Fort Drum session spreads awareness of agriculture industry to soldiers

As a small handful of soldiers listened to a pitch about getting into agriculture, organizers said their military service could make them the right fit to build the industry’s future. [Read more…]

Schumer urges USDA to help Watertown company with permit

Courtney Schermerhorn, site manager for Midway International Logistics, gives the Times a tour of the facility Friday. Bureaucratic red tape has caused the company to lose a $1.75 million contract to import meat from Canada. Photo by Justin Sorensen, Watertown Daily Times.

Courtney Schermerhorn, site manager for Midway International Logistics, gives the Times a tour of the facility Friday. Bureaucratic red tape has caused the company to lose a $1.75 million contract to import meat from Canada. Photo by Justin Sorensen, Watertown Daily Times.

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer has stepped in to help a local company get through bureaucratic red tape to receive a federal permit to import meat from Canada. [Read more…]

Watertown meat plant developer: Proposed St. Lawrence County slaughterhouses could be outcompeted

This artist’s rendering shows how the New York Meat Co. at the Jefferson County Corporate Park would look when fully built. Submitted by Lunco Corp.

This artist’s rendering shows how the New York Meat Co. at the Jefferson County Corporate Park would look when fully built. Submitted photo by Lunco Corp.

Planners of small-scale slaughterhouses in Potsdam and Oswegatchie should be afraid of being overwhelmed by a larger meat plant being developed in the Watertown area, contends the developer of that plant. [Read more…]

January 2016 Feature Story: Agribusiness

Ag jobs need new grads

Anna Bica, 14, a member of the South Jefferson FFA, is pursuing agricultural education opportunities. Local experts say job opportunities in agriculture will continue open up in Northern New York and nationwide, but more college graduates will be needed to fill them. Organizations like FFA play a pivotal role in educating students about opportunities available in the field. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

Anna Bica, 14, a member of the South Jefferson FFA, is pursuing agricultural education opportunities. Local experts say job opportunities in agriculture will continue open up in Northern New York and nationwide, but more college graduates will be needed to fill them. Organizations like FFA play a pivotal role in educating students about opportunities available in the field. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

USDA: Too few earn degrees required for agriculture roles

By Ted Booker, NNY Business

Jobs in the agriculture industry will open up in Northern New York and across the country, but more college graduates will be needed to fill them, local experts say. [Read more…]

Orleans supervisor to Russell: Get facts straight on water project

Town Supervisor Kevin R. Rarick stands outside the state Department of Transportation’s salt-storage barn on Route 12 in Collins Landing. Town officials say a funding gap of about $2.3 million in grant funding needs to be filled to break ground on a $12.3 million project, which is needed to address widespread groundwater contamination reportedly caused by the storage barn. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

Town Supervisor Kevin R. Rarick stands outside the state Department of Transportation’s salt-storage barn on Route 12 in Collins Landing. Town officials say a funding gap of about $2.3 million in grant funding needs to be filled to break ground on a $12.3 million project, which is needed to address widespread groundwater contamination reportedly caused by the storage barn. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

COLLINS LANDING — Though state Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell has complained the “goal post keeps moving” on the cost of an Orleans water project to address salt contamination, the town supervisor says the legislator hasn’t taken the time to understand the facts. [Read more…]

Organic farm plans $1 million meat processing facility

Kandace Dietschweiler-Hartley poses for a portrait at her route 68 farm in Oswegatchie. Mrs. Dietschweiler-Hartley is planning to build a 6,000 square foot slaughterhouse and retail outlet. Photo by Larry Robinson, Watertown Daily Times.

Kandace Dietschweiler-Hartley is planning to build a 6,000 square foot slaughterhouse and retail outlet in Oswegatchie. Photo by Larry Robinson, Watertown Daily Times.

OSWEGATCHIE — A local farm that already specializes in certified organic meat and other regional agriculture products is planning construction this spring of a 6,000-square-foot slaughterhouse and meat processing facility that will include an adjacent retail store and gas station along state Route 68 near the Ogdensburg International Airport. [Read more…]

From antelopes to zebras, vet gives the OK before they can cross the border

WELLESLEY ISLAND — Dr. Jeffrey J. Huse, 59, inspects all creatures, great and small, as a veterinarian at the Alexandria Bay Port of Entry.

