Photos courtesy of Kara Dunn.
Empire Farm Days, the largest outdoor agricultural show in the northeastern U.S., offers more than 300 acres of exhibits, seminars and demonstrations of interest to farmers with operations of all sizes - from dairy producers and meat goat farmers to cash croppers, equipment operators, horse people and farm families. Rodman Lott & Son Farms in Seneca Falls, New York, hosts the annual event, which is scheduled for August 5-7 this year. The theme is "Hit Pay Dirt." Admission is free, and parking is $10. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday. For more information, visit www.empire farmdays.com or call 877-697-7837.
Panel Presentations Include 14-Year-Old Farmer and Seasoned Veterans
New at the 2014 show will be a trio of local sales and procurement panels offering food producers valuable information for selling their products through different market channels. On Tuesday, August 5, chefs, restaurant owners and food producers will present information on how to get started selling to restaurants, what gets the attention of chefs, and how to maintain a strong supply-and-demand relationship.
On Wednesday, August 6, Diane Eggert of the Farmers Market Federation of New York will moderate a panel of vegetable vendors, including Garrett Williams, a 14-year-old farmer with his own business, and James Farr, director of the Rochester Public Market. They will talk about getting started, figuring out the unspoken rule, and how to be successful at the markets.
On Thursday, August 7, the Procurement at the State Level panel presentation will be moderated by Imran Khan, Empire State fellow for food and agriculture with the New York State Executive Chamber, with participants addressing how to develop and submit bids, how to contact the right people, and how to navigate the state bidding process to take advantage of the contract opportunities.
Cornell, New York Farm Bureau, New York State Grange and Much More
From sustainable farming practices to local food production to invasive species, the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Marketplace at Empire Farm Days offers samples of fresh food developed with Cornell expertise, a Kidz Corner with hands-on fiber activities, entomology and plant experts to help you identify that unknown specimen, and educators with the latest research insights on fruit, vegetable, dairy, livestock and crop production.
Apples and potatoes are in the spotlight at the New York Farm Bureau Family Center for 2014. Visit a special photo booth at posted times to possibly become a "Face of Agriculture" and share your farming story with the general public.
The New York State Grange tent offers programs all day, starting with a canine comprehension demonstration with certified therapy dog Sparks and including presentations on alcoholism, the benefits of massage, sewing and spinning, local history, and youthful living. The Pocket Change Band starts the music at 2:30 p.m. each day.
Equipment, Field and Forage Demos Showcase New Technologies
The daily field demonstrations include forage chopping and handling at 10 a.m.; hay mowing at 11 a.m.; tillage and GPS at 1 p.m.; a new interseeder planting and cover crop demo at 1:30 p.m.; and hay raking, baling, processing and handling at 2 p.m.
New in 2014 will be a demonstration of the new Rinstrum Motion Axle Scale for weighing trucks and forage loads. The scale has a semiportable design so it can be moved from site to site. The cost is about one-quarter of that of a full-length truck scale.
Those 18 and older who are ready to test-drive some "steel" can try Cat wheel loaders, backhoes and skid steers; Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha four-wheelers and utility vehicles; and Liftech skid steers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.
New field demonstrations highlight crop options and treatments. Birkett Mills is planting a field demonstration of buckwheat at Empire Farm Days for the first time. Representatives of the Penn Yan, New York-based business are looking for growers interested in growing buckwheat for their custom milling operation.
Alltech will offer an in-field discussion of its Grain-Set foliar-applied micronutrient fertilizer developed to boost corn root systems, grain fill, protein and starch content, and yield.
A field plot and demonstration by Cornell University and Penn State University (PSU) will focus on cover crop options for Northern climates and planting them with an interseeder. A PSU research team designed the interseeder, which side-dresses corn with fertilizer and a postemergent herbicide while simultaneously planting a cover crop behind rows early in the season. These cover crop programs are sponsored by Seedway and Pioneer, along with DuPont, which provided a $15,000 grant to help build a small demonstration interseeder for the Friends of Northern Lake Champlain. Matthew Ryan, Cornell Sustainable Cropping Systems Lab assistant professor, will share the results of interseeding trials funded by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program.
