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And, farmers say, Hispanics do a job the local population refuses to do, despite the region's 10% unemployment rate.
"The bottom line is that our society does not have to work," said Nancy M. Robbins, who with her husband, Ronald C., owns North Harbor Farm in Sackets Harbor. "People can get money for food, rent, even their heat and electric when they have no job. Where's the incentive to work?"
But the March arrest of a Smithville farmer for allegedly employing illegal aliens is crashing into the delicate juggling act of debt and revenue north country dairy farmers live with. When federal agents removed eight workers from a Butterville Properties farm to deport them to Mexico and other Central American countries, area farmers wondered: "Am I next?"
"If farmers lose their work force, they lose the farm," said Frank A. Gasperini Jr., vice president of the National Council of Agricultural Employers, which works with labor-intensive agriculture operations, including dairy farms. "We don't have legal access to a work force to get the work we need done." Read more...
Bill would allow foreign dairy workers to stay
By Bob Meyer, Brownfield Ag News, April 18, 2011
Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) have introduced the H-2A Improvement Act [S.852], which will authorize foreign dairy workers, sheep herders, and goat herders to remain in the U.S. for an initial period of three years, and gives the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services the authority to approve a worker for an additional three-year period. Under present law, farms that hire seasonal workers to harvest fruits and vegetables can utilize the H-2A visa program. Dairy farms are not included because milk production is not considered seasonal work. National Milk Producers Federation president and CEO, Jerry Kozak, says finding qualified help on dairy farms is a real challenge and “Expanding the H-2A program so that dairy farmers can use it is one answer to that challenge.” Read more...
To do that, the IDFA needs money. And it is getting it from an eye-catching source: top executives for those very same co-ops. Two executives who work for farmer-owned cooperatives have given money this year to the IDFA's political action committee — the processors' chief means of access to lawmakers whom it wants to stop the dairy farmers' proposal from becoming law. Read more...
7.) Sodexo triples
Meatless Monday reach
FoodSystemInsider.com, April 22, 2011
Meatless Monday options may soon be coming to a corporate, government or hospital cafeteria near you. Sodexo, a North American food service provider, announced Monday the extension of its Meatless Monday initiative. Locations expected to see the meatless option include Toyota, Northern Trust Bank, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. The announcement came three months after Sodexo first added the vegetarian-friendly options to more than 900 hospital cafeterias across the United States. According to Sodexo, Meatless Monday is part of their ongoing effort to enhance health and wellness and to promote sustainability in the local communities where it operates. Read more...
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New Hampshire HB339 adopts state inspected meat program
Bill Title: allowing the state veterinarian to employ a meat inspection services administrator and making an appropriation therefore
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The only school of veterinary medicine in New England
State budget cuts threaten Tuft's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
By Jennifer Lord Paluzzi, The Daily Grafton (MA), April 15, 2011
Area legislators are working to restore state funding to Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, which has seen drastic cuts in its state stipend over the last few years. Tufts, the only veterinary school in New England, partnered with the state since 1978, when the school was created on the grounds of the former Grafton State Hospital. At that point, the state had not had a veterinary school since Middlesex University closed its doors in 1947. Read more...
identifies opportunities for regional producers
Food Hubs Emerging as Viable Business Model Supporting Regional Food Systems
USDA press release, April 19, 2011
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today released the results of a nationwide analysis of food hubs and provided highlights of how Michigan can tap into USDA's 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative, which promotes local and regional food systems by stimulating community economic development and facilitating efforts to expand access to affordable fresh and local food. Merrigan released the analysis at the Making Good Food Work conference and highlighted the economic opportunities of food hubs, an emerging business model that offers aggregation and distribution services for small and midsize producers across the country. Read more...
plants boost New York state’s dairy industry
By Byron Ackerman, Utica Observer-Dispatch (NY), April 14, 2011
The Chobani yogurt plant in Chenango County requires about 3 million pounds of milk per day, and almost all of it comes from New York state, said Hamdi Ulukaya, the company president and chief executive officer.
The company’s impact on the state dairy industry is “huge,” said Bruce Krupke, the executive vice president of the Northeast Dairy Foods Association, which is based in Syracuse.
And it’s not the only one: There also is a Fage yogurt plant in Johnstown in Fulton County, and Alpina Foods recently announced it would open a yogurt manufacturing plant in Batavia in Genesee County, Krupke said.
The state dairy industry has seen growth so far this year compared to last year, and yogurt manufacturing plants have played a significant role in that, he said.
“I would call it a renaissance in dairy farming in New York state,” he said. Read more...
New USDA leafy greens marketing agreement may favor largest
New USDA leafy green marketing agreement irks organic group
By Howard Weiss-Tisman, Brattleboro Reformer (VT), May 3, 2011
Organic produce advocates are arguing against a proposed U.S Department of Agriculture agreement they say favors large agri-business and could confuse national organic standards. USDA last week released a proposed leafy green marketing agreement that the federal agency says will help leafy green growers meet food safety standards. The agriculture agency wants to set up a national board with representatives from eight regions. The board would help develop a voluntary program for farmers and handlers to prevent food-borne illness outbreaks like the ones traced to spinach and lettuce supplies over the past few years.
