Owasco farm under investigation for worker living conditions

Nicole Catalfano said she wanted to cry. Four adults and five children have been living in squalor on a dairy farm in Owasco since December, and Catalfano helped them pack up their belongings Friday and leave. With temperatures dropping and a light sprinkle falling, young women and children carried out hampers and trash bags filled with food and clothes through... more

How do you like your organic in the Finger Lakes?

Can a tomato grown in a nutrient solution instead of dirt be called “organic?” Is organic farming about more than eschewing synthetic pesticides? Those questions are at the root of debate raging in the organic produce industry. The debate recently heated up when the National Organic Standards Board (a group that advises the U.S. Department of Agriculture) voted this fall... more

Helming: $5.5M available for farmland protection projects

Senator Pam Helming announced that $5.5 million is available through two state grant programs to fund farmland protection projects. Both the Farmland Protection Implementation Program and Land Trust Grants can help preserve viable farmland, protecting it from development and conversion to non-farm uses. The funding helps farmers identify available land and expedite the process of permanently protecting agricultural properties through... more

HELMING: Local farmers will be eligible for new $5,000 tax credit

New York State Senator Pam Helming recently announced that local farmers are eligible to receive up to a $5,000 tax credit for food donations made to food banks that serve needy families and seniors in our region. Eligible donations include fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, and meat produced in New York State. Working with the New York Farm Bureau, Senator Helming... more

NY Farm Bureau declares victory in farmworker lawsuit

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought collective bargaining rights for farmworkers, satisfying a request from New York Farm Bureau. The lawsuit challenged a more than century-old law that exempts farm workers from the right to organize. Filed in May by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), a not-for-profit focused on defending civil liberties and civil rights, the... more

Variety abounds in Yates County agriculture

The snow has arrived, the lakes are getting closer to freezing and for farmers everywhere, harvest season is finally coming to a close. Throughout the fall, the fields, farms and vineyards across Yates County were bustling day and night to harvest the crop planted in early spring. Harvest season is one of my favorite times of the year because it’s... more

Wickham ends tenure as manager of Empire Farm Days

Melanie Wickham’s name is nearly synonymous with Empire Farm Days. After 32 years as organizer and manager of the largest outdoor agricultural trade show in the Northeast, Wickham is leaving. A town of Seneca resident in Ontario County, Wickham has served as executive director of the Empire State Potato Growers Inc., which sponsors Empire Farm Days every August. Since 1988,... more

Victor man grows from raising crops to cultivating careers

David D. Reh, a successful Victor businessman, remembers going to his grandfather’s Orchard Park farm when he was a boy, driving a tractor to help with the hay baling. At 12, he began leasing land from neighbors and increased his planting of cauliflower, tomatoes and various grains. Now, Reh, founder and owner of Ravenwood Golf Club, enjoys helping young people... more

Sen. Helming announces signing of agricultural tourism bill

Senator Pam Helming today announced that a bill that she co-sponsored to reduce the cost of insurance for agritourism businesses was signed into law. The cost of liability insurance is becoming increasingly costly particularly for small farms that host agritourism activities, such as U-Pick produce, U-Cut Christmas trees, farm and winery tours, snowmobiling, hunting, and other forms of outdoor recreation.... more

Grape harvest at Shaw Vineyard on Seneca Lake (photos)

The annual grape harvest is now complete for most wineries and farms across the Finger Lakes. In these photos below, winemaker Steve Shaw and the team at Shaw Vineyard process the harvest late last week in Himrod on the western shore of Seneca Lake. Shaw Vineyard is a artisanal winery dedicated to gentle processing, cellar aging, and risk taking. Since... more

Region’s grape crop big in two ways

Hans Walter-Peterson has one word to describe this year’s grape crop in the Finger Lakes. Big. Big in two ways, specified Walter-Peterson, a viticulture extension specialist with Finger Lakes Grape Program, which is part of Cornell Cooperative Extension. The grapes are big. So are the bunches. As a whole, this year’s crop looks to be outstanding, Walter-Peterson said. “Some of... more

New state program helps vets become farmers

New York state has created a new program to help veterans become farmers. The new program provides financial assistance to former military service members turned farmers. The initiative is related to a broader $1 million grant program for new and early-stage farmers. Under the initiative, past service members can apply for state funds to help them buy new farm equipment,... more

‘Holy’ grain saved; barn raising starts

The fire that struck the Martens family farm recently could have been devastating to a family less optimistic than Klaas & Mary-Howell. Drawing inspiration from their faith, their family, the supportive community around them, and the mercy of Providence, they keep seeing the blessings in the midst of what could have been a disaster for them if they were alone.... more

Reed hears concerns of area dairy farmers

U.S. Congressman Tom Reed, (R-Corning) met with leaders in the dairy industry Friday, Sept. 22 to hear their concerns in Western New York. Reed came prepared to promote the Republican plan to overhaul the federal income tax code to “modernize” and “lower rates as much as possible across the board.” However, the topics that dominated the meeting with dairy farmers... more

Inside the FLX: Talking rural development in the Finger Lakes (podcast)

On Monday’s edition of the Inside the FLX podcast Josh Durso was joined by Jillian Kasow, Director and Counsel to the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, Christopher Stewart, Special Projects Coordinator with the USDA, and Jim Walfrand, Area Director for Rural Development with the USDA — who discussed shared efforts between regional, state, and federal officials to deliver valuable assets... more

20 years of apple touring in Wayne County

The annual Wayne County Apple Tour returns for the 20th year this fall. Since 1997, apple lovers throughout western and central New York have explored Wayne County to pick fresh apples, enjoy the fall colors, and enjoy a day of family fun. Wayne County is the largest apple-producing county in New York State. The tour runs throughout the month of... more

Gene-altered moth trial in Geneva raises hopes… and worries

It seems like the stuff of science fiction: Genetically engineering a species to die before it can reproduce. But field tests of a gene-altered type of moth are taking place now at Cornell University’s Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. It’s a pesticide-free attempt to control invasive diamondback moths — an insect that devours crops like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Cornell... more
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