March 10, 2008
Use by March 17, 2008
Contact: Molly Ames, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, 315-788-8450; Anita Deming, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County, 518-962-4810

Northern New York Farmers Invited to NY Certified Organic Session March 18: topics from Austrian winter peas & canola to corn & soybeans

Grain and livestock farmers in Northern New York have the opportunity to join a free discussion with Western New York organic producers by videoconference in Watertown and Westport March 18 from 10 am to 2 pm. Forty to 60 members of the NY Certified Organic (NYCO) group has met monthly through the winters for the past 14 years to prepare for spring planting of organic crops and to learn the latest criteria for storage management.

The NYCO discussion will cover everything from Austrian winter peas, spelt and canola to corn, soybeans, vegetables and whatever topics growers are interested in says 2008 series organizer Fay Benson.

�We have seen a NYCO cluster effect in the Finger Lakes region which has a high density of organic crop farmers. With the use of videolink technology we hope to expand to other areas of New York State by making the knowledge and expertise of the Western New York growers available to producers elsewhere,� Benson says.

Speakers include Nate Herendeen, an upstate NY grain specialist with 39 years of experience with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Western New York. Herendeen says, �Producing quality seed, attention to sanitation before binning and aeration management are key issues for small grain growers.�

Michael Davis, farm manager of the Cornell E.V. Baker Agricultural Research Farm in Willsboro in Northern New York, will present the latest data from certified organic production trials on six acres at the Baker farm. Organic and conventional practices crop research at the Baker farm is funded by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program.

Farm Business Management Educator Molly Ames of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County says, �I am excited about this opportunity for area farmers to learn the latest results for crops grown under organic practices in Northern New York with the opportunity to factor in additional data and producer experiences from organic growers in Western New York and elsewhere in the U.S.�

Anita Deming, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County, says, �We have seen an expansion of organic grain production in Essex County and are excited about the opportunity to sell organic grains to Champlain Valley Milling in Westport which is buying local grains. Michael Davis and the work at the E. V. Baker Agricultural Research Farm in Willsboro have been a real help in teaching our growers to implement organic practices and the NYCO meeting on March 18 is one more way for growers to expand their knowledge and skills.�

Farmer panelists will join Herendeen and Davis to talk about:
� winter frost seeding of clover, Austrian winter peas, mustard, forage canola,
grasses, and alfalfa
� spring row crops including corn, soybeans, dry beans and vegetables; small grains;
and forage and pasture mixes, including oats, triticale, wheat, barley, spelt, and field peas
� summer crops and forages: buckwheat, brown midrib sorghum-sudangrass, millet, and forage brassicas such as turnip, kale, and rape
� fall grains and forages: wheat, barley, rye, triticale, spelt, oats, winter peas
� soil fertility management.

Gary Crowe of Heuvelton, NY, is a certified organic producer of organic hay, soybeans, oats and peas. He says, �The cost and availability of organic grain is an issue in Northern New York. We need more people to grow small grains. The NYCO discussions are an important source of information on the opportunity to produce organic crops.�

Farmers in Wisconsin have also been invited to participate in the NYCO videolink meeting. The Watertown site is Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County at 203 N. Hamilton Street; contact 315-788-8450 for details. The Essex County, NY, site is the Cornell Cooperative Extension office in Westport, contact 518-962-4810. NYCO information is also available at www.organic.cornell.edu; look under the Organic Dairy Initiative funded with a grant from the NY Farm Viability Institute. # # #