Monday, December 22, 2008

Upcoming events in the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Horticulture in the South Central New York Region


February 10-12, 2009- Empire State Fruit & Vegetable Expo Syracuse, New York Oncenter Convention Center, Syracuse NY • February 11 & 12, 2009
Becker Forum • February 10, 2009 • Holiday Inn Liverpool. Visit for more details or call Please contact NYSVGA
Phone/fax: 315-687-5734


Thursday, Friday, and Saturday February 26, 27, and 28-NY FARM SHOW
Helping Farmers Produce More from Their Woodlots Got Trees? The New York Forest Owners Association, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry will present a series of free forestry programs. The New York Farm Show is annually held at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. The Farm Show has many exhibits displaying information, equipment, and items of interest to landowners as well as farmers. Landowners who own woodland as part of their property can get information on many subjects that will help them enhance the value of their woodlots for timber, wildlife, and recreation. For further information contact: James Christensen 315-472-5323, or Charley Porter 315-298-7467, or John Druke 315-656-2313

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Your Christmas tree can help the environment!

Instead of putting your Christmas tree in the trash after the holiday, put it to good use for the environment.
Sinking your Christmas tree in the pond causes fish to gather in these areas and improve the fishing. Fish can be found hiding in the branches; others feed on aquatic insects found among the branches. Some fish will seek the shade during hot and sunny days.
Grouping three or four trees together to make a larger habitat for your fish is recommended. Young bluegill, crappy and catfish are drawn to these areas to feed and for protection.
Place one large brush pile for every 2-3 acres of water is a good rule. In 10-12 feet of water is the best placement of brush but no deeper, this is as far as small fish will venture. Attaching a stone or cement block to tree will help them to stays vertical in the water.
Other uses include placing your tree near the bird feeder. This protects the birds from predators that prey on them while eating. The tree also protects them from the harsh winter winds. No bird will pass up an evergreen tree to frolic and eat.
Christmas trees are also an excellent source of protection for other wildlife. Place a group of trees in a fence row will protect rabbits, quail and other birds from predators. Placement is important so place them where two habitats come together like a field and a woodlot.

Roger Ort-Horticulture Program Assistant Cornell Cooperative Extension

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Buying Local

Buying Local for Fun and (Community) Profit

This year’s winter holiday season offers potential shoppers an opportunity to strengthen local businesses and communities. By now, hopefully most of us have heard about the importance of spending our money locally. Not convinced? A 2006 report commissioned by Maine Businesses for Social Responsibility and completed by the Institute for Local Self Reliance documented the job creation, entrepreneurship and tax benefits of locally-owned businesses to the rural mid-coast region of Maine. The economy of Upstate New York is similar in many ways, and the findings in the Maine report that locally-owned businesses tend to support higher-wage jobs, generate more local economic activity and demand less in tax-payer funded social programs are generally applicable.

Maintaining a diverse local economy in difficult economic times can make a community less vulnerable to a downturn or collapse in a single sector. The initial out-of-pocket cost for buying locally might be a bit higher, but keeping those dollars circulating through the local economy and encouraging job creation through entrepreneurship can offer benefits through lower taxes and a more attractive market for investment and growth. Perhaps in the spirit of both the holiday season and a nationwide concern about our financial priorities, buying less overall to spend more locally makes sense.

If you are interested, where do you start? Try low-tech first, and pick up a copy of the Hilites, Pennysaver or Shopper. This can be a great place to locate u-cut trees and seasonal wreaths. Prefer shopping online? Try the website Local Harvest, where you can search by zip codes for locally-grown farm produce, livestock and handcrafted items available for purchase. The South Central New York Agriculture Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension publishes a guide on foods produced in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes region , and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets offers an online Farm Fresh searchable locator.

Food and farm items not your thing? If you are looking for something in particular, but don’t see it, you can also try asking a retailer that carries similar items. There are also multiple outlets for artwork, often directly from the artist themselves. Take a tour of the websites of member artists at The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, or contact an artist featured in the Greater Ithaca Art Trail. Some seasonal outlets, like Skyland Farm Gallery and CafĂ©, offer holiday hours.

However, supporting the local economy through holiday shopping isn’t just about stuff. If you feel strongly about an organization, event or local amenity, you can often make a donation or provide a gift membership. Options include (but are certainly not limited to): Friends of the Catharine Valley Trail, the Schuyler Health Foundation, or a 2009 Empire Passport that covers admission to our many state parks.

Reviving an economy in times of a recession is not simple, and certainly local buying isn’t going to solve all of our financial woes. However, consciously supporting a diverse local economy can certainly help and it can be fun to boot. So help your community profit and prosper in 2009, and resolve to buy more locally.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Give ENERGY STAR products this Holiday Season!

Do you want to help your loved ones save an extra $700 this year? You can by giving gifts that keep giving throughout the year by purchasing ENERGY STAR products for those on your list. ENERGY STAR products use less energy than standard products, saving money throughout the entire year. Stereos, phones, computers, printers and even battery chargers for power tools can be found with the ENERGY STAR label. Please visit this ENERGY STAR website for specific gift ideas for everyone on your shopping list.