𝓘𝓷 𝓣𝓱𝓲𝓼 𝓘𝓼𝓼𝓾𝓮
• Statewide News
• Taste NY Updates
• NYS Grown & Certified Updates
• Funding Opportunities
• Spotlight: Commissioner Ball Congratulates Winner of the “Still Growing” Poetry Contest
𝗪𝗿𝗮𝗽 𝗨𝗽: 𝗖𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗯𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗮𝗶𝗿𝘆 𝗠𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗵 𝗔𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘀𝘀 𝗡𝗲𝘄 𝗬𝗼𝗿𝗸
Every June, Dairy Month gives us the opportunity to recognize New York’s dairy farmers and manufacturers who produce some of the very best dairy products anywhere. This year, we took part in a wide range of Dairy Month activities to promote the industry – check out some highlights below!
• 𝘾𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙧 𝘽𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝘾𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙗𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙉𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙡𝙮 $30 𝙈𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙀𝙭𝙥𝙖𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙤𝙛 𝘼𝙜𝙧𝙞-𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙠 𝘿𝙖𝙞𝙧𝙮 𝙁𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮
Earlier this month, Commissioner Ball headed up to the North Country to celebrate the completion of Agri-Mark’s nearly $30 million expansion and modernization project at its cheese manufacturing facility in Chateaugay. The expansion is retaining more than 100 full-time jobs, supporting more than 500 agricultural jobs in the region, and helping to boost the state’s dairy industry in Northern New York – a fantastic way to celebrate Dairy Month. The 9,600 square-foot expansion included a state-of-the-art cheese production room, which has improved the facility’s efficiency, and the rebuilding of the 110,000 square-foot manufacturing center, reconfiguring the layout of the facility, and purchasing new equipment and machinery. You can read more about the expansion here and view photos of the new facility here.
• 𝘿𝙚𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙪𝙚𝙨 𝘿𝙖𝙞𝙧𝙮 𝙀𝙙𝙪𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝘿𝙖𝙮𝙨 𝙎𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙨
This year, the Department continued our Dairy Education Days series, which brings members of the Department to elementary schools across the state to help kids learn about New York’s dairy community. Commissioner Ball was joined by local dairy farmers and their very eager calves during his visits to Castleton Elementary School and Schoharie Elementary School. Since the series’ launch in 2018, dozens of staff members from the Department have visited their local elementary and middle schools to help New York’s school children understand where their milk and dairy products come from and help them gain an early appreciation of the benefits of consuming local New York products. Educational materials for the schools and students, including fun giveaways, were provided by the American Dairy Association North East (ADANE).
• 𝘾𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙧 𝘽𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙏𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙨 𝘿𝙖𝙞𝙧𝙮 𝙁𝙖𝙧𝙢𝙨 𝘼𝙘𝙧𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝙔𝙤𝙧𝙠
Every June, we are proud to highlight the amazing work of dairy farmers from all over the state. Dairy is the largest single segment of New York’s agricultural industry, boasting nearly 3,200 dairy farms, from major global processing companies to small, family-run operations. This year, Commissioner Ball and other members of our staff had the opportunity to visit six farms, many of which are multi-generational, family owned operations: Garelick Fams, DiNitto Farms, Tollgate Farms, Walker’s Farm, Whittaker Farms, and Crystal Valley Farm. We are always grateful to see firsthand the hard work our dairy farmers put into making delicious, healthy products that nourish our communities and help fuel our economy, and we thank all of our hosts this year for another wonderful Dairy Month!
• 𝙐𝙎𝘿𝘼 𝘼𝙣𝙣𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙨 $23 𝙈𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙤 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘿𝙖𝙞𝙧𝙮 𝙄𝙣𝙙𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙮
Earlier this month the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $23 million in grant funding is available to support processing capacity expansion, on-farm improvements, and technical assistance services to producers through the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives. We look forward to once again partnering with the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center to lift up the entire dairy industry in our region, and thank USDA for their continued and renewed commitment to dairy business innovation initiatives. The Request for Applications, information about grant eligibility, and a list of previously funded projects are available on the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative webpage.
Applications are due August 10, 2023.
• 𝘿𝙖𝙞𝙧𝙮 𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙢𝙤𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙊𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙧 𝘽𝙤𝙖𝙧𝙙 𝙈𝙚𝙚𝙩𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙎𝙮𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙪𝙨𝙚
The Dairy Promotion Order (DPO) Board met this month in Syracuse to discuss goals for the year ahead. From helping get more dairy products into our schools to supporting new, innovative production methods, our DPO members work hard all year to help promote New York dairy products statewide.
