Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Northeast Silvopasture Conference Presentations

All the PowerPoint presentations from the Northeast Silvopasture Conference on November 7 -8, 2011 have been posted online at the following website:
Scroll down to “Agroforestry – Silvopasturing” and choose which one you would like to view (you do not need a special viewer – they have been converted into PDF format for your convenience). Presentations available on-line at the site:
• Silvopasture Ecosystem Services
• Expanding Silvopature in the Northeast
• Graziers Woodland Management Basics
• Meat Goats and Sugarbush Woodlot Management
• Silvopasture Benefits
• Silvopasture Case Study
• Silvopasture Benefits to Integrating Farm and Forest
• Silvopasture Economics
• Silvopastures: a Pantry and Pharmacy for Man and Beast
• Suitability of Lands for Silvopasture
• USDA Resources Assistance for Silvopastoralists
• Woodland Managers Grazing Basics

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


A provision in the New York State Rechargeable Battery Recycling Act prohibiting disposal of most rechargeable batteries as a solid waste in the state starts today, announced the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The new provision of the law gives consumers the opportunity to drop off rechargeable batteries at local retail stores. The law already requires battery manufacturers to provide for collection and recycling of rechargeable batteries in a statewide program at no cost to consumers.

"Since many rechargeable batteries contain toxic metals that can be released into the environment when managed improperly, this program is a good example of product stewardship among consumers, retailers and battery manufacturers," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. "Valuable metals from rechargeable batteries can be recovered for reuse instead of ending up in the trash."

Most retailers that sell rechargeable batteries are required to accept used ones from individuals during normal business hours. The law requires battery collection by both local retailers and direct sellers of rechargeable batteries (i.e., catalog, telephone, or internet sales). Retailers must also post signs alerting consumers about the disposal ban and the opportunities to return rechargeable batteries at their location.

Rechargeable batteries covered by this law include; nickel cadmium, sealed lead, lithium ion, nickel metal hydride and any other dry cell rechargeable batteries weighing less than 25 pounds. This law does not cover vehicle batteries or non-rechargeable batteries such as common alkaline batteries. Rechargeable batteries from cordless power tools, laptops, telephones, cameras and other electronic devices are among a growing list of products New Yorkers can return to retailers for recycling at the end of its useful life.

The NYS Rechargeable Battery Recycling Act was signed into law on December 10, 2010. DEC is anticipating cooperation among consumers, retailers and manufacturers for a successful implementation of the law. However, any retailer who violates the law would be liable for a civil penalty of $200 for the first violation, $400 for a second violation within 12 months and $500 for a third or subsequent violation within 12 months. Any battery manufacturer who violates the law would be liable for a civil penalty of $2,000 for the first violation, $4,000 for a second violation within a 12 month period, and $5,000 for a third or subsequent violation within 12 months.

For more information on the New York State Rechargeable Battery Recycling Act, visit DEC's Web site at:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Passionate about Silvopasture

Here’s an article that will appear soon in Country Folks and Lancaster Farming.

Passionate about Silvopasture
By Troy Bishopp
Watkins Glen, N.Y--- When I think of visiting Seneca Lake on a beautiful, warm fall day; my mind fancies sipping on a good semi-dry Riesling, taking a stroll through the waterfalls of the Watkins Glen State Park and sneaking a peek at the famous race track where my boyhood dreams always took the checkered flag. I can now add another attraction to that list-----The Northeast Silvopasture Conference. From the wide variety of license plates, I would surmise that the over 100 agroforestry enthusiasts attending their inaugural event of “Bringing the woods into the pasture or bringing the pasture into the woods” have found a new destination also. This pastoral brainchild of an idea for adding value to farms and woodlot owners have been on the minds of the Cornell University Cooperative Extension’s organizing trio of Brett Chedzoy, Jim Ochterski and Nancy Glazier for some time.

Ontario County’s Cornell Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Issues Leader, Jim Ochterski summed up the mission that brought together farmers, foresters, students, conservation professionals, educators and community development advocates: “We are seeking to catalyze the development of Silvopasture in the northeast by looking at the science, considerations in planning, research and practical implementation on the land. When it comes to putting livestock in the woods were learning to go from destructive to productive.”

Schuyler County’s own grass-farmer/forester and CCE educator, Brett Chedzoy, inspired the group to consider “combining woodland and pasture management together utilizing animals and timber to add value to an existing land base”. This long term agroforestry practice was aptly covered throughout the two day event by a cadre of Silvopasture experts ranging from scientists, researchers, foresters, grazing specialists, economists and farmers.

