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Skaneateles Lake mansions get big tax breaks meant for farms

Skaneateles Lake mansions get big tax breaks meant for farms
Two of Syracuse’s wealthiest and most savvy real estate developers use tax breaks meant for rural farmers to secure big property tax breaks at their Skaneateles Lake mansions. Bob Congel, the developer behind Destiny USA, and Michael J. Falcone, the founder of Pioneer Companies, are taking some of the largest agricultural exemptions in New York state on their private family... more

Lawmakers OK emission cuts, farmworker rights expansions

Lawmakers OK emission cuts, farmworker rights expansions
New York would adopt the nation’s most aggressive carbon emission reduction goals and give new rights to farmworkers under proposals moving through the state Legislature Wednesday. With the session scheduled to end Wednesday, lawmakers planned to work through the night to wrap up work on hundreds of bills. Efforts to legalize marijuana, however, fizzled Wednesday as lawmakers conceded they didn’t... more

New York State wants bigger bite of food, ag industries

State wants bigger bite of food, ag industries
Cornell University is administering the state’s first food and agriculture business competition, expected to be one of the largest in the nation, and with a top prize of $1 million. Geneva-based Cornell AgriTech and the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture are among the Cornell programs assisting in the Grow-NY competition, launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo... more

Farmers call for marijuana to be legalized

New York farmers: Legalize marijuana so we can grow it
New York farmers are hoping marijuana could be their next cash crop. The New York Farm Bureau issued a memo Monday backing a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in New York, which lawmakers are considering before they end their annual session June 19. The bill, which is struggling to gain enough support in the Democrat-led Senate, includes... more

Ontario County farmers say labor bill would hurt

Ontario County farmers say labor bill would hurt
If the proposed Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act passes the state Legislature, the Hilton Dairy in Hopewell will be hurt bad, the farm family told two state senators. Sens. Pam Helming, R- Canandaigua, and Robert Ortt, R- North Tonawanda, visited the Hilton Dairy on Friday, where they heard about existing struggles and projected problems stemming from what is happening in... more

Farmers say ‘We need trade, not aid’

Farmer says: ‘We need trade, not aid’
United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue joined U.S. Rep. Tom Reed at Ravines Wine Cellars in Geneva May 29, where the two met with representatives from various agriculture businesses, including Farm Bureau officials, dairy, produce, crop farmers and wine producers. Much of the round table discussion was centered on trade and labor issues, with dairy farmers giving the most... more

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visits Ontario County

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visits Ontario County
Trade, tariffs and immigration-related labor issues dominated the discussion at a Wednesday roundtable with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Congressman Tom Reed. The event was at Ravines Winery off Pre-Emption Road south of Geneva, operated by Morton and Lisa Hallgren. Perdue, who grew up on a dairy farm in Georgia, was given a tour of the vineyard and winemaking... more

After banquet stakeholders discuss future of farming

After banquet stakeholders discuss future of farming
Several members of Penn Yan FFA were honored at the chapter’s Annual Banquet May 18 at Penn Yan Academy. Following a dinner prepared by Andrew Jensen and the academy kitchen staff and an auction held in the cafeteria, the awards portion of the evening was held in the auditorium. Chapter President Maci Nicholson, Vice president Akiya Brewer, Secretary Connor Moore,... more

Cuomo says political shift could hurt marijuana legalization in NY

Cuomo says political shift could hurt marijuana legalization in NY
New Jersey’s failure to legalize marijuana this year has complicated the “political environment” for the proposal in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a radio interview. The measure, one of the governor’s top priorities for the end of the legislative session in June, remains in the negotiations as lawmakers last week introduced an amendment that included elements of what... more

Court backs farmworkers ability to organize

Court backs farmworkers ability to organize
The state Appellate Court on Thursday backed the ability of workers in New York’s agricultural sector to collectively bargaining and join labor unions. The development was cheered by supporters of a bill meant to expand labor rights and benefits to farm workers, but blasted by the New York Farm Bureau, which promised to appeal. The ruling comes as Democratic state... more

Kolb says costs to farms in labor bill ‘staggering’

KOLB: Costs to farms in Farmworkers Labor bill ‘staggering’
Republicans in New York are pushing back against a bill, which they say would have a huge impact on local farms. Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) and Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River), the Conference’s ranking member on the Committee on Agriculture, were among a number of signatories who penned a letter to the Assembly Majority leadership calling for... more

Red Jacket Orchards refocuses on future after a couple tough years

Red Jacket Orchards refocuses on future after a couple tough years
A couple of “really rough years in the orchards” convinced Brian Nicholson and Red Jacket Orchards that it was time for another tweak of its business model. In its 61st year of operation, the company said it will be intensifying focus on its rapidly expanding fruit beverage business and downsizing fruit-growing operations. “We’ve got a very healthy, growing beverage business,”... more

NY Immigration Coalition launches ad campaign for Green Light Bill

NY Immigration Coalition launches ad campaign for Green Light Bill
The New York Immigration Coalition on Monday will launch a new push for a bill that would extend access to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, including a TV ad set to air in heavy rotation on New York City and Albany cable stations. The ad, which will also be featured on social and digital media, will target voters in key... more

Martens sprout seed industry

Martens sprout seed industry
N.Y. State Ag. and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball was in Yates County last Thursday to tour a modern seed cleaning and sorting facility designed in China that brings artificial intelligence and internet connectivity to local agri-business. Klaas, Mary-Howell, and Peter Martens escorted Ball on the tour of their newly built, geothermally climate controlled processing facility and warehouse at the... more

Farmworkers urge NY lawmakers to allow them to unionize

Farmworkers urge NY lawmakers to allow them to unionize
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will push lawmakers to pass legislation allowing farmworkers to unionize, the state’s top labor official said during a farmworker rally outside the state Capitol on Monday. The bill, known as the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act, would repeal an 80-year-old state law that prohibits farmworkers from organizing to seek better wages or conditions. It would... more

Influence of farm-to-table movement in Finger Lakes explored

Influence of farm-to-table movement in Finger Lakes explored
Chefs using locally sourced food to create menu offerings is a growing phenomenon in the Finger Lakes. It’s also the subject of a day-long program at two locations in Geneva. The Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the “al fresco” conference that will explore the influence of the farm-to-table movement and agritourism on the local culture and economy. It’s scheduled... more

Census of Agriculture: Number of farms across region declines again

Census of Agriculture: Number of farms across region declines again
The number of farms in New York dropped again, according to the latest Census of Agriculture released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The 2017 census found there are 33,438 farms in New York, down from 35,537 in 2012. The state’s farms occupy 6,866,171 acres, which is lower than the 7,183,576 acres farms had five years ago. David Fisher, president... more

Republicans call for more public hearings on legislation that could hurt family farms

Republicans call for more public hearings on legislation that could hurt family farms
State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) and others members of the Senate Republican conference called for additional public hearings, including in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, on legislation they believe could drive many of New York’s family farms out of business and decimate local farm economies. The controversial legislation (S.2837/A.2750) is known as the “Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices... more
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