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…]

October 2015: Agri-business

Dairy industry faces new challenge

Jay Matteson

Jay Matteson

At this time last year, dairy farms were enjoying record high prices for the milk they produced, somewhere around $26 to $27 for every 100 pounds, or hundred-weight, of milk shipped. Unfortunately, the old adage what goes up must come down tends to hold true in dairy farming, too. Data from the Federal Milk Market Administrator’s office indicates that farms are now receiving approximately $16 for every hundred weight of milk shipped. This change equals a difference of roughly $10 per hundred-weight from last year. We’ll examine briefly the impact this drastic a drop in prices has on our farms and some of the causes of the decline. [Read more…]

September 2015: Agribusiness

Tough choices to grow our economy

Columnist Jay Matteson

Columnist Jay Matteson

The past few months have been interesting here in Northern New York. We heard from our elected county officials about tax revenue difficulties and future challenges to maintain services. We saw news about unemployment rates remaining some of the highest across the state. St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties had their own versions of meat-processing plant issues. A planned farm distillery faced stiff opposition from some of its potential neighbors and two planned manure storage structures made the news. [Read more…]