The agenda started with a look at the opportunities; emergence of woody biomass markets to feasibly harvest low-grade timber, creation of diversified income sources, cost-effective vegetation control and increased demand for local food and timber production and niche livestock products. To harvest any financial or environmental reward, it was emphasized to have a comprehensive forest and farm plan rooted in a long term thought process.

John Hopkins from Forks Farm in Bloomsburg, PA and Dr. tatiana Stanton from Cornell’s “Goats in the woods” study showed the group how animals have enhanced their woodlands and scrub pastures using a variety of timed disturbances like rotating pigs and goats with electric fencing through the understory to control invasive plants like multi-flora rose and buckthorn. These controlled eco-brush trimmers open up the canopy for further enhancements like planting different grass and tree species. Creating this savannah-like landscape has its benefits. According to John “the Silvoculturist” Hopkins, their woodlot pork tastes better than factory farmed pork because the pigs root and eat a nutrient-rich diet from the forest floor in addition to eating local grains. Because of this, their local customers want more and he figured the "pigerators" were adding 4000 dollars/acre after expenses while helping him reclaim underutilized land.

Michael Jacobson from Penn State Cooperative Extension explained the opportunities and challenges to the adoption of silvopasturing in the Northeast and the need for more on the ground knowledge. This segued nicely into a dynamic presentation on the development, design, implementation and impact of tree-forage-livestock systems by the team of Dusty Walker, Gene Garrett and Larry Godsey from the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry ( They chronicled the five tenets of agroforestry; forest farming, alley cropping, riparian buffers, windbreaks and silvopasture into an over-arching goal of incorporating trees with other plant/livestock species that are economically and environmentally

When attendees bombarded the panel with questions about
how to apply these practices on their own land, the response of “it depends”
resonated many times. They talked
extensively about the benefits of natural shade since animals prefer it; tree
species, spacing and thinning to allow adequate sunlight to hit the ground and
the economics of establishing a system and the financial rewards to the landowner.

As an after dinner treat, Agri-dynamics founder, Jerry
Brunetti, gave his fascinating interpretation into Silvopasture as the “pantry and pharmacy for man and beast”. Based on his research, farm work and books like the 1928 classic Tree Crops by J Russell Smith and Wild Health by Cindy Engel, he has concluded that hedgerows with their diverse plant species and tree crops integrated into pastures have high quality cost effective medicinal qualities for all.

In the segment, “A vision to expand Silvopasturing in the Northeast”, New York’s NRCS Grazing Specialist, Dave Roberts and Eastern Region National NRCS Forester, Tom Ward teamed up with Nancy Glazier, Small Farms Educator from the Northwest NY CCE and Cornell’s NYS Extension Forester, Dr. Peter Smallidge to explain the possibilities. They discussed what every grazier needs to know about forestry and what every woodland manager needs to know about grazing in addition to exploring suitable land evaluations and learning about current resources and technical assistance for burgeoning Silvopastoralists. It was reiterated that Silvopasture is not grazing livestock in unmanaged woodlots or pastures.

The large group then traveled to Brett and Maria Jose’ Chedzoy’s Angus Glen Farms, LLC bordering the Watkins Glen State Park to see first-hand, 20 years of Silvopasture on the ground and overhead. Brett brought a wealth of practical knowledge on tree species, placement, thinning strategies using a variety of tools, understanding canopy percentages and integrating cattle and goats into the woodlots or woods into pastures on their 250 acres of owned and leased land. He humorously said it will take decades to fully implement the dynamic “vision”.

These grazing entrepreneurs used their locust groves to supply all the fence posts for the farm, have adopted tall and winter grazing strategies throughout the farm and manage timber sales in a holistic approach to long term sustainability.

Accolades overflowed for the two day event. Susan Truax, South Central Grazing Specialist from Pennsylvania NRCS commented, “I learned about more tools and environmental/financial considerations to help landowners manage and improve their forests and forages.” Mari Omland of Green Mountain Girls Farm in Vermont said, “I now see the importance of shade and the symbiotic relationship of trees and pastures.

I like the conversations around sustainable organic Silvopasture
practices. It was definitely worth the six hour drive.” Grazing Advocate for the Seneca Trail RC&D Council, Helen Terry, liked “feathering the edges of the pasture into the woods and seeing all the diverse economic opportunities.

