State dirt slinging and 5 other New York farm stories you must read

"Black dirt" in the Black Dirt region of Orange county. Photo: Wikipedia.

New York has its state flower, its state bird, and its state song (although I think it should be this), so why not a state soil?

Supporters of an effort to make Black Dirt – down in onion-land in Orange County – the official state soil hit a bump in the, er, dirt when a challenger rose to claim that august throne. The New York Times reports in a pun-riddled article:

New York apparently already had a quasi-official state soil for more than two decades, according to scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture, a “mixed, active” little dirt known as Honeoye (pronounced HONEY-oy).

That designation took the senator by surprise when he learned of it on Tuesday.

“I was not aware of it,” said Mr. Bonacic, who grew up in the soil-challenged environs of Hell’s Kitchen. “But I’d put black dirt against any dirt.”

There was a bumper crop of New York-related farm and food news piling up this week. So for your weekend reading pleasure:

The New York Farm Bureau said it was pleased with the inclusion of agricultural programs and Taste NY in the state budget. But it expressed concern with the minimum wage hike and a lack of action on property issues:

On average, New York farmers pay $20 more per acre in property taxes than the national farm average. We are hopeful a 2% cap on agricultural land assessments can pass this legislative session to contain rising property taxes and provide some needed relief. In addition, extending the estate tax to mirror the federal $5 million threshold will go a long way to helping keep family farms around for the next generation.

SUNY Canton is holding a march and vigil next Tuesday in Canton to raise awareness about human trafficking. Much of this is unrelated to farmworkers, but some is. I've spoken many times to undocumented dairy farmworkers in New York who arrived here through organized illegal people smugglers using overcrowded vans.

The Dirt friend and farm tweeter extraordinaire, Lorraine Lewandrowski, is leading a contingent from the Mohawk Valley, including Dale and Deb Windecker, Tammy and Art Graves, and Dairy Ambassador Kayla Windecker, to speak on behalf of Upstate dairy farmers at the Just Food conference in New York City this weekend. Lorraine e-mailed me:

We will cover topics ranging from NYC food security to the "taste and terroir" of dairy New York.  We want to take consumers "behind the label" to put a face on milk from Upstate NY.   Fluid milk is one of New York's most "local" foods with most of NYC's beverage milk coming right from Upstate NY.

The New York Wine & Culinary Center is putting the spotlight on North Country wines, with a series of wine and food pairing events April 19-20 featuring Clayton's Coyote Moon Vineyards.

It's not taking place in New York, but Cornell University is engaged in a fascinating program resettling Somali refugees who have an agricultural background on farmland in Maine.

I'm sure you've got more to point out and/or talk about, so have at it in the comments section and have a great weekend!


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  1. Food News Fast - April 1, 2013 | Food Politic - [...] New York might be getting a state dirt. As in type of soil. [The Dirt] [...]