• 𝘾𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙧 𝘽𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝘼𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙣𝙙𝙨 𝙉𝙀𝘿𝙋𝘼’𝙨 𝙄𝙘𝙚 𝘾𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙢 𝙎𝙤𝙘𝙞𝙖𝙡 𝙖𝙩 𝙆𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝘽𝙧𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙨’ 𝘿𝙖𝙞𝙧𝙮
The Department is proud to congratulate our partners at the Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA) on their 30th anniversary this year. Commissioner Ball joined our NEDPA partners for an ice cream social at King Brothers Dairy, along with our partners at Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance (NEAFA), New York Farm Bureau, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, and the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition, to discuss opportunities to expand and strengthen New York’s dairy industry in the years to come. The Department thanks NEDPA for three decades of work supporting our dairy farmers and producers, and looks forward to another 30 years of partnership!
• 𝘿𝙚𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙍𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙚𝙨 𝘿𝙖𝙞𝙧𝙮 𝙍𝙚𝙨𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙘𝙚 𝘾𝙖𝙩𝙖𝙡𝙤𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙢𝙤𝙩𝙚 𝘾𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝘿𝙖𝙞𝙧𝙮
As the largest single segment of New York’s agricultural industry, the dairy industry boasts a wide range of exciting and fulfilling career opportunities. To help connect more prospective employees to fulfilling work in dairy, the Department launched a new workforce development resource guide, as well as a new Dairy Careers webpage. The resource guide is part of the work of New York State’s Dairy Think Tank, which focuses on understanding the dairy industry’s workplace needs and devising strategies to help processors attract and retain great employees so that they can expand their processing capabilities. We are excited to continue working with industry leaders and with our fellow state agencies to continue building a strong agricultural workforce that will help ensure New York dairy remains a pillar of our industry! To learn more, visit our new Dairy Careers webpage.
𝗧𝗵𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝗙𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀 𝗔𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟯 𝗔𝗘𝗠-𝗟𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗔𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗱
Three finalists have been selected for New York’s Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM)-Leopold Conservation Award (LCA). Awarded in partnership with the Sand County Foundation, the AEM-LCA honors a farm and its nominating Soil and Water Conservation District for their efforts to promote and protect the environment through the preservation of soil and water quality while helping to ensure farm viability for future generations. This year, our finalists are:
♦ Dygert Farms of Palatine Bridge in Montgomery County,
♦ Humbert Farms of Rose in Wayne County, and
♦ Tongore Farm of Olivebridge in Ulster County.
Earlier this year, New York State Soil and Water Conservation Districts were encouraged to identify and nominate the best examples of conservation success in their district. Applications were reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation leaders.
Sand County Foundation, a national nonprofit conservation organization, will present the $10,000 award with the support of the Department, American Farmland Trust, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Ida and Robert Gordon Family Foundation, Farm Credit East, the New York State Agribusiness Association, Audubon New York, and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Learn more about the AEM-Leopold Conservation Award and 2023’s finalist farms.
𝗗𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗛𝗼𝗻𝗼𝗿𝘀 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝗙𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗦𝗮𝗳𝗲𝘁𝘆 𝗗𝗮𝘆
In honor of World Food Safety Day, which takes place annually on June 7, the Department highlighted several actions the State has taken to enhance our food safety standards, a key focus of this year’s World Food Safety Day celebration, including launching a new partnership with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and updating our online kosher and halal registries. Learn more about these efforts.
To educate consumers on the importance of food safety standards, the Department also released a series of videos and social media posts to highlight the work conducted by Department staff every day to ensure the State’s food supply is safe. Check out the videos below!
• Happy World Food Safety Day!
• Celebrate World Food Safety Day with Dygert Farms Creamery
• Heavy Metal Testing at the New York State Food Laboratory
• Dairy Microbiology Testing at the New York State Food Laboratory
𝗨𝗽𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗣𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗼𝗿 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝗥𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗗𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗣𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗼𝗿 𝗪𝗲𝗲𝗸
During National Pollinator Week, celebrated nationally this year from June 19 through June 25, New York State released its updated Pollinator Protection Plan, outlining the coordinated work of State agencies to enhance pollinator health, including beekeeper registration, outreach, and education programs; continued support of the New York State Beekeeper Tech Team; improved landscape management at state facilities and along roadways to provide increased habitats; and more.
