Ethiopian guards massacred scores of Tigrayan prisoners, witnesses say     Ukraine live briefing: Ground conditions improving for battle, official says; grain ship arrives in Ethiopia     A more pragmatic Xi Jinping launches a global charm offensive for China     Ethiopian guards massacred scores of Tigrayan prisoners, witnesses say     Ukraine live briefing: Ground conditions improving for battle, official says; grain ship arrives in Ethiopia     A more pragmatic Xi Jinping launches a global charm offensive for China     Ukraine live briefing: Russian defense minister meets with Belarusian president; Kremlin decries price cap on oil     Kandinsky sale halted after Poland claims artwork was stolen in 1984      After Kherson, Ukraine’s military ponders new push south and east     Ethiopian guards massacred scores of Tigrayan prisoners, witnesses say     Ukraine live briefing: Ground conditions improving for battle, official says; grain ship arrives in Ethiopia     A more pragmatic Xi Jinping launches a global charm offensive for China     Ethiopian guards massacred scores of Tigrayan prisoners, witnesses say     Ukraine live briefing: Ground conditions improving for battle, official says; grain ship arrives in Ethiopia     A more pragmatic Xi Jinping launches a global charm offensive for China     Ukraine live briefing: Russian defense minister meets with Belarusian president; Kremlin decries price cap on oil     Kandinsky sale halted after Poland claims artwork was stolen in 1984      After Kherson, Ukraine’s military ponders new push south and east     
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News of Otsego County

agriculture

Farmland Runoff, Intense Storms Raise Phosphorus Loads That Drive HABs in Seneca-Keuka Watershed, 9E Study Finds

Farmland Runoff, Intense Storms
Raise Phosphorus Loads That
Drive HABs in Seneca-Keuka
Watershed, 9E Study Finds

By PETER MANTIUS

Originally published in October in “Water Front,” an online blog by Peter Mantius, this article is being reprinted with permission from Mantius because of its relevance to issues currently threatening water bodies statewide, including challenges to keeping our freshwater resources clean and climate-caused threats.

GENEVA, NY – A comprehensive plan to cut phosphorus pollution in the Seneca-Keuka Watershed won final state approval this week, providing a roadmap for protecting the two lakes from toxic algal blooms and flooding driven by climate change.

The 9E report recommends that mitigation efforts focus on Seneca-Keuka Watershed subbasins that produce the most phosphorus.

The Nine Element Plan, or 9E, was a “grass roots effort led by Finger Lakes watershed communities to actively restore these prized waters,” said Basil Seggos, commissioner of the State Department of Environmental Conservation. The DEC and the Department of State jointly approved the project.

Phosphorus is identified as a “primary driver” of outbreaks of cyanobacteria, or harmful algal blooms (HABs), that have plagued the lakes for at least the past seven years.

EDITORIAL: Noble Barns
Editorial

Noble Barns

Baker Barn in Richfield Springs, built 1882. (Photo by Cliff Oram Photography)

The Swart-Wilcox House, the oldest in Oneonta, is looking for a 19th-century English barn to replace the original one destroyed by fire in 1968.

Upstate New York is rural. Its towns, villages, and cities are spread out and difficult to reach. There are fields and forests and lakes. For most of its over-200-year history agriculture has been, and still might be, the main industry. Upstate New York is beautiful, bucolic, serene, clear, compelling. Rolling hills encircle cool lakes; fields interrupt clumps of forest. Farmhouses, barns, and outbuildings reveal their uses by their shapes and locations. Barns, in fact, are the distinctive feature of our part of the state. Early farms had multiple crops and livestock—wheat, oats, rye; sheep, cows, pigs, chickens—which called for multiple buildings: horse barns, ox barns, hay barns, chicken houses, workshops, corn cribs, granaries, wagon sheds, and the like. The farms resembled villages.

Editorial: In Honor of Rural Women
Editorial

In Honor of Rural Women

This Saturday, October 15, the world will recognize, as it does every year, the importance of the contributions of rural women and girls, including indigenous women, who live and work in remote and rural, often poverty-stricken, communities of the world. These strong women and girls play a key role in enhancing agricultural development, managing natural resources, adopting climate-resilient agricultural approaches, and planning against malnutrition and food insecurity.

