Home > Agriculture
Friday, April 25, 2014
Madison County
Agriculture Program
Study on Local Foods Completed

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County is excited to announce the recent completion of a market demand study on local foods. This study offers a snapshot of regional agriculture and some of its local food patterns, including consumption and production, as well as current interest in farmers markets and its food products. The report can be viewed online. Any questions about the study should be submitted to Beth McKellips, Director of Agricultural Economic Development at CCE, via telephone at 315-684-3001 x 126 or via email at bam233@cornell.edu

Low Input Beef Cow/Calf Enterprise
On An Upstate NY Dairy Farm

Northeast SARELessons Learned Along the Way

Tom & Sue Clatterbuck
Clatterbuck Farm, West Winfield, NY

Managing a cow/calf operation alongside a dairy enterprise offers mutual benefits in shared facilities, feed & forages, and grazing and pasture management. By focusing on grazing season extension, forage alternatives, genetic "tools", and knowing their buyer and market, the Clatterbuck's annual calf sales have proven to be a profitable enterprise.

Supported by NE SARE Professional Development Project, ENE12-122
An educational program for traditional and nontraditional beef production

Evaluating Corn & Alfalfa Crops In-the-Field

Central NY Field crop producers got some advice on dealing with this year's weather and man-aging corn and alfalfa crops under today's conditions. Kevin Ganoe, Field Crops Specialist with the CNY Dairy and Field Crops Team, along with Mark Schmidt, Field Crop Technician, offered their insights on what's happening in corn and alfalfa fields in this part of Central New York.

Health Care Reform Mandate Begins January 1, 2014

Health Care ReformThe following information describes employer and employee implications under "The Affordable Care Act." These articles were written by Bonnie Collins and Remi Link at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County. There are 3 short articles and 3 different flowcharts that explain and differentiate the options for small employers and large employers, their employees, and owners as sole proprietors.

June 2013 Responsibility for Health Care Reform for Large Employers
  1. Counting Full Time Employees
  2. Counting Seasonal Workers
  3. If Employer Fails to Play (participate)
July 2013 The Affordable Health Care Act: Its Effect on Small Farm Employers
  1. Small Employers Who Play (participate)
  2. Small Employers Can Choose To Get Ready
  3. Individuals Who Play (participate)
  4. Individuals and Families Can Choose To Get Ready
  5. Individuals and Families Who Don't Play  (participate)
Flow Charts
Employer Mandate for January 1st 2014 Healthcare Reform Act Flowchart [3 page pdf]
Cornell Cooperative Extension Releases
Madison County Equine Research Results

Equine Research 2013How is the equine industry in Madison County doing? What are some areas that need improvement? What is the typical Madison County equine owner and how active are they in the industry? How are equine businesses in Madison County faring given the recent economic downturn? The Cornell Cooperative Extension wanted to answer these questions in order to determine how they can best service the local equine industry. After researching previous New York State equine surveys, Dani Pidgeon, Intern at the Cornell Cooperative Extension, spent the past few months collecting and data from her own two surveys. This research was designed to analyze the economic impact of the equine industry in the area, and to point out any areas where improvements could be made to enhance the industry in the area. There were a total of 73 respondents, 29 from equine business owners, and 44 from equine enthusiasts within Madison County. The results give an idea about what a typical equine owner in Madison County is like, the most popular disciplines, and several ideas for improving the equine industry in the area.

The research found that the majority of equine owners in the area are adults who participate in 1-5 equine activities annually, spending anywhere from $2,400 to $20,000 on equine related expenses each year. These adults are willing to participate in more activities, but find a lack of local events geared toward the serious adult amateur crowd. The average equine business owner spends up to $160,000 annually on equine related expenses. Only two out of fifteen of businesses who responded reported earning a profit. Both equine enthusiasts and equine business owners voiced a need for a more organized method of communicating upcoming events and equine related services that Madison County has to offer. To service this need, the  Cooperative Extension plans on incorporating an events calendar and a database of all the local equine businesses in the area onto their website. Look for these additions within the next few months!

The full 2013 Madison County Equine Industry Research report can be downloaded at:

Farm Truck Program

Farm Truck Program

Sargent Karl Brenon, from the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit of the New York State Police, Troop D, covered the "rules of the road" specifically for farm vehicles in New York. This workshop took place at Monanfran Farms, Inc. Canastota in April.

Here are the handouts from that event:

What is the "Chobani Paradox"?
by Karen Baase, Association Issue Leader – Agriculture,
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County

By now, everyone recognizes the Chobani name. It's the nation's top selling yogurt, and has quickly become a staple in many households. Central New Yorkers are proud that Agro Farma Inc., the parent company, is headquartered in Norwich and see it as a noteworthy employer and positive business force in Central New York.

Agro Farma's place in the world of milk markets and the milk economy is described by Dr. Andrew Novakovic, the E.V. Baker Professor of Agricultural Economics in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. In his Briefing Paper, "The Chobani Paradox", Novakovic explains why the word "paradox" is appropriate in this particular case. Here are a few of his main points.

Dairy farmers are always pleased to see growing demand for their milk, and especially gratified if they see a new plant and its expansion close by. But that gratification disappears if they don't see the results in their milk checks.