Over the past several years, New York State has taken steps to promote honeybee health and better protect pollinators statewide. In 2022, the Department launched a beekeeper registration program to better help beekeepers maintain their colonies in a healthy condition, which has since registered 1,625 beekeepers who are managing nearly 31,500 colonies throughout New York State. Additionally, the Department’s honeybee health improvement program asks beekeepers to indicate if they intend to sell bee colonies to monitor colony movement across and between state borders. To ensure that the Department can properly inspect bee colonies, all New York State beekeepers must complete the registration form and renew their registration annually at no charge.
Our partner agencies have also taken several steps to ensure that pollinators are protected in New York State. Learn more.
𝗡𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗹𝘆 $𝟱𝟬 𝗠𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗔𝘃𝗮𝗶𝗹𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗙𝗮𝗿𝗺𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁𝘀, $𝟰.𝟱 𝗠𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗔𝗹𝗹𝗼𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗘𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝗥𝗲𝗴𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗔𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘀𝘀 𝗡𝗲𝘄 𝗬𝗼𝗿𝗸 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲
Following the recent celebration of 100,000 acres of farmland protected in New York State in April, the Department is making available nearly $50 million for additional projects through the Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Program. The program helps to support perpetual agricultural conservation easement projects to keep agricultural land in production and ensure the long-term viability of New York’s farming operations.
For Round 19 of the State’s Farmland Protection program, $47.5 million will be awarded to projects that support the State’s top priorities, including food security, climate resiliency, and source water protection. In addition, the eligibility criteria for the program has been expanded again, now including three new categories: field crops, livestock or livestock products, and access to farmland. Access to farmland is specifically intended to help address ongoing challenges facing new and beginning farmers as well as retiring farmers in this area. Round 19 also continues the one-time incentive payment of 10 percent of the value of the agricultural conservation easement being required for projects that meet climate resilience or source water protection goals.
As part of the funding awarded, $4.5 million will be allocated to each of New York State’s 10 economic development regions.
Eligible applicants can apply for the Farmland Protection program through the Grants Gateway. Additional information on the Request for Applications can be found here.
Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted.
𝗙𝗮𝗿𝗺-𝘁𝗼-𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝗙𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗔𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗱
Governor Hochul announced that ten programs have been awarded more than $850,000 through Round 7 of New York State’s Farm-to-School program, with four organizations being awarded funds through the program for the first time. Funding provided through the Farm-to-School program helps schools connect with local producers, increase the use of locally grown food on school menus, and improve student health, while providing increased economic benefits to New York’s farmers. See a full list of awardees and get more information on the projects here.
𝗦𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗖𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗯𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝟭𝟬𝘁𝗵 𝗔𝗻𝗻𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝗜𝗻𝘃𝗮𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗦𝗽𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗔𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗪𝗲𝗲𝗸
The State celebrated the 10th Invasive Species Awareness Week in early June, an annual opportunity to learn more about invasive species and all the ways the State is working to combat these pests that can harm New York agriculture and the environment. A number of events were held across the State, inviting the public to learn more about invasive species, like the Spotted Lanternfly and Asian Longhorned Beetle, and how they can help to control their spread and help protect the agricultural industry. Find out more about the invasive species that impact agriculture here.
𝗨𝗦𝗗𝗔 𝗥𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲𝘀 𝗙𝗶𝘃𝗲-𝗬𝗲𝗮𝗿 𝗦𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗴𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗯𝗮𝘁 𝗦𝗽𝗼𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗟𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗳𝗹𝘆
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) Strategic Planning Working Group has released the Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) Five-Year Strategy. APHIS brought together the working group in August 2022 with representatives from APHIS, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and the National Plant Board (NPB). The working group developed a unified approach to reduce the SLF’s spread and impacts through a coordinated approach and collaboration among state and federal resources.
SLF has now spread to 13 additional states since it was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014. Spotted Lanternfly is a destructive pest that feeds on more than 70 plant species, including plants and crops that are critical to New York’s agricultural economy, such as grapevine, apple trees, and hops. First found in New York State on Staten Island in August 2020, the population has been observed in https://agriculture.ny.gov/spottedlanternfly.
