August 2016: Agribusiness

Come grow with us in the north country

Jay Matteson

Jay Matteson

If you are driving on Interstate 81 in the Watertown area, you may have noticed two very large Holstein dairy cows watching you drive by. Their faces are almost 11-feet tall and nearly 8-feet wide. That’s a large Holstein by any standard. [Read more…]

July 2016: Agri-business

One man’s junk is another’s necessity

Jay Matteson

Jay Matteson

It is not unusual to encounter situations where farms keep old equipment and materials that may appear as “junk” to the non-farm public. Old tractors, farm machinery, and building materials may be kept by the farm for later use as replacement parts or building materials. Old tires may be kept for use to hold down plastic film placed on bunk silos storing animal feed. Farmers have always been masters of the three “Rs” of waste reduction: reduce, reuse and recycle. The three Rs apply when they keep old equipment to use for parts or to make devices to help complete daily farm chores. [Read more…]

June 2016: Agri-Business

JeffersonCountyAgriculture.com goes live

Jay Matteson

Jay Matteson

Mark D. Waterhouse, president of Garnet Consulting Services, Pleasant Valley, Conn., spoke at the Jefferson County Economic Development Forum on May 18. Mr. Waterhouse is recognized within the economic development community for his success in helping communities attract new development and grow existing business. During Mr. Waterhouse’s commentary, he discussed effective marketing techniques to attract new business. His remarks and the data he presented demonstrated the needs for improved efforts and support for some of the actions we’ve taken to improve our presence. [Read more…]

May 2016: Agri-Business

What’s happening in our dairy industry?

Jay Matteson

Jay Matteson

As we approach the annual June Dairy Month celebration, it is important to recognize that Jefferson County’s dairy industry is by far its largest sector of agriculture. Dairy accounts for roughly 66 percent of product sales. Our 200 dairy farms produce 600 million pounds of milk annually. That’s about eight trillion 8-ounce glasses of milk. Jefferson County ranks fourth in the state in dairy production and in the top 50 counties nationwide. Unfortunately, our dairy farms are hurting nationwide due to horrible prices for the milk they produce. [Read more…]

April 2016: Agri-business

Big business in high-quality ag products

Jay Matteson

Jay Matteson

The north country is very fortunate to be home to some of the highest quality agricultural products and businesses. Recently, one of our newest agricultural businesses, Aviagen, was recognized for its excellence as a global poultry genetics company. Aviagen begins operation this spring in the Jefferson County Industrial Park. It purchased the former Morris Northstar Hatchery that operated successfully for several years. Morris Northstar hatched approximately 300,000 chicks a week for export to broiler chicken farms in Canada. Aviagen indicates it is a higher-end hatchery. It will hatch out chicks that instead of growing directly into meat chickens will be used as parent stock to meet other poultry company demands. Aviagen provides the parents for many different poultry operations around the world. Officials indicate many of the chicks born in Jefferson County will be exported around the world. Aviagen is noted as one of the world’s leading poultry genetics companies. [Read more…]

March 2016: Agri-Business

Time again for the sweet taste of maple

Jay Matteson

Jay Matteson

Nothing is as great a harbinger of spring as the aroma of maple sap boiling down to make the golden nectar of the woods — maple syrup. It is a special delight to enjoy the sweet taste of maple syrup on a plate of your favorite pancakes, or a teaspoon of syrup in your coffee or tea, or maple syrup slathered over barbecued chicken just before you take it off the grill. But if you’ve only enjoyed these wonderful tastes from a jug of maple syrup you purchased at the store, you are missing out on a fun and tasty opportunity. [Read more…]

February 2016: Agribusiness

We love to hate manure storage structures

Matteson_JayW

Jay Matteson

Manure storage structures. I personally hate them. They smell when stirred up and they cause our farms and communities headaches. Why do farms use them? Are they good or bad for our streams and rivers? How do they impact air quality? As debate rages in our community about the use of these farming practices, let’s tackle some of the tough questions. And I’m sure this column will generate more. [Read more…]

January 2016: Agribusiness

Orleans needs a new clean water supply

Matteson_JayWPeople’s lives and businesses in Orleans near Collins Landing are suffering because of a water pollution problem. An underground salt contamination plume is affecting many local residents. They are using water contaminated with salt, and possibly arsenic and other metals, to bathe in and clean with. No one should consume it or use it to cook. Our largest farm winery, Thousand Islands Winery on Seaway Avenue, is in the middle of the contamination plume. It does not use the groundwater for wine-making. Instead, it uses 5-gallon jugs of clean water paid for by the New York State Department of Transportation, to make wine. This is a very labor intensive problem. [Read more…]

December 2015: Agri-Business

How will $15 wage impact farms?

Jay Matteson

Jay Matteson

According to Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau, “New York farmers are simply unable to afford a $15 minimum wage in this day of national and global competition that already leads to razor-thin margins.The governor’s proposal will increase costs on farms across New York by $500 million, when our business environment is already suffering. This is not the way to invest in the upstate and rural economy.” [Read more…]

November 2015: Agribusiness

Agency cooperation critical to future

Matteson_JayWThe Jefferson County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board is wrapping up work on a new County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan. The county’s original Farmland Protection Plan was completed in 2002 and proved to be a strong guide in how to support our agricultural industry. There were many successes from the 2002 plan, including improved communication and cooperation among the agencies who serve agriculture. In 2002, the agencies involved in supporting agriculture in Jefferson County began quarterly meetings. We called these meetings the Ag Agency Roundtable. But more interesting in the success of this effort is the response we’ve received from the consulting firm who is assisting in the development of our new plan. [Read more…]