The International Day of Rural Women was officially proclaimed by a resolution adopted by the United Nations in December 2007. The day celebrates and honors the role, often stereotyped but extremely substantial, of rural women who continue to face historic discrimination in many areas, including land and livestock ownership, equal pay, participation in meaningful decision-making, and access to resources such as credit and markets. This U.N. proclamation was the outgrowth of the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China, 12 years previously, wherein the idea of celebrating and supporting women was put forth. The date, October 15, was determined because, since 1945, World Food Day has been celebrated on October 16 and it seemed entirely relevant to honor rural women for their contributions to agriculture, food production, and food safety around the same time.

Home, Home on the Range. Where the Deer and the Heifers Play?

Home, Home on the Range.
Where the Deer and the Heifers Play?

A real life rodeo took place in the Schuyler Lake Firemen’s Field on Sunday morning, September 18. Left to right on horseback: Joseph Milton, Jacob Rounds, and Steve Batchelder assembled with their dogs left to right: Scooby, Tinsley and Nova, try to capture a few roaming heifers who escaped from down the road. (Photo by Kathleen Peters)
Kathleen Peters

Upstate New Yorkers are used to seeing livestock every day and almost everywhere. Even amid the economic crisis in local agriculture, the Leatherstocking region is rich in farms and farm animals. Take a 10-minute drive in any direction from Cooperstown or Oneonta and you will encounter horses, dairy cattle, beefers, sheep, goats, hogs, llamas, alpacas, and more, usually idling peacefully within the fences, barns, and pastures of their hard working owners.

Sometimes we forget that the livestock are actually “live” and have minds of their own. Such was the case when seven cows went missing about a month ago from a family farm on County Highway 22 in Exeter. Three of them were soon recovered; two adults have been sighted in the vacant fields on Truman Road, and two of the other freedom-loving heifers continued to roam the badlands off Taylor Road, leaving their distinctive tracks and fertilizer patties in their wake.

News from the Noteworthy: Much Ado About Methane

News from the Noteworthy

Much Ado About Methane

Our column, The Life of the Land, is an exploration of local agricultural practices. Several of our pieces will focus on farms which raise grass-fed animals; here we address the environmental implications of locally raised livestock.

It is indisputable that industrial livestock management is an ecological disaster. This has led to pronouncements from numerous authoritative agencies to eat “less meat” or even “no meat”. Yet grass-fed production of livestock is an important and growing component of our local agricultural economy. For those of us who wish to support these farms, is their meat actually environmentally “better meat”?

New from the Noteworthy: Land Use, Energy and the Economic Future of Upstate New York

News from the Noteworthy

Land Use, Energy and the
Economic Future of Upstate New York

Climate change and land use are inextricably bound together. The collision between the two creates tension. We are experiencing that tension in multiple ways — not least of which is the drive to create more renewable energy through use of solar and wind-power generation on central New York farmland.

There currently are proposals — some approved and some being considered — to develop large solar and wind “farms” throughout upstate New York, including Schoharie, Delaware, and Schenectady counties.

In some cases, these projects will reduce or eliminate crop production from previously fertile farmland and reduce or eliminate grazing capacity for livestock. The result of this will be a reduction in agricultural productivity
in central New York and removal of these lands from agricultural production for at least a generation.

Otsego 2000 was instrumental in the elimination of hydrofracking for natural gas in New York and has advocated for responsible development of solar and wind energy production for local use. Large-scale production of solar and wind energy, however, can be quite a different proposition if it involves taking potentially productive farmland out of service or fragmenting the ecological integrity of natural systems.

Governor’s State-of-the-State speech a wish list for big election year

Governor’s State-of-the-State speech a wish list for big election year

By Ted Potrikus

New York’s governor delivers a state-of-the-state address at the start of each calendar year; the speech a sitting governor gives at the onset of an election year is, however, always something a little different, a little more ambitious in scope.

Such is the case today (January 5) with a brief-by-comparison speech from Governor Kathy Hochul – her first since assuming the mantle after disgraced ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped down. Hers was an address filled with the usual something-for-everybody on the menu – with very little that any opponents could attack outright. And, the address appears to open the door for discussions on bail reform.

But a state-of-the-state is rather like looking through an annual gift catalog – there are plenty of things in there that one would put on a wish list. Only a few of them stand a chance of showing up when the time for gift-giving arrives.

In Memoriam: Joseph Edward Zaczek, 71, April 25, 1951- October 3, 2021

In Memoriam

 

Joseph Edward Zaczek
April 25, 1951-
October 3, 2021

Joseph Zaczek

Joseph Edward Zaczek passed away in peace on October 3, 2021 at the UHS Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City, N.Y. following a brief illness. Joe was born on April 25,1951 in Deposit, N.Y. He attended and graduated from Mt. Upton Central School and SUNY Delhi.

