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News stories tagged with "farm"

Photo by Angela Evancie
Photo by Angela Evancie

Bikes break down migrant worker barriers

It's practically a given that you need a car if you want to live in a rural place. Not all towns have grocery stores or pharmacies. Work can be miles away.

The distances and empty landscapes are particularly isolating for the hundreds of undocumented workers on dairy farms in the region. Undocumented migrant workers, can't drive - they're not eligible for driver's licenses.

A group of Middlebury College students is providing local farm workers with a two-wheeled alternative.

Angela Evancie has the story.  Go to full article

North Lawrence Dairy closes: Workers, locals, farmers feel the effects

Late last month, a yogurt plant in North Lawrence became the latest dairy processor in northern New York to close. North Lawrence has had a dairy processing plant for more than 100 years, and the closure will leave 132 people out of a job. But the effects will be felt by a lot more people than that.  Go to full article
For the first time, as I see it, we have an administration that's made that (urban-rural) connection in a very tangible way.

Aubertine brings farm, business roots to commissioner's job

Though his austerity budget has taken up the lion's share of the Cuomo Administration's time and energy in its first three months, leadership posts are slowly filling. Yesterday, as expected, the state Senate Agriculture Committee, under new Sen. Pattie Ritchie of St. Lawrence County, confirmed her Senate predecessor, Darrel Aubertine of Jefferson County, as farm commissioner. Dave Bullard reports.  Go to full article
State Sen. Pattie Ritchie with new Agirocuture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine and economic development head Ken Adams.
State Sen. Pattie Ritchie with new Agirocuture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine and economic development head Ken Adams.

Senate confirms Aubertine, Adams for top jobs

Governor Andrew Cuomo has been slowly but steadily filling top administration jobs. On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed one of its former members as the new Agriculture Commissioner, and the leader of the State's Business Council as the new economic development head.  Go to full article
Slavery was legal in New York state until 1827
Slavery was legal in New York state until 1827

Exploring New York's slave legacy, past and present

This morning in Lake Placid, teachers and historians and activists begin a two-day conference to talk about slavery.

New Yorkers played a big role in the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries, financing and profiting from an industry that ruined the lives of more than 12 million Africans.

Slave-owning wasn't banned in this state until 1827. Modern-day activists say human trafficking and exploitation is once again on the rise.

Martha Swan is with a group called John Brown Lives.

She told Brian Mann that this conference, which is open to the public, will explore the history and present-day reality of slavery.  Go to full article

Farm Bureau faces off with DEC over outdoor wood furnaces

New York's largest farm lobby group is pushing back, hard, against proposals to tighten regulation of outdoor wood-burning boilers.

The Department of Environmental Conservation wants new boilers to burn more cleanly, and wants old boilers modified to reduce pollution. The agency cites nuisance complaints about low-lying smoke from the burners, and concerns about air quality and public health.

Dean Norton, president of the New York State Farm Bureau, says the Department of Environmental Conservation's proposed restrictions will affect thousands of farmers and homeowners. He says the costs of compliance could reach into the thousands of dollars, at a time when framers are already struggling.

The first of several public hearings on the proposals is tomorrow evening in Watertown. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

Food safety on the farm

More than year ago peanut butter made in the southern U.S. sickened hundreds of people and killed as many as nine. The outbreak set off a scramble to make food safer. Large and small farms across the country are being urged, and in some cases required by markets, to implement food safety plans or hire outside experts to cerify their practices.

But there are questions about how much the push for "food safety" will make food...safer. Peter Payette has more on the story.

April 14 and 15, the Cornell Cooperative Extension's Learning Farm in Canton is hosting a two-day workshop to help farmers develop food safety plans that focus on prevention. The all-day sessions are for farmers whose buyers are requiring third party verification of their food safety practices, or for farmers who are thinking about becoming certified. call 315-788-8450 x268 for more information.  Go to full article

Aubertine says farmworker bill could pass, with changes

The New York State Senate is considering a controversial measure that would give more legal rights to New York farm workers. The bill would allow farm laborers to unionize more easily. It would also guarantee workers at least one day of rest each week and provide for overtime pay.

The bill has strong backing from a variety of labor, immigrant and religious groups, including New York's State Catholic Conference. But the bill is broadly panned in upstate agricultural areas. It's vehemently opposed by the New York Farm Bureau, which says it would quote --cripple -- New York agriculture. Upstate lawmakers from both parties are against it.

Opposition in the state Senate is led by Darrel Aubertine, a Democrat from a long line of Jefferson County dairy farmers. He made his case yesterday on The Capitol Pressroom, a daily program produced by public radio station WCNY. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

Essex farmer Lewis wins another court fight against Adirondack Park Agency

Essex County farmer Salim "Sandy" Lewis won another round in court yesterday in his battle with the Adirondack Park Agency. According to the New York Times, a state judge has ordered the APA to pay all of Lewis's legal fees and expenses following a lengthy court fight. Brian Mann has details.  Go to full article
The Farm Bill focuses on workers like these in the Champlain Valley (Brian Mann)
The Farm Bill focuses on workers like these in the Champlain Valley (Brian Mann)

NY farm worker bill stirs debate, controversy

One of the bills tangled up in the NY Senate meltdown is a controversial measure that would give far more legal rights to New York farm workers. Senator Pedro Espada has been pushing the bill, which would allow farm laborers to unionize more easily. It would also guarantee workers at least one day of rest each week and provide for overtime pay. The bill has strong backing from a variety of labor, immigrant and religious groups, including New York's State Catholic Conference.

But the Farm Bureau and most of the North Country's Albany delegation opposes the bill. In a statement released this week, Democratic state Senator Darrel Aubertine said the bill would force many farms to close down. "I thought we had put this bill behind us for this session," Aubertine wrote, "but now Senator Espada has listed it among his priorities."

We checked in with another lawmaker who opposes the bill. Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward is a Republican and a former dairy farmer from Willsboro. Sayward told Brian Mann that Federal agriculture laws already provide farm workers with enough protections. She called the rules in this proposed law unrealistic.  Go to full article

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