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Friday, July 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm

New documentary highlights immigration policy that harms local dairy farmers

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, immigration

Via Orleans Hub, a documentary on the difficulty WNY dairy farmers face because of current immigration policy.

Fruit and vegetable farms have access to legal foreign workers through the H2A program, but the federal government hasn’t made that possible for dairies because the work isn’t considered seasonal. Dairies haven’t had much success finding local Americans to work the night shifts.

Many dairies say they have been forced to hire Mexicans who don’t have proper documents. They are hard-working and dedicated, but they are also vulnerable to sudden removal by immigration officers. Germano interviews one dairy farmer who will soon have long-term milking employees deported.

“I am tired of the inaction in Washington,” a WNY dairy farmer tells Germano. “We’re trying to run a business. We’re the ones caught in the crosshairs between the government that makes the laws and the other agency that has to enforce the laws.” 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Calves and farm equipment stolen in Le Roy area

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, crime, Le Roy

A case of calf rustling has hit Le Roy and Western Monroe County.

A farmer is out 14 black and white bull calves along with a Dewalt generator, Dewalt saw, and Napa battery charger. A nearby farm is also missing a milk replacer and hay.

Sheriff's Office investigators suspect the thefts are related and that the people responsible for the calf thefts are raising the animals but not bringing them to auction.

The thefts occurred within the last week or so and a witness describes one of the suspects as a larger white male with either a bald head or very short hair and another suspect as a white female.

The suspect vehicle is a dark-colored minivan, possibly burgundy, with tinted windows.

Anyone with information are asked to contact Investigator Timothy Weis at (585) 345-3000, ext. 3572.

Friday, July 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Photos: 4-H livestock auction at the Genesee County Fair

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, 4-H, agriculture, Genesee County Fair

One of the great annual community events in Genesee County is the 4-H livestock auction at the fair. This year's auction was held last night. The event draws people from throughout Genesee County -- not just farmers and those involved in ag. The event is the culimination of a lot of hard work by 4-H members in raising their sheep, goats, swine and beef. 

Auctioneers from William Kent kept the bids flowing.

To purchase prints, click here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Rep. Collins calls proposed EPA rules on waterways 'overreach,' a burden on agriculture

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, chris collins, environment, NY-27

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today questioned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator, Honorable Robert W. Perciasepe, at a Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing on the EPA’s overreaching rule proposal entitled “Definition of the ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act.”

“The problem is the public doesn't trust the EPA, farmers don't trust the EPA not to overreach, Congress doesn't trust the EPA,” said Congressman Collins during today’s hearing.

“Deputy Administrator Perciasepe and the EPA fail to recognize that their agency’s overreach is causing real harm for farmers and stalling business development across our country,” Congressman Collins said. “When I visit with farmers in my district, the heavy burdens under the Clean Water Act come up each and every time. When the bureaucrats at the EPA decide to call a divot in the ground that fills with rain a ‘navigable waterway’ under the CWA, we know our federal government has run amuck. The fact that the EPA and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers are now looking to formally broaden the definition of ‘navigable waters’ is an insult to hard working farmers all across this country.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 10:22 am

Hawleys give Rotary members a sneak peek at new malt house

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, agriculture, business, New York Craft Malt

Ted and Patty Hawley have been working for three years to open a malting house in Batavia. The process is almost done, and Tuesday, the Hawleys provided a tour of their new facility on their farm on Bank Street Road to members of the Batavia Rotary Club.

Ted Hawley spoke for about 20 minutes about the history of malting and beer brewing in New York, why he decided to get into malting and how the process works.

Rotary members were able to sample the taste of about a half dozen different barley grains.

At one time, New York was number one in barley and hops, but the emergence of better growing areas and prohibition killed the industries in the state.

In Batavia, decades ago, there was a malt house off Elm Street owned by Charles Fisher, and Genesee Brewery made malt in a facility on Lyons Street.

Even though there are no commercial breweries in Genesee County now, microbreweries are popping up all over the state, even in WNY.  The growing demand for malt is what got the Hawleys interested in starting their own operation. 

Once the new malt house is fully up and running, Hawley said there's already enough demand from microbreweries in WNY that he doubts any of his malt will be sold to downstate markets.

Before a resurgence in microbreweries in New York (there are now 128), it had been generations since malting barley was grown locally.  

It's a challenge to grow in New York because of moist air. Fungus can wipe out whole crops and at harvest time, there's a short window of opportunity to combine the stocks before the grain starts to germinate.  

Last year, the Hawley's lost 40 acres of grain because of a day or two of rain right when the barley should have been harvested.

Hawley said the grain looked good in the field. It looked good after the straw was cut and the grain was brought to the malt house, but when he did a pre-germination test, he found that at a microscopic level, it had already germinated, killing all of the enzymes. 

Some of that barley went to area distilleries, which can still use barley at that stage, but most of it became livestock feed.

In order to grow enough barley for his three-tons-a-day malting operation, Hawley needs to partner with local farms to grow his barley (and Hawley is still running experiments with Cornell Cooperative Extension to find the right variety of barley to grow locally -- a four to five year process).

It can be daunting to introduce the idea to a farmer who has no experience with malt varieties of barely (which are higher in enzymes and lower in protein than feed barely).

