshold for 2021, to let the industry get through the pandemic, and to revisit the issue with more data and input during November and December of 2021.

New York Minimum Wage Increased On Schedule

Employers should adjust wages to reflect required minimum wage increases that took place effective at 12:00 AM on December 31, 2020. Minimum wages in New York City were already at $15/hour and did not increase, for Long Island and Westchester the minimum wage increased to $14/hour, for the remainder of upstate New York the minimum wage increased to $12.50/hour. See the NYS Department of Labor’s website for more information about this issue. Long Island and Westchester minimum wage is scheduled to reach $15/hour next year while the remainder of upstate will be notified about increases by the NYS Commissioner of Labor by October 1, 2021 and each year thereafter.

By Richard Stup, Cornell University. This post first appeared first in The Ag Workforce Journal 

  • 6+ acres for lease for organic cultivation. Must have ag exemption. Call (607) 483-8758 between 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM, M – F.

  • Available For Rent: Steuben County SWCD has an Esch 10’ No-Till Drill for rent. Rates are $12-$25/acre based on number of acres planted. Delivery/pickup available. Please call (607)776-7398 ext.3 for more information.

  • Seeking conservation minded individual with interests in permaculture to rent 3-4 acre, gentle grade, southern exposure field for agricultural production in Steuben County, NY. Acceptable practices include organic vegetable production, small scale poultry, and organic greenhouse or high tunnel production. Other considerations will be determined by owner. Improved, uncultivated ground will require proper preparation for success. Currently no housing available on the property, but can be discussed with owner in the future. Contact CCE Steuben at (607)664-2574 for further information.

  • Attention Cattle Farmers: I have pasture/farmland for rent, 40-50 acres, reasonable rate. Located in Steuben County on State Rt. 63. Contact Marian Crawford at (585)728-5303.

  • Looking for a farmer interested in a lease agreement for approximately 40 - 50 acres in Howard at the intersection of CR69 and Dublin Road. Please call Bill at (484)794-1400 for more information.
Ariel Kirk, Agriculture Educator -