If the exceptional attendance and passion for Northeastern
Silvopasture systems were any indication, it seems next year’s conference may go from “silvo” to gold…

The conference was made possible by the USDA National
Agroforestry Center, Natural Resources Conservation Service, US Forest Service, Penn State University Cooperative Extension, Cornell University
Cooperative Extension, Finger Lakes Sustainable Farming Center, The Cornell Small Farms Program, NYS Grazing Lands Conservation
Initiative and the Upper Susquehanna Coalition.

For more information contact Brett Chedzoy, Schuyler
County CCE at (607) 535-7161 or go to

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Invasive Asian Plant Raises alert near Cayuga Inlet

Article by Liz Lawyer posted in the Ithaca Journal-
Ithaca -- It was an unexpected find -- an ordinary-looking water plant growing in a green clump in a small backwater to the Cayuga Inlet.

But staff members detected something unusual about the plant picked up two weeks ago at Cass Park by a student with the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom. Though it closely resembles a native species -- elodea -- the plant has some subtle differences that marked it as the invasive Asian plant Hydrilla verticillata... To read the rest of the article please visit the Ithaca Journal site

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Watersense is an EPA partnership program.

Save water and protect the environment by choosing WaterSense labeled products in your home and business and taking simple steps to save water each day.
The WaterSense webpage has handy tools so that you may calculate your water savings,save water, energy, money and find rebates locally!!

For more information please visit the WaterSense website today!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Agricultural Plastic Container Recycling

Agricultural Plastic Container Recycling- Friday, June 3rd 9am- 6pm at the 4H Youth Fair Site on Meads Hill Road in Watkins Glen Only non-refillable plastic containers from less than 1 gallon to 55 gallon barrels made from high density polyethylene (HDPE) embossed with recycling symbol #2 on the bottom are acceptable. Larger containers are accepted but must be cut into 2’ X 2’ strips. 5 gallon buckets must have metal handles removed. All containers must have caps and booklets removed. All containers MUST be clean, empty, triple rinsed, and dry. Any container that is not cleaned will be returned to the owner. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED. You must call and advise us of the approximate amount of containers for recycling. Large plastic bags to store cleaned containers are available for free. You must be registered by May 20th. Coordinated by Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District, Our Agricultural Environmental Management Partners: CCE, Farm Bureau, and the Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board in conjunction with USAg Recycling Inc. & the Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC). CONTACT INFORMATION. Schuyler County Soil and Water 910 South Decatur Street Watkins Glen, NY 14891(607) 535-6878.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Refrigerator and freezer recycling program

Rethink. Recycle. Reward.

NYSEG- Get $30 for your old working second fridge or freezer
and save up to $150 a year on energy.

Chances are, the older second refrigerator or freezer in your basement or garage could be costing you up to $150 a year to run. Instead, recycle it, reduce your energy use and keep harmful materials out of landfills. We’ll pick it up for free and give you $30.

Eligibility and Requirements:

You must be a residential NYSEG electric customer and own the unit to be recycled.
The refrigerator or freezer must be:

* Between 10 and 30 cubic feet in size
* Empty, and in working order at time of pickup
* Accessible with a clear path for removal

>> Click here to schedule your pickup, or call 1.877.691.0021.

Limit two units per residential address per year. Cannot be combined with any other offer.
Your rebate check will be mailed within 4 weeks of your old refrigerator or freezer being picked up.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Humor of Proper Septic Tank Maintenance

Unless you are lucky enough to live in one of the few areas of Schuyler County that has a sewer system, you rely on the use of a septic system to treat and dispose of your wastewater. Septic systems can be a perfect solution to waste management in rural communities, but only they are adequately maintained. To maintain proper function of your septic system it is recommended to have your septic tank pumped out every 3-5 years depending on the size of your tank and the number of people living in the home.

Here are a few humorous videos provided by The National Environmental Services Center that highlight why proper septic tank maintenance is important. National Environmental Service Center

For more information on septic system maintenance contact the Schuyler County Watershed Protection Agency at 535-6868 or visit

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rock Cabin Road Cleanup

In honor of Earth Day the Schuyler County Environmental Management Council is sponsoring a roadside cleanup event on Monday, April 25 at 2:30. Rock Cabin Road is an ecologically sensitive area that boarders the Queen Catharine Marsh. This area provides habitat to a number of unique species and has an number of rare butterflies that visit the puddles along the road. Those interested should meet at the Seneca Lake side of the road. For more information please contact Jenna Hicks at Cooperative Extension at 535-7161.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County Celebrates the Environment on Earth Day and Every Day with Battery Recycling Program

Schuyler County Cornell Cooperative Extension has recently partnered with Call2Recycle® to offer a FREE rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling program in Schuyler County. Call2Recycle® is the only free battery and cell phone collection program in North America and has been responsible for diverting over 60 million pounds of rechargeable batteries from landfills since 1994.