The New York Soil Health Team of federal, state and local resource professionals, farmers and ag businesses will offer demonstrations on the difference healthy soil provides in terms of reduced runoff, increased infiltration, and improved water and nutrient-holding capacity. The USDA NRCS is sponsoring the demonstrations.
The Cornell Recycling Agricultural Plastics Project will be demonstrating proper techniques for baling used farm plastics with recycled plastic products. Supplies and equipment for storing and compacting plastic will be on display. A new one-hour baler operator certification course will be offered on-site.
OSHA Dairy Dozen in Focus
The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) will offer exhibits, information and demonstrations, providing an opportunity for dairy operators to talk with NYCAMH staff about the Dairy Dozen requirements that are part of the OSHA Local Emphasis Program.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn about NYCAMH services, including on-farm consultations, walk-through inspections, worker trainings in English and Spanish, and other programs designed to keep farmers, their families, employees and farm visitors safe.
The free DairyProfit Seminars, featuring farmers, Cornell University speakers and agri-service professionals, are focused on strategies for finding the next 10 pounds of milk, maximizing pregnancy rates and information about Shredlage. Each session starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Dairy Seminar Center on the show grounds.
Tuesday, August 5
9:30 a.m. How to Avoid Losing a Dollar Per Cow Every Day
10:30 a.m. Finding the Next 10 Pounds of Milk
Dairy farmers Brad Almeter of Breezy Hill Dairy, Greg White of Cabhi Farm and Frank Albano Jr. of Albano Farms will share their experiences and strategies for increasing milk production to meet the financial goals of their farms. Kathy Barrett of Cornell PRO-DAIRY will moderate.
1 p.m. Management and Genetics of Sound Feet and Legs in the Dairy Herd
Sponsored by the New York Holstein Association and DairyBusiness Communications.
Wednesday, August 6
9:30 a.m. It Takes Vision to Leave a Legacy: Succession Planning with Diann Andrews
Andrews is a CFP professional with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. She specializes in agribusiness estate and succession planning. Her presentation on family farm succession planning issues and challenges draws upon her experiences helping farm families to keep their operations for future generations.
10:30 a.m. Maximizing the Pregnancy Rate in Your Herd
Dr. Julio Giordano of Cornell University will lead the discussion about the variety and combination of factors that affect pregnancy rates in dairy cattle. Giordano will also moderate a dairy farmer panel with Jon Prokop of Crossbrook Farm, Mackenzie Reynolds of Reyncrest Farms and Scott Buffin of Chaffee Farms, sharing how they achieve high pregnancy rates in their herds.
1:30 p.m. NY Junior Dairy Leader Graduation
Twenty-eight youths from across New York state will present their experiences with the Cornell PRO-DAIRY program. The yearlong program combines a series of workshops on veterinary science, dairy nutrition, production management and on-farm production analysis with opportunities to interact with dairy producers, industry professionals and other young people interested in dairy.
Thursday, August 7
9:30 a.m. Mycotoxins and Their Impact on Dairy Cattle Production and Health
10:30 a.m. What We've Learned About Shredlage
Michelle Woodman of Landmark Services Cooperative will discuss experiences with Shredlage-type forage on Wisconsin dairies. Dr. Larry Chase, a Cornell University professor of dairy nutrition, will moderate a panel with Cliff Hanehan of Hanehan Family Dairy, Corwin Holtz of Holtz-Nelson Dairy Consulting and Woodman.
The DairyProfit Seminars are followed at noon by an industry update from the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council and a picnic lunch.
Cornell PRO-DAIRY will host a preshow farm tour on Monday, August 4, that includes the new Cornell Dairy Research Center in Harford, New York; the new dairy processing plant in Stocking Hall on campus; and Walnut Ridge Dairy in Lansing, New York.
Animal Handling Demos: From Equine to Small Livestock
Live animal demos at the 2014 Empire Farm Days will include cattle handling with Montana stockmanship expert Curt Pate on Wednesday and Cornell beef extension specialist Mike Baker on Tuesday and Thursday.
The Equine Center round pen demonstrations will feature American Mustangs on Tuesday, ex-racehorses retrained as champion polo ponies on Wednesday, and police-style trained mounts on Thursday.
Small livestock demos include goat clipping and handling, as well as alpacas on-site with fiber processors.