Two important aspects of the nation's complicated milk pricing system come into play. First, classified pricing dictates that milk is priced according to its use. So, beverage milk is priced higher than milk used for manufacture. Second, pooling of revenues refers to how proceeds from milk used in soft products, cheese, butter and dry products are allocated equitably to dairy producers. All these values are minimum prices. The numbers come together each month for dairy producers in the form of a blend or uniform price per hundredweight. Novakovic says that "Classified pricing, by its very design, tends to reward growth" in the fluid milk/beverage classification, "and pooling tends to discourage growth in manufacturing classes" – like milk sold for yogurt manufacture.

So if a dairy product manufacturer expands or enters a new market, as Agro Farma, Inc. has, they may experience resistance from cooperative milk suppliers, who already have established beverage milk customers and always try to add more. They don't want to walk away from high paying customers and sell a larger share of their milk as non-beverage milk at a lower price. This is – at least in part – the scenario for Northeast milk cooperatives. They've struggled with maintaining and growing beverage milk sales, supplying milk for Chobani yogurt, and satisfying their cooperative members.

Another complication is the fact that growth in the milk supply is an individual farm decision, just as growth on the demand side is a firm decision. On the supply side, New York's annual milk production growth "has been tepid for decades" compared to Idaho's, which has quadrupled since 1990. Therefore, Agro Farma faced these market realities and is building a new manufacturing plant in Twin Falls, Idaho – a supply area that is growing and where milk procurement will be less costly and competitive.

Novakovic sums up the "paradox" this way: "For dairy farmers and others in the (dairy) industry, growth in the demand for milk is assuredly better than the opposite. However, there are adjustment challenges when growth is localized and dramatic. Moreover, the system of regulated prices can create seemingly perverse incentives that may dampen the obvious appeal and incentives of demand-driven growth."

Update: Renovating Tie Stalls in Dairy Barns

Today's dairy cow looks much different than her ancestors did in 1970. Rarely do you see a sloping rump or the "beefy" appearance of a Milking Shorthorn or Dutch Belted cow. Today's dairy cow is much larger in size and scale, but she also eats almost twice as much forage and grain and produces twice as much milk as her ancestors did.

So how can we ask her to live in a barn – at least for part of the year – equipped with 40 year old tie stalls?

Renovating/Upgrading Tie Stalls for Today's Dairy Cow
Dairy CowsJohn Conway describes the new tie stall design.

Today's dairy cow IS NOT the same physically as one born in 1970. Yet many dairy farmers use tie stalls built 40 years ago or more. However, new research from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food demonstrates the economic benefits of re-designing tie stalls for today's dairy cow. And since over 70% of Madison County dairy farms still house their herds in tie stall barns, it's only logical that CCE staff organize an on-farm meeting to look at these new findings. Roy Meeker, dairy farmer from Munnsville, hosted our meeting and John Conway, PRO-DAIRY dairy specialist, helped lead the discussion on cost/benefit analysis and pay-back returns. In one example, a farmer netted an additional $40,000 with fewer cows and stalls during a "low milk price" year.

Beef Quality Assurance Program™
Local Producers Complete
Beef Quality Assurance Program

Close to 20 beef and dairy producers from Madison and Oneida Counties completed certification in the Beef Quality Assurance Program™ on Saturday, April 9th. Carol Gillis, Executive Director of the NY Beef Industry Council, introduced the program and the rationale behind it - "...to ensure that beef and dairy cattle are produced and managed in a manner that will result in a safe and wholesome beef product for the consumer." The training concluded at the Brewer Farm, Canastota, owned by Paul O'Mara. Mike Baker, Beef Specialist with Cornell University, taught and demonstrated the basics in giving injections, reading and understanding drug labels, and other practices to enhance beef product quality, maximize marketability, and strengthen consumer confidence.

Connecting customers to retail farms in Madison County

Do you have a farm stand? Does your farm offer shares in a community supported agriculture program? Do you raise animals or animal products for direct sale to consumers? Do you sell hay, bloodstock, Christmas trees or other agricultural specialty items at your farm? If you do, we want to hear about it.

New farm guides for Madison County are being developed. The guides will connect customers with farmers who produce food and agricultural products for retail sale.

If your farm or farm shop is open to the public, it qualifies for listing. Farmers who sell only through farmer’s markets will not be individually listed, but the farmers’ markets will be promoted.

The listing is free and we don’t want to miss anyone.  Please fill out the Farm Guide Registration form to list your farm or shop.  For further information, contact the Madison County Agricultural Economic Development Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension at 315-684-3001 ext. 125 or email lm523@cornell.edu.

Recent Field Crops Articles:

Late blight is a potentially very destructive disease that fortunately occurs very sporadically in most areas of the northeastern US most growing seasons.

The Agricultural Program in Madison County addresses the educational needs of a diverse group of farmers and land owners in Madison County. They include:

  • Dairy Farmers
  • Livestock Farmers
  • Field Crop Farmers
  • Commercial Vegetable and Small Fruit Farmers
  • Farmers who are exploring and starting entrepreneurial pursuits in agriculture


Our Agricultural staff includes:

  • Marie Anselm – Director, Agricultural Economic Development.
  • Karen Baase – Agricultural Program Issue Leader
  • Steve Miller – NYS Hops Specialist & Ag Program Coordinator
  • April Winslow – "Ag In The Classroom" Coordinator / Farm Safety
  • Alycia Schick – Hops Program Assistant