𝗔𝗴𝗿𝗶-𝗦𝗺𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗜𝗻𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝗛𝗲𝗹𝗱 𝗜𝗻 𝗢𝗻𝗲𝗶𝗱𝗮 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗸𝗶𝗺𝗲𝗿 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀
Farmers in Oneida and Herkimer Counties: mark your calendars for Agri-Smart, an informational session taking place on Wednesday July 19 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Mohawk Valley Community College’s Wilcox Hall Schaffer Theater in Utica. The session will provide information about grants, agricultural programs, National Grid incentives, NYSEG incentives, the NYS Grown & Certified Program and grants, the Climate Resilient Farming program, and more!
If you’re a producer, local farmer, agri-business, looking to start an agri-business, or working with agri-businesses in this region, feel free to join in to learn more! RSVP by July 12th to Amy Heiderich at email@example.com. Stay tuned for more information about opportunities like these across the state.
𝗧𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗲 𝗡𝗬 𝟭𝟬𝘁𝗵 𝗔𝗻𝗻𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗖𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗯𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝘂𝗲 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗻 𝗧𝗶𝗲𝗿 𝗪𝗲𝗹𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿
Continuing the Department’s celebration of the Taste NY program’s 10-year anniversary in 2023, Commissioner Ball visited the Southern Tier Welcome Center on June 21st. The special event showcased the Welcome Center’s successes in connecting New York producers to more consumers, including bringing $700,000 in product sales at the Southern Tier Welcome Center and drawing more than half a million visitors in 2022. Over the years, the Welcome Center has brought in products from over 150 vendors across the state.
The celebration at the Southern Tier Welcome Center brought together regional agricultural, tourism, and supporting partners to introduce visitors to the New York farmers and producers whose products are available at the Welcome Center. Vendors sampling at the event included Amish Agriculture, Black Dog Honey, Clines Catering, Jukebox Donuts, Juuuice, KDE Flavored Coffee Company, Shamrock Creek Farms, Sinfully Sweet Fudge, Walling Maple, and in celebration of Dairy Month, Gilligan’s Ice Cream was also featured. Learn more about the celebration, and stay tuned to the Department’s social channels for more news about #TasteTurns10.
𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻 𝗔𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘄 𝗬𝗼𝗿𝗸 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗚𝗿𝗼𝘄𝗻 & 𝗖𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗲𝗱 𝗜𝗻𝗳𝗿𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗰𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲, 𝗧𝗲𝗰𝗵𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗼𝗴𝘆, 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗰𝗵, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗗𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹𝗼𝗽𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗚𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗺
The New York State Grown & Certified Infrastructure, Technology, Research and Development Grant Program, through the Consolidated Funding Application Round 13, will provide grants on a competitive basis to eligible applicants who will administer a grant program that will assist agricultural entities in implementing projects that will invest in critical farm infrastructure, adopt state-of-the-art practices, purchase innovative technology or equipment, or conduct cutting edge research to aid in the development of new products to meet consumer demand marketed under the New York State Grown & Certified program. Projects must have a direct and timely benefit to New York agricultural producers/processors and significance to the region served by the eligible applicant. The program will be overseen by the Department. Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.
𝗖𝘂𝗿𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗙𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗢𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀
• RFA 0294 – Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Round 19 – Agricultural Conservation Easement Projects
Applications are taken on a rolling basis.
• RFP 0291 – Climate Resilient Farming
Applications are due August 7, 2023.
• RFA 0263 – Municipal Agriculture and Farmland Protection Planning Grants
Applications are taken on a rolling basis.
• RFA 0262 – County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Planning Grants
Applications are taken on a rolling basis.
• RFA 0238 – Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Round 18 – Conservation Easement Projects
Applications are taken on a rolling basis.
• RFA 0181 – Source Water Buffer Program
Applications are taken on a rolling basis.
For more information on these or other funding opportunities, please visit our Funding Opportunities page.
𝗦𝗽𝗼𝘁𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁: 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗲𝗿 𝗕𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗴𝗿𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 “𝗦𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗚𝗿𝗼𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗴” 𝗣𝗼𝗲𝘁𝗿𝘆 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘁
In September 2022, the Department announced a challenge to New York’s third to eighth grade students to write a poem that celebrated the resiliency of our food system, following the 2022 NASDA Conference’s theme, “Still Growing.” Earlier this month, Commissioner Ball visited Stokes Elementary School in Rome, NY, to honor one of our winners, Chase Willson, who got to read his poem at the conference last September. We thank all the young writers who participated in this contest and congratulate Chase on his much deserved win. We love hearing about the ways our youngest New Yorkers think about and value agriculture, and it is a great joy to read all of your work!