July 4, 2008
Contact: NNYADP Co-Chair Joe Giroux, 518-563-7523
NNYADP Project Coordinator R. David Smith, Cornell University, 607-255-7286

NY Senate Funds Agricultural Development for Northern New York

With the funding support of the New York State Senate, projects to enhance agricultural development in Northern New York are evaluating farmer opportunities to grow grasses for bioenergy production, protect the health of dairy and beef cows, extend the growing and selling seasons, enhance soil health and agricultural environmental management practices, and produce apples, cold-hardy grapes and wines, maple syrup, corn, flax, sunflowers and other crops.

The funding secured with the leadership of New York State Senator Elizabeth �Betty� O�C. Little and Senate Agriculture Chair Senator Catharine M. Young supports the small grants program for Northern New York agricultural development. Regional farmers have identified needs and opportunities and prioritized projects that include evaluating corn hybrids for use as grain and silage for livestock and as a bioenergy fuel crop; developing Northern New York varietal wines from cold hardy grapes well-suited to the Northern New York climate and soils; and developing strategies to deal with such crop pests and diseases as alfalfa snout beetle and brown root rot.

Senator Little said, �I was pleased to once again help secure funding in the state budget for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program. This program supports a variety of important research projects that provide critically important information to help our northern New York farmers adapt, evolve, grow and succeed.�

Research trials testing new production practices and technology are underway at W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute at Chazy, the Cornell E.V. Baker Agricultural Research Farm at Willsboro, the Cornell Uihlein Maple Research Farm near Lake Placid, and on farms in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. Cornell University faculty, Cornell Cooperative Extension educators and other agricultural professionals serve as project leaders.

Plattsburgh dairy farmer Joe Giroux, who co-chairs the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, said, �The projects made possible with the Senate funding are enhancing farm productivity and profitability while at the same time protecting our soil, water and other environmental resources. The projects develop ways to streamline production efficiencies, save money and maximize new agricultural sector opportunities by developing the science needed for such enterprises as biofuel crop production The information and experience we gain through these projects help farmers act as good land stewards and to quickly begin dealing with new diseases, such as brown root rot, that affect critical crops.�

Project results are delivered to farmers via workshops, hands-on training, fact sheets, media and a website at www.nnyagdev.org. # # #