Your August Monthly Harvest is here from NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

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In this issue:
Statewide News
Taste NY Updates
NYS Grown & Certified Updates
Funding Opportunities
Spotlight: County Fairs

August 1-7 marks National Farmers’ Market Week, a time to honor the role of farmers’ markets in boosting our farmers, supporting healthy communities and food systems, and stimulating local economies. In the past decade, the number of farmers’ markets in New York State has grown at a rapid rate, and new markets are created all the time. Today, New York has over 800 farmers vending at over 700 farmers’ markets, farm stands, and mobile markets across NY. This week, markets across the state will be celebrating National Farmers’ Market Week with special events and family fun that you won’t want to miss – so be sure to find your local market at agriculture.ny.gov/farmersmarkets, and plan a visit!
FreshConnect and Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program Benefits Available to Help New Yorkers Access Fresh Foods

FreshConnect Checks and Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program coupons are available to help low-income families purchase farm fresh foods at farmers’ markets and farm stands, providing a boost to New York farmers.

Individuals enrolled in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Veterans, Servicemembers, and their immediate families are eligible to receive FreshConnect Checks for redemption at farmers’ markets and farm stands in New York. SNAP recipients may shop at select farmers’ markets and receive a $2 FreshConnect Check for every $5 in SNAP benefits spent with the market, increasing the purchasing power of SNAP consumers by 40 percent. Veterans, Servicemembers, and their immediate family members may receive a $20 booklet of FreshConnect Checks at any of the New York State Division of Veterans’ Services (DVS) offices statewide on a first-come, first-served basis. These $2 coupons may be used to purchase any SNAP eligible food item at the market and may include such items as eggs, meat, cheese, breads, fruits, vegetables, maple syrup, and honey.

New Yorkers aged 60 years or older who meet the income guidelines, and families participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) program may be eligible for the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs. Participants receive a free coupon booklet worth $20 to be spent on fresh, local, fruits and vegetables at participating farmers’ markets and farm stands in New York State.

Find a full list of participating markets.

New York Ag Highlighted at the Great New York State Fair

Mark your calendars – there are only two and a half weeks left until Opening Day of the Great New York State Fair. The New York State Fair kicks off on Friday, August 20 and promises 18 days of great entertainment, rides, music, agricultural exhibits, and food. The nation’s first fair was founded in agriculture, and there are plenty of agricultural activities, samplings, and competitions for everyone to enjoy. From livestock to horticulture, the very best of New York agriculture will be on display at the Fair.

Admission tickets for the Fair are now on sale for $3 each—the lowest regular admission price of any major fair. People ages 65 and up will now be admitted free every day of the Fair. That is in addition to the Fair’s longstanding tradition of free admission for children ages 12 and under and for certain groups on special honorary days.

Tickets and $5 vouchers for parking in the Fair’s lots are available online via the Fair’s official online ticket seller, Etix, or by calling Etix toll-free at 1-800-514-3849 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Dairy Day, August 26

The Fair’s annual Dairy Day celebration will be held on August 26, and features a ton of fun for the whole family! Kicking off with the Dairy Day breakfast and awards ceremony for producers, dairy celebrations at the Fair also include:

Dairy Day Trivia Contest
Pick up a trivia card from the guest relations sites and find answers about New York State dairy around the Fair. Submit your completed card at the Dairy Cow Birthing Center for your chance to win a tasty prize!

Milkshake Contest
There’s a whole lot of shakin’ going on when teams from Central New York compete in the “Ready, Set, Shake” milkshake contest! Teams will compete to see who can create the tastiest concoction in the time allowed. Come join the fun and root for your favorite!

Dairy Products Building
Stop by the Dairy Products Building to view the annual Butter Sculpture made with 800 pounds of New York butter, grab a taste of New York State’s official beverage with a 25-cent cup of cold milk at the Milk Bar, visit the Dairy Princess booth, and see the display of the very best award-winning dairy products from the 2021 dairy products competition.

The Dairy Cattle Barn
The Dairy Cattle Barn houses all the dairy cattle showed at the New York State Fair. Observe cows being milked in the milking parlor and learn how milk gets from cow to glass!

Dairy Cow Birthing Center
The Dairy Cow Birthing Center is an educational exhibit that provides fairgoers the opportunity to witness the live birth of baby calves daily. Over 100 dairy farmers, veterinarians, affiliated business representatives, and agricultural students volunteer their time at the exhibit to assist with the births, explain the process to the public, and answer any questions. The exhibit also offers calves for petting and educational exhibits about the dairy industry.

Beef Day, August 31

Join the New York Beef Producers Association (NYBPA) for Beef Day at the Fair on August 31. Beef Day celebrates the vibrant beef industry in New York State and pays tribute to our hardworking beef producers.

The Association will be on hand throughout the day, providing educational materials to consumers, such as recipe brochures, cooking ideas, meat cut charts, and coloring books for kids.

The NYBPA will also feature a Spin the Wheel game with a chance to win prizes. In addition, the beef cattle barn will feature consumer friendly signs and displays to educate fairgoers and there will be opportunities to meet and visit with the state’s beef producers.

At 3pm on Beef Day, the NYBPA will hold the Supreme Show, where the supreme female cattle winners from New York’s county fairs and shows compete.

Enjoy a day recognizing New York’s beef industry and its importance to New York agriculture!