Rechargeable batteries contain heavy metals such as nickel, cadmium, mercury and lead which can be harmful to our water supply if not disposed of properly. “Right now many people just throw rechargeable batteries in the trash because they don’t know what to do with them,” says Jenna Hicks, Environmental Science Educator with Cooperative Extension. “This is something we hope to change. We realize that if the program isn’t convenient and free we will only get subpar participation, we want to address both of these issues and that is why we decided to work with the Call2Recycle® program.”

Collected materials are recycled into new batteries, stainless steel products and other items with nothing going to the landfill according to Call2Recycle®. “It’s a win- win situation. You reduce your garbage bill and save landfill space; what’s not to like?” asks Hicks.

Rechargeable batteries and cell phones can be dropped off Monday- Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Cooperative Extension office located in the Human Services Complex, 323 Owego Street, Montour Falls. For more information please contact Jenna Hicks at 535-7161 or via email at

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pharmaceutical Collection Day in Schuyler County

Saturday, April 30 from 10-2.

The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department will be collecting old and unwanted medications (pills and capsules only, NO needles or liquids) free of charge at the Tyrone Fire Department (3600 St Rte 226, Dundee) and the Odessa Fire Department (300 Main Street, Odessa). It is no longer suggested by state officials to flush pharmaceuticals down the toilet due to possible water contamination. Instead, store them in a safe secure location out of children’s reach and take them to a collection location. It is anticipated that Schuyler County will hold one collection event annually in September. For more information on the national collection day please visit the Department of Drug Enforcement’s website at For more information on the Schuyler County event please call the Sheriff’s Department at 535-8222.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Record Numbers of New Yorkers Retrofit Homes for Energy Efficiency Using Green Jobs/Green NY Free or Reduced-Cost Energy Audit/Low-Cost Financing Prog

Record Numbers of New Yorkers Retrofit Homes for Energy Efficiency Using Green Jobs/Green NY Free or Reduced-Cost Energy Audit/Low-Cost Financing Program The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced today that the numbers of New York State homeowners who completed energy efficiency retrofits reached all-time monthly records in both January and February 2011, through Green Jobs/Green NY.
Created by the New York State Legislature and launched Nov. 15, 2010, Green Jobs/Green NY is expected to generate jobs in the state by stimulating investment in energy efficiency improvements for residential homes and businesses. It currently provides homeowners with free or reduced-cost comprehensive home assessments, also referred to as energy audits, and low-interest loans to finance these improvements. The program will be available to small commercial, not-for-profit and multifamily buildings in the coming months.
For homeowners, energy efficiency audits and improvements take place through NYSERDA's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR(r) program. In January alone, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR completed more than 800 retrofits, an all-time record for the program. February followed with more than 600 retrofits, an all-time record for that month.
"These numbers are very encouraging," said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. "By supporting the development of a vibrant energy efficiency industry, GJGNY is already helping homeowners and businesses reduce their energy costs while also supporting Governor Cuomo's plan to create jobs right here in New York.We look forward to even greater success once the full Outreach and Marking effort is implemented."

Other Green Jobs/Green NY highlights:

* Since free and reduced-cost energy audits were offered in November, NYSERDA has received 4,141 applications. Of these, 3,294 residential customers were approved for free audits and 297 for reduced-cost audits.

* As of end of February, 420 applications have been approved for Green Jobs/ Green NY low-cost financing with 96 loans closed, 87 loans approved and awaiting closing, and an additional 237 loans in process, for a total of approximately $3.3 million in capital.

* Contract negotiations are underway for training new entrants to the workforce and displaced workers for jobs in New York State's clean-energy industry. Ultimately, Green Jobs/Green NY will fund training for 6,000 workers.

Free energy audits are being provided to individuals with incomes up to 200 percent of the Area Median Income, and reduced priced energy audits are available to households with incomes up to 400 percent of the Area Median Income. A listing of income levels by county can be found at:

Certain outreach, training and enrollment efforts are subject to a competitive procurement process available to community based-organizations.

