December 26, 2009

Contact: Jon Greenwood, 315-386-3231; Joe Giroux, 518-565-4730 (M-F, 9-4)

Results of 22 NNYADP Research Projects Now Online at www.nnyagdev.org: Partnerships provide North Country farmers with NNY-specific practical data

Northern NY – “These projects bring together the research, educational and technical assistance expertise needed to address the needs and opportunities that are unique to farming in the North Country” – that is how Northern New York Agricultural Development Program Co-Chair Jon Greenwood describes the small grants projects funded by the farmer-driven program that serves Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org has recently added the results of 22 NNYADP-funded projects focused on research to assist dairy, field crops, maple, local foods and high tunnel agriculture, soil health, and conservation.

Joe Giroux, NNYADP Co-Chair from Plattsburgh, NY, says, “Northern New York’s unique micro-climates, soil variability, and market channels (local and more distant) are just a few of the regional factors that challenge the profitability and long-term vitality of farms in the region. That is why the farmers in six-county region select and prioritize practical on-farm research, outreach and technical assistance demonstrations designed to improve production and farm business profitability in the region.”

The Program’s funding is made possible by the New York State Senate through the leadership of Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Darrel Aubertine, himself a dairyman, and the long-term support of Senator Elizabeth “Betty” Little.

The recently-uploaded project reports provide farmers with ways to improve:
• dairy herd health and nutrition
• apple orchard management systems,
• the production of food-grade soybeans,
• the production of cereal grain varieties for grain and straw, and
• the production of high tunnel-grown fruits, vegetables and flowers. High tunnels are of increasingly popular interest for North Country agricultural entrepreneurs.

Farmers are not the only ones who benefit from the NNYADP projects. Champlain Valley Milling owner Sam Sherman says, “The value of projects made possible by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program extends to businesses that depend on local sources of raw product for value-added production, which, in turn, provides jobs and generates dollars to feed the local economy.”

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has funded soil health management and agricultural environment management research that is helping farmers:
• protect the North Country’s water resources
• reduce fertilizer costs, and
• make better use of soil, tillage practices, manure management and precision nutrient application.

Dairyman Mike Kiechle of Philadelphia, NY, says, “Participating in the Northern New York Ag Development project evaluating ways to reduce fertilizer costs for corn crops was a win-win that saved me money.”

Also among the reports recently posted to www.nnyagdev.org are research-based strategies for:
• adapting to climate change for maple production in NNY
• evaluating perennial grasses grown under NNY soils and climates as energy conversion crops,
• developing new cropping system options for organic grain production
• using ultrasound to improve beef production, and
• coping with crop and livestock pests and diseases, such as brown root rot, alfalfa snout beetle (an insect pest unique to NNY), and mastitis.

Dairyman and NNYADP board member Randy Ooms of Constable, NY, says, “Project data directly from our soils and growing conditions gives us a head start with challenges created by crop pests and localized causes of mastitis plus helps us take advantage of local food trends and new crop and marketing opportunities.”

A series of NNYADP-funded projects have produced success in helping farmers cope with alfalfa snout beetle (ASB) that can destroy entire alfalfa crops in a single growing season. The latest reports address progress in breeding ASB-resistant varieties of alfalfa and developing a farmer-friendly way for farmers to raise the nematodes that serve as a biocontrol for ASB.

Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station; the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY; Cornell Cooperative Extension at Cornell and in each of the six NNY counties; the W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute; the Cornell E.V. Baker Agricultural Research Farm; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, cooperating farmers and agri-service businesses all provide support (funds, land, staff and expertise) to the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program.

“This program provides the opportunities and research needed to move agriculture in Northern New York into the 21st century,” says beef producer Don Holman of Adams, NY.

For more information on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program contact Jon Greenwood, Co-chair for Western NNY, 315-386-3231, Joe Giroux, Co-chair for Eastern NNY, 518-563-7523 or R. David Smith, Program Coordinator at Cornell University, 607-255-7286. # # #