"It's a real challenge to grow it," Hawley said. "When I talk with a farmer about growing it for me, it's hard not to deter them."

To grow it, a farmer must use about half as much nitrate fertilizer as he would for feed or wheat. There's a limited five-day window to spray for fungus, which if missed means the crop is lost. And at harvest, the combine must be run at about half speed so the grain heads aren't scabbed.

For all that, Hawley said, it's still a worthwhile crop for the right farmers.

"It's a very good gamble," Hawley said. "I'll pay them twice what it's worth as feed. It could be very lucrative to somebody who takes good care of the crop."

Previously:

Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 1:45 am

County Legislature recognizes June as Dairy Month

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, county legislature, dairy queen

In honor of Dairy Month, the Genesee County Legislature presented Dairy Princess Kayla Wormuth with a proclamation recognizing the contribution dairy makes to the local economy and the nutrition of people. Legislator Shelly Stein, right, presented the resolution. Also participating were dairy ambassadors Becca Slattery and Mary Sweeney, and Georgia Luft, dairy maid.

 

Monday, June 9, 2014 at 11:58 am

Dairy Princess will give out ice cream in recognition of Dairy Month at Wednesday's legislature meeting

post by Billie Owens in announcements, agriculture, diary

The Genesee County Dairy Princess, 17-year-old Kayla Wormuth, of Elba, will officially proclaim June as Dairy Month and hand out free ice cream at the next local legislators meeting on Wednesday, June 11, starting at 5:30 p.m.

As always, the public is welcome. The meeting takes place in Batavia's Old County Courthouse downtown.

Friday, June 6, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Harper Grey Alexander, of Batavia, is 2014 Dairy Baby

post by Billie Owens in agriculture, dairy, UMMC

Press release:

The Genesee County Dairy Princess honored the first baby born in Genesee County during the month of June 2014 as the Dairy Baby. Harper Grey Alexander, a baby girl, was born to Ashley and Ryan Alexander of Batavia on Tuesday, June 3, at 10:56 p.m. at United Memorial Medical Center. She weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 20-inches long. She was delivered by Patricia Beverly, CNM. Harper is the first child for the new parents and her grandparents are Russell and Deette Alexander and Steve and Pam Foster.

June is National Dairy Month. It is an annual tradition celebrating the contributions of the dairy industry and promoting nutrient-rich dairy foods.

The Genesee County Dairy Princess, Elba High School junior Kayla Wormuth, and the 4H Dairy Program organizer Tess Zuber, presented the first baby born in June with a basket of dairy products including flavored milks, product coupons, cheeses from Yancey’s Fancy, and a number of other infant items.

 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Photos: Kinder Farmin' Day at Grassland Dairy in Pavilion

Evan Stout raised his hand during a tour of the milking parlor at Grassland Dairy in Pavilion this morning because he wanted to know if it hurt the cows when they're milked.

Steven Tudhope assured him they were not hurt.

Evan was one of more than 200 area school children who toured Grassland, owned and operated by Brent Tillotson, as part of Kinder Farmin' Day (formerly Dairy Day), sponsored by the Genesee County Farm Bureau. 

"It's important for today's generation to learn about agriculture because they're going to be tomorrow's consumers and tomorrow's ag workforce," said Barm Sturm of the Farm Bureau.

Tillotson said he hosted the tour this year because he thinks it's important for children to learn firsthand about dairy farming.

"We do as much for kids as we can," Tillotson said. "It's good for them to come out and see that food doesn't just come off a truck."

Steven Tudhope explains to a group of Pavilion students how cows are milked.

Chad Tillotson shows a group of Wolcott School students the different kinds of organic feeds used on Grassland, which is a certified organic dairy farm.

Kara, of Wolcott School, holds a chick.

Melissa Thater with her young goat and a group of children.

Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm

GC Dairy Maid tells why dairy products are important to your diet

post by Billie Owens in agriculture, dairy, elba

Genesee County Dairy Maid for 2014 is 9-year-old Georgia Luft, of Elba. She wrote this article to kick off National Dairy Month.

June is National Dairy Month. What greater time to make sure your have at least three dairy products in your daily diet than now! Research recommends that everyone should consume three dairy products daily to be healthy.

Dairy products have many health benefits, especially for your bones and teeth. Dairy foods provide vital nutrients that include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, magnesium, zinc, riboflavin and protein. Dairy products provide a powerhouse of nutrients!

Eating dairy products may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in older adults, while helping children and adolescence build bone mass. Dairy products have also been associated with reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and lowering blood pressure in adults. Recently research has suggested that by enjoying three servings of dairy products a day, part of a nutrient-rich and balanced diet, dairy products may help in maintaining a healthy weight. Keep in mind that choosing low-fat or fat-free forms of dairy products provide little or no solid fat while providing many other health benefits.

Keep the “3-A-Day” theme in mind as you plan your daily meals. Experts recommend three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy food every day. Many of us could use to add one additional daily serving of nutrient-rich dairy products to help meet recommendations. One dairy serving is equal to: An 8-ounce glass of milk, a 6- or 8-ounce container of yogurt, or 1½ ounces of cheese.

It’s easy to get your 3-A-Day in when you start with some yogurt for breakfast with fruit, some cheese with lunch and a big glass of milk with dinner. Enjoy a cool glass of milk during the summer months, as it does the body good!

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