Through Green Jobs/Green NY, the state has established a revolving loan fund for building owners who will be able to pay back loans from the savings on their energy bills. NYSERDA launched the loan program for residential homeowners, and will soon follow with a loan program for small businesses, not-for-profits, and multifamily buildings. The unsecured residential loans are capped at $13,000 for a term of 5, 10 or 15 years and are offered at an initial interest rate of 3.99 percent - or 3.49 percent if the borrower signs up for automated monthly payments.

The Green Jobs-Green New York energy audit, loan and jobs training initiatives are funded with $112 million acquired by auctioning carbon emission credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The seed money from the RGGI fund, and from an $18.6 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy, will be used to leverage private investment.

NYSERDA offers innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help consumers increase energy efficiency and save money while helping businesses create clean energy solutions. NYSERDA's professionals help New Yorkers reduce energy consumption, increase the use of renewable energy, protect our environment and create clean energy jobs. A public benefit corporation, NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in NY since 1975.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Eat where you live

Draft outline of a new food producing animal ordinance in Denver. Visit EatWhereULive to learn more!

Friday, January 28, 2011

District Court Rules Local Law on Signs Violates Free Speech

A blog post from Law of the Land...
Posted: 27 Jan 2011 09:43 PM PST
The Southern District of New York issued an unpublished decision that discusses the various components that into reviewing sign regulations. The District Court ruled that the Village of Airmont sign... full blog

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Portable space heaters: Money-savers or energy-wasters? — Evidence Based Living

Winter is in full force and we are all feeling the pinch when the monthly heating bill comes. If you are thinking about using portable space heaters in an effort to reduce your costs read this article to see why it might not be such a good idea.

Portable space heaters: Money-savers or energy-wasters? — Evidence Based Living

A Systems Approach to Energy Transitions:

Land, Economic and Community Transformations
March 30-31, 2011 at Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel

For municipal officials, professional planners, extension educators, planning & zoning board members, community leaders and land managers grappling with how we will responsibly and sustainably meet the energy demands of the Northeast.

Save the date flier

for registration and additional information please visit:

Cornell Cooperative Extensions Natural Gas site

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

National Radon Action Month

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County is celebrating National Radon Action Month by offering free radon test kits on a first come first served basis to Schuyler residents in January. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is produced by the breakdown of uranium. Radon is odorless, colorless and can only be detected with special tests like the ones being offered by Cooperative Extension. Next to smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US and should not be ignored.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies have identified Schuyler County as an area with recorded high radon levels and suggest homeowners test for radon. If your test results show radon levels higher than 4 picocuries per 1 liter (pCi/L) of air it is suggested that you look at mitigation. Mitigation techniques can cost between $800- $2,500 depending on your home with the most effective consisting of piping and fans. When looking for a contractor it is important that they are trained in radon mitigation because if done improperly, it could actually increase the amount of radon in your home.

To pick up your free test kit, stop by Cooperative Extension located in the Human Services Complex, 323 Owego Street, Montour Falls. For more information call Jenna Hicks, Environmental Science Educator at 535-7161.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

EPA and New York Come to Agreement on Chesapeake

article by Rachel Ward


New York fought the law, and New York won. The state was in a stand-off with the federal EPA over a clean-up plan for the Chesapeake watershed. On Wednesday the EPA announced that it's come to an agreement with the state, including compromises on pollution limits that were opposed by farmers, waste companies and the state itself. The Press & Sun-Bulletin reports:

To view these reports please visit the Innovation Trail

Monday, January 3, 2011

EPA releases new guidelines on CFL clean up in homes

Dec. 29 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released new guidelines on how to deal with mercury-containing compact fluorescent light bulbs that break in the home.

CFLs contain a small amount of mercury sealed in the glass tubing. When broken, some of the mercury is released as mercury vapor. The EPA said the bulb will continue to leak mercury vapor until it is cleaned up and removed from the home.

To minimize exposure, the EPA released new guidelines on dealing with a broken bulb.

First, the EPA recommends homeowners clear the room of people and pets, and then open a window or door to the outdoors for 10 minutes. Central heating and cooling systems should be turned off as well.

Next, all broken glass and visible powder from the bulb should be placed in a sealable container, along with anything used to clean up the broken bulb. The container should then be placed in an outdoor trash container or covered area until the materials can be disposed of properly.

For several hours after the breakage, continue to air out the room and leave HVAC systems off.

For detailed information on proper CFL disposal and for printable brochures, click here.