Dave Rogers, policy advisor for the Northeast Organic Farming Association, said the proposed marketing agreement would likely be weighted toward large growers. He also said if a label is developed, consumers could be led to believe that the produce is safer and healthier, when in fact it might not meet organic standards.
"There is an implication that this is a food safety issue, but we are concerned that large growers and handlers will use this as a marketing tool when in fact the produce might not be any safer," Rogers said. "It will become a major advantage to the larger growers who will probably be the ones who control it." Read more...
exposure in the womb affects child's IQ for life
By Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times, April 21, 2011
Over all, the studies found that women who had higher exposures to pesticides during pregnancy gave birth to children who eventually had lower I.Q. scores once they reached school age. In the Berkeley study, for instance, children with the highest levels of prenatal pesticide exposure scored 7 points lower on intelligence tests compared with children with the lowest levels of exposure. In that study, every 10-fold increase in organophosphate exposure detected during pregnancy corresponded to a 5.5 point drop in overall I.Q. scores.
“I think these are shocking findings,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan, a professor of pediatrics and director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai. “Babies exposed to the highest levels had the most severe effects. It means these children are going to have problems as they go through life.” Read more...
drink industry fights mayor's proposed food stamp ban
By Robert Pear, New York Times, April 29, 2011
To Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, it seemed like a sensible way to attack a major public health problem. To the soft drink industry, giant food companies, makers of snacks and candy, supermarkets, and antihunger groups, it seemed like an attack at the grocery checkout counter. The mayor wants to reduce obesity and diabetes by banning the use of food stamps to buy “sugar-sweetened beverages” in New York City. Food and beverage lobbyists see the mayor’s plan as a well-intentioned but misguided and paternalistic effort. They say it would create a logistical bottleneck at checkout counters and stigmatize poor people using food stamps. Read more...
15.) NESAWG announces date for 3rd "It Takes a Region" conference
"It Takes A Region" Annual Conference Nov 11-12, 2011 at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany, New York. SAVE THE DATE! In 2011, NESAWG and partners will draw on the success of our past two "It Takes a Region" conferences and build on exciting efforts underway in our region in distribution logistics, research, messaging, food access and nutrition, and policy advocacy. We welcome new participants – especially emerging food system leaders and community activists – as we bring focus to the Northeast agenda for the 2012 Farm Bill. Presentations will address pressing issues such as food system worker equity and growing biomass versus food. And we’ll continue to explore scale, size, geography, and cross-sector partnerships. Watch for new features and networking opportunities. We are currently seeking sponsors for this year's conference, mainly to fund scholarships which make conference participation diverse and inclusive. Please contact us is you are interested in being a conference sponsor.
Connecticut Farmland Trust
Connecticut Farmland Trust is a statewide agricultural land trust with full time personnel competent in the following functions: conservation, administration, development, and communications. The Executive Director is the senior manager responsible for CFT’s leadership, operational management, relations with the public and partner organizations, as well as donor cultivation and fundraising. CFT seeks candidates with resumes that display a strong record of success in non-profit management, donor cultivation, major gifts, and grant experience. The candidate must possess and present a passion for the conservation of working lands. Compensation is commensurate with experience and background. Applications will be accepted electronically until the position is filled. Qualified candidates may submit a letter of interest, resume and writing sample to: email@example.com. More detailed information regarding CFT and this position is available at http://www.ctfarmland.org/.
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project
New Entry is seeking a full-time, year-round Technical Assistance and Incubator Farm Coordinator to conduct New Entry training programs, provide technical assistance (TA) to beginning farmers on multiple aspects of crop production and farm enterprise development, and manage over 25 acres of incubator training farms. This position will be based in our Lowell, MA office with occasional supervisory responsibilities on the Tufts Boston campus. We are seeking a self-starter who can facilitate effective experiential adult learning, manage multiple concurrent projects and responsibilities, and help us prepare the next generation of farmers for success. A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in farm management and delivering technical assistance to farmers in the areas of organic crop production, business planning, and market readiness is required. The deadline for application is Wednesday, May 18, 2011. For additional information and an employment application please visit: www.comteam.org/employment
Success on Farms Manager
The Intervale Center seeks a Success on Farms Manager to work full-time delivering high quality farm business planning services that enhance the viability of Vermont’s food system. This manager will provide business planning education and technical support directly to farm businesses and agricultural economic support to all Intervale Center initiatives. Based in Burlington, the SOF Manager is required to travel throughout Vermont. The ideal candidate has a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural management, business, or related field and advanced training in farm business management or economics. Minimum 4 years experience in agricultural development and/or business development and experience working directly with farmers required. To apply, submit resume, cover letter, and 2 references to Mandy Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or Intervale Center 180 Intervale Road Burlington, VT 05401. Application deadline: May 20, 2011. www.intervale.org