Northern New York Farmers Recognize Senate Ag Chair Patty Ritchie for Support

New York State Senator Patty Ritchie, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, met with representatives of the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program to discuss opportunities to grow the regional ag industry. Photo: Courtesy of the Office of Senator Patty Ritchie

Northern NY; February 16, 2017.  Representatives of the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program met with NYS Senate Agriculture Chair Senator Patty Ritchie recently to recognize her support of the regional research and technical assistance program serving Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Program Co-Chair Jon Greenwood, Program Committee members Kevin Acres and David Fisher, and Program Coordinator Michele Ledoux provided the Senator a copy of the 2017 Northern New York Agricultural Development Program Economic Impact and Project Highlights Report.

Senator Ritchie commented on the value of the farmer involvement in directly selecting priority projects. More than 100 farmers serve on the committee that provides small grant funding for on-farm research and technical assistance projects in the six northernmost counties of New York State. Senator Ritchie has championed restoration of funding for the Program in recent State Budgets.

The discussion noted that the 2017 Crop Congresses in NNY featured five Northern New York Agricultural Development Program focused on dairy and crop production. The annual report highlights trials evaluating tile drainage as a critical agronomic practice for soil, manure and nutrient management, erosion and runoff control, crop production, and farm sustainability. The regional research states the use of tiles can return 7 to 12 percent on investment in five to 10 years for some farms.

Kevin Acres told the Senator that installing tiles on his St. Lawrence County farm has saved him thousands of dollars in annual costs, improved his soil, reduced compaction, and made it easier to plant and harvest crops.

David Fisher noted how efficiently the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program manages the State funding. Jon Greenwood, who Co-Chairs the Program with Joe Giroux and Jon Rulfs, pointed out that while dairy and crops are major focus areas, projects address all facets of the regional agricultural industry, including local food production, grapes, maple, and livestock.

Michele Ledoux mentioned that as a direct result of Northern New York Agricultural Development Program-funded trials in regional sugarbushes, NNY maple producers are changing to 3/16-inch tubing for more efficient sap collection. Cornell Northern NY Maple Specialist Michael Farrell estimates the region can grow to meet a $10 million maple industry potential.

Senator Ritchie invited the Program leaders to meet with the Senate Agriculture Committee in Albany later this year and recognized Betty Little of the 45th Senate District in eastern NNY as a stalwart supporter of the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program.

After the meeting Senator Ritchie presented David Fisher with a proclamation in recognition for his service to the agricultural industry in Northern New York and acknowledging his recent election as New York Farm Bureau President.

Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

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