Rebuilt Arnot Maple Research Facility Opens

On July 29, Commissioner Ball visited the newly rebuilt Arnot Maple Research and Teaching laboratory, which houses a first-of-its-kind new maple product development lab. Following 2018’s Forestry and Wood Products Summit, convened by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State invested $500,000 in the laboratory to facilitate further growth and innovation in New York’s maple industry. The opening of the brand new 4,200-square-foot state-of-the-art facility was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the renovations.

Located in the Arnot Research Forest, the Arnot Maple Research and Teaching facility plays a pivotal role in conducting research and extension activities in support of New York’s maple industry. The new facility includes a fully equipped, 20-C commercial kitchen, which Cornell estimates will contribute to the creation of at least twenty new maple-based products annually, such as maple soda, beer, wine, kombucha, chocolate, and sports drinks. This will support dozens of new jobs in rural areas of New York State, like the Southern Tier. The renovations also include the installation of a new vacuum system, which includes over 50 miles of tubing spread over four miles of forest; a new filtration unit; several new, 2,000-gallon stainless steel storage tanks, a reverse osmosis system, and evaporators; classroom space; and two identical production lines, so that multiple research trials can be run at the same time, bringing the facility’s research into the 21st century. Learn more.

Kevin King Appointed Deputy Secretary of Agriculture

The Department is happy to share with the agricultural community that Kevin King has joined the Executive Chamber as the new Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, following former Deputy Secretary Patrick Hooker’s recent retirement. The Department extends its gratitude and best wishes to Pat, who served in state government on behalf of New York agriculture for many years, helping to move the industry forward through the many programs, policies, and initiatives he helped spearhead over the years. Kevin joins the Executive Chamber after most recently serving the Department as Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Development. Previous to this role, Kevin served as the director of the Division of Agriculture Development, and even prior to that, the Division of Plant Industry. His 31-year career has been dedicated to supporting agriculture and natural resources in New York. The Department and the industry are fortunate to have a great partner in Kevin; his leadership and understanding of agriculture will ensure the future of New York agriculture remains bright.
Secretary Vilsack Visits New York State

Last month, Commissioner Ball joined U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at SUNY Cobleskill for an important roundtable discussion on permanent solutions to challenges related to farm labor. The Secretary was also joined by New York Farm Bureau, Congressman Antonio Delgado, Senator Michelle Hinchey, the President of UFW, farm workers, and representatives from the Northeast Dairy Producers Association, Inc., among others. The Department appreciates the Secretary’s visit and his focus on this critical component of New York agriculture.

Susquehanna SPCA Opens New Facility With Help From NY’s Companion Animal Capital Fund

Commissioner Ball was on hand to help the Susquehanna SPCA celebrate the opening of an exciting new project that will help them protect animal health and provide the very best housing for animals as they await their forever homes. Their new state-of-the-art facility includes new features like a sterile surgery suite and recovery area, an improved ventilation system, and more. The project was made possible in part with $500,000 from New York State’s Companion Animal Capital Fund.

The Fund provides grants to non-profit and municipal animal shelters and humane societies to support construction, renovation, and expansion projects that will enhance animal care and health and help ensure adoptions for New York’s dogs and cats. Since the start of the Companion Animal Capital Fund, New York has committed $15 million to projects like the SQSPCA’s, helping to further the Department’s mission to ensure the health of companion animals in New York State.

Taste NY at the Great New York State Fair

The Great New York State Fair is back this month, and Taste NY will be there! Fairgoers will have the opportunity to shop for products from every region in the Taste NY Marketplace in the Horticulture Building from August 20 through September 6. Our Taste NY Markets at the State’s Welcome Centers and stores across New York will also feature “Find me at the Fair” labels to give visitors a sneak peek at products featured in the Marketplace. We look forward to seeing you at the Fair!
Join the NYS Grown & Certified Program!
Show New Yorkers that your products meet farm safe protocols and environmentally responsible practices by joining the New York State Grown & Certified program! The NYS Grown & Certified seal indicates that the farms your products come from have been inspected for safe food handling and environmental stewardship. The label lets customers know your food was grown right, right here in New York State.

To qualify, producers must meet the following certification criteria:

Products are grown and produced in New York State.
Farms participate in a third-party food safety verification program, if applicable.
Producers participate in an environmental management program.

Why join?

There is no cost to join.
You can use the Grown & Certified seal on products and in marketing.
You’ll be listed on the NYS Grown & Certified website.
You’ll have access to grant opportunities.
And much more!

Apply to become New York State Grown & Certified!
Current Funding Opportunities

RFA 0238 – Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Round 18 – Conservation Easement Projects
Applications are taken on a rolling basis
RFA 0215 – County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Planning Grants
Enrollment is open as of November 2019.
RFA 0216 – Municipal Agricultural and Farmland Protection Planning Grants
Enrollment is open as of November 2019.
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: County Fairs

County fair season is in full swing with fairs taking place all across the State from July through September! The Department was proud to be on hand for the opening of the Clinton County Fair and to meet with Clinton County’s Dairy Princess Madison Peryea and her ambassadors. Staff also visited the Lewis County Fair to celebrate its 200th year and its long-standing tradition of horse racing, pictured at left. New York’s county and local fairs provide a great opportunity for fairgoers to directly connect with New York’s farmers and producers to learn about agriculture, and of course, to enjoy some delicious New York foods, games, rides, and entertainment. For a full schedule of fairs taking place this summer, visit: https://www.nyfairs.org/fairs_by_date.htm.