Northern NY Agricultural Development Program Announces 23 Farm Research Projects

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(Northern New York – May 2013) The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) has announced 23 on-farm research, outreach, and technical assistance projects that are currently underway in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

The current NNYADP project work includes attention to boosting the dairy industry feed supply and systems for feeding dairy calves housed outside in the Northern New York climate as well as enhancing agricultural environmental stewardship with the use of tile drainage systems.

Developing grass biomass energy crops, increasing maple sap yields, and helping NNY sheep and goat farmers control livestock parasites are among the current project objectives.

Researchers are also developing strategies for coping with field crop and vegetable diseases and pests as well as evaluating the opportunity to produce amelanchier, also called juneberry, under Northern New York growing conditions.

The NNYADP recently received $500,000 in the New York State budget.

NYS Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie said, “While agriculture is our state’s leading industry, there is tremendous room for growth when comes to expanding opportunities for our farmers and creating jobs. The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has been and continues to be a driving force in helping farmers boost their bottom lines. I am pleased I could help this program receive the necessary resources to further help grow this industry in our region.”

Nearly three dozen farmers select NNYADP projects for attention largely by researchers associated with Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and W. H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute. Projects are designed to provide the region’s agricultural industry with practical real-world results.

NYS Senator Betty Little is a long-term supporter of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program. Little said, “The success of our local farmers competing in a global market requires a constant effort on their part to increase efficiency, improve productivity, and save on costs,’ Little said. ‘The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provides hands-on technical and innovative assistance that helps farmers do that here in the North Country. I’m very pleased to see this funding in the budget knowing how important it is to our farmers and our local economy.”

The Northern New York agricultural industry contributes nearly $600 million in farm product value to the local economy and supports a regional payroll of $52.9 million.

NYS Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Assemblyman Bill Magee said, “Funding included in this budget provides the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program with needed and important resources to assist in the achievement of goals specific to the North Country agricultural economy of New York State.”

“Agriculture is a critical economic engine for Northern New York and the New York State economy. The cutting-edge research designated by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program responds to farmer-identified needs and opportunities to support the sustainability and growth of farms across our six counties,” said NNYADP Co-Chair Jon Greenwood, a dairy farmer in St. Lawrence County.

“The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provides the means for farmers to access the best academic and field research expertise to solve problems such as alfalfa snout beetle, to develop new farm-based enterprises such as bioenergy crops, and to enhance our agricultural environmental stewardship through precision targeting of nutrients, fertilizer and manure resources,” said NNYADP Co-Chair Joe Giroux, a dairy farmer in Clinton County.

NNYADP projects also receive support from the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cornell Cooperative Extension associations of Northern New York. The farmers of the six-county region provide land, equipment and skills for on-farm research trials.

A complete list of the current projects is online at www.nnyagdev.org/index.php/about-us/projects/.
The 23 projects currently underway in the region are focused on:
·     Evaluating group feeding systems for dairy calves housed outside in NNY
·     Opportunities for economical substitutes for corn grain in NNY dairy cattle diets
·     A dairy management survey
·     Using winter-forage small grains to boost the dairy industry feed supply
·     Equipping farmers to implement the use of the Adapt-N precision nutrient targeting tool to reduce costs and enhance agricultural environmental stewardship
·     The use of early interseeded cover crops to improve soil fertility
·     Developing strategies to help farmers cope with brown root rot of alfalfa
·     Developing the region’s potential to produce grass biomass as an energy source
·     Critical region-specific soybean, corn grain, corn silage and tall fescue variety trials
·     Breeding Alfalfa Snout Beetle-resistant varieties of alfalfa, an important dairy and livestock feedstock
·     An on-farm alfalfa snout beetle control demonstration project/farmer education program
·     Diagnosing and assessing diseases in corn and soybean crops
·     Evaluating yield potential of corn grain and corn silage in NNY to improve production, nutrient recycling and environmental protection
·     Strategies for coping with leek moth as an emerging pest in NNY
·     Strategies for coping with leaf mold resistance in tunnel-grown tomatoes
·     Evaluating reduced tillage systems for NNY vegetable farms
·     Precision thinning and irrigation for NNY apple orchards
·     Developing amelanchier (juneberry) into a novel fruit crop for NNY
·     Parasite Management Innovations for North Country sheep and goat farms
·     Opportunities to increase sap yields and profitability in maple sugaring operations through optimum dropline/spout management.

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