“You wouldn’t believe the stuff he has to check here,” said Shawn P. Lewis, a Canadian trucker waiting for Dr. Huse to approve the load of cattle he was taking south on Thursday morning. [Read more…]

April 2015 Agribusiness Feature Story: Maple

Liquid gold

Previous page, top, buckets collect sap on maple trees at Massey Ranch. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Previous page, top, buckets collect sap on maple trees at Massey Ranch. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Maple production a key to agribusiness growth in north country, state

By Lorna Oppedisano, NNY Business

The snow is melting. The temperature is rising. The sap is running. It’s maple season, and Northern New York’s sweetest industry is on the rise. [Read more…]

April 2015: Business Briefcase

NONPROFITS

Credo tapped for national tobacco control initiative

Credo Community Center for the Treatment of Addictions was recently chosen as the state’s only organization to participate in the 2015 National Behavioral Health Network’s Tobacco and Cancer Control Community of Practice. [Read more…]

NNY farmers reap benefit of state sales record in 2013

Reaping the benefit of record-high milk costs and beef prices, north country dairy and livestock farmers said they weren’t surprised by the governor’s announcement on Tuesday that farms posted a statewide sales record in 2013.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York farmers posted $5.68 billion last year in cash receipts, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That figure is more than $1 billion more than what farmers took in during 2010, when cash receipts were $4.64 billion. Cash receipts are defined as gross income from the sale of crops, livestock and other products.

USDA statistics show that from 2010 through 2013 in New York, overall cash receipts for livestock and dairy products increased by about $830 million, or 32 percent, from about $2.6 to $3.4 billion. Over the same period, cash receipts for crops jumped by about $200 million, or 10 percent, from about $2.1 to $2.3 billion.

Many north country farmers have taken advantage of skyrocketing milk prices by expanding operations and upgrading equipment, said Michael R. Burger, owner of Deer Run Dairy in Adams. High milk prices in 2013 rose even higher this year, he said, making it an ideal time for dairy farms to expand.

“Over the past two years, we added 100 milking stalls, built a calf barn to do a better job with calves and have done some environmental improvements with manure runoff,” said Mr. Burger, adding that his operation now has about 800 milking cows. “It has been a banner year for dairy profits in 2014. Farmers have been able to do all the things they couldn’t do when milk prices were lower, but the ride is coming to an end.”

Mr. Burger said milk prices are expected to drop by about $7 per hundredweight over the next two months, from about $22 to $15. And he said cattle feed prices, which rose this year, are expected to be even higher next year.

“Hopefully the down cycles will be short and the good cycles long,” Mr. Burger said. “The state continues to increase the production of yogurt and dairy products, and that’s been another positive spot because it has created jobs.”

Along with high milk prices, beef prices have also posted record-high prices during the past two years, according to livestock producer Stephen G. Winkler, owner of Lucki 7 Livestock Co., Rodman.

“The milk industry drives the bus in this state. But if you look at all farm sales, beef hit record highs last summer and fall, while pork and turkey hit near records,” said Mr. Winkler, whose livestock farm raises hogs, beef cattle and poultry.

Mr. Winkler said about 90 percent of its products are sold in New York City, where the company began partnering with a distributor in the fall of 2013. He said rising consumer demand for New York-made beef products has driven the company’s sales.

State “farm products in general are being valued more,” he said. “People are buying more organic fruits and vegetables, pork and beef — it all goes hand in hand. Major retailers and distributors are sourcing local food.”

Jay M. Matteson, Jefferson County agricultural coordinator, said that while New York farm sales were strong in 2013, they will be much higher in 2014 because of record-high milk prices.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see the cash receipts for New York state to come close to $6 billion in 2014 — it’s going to be even better,” Mr. Matteson said. “Our dairy farms have never had dairy prices as high as they saw, and the beef dynamic is similar. Beef farmers are enjoying very high prices.”

By contrast, the prices of commodity crops — such as corn, soybeans and wheat — are down in comparison to where they were a few years ago, according to Michael E. Hunter, crop educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County.

“Back in 2010 crops were pretty lucrative, but we’ve slowed down a little bit on commodity prices,” Mr. Hunter said. “In 2014, prices really dropped from what we saw in 2013.”

Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau, said in a prepared statement that the 2013 sale numbers released by the USDA are proof that the state’s agriculture industry is in good standing.

“Hard work, farmer innovation, world markets, and a commitment from New York State have boosted overall farm sales yet again,” Mr. Norton said. “This is money that goes right back into the rural communities supporting local jobs.”

 

 

By Ted Booker, Times Staff Writer