Joe’s lifetime career was in agriculture. The proof of his love for the land was reflected in the joy he brought to many with his famous ‘Mt Upton Sweet Corn’. He also took great pleasure in the machinery that is the driving force in agriculture. He loved his John Deere collection.

His contributions to the community impacted many. Joe was the transportation supervisor at GMU Central School from 1991 until his retirement in 2021. He was a Town of Guilford Board Member. Joe spent 25 years of his life as a fireman at the Borden Hose Fire Company in Mt Upton, N.Y. He was an avid and talented bowler. He bowled a perfect game numerous times. Out of all his many endeavors, he most enjoyed spending time with his beloved grandchildren and watching their sporting events.

Editorial: Oh deer!

Editorial
Oh deer!

The bright, beautiful Harvest Moon, come to shine on our tired fields and woodlands, has passed. The leaves have begun to turn, the temperatures are dancing about, deciding which way to go, and we are, this very week, heading into the New York state hunting season, a few months of search and shoot for the many hunters of our county. They hunt not only white-tailed deer, but also other fur-bearing and feathered animals: bear, coyote, fox, opossum, weasel, bobcat, small game, migratory game birds, waterfowl, wild turkey, and they hunt with bows, crossbows, muzzleloaders, handguns, shotguns and rifles.

Last year in Otsego County, 3,088 white-tailed bucks were taken, 2,627 does, and 709 fawns, with 253,990 white tails taken in all throughout the state – the most on record – up from 224,190 in 2019.
Deer hunting is not new, although as a sport it is relatively young. Artifacts found in Germany reveal evidence of hunting 350,000 years ago, while the cave paintings in France date from 30,000 years ago. It was during the mid-Paleolithic period (the Stone Age) that early man developed the tools — of stone, bone and wood — to kill, and the age of the hunter/gatherer improved upon that of the previous gatherer/scavenger.

Super Sheep? Can good genetics help ag businesses?

Super Sheep?

Can good genetics help ag businesses
be good environmental stewards?
A farm in Middlefield is on the cutting edge

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

A herd of sheep graze on a farm in the town of Middlefield. (Kevin Limiti/AllOTSEGO.com)

MIDDLEFIELD – Agriculture is often blamed for a negative impact on climate change. However, at a farm near Cooperstown run by twins Owen Weikert and Dr. Ben Weikert, that perception is exactly what they are working to change.

The Katahdin sheep are selectively bred by studying their genetic makeup in order to calculate things like maternal ability, how to create sheep that need less shearing and less food, and to reduce herd size.

Owen Weikert said that upstate agriculture is at a “tipping point” and that dairy farms have been “really decimated.”

“A lot of people are interested in getting out of the cattle business,” Weikert said. Therefore the new way of raising livestock might be the future of agriculture for not only Upstate but the entire country, he said.

By selecting different DNA, it is used to find out how the biological process of the animals interact with each other, and learn how to introduce beneficial characteristics into livestock that will allow breeding to be easier.

Cloning is a completely different process.

‘Reefer Madness’ Goes Mainstream

EDITORIAL

‘Reefer Madness’

Goes Mainstream

The 1936 movie raised the alarm, and laughs.

Maybe when marijuana vendors appear at Disney World, or when the venerable theme park comes up with a Marijuana Mile theme ride, or maybe Marijuana Maelstrom.

Then, perhaps, the Village of Cooperstown – “the pinnacle” of youth baseball camps, according to Lunetta Swartout, Cooperstown Stays proprietor, (and she ought to know) – should approve pot shops, or a “recreational cannabis dispensary,” or whatever, along Main Street in Baseball’s Mecca.

Maybe then, but now the debate is more than theoretical.

Simmering, simmering for years, marijuana legalization moved to the front burner over the weekend, when Governor Cuomo and the leaders of the state Senate and Assembly agreed on legislation “to legalize adult-use cannabis.” The Assembly and Senate approved the bill Tuesday, and Cuomo was expected to sign it.

DUNCAN: Quality Of Food Goes Back To Soil’s Quality
LETTER from R. SCOTT DUNCAN

Quality Of Food Goes

Back To Soil’s Quality

To the Editor:

Vitamins, minerals, and other supplements – there are numbers of people who say you should take vitamins.

Vitamin C for tissue repair, A for healthy skin, B for stress, E for women over 40, and a very popular one today – Vitamin D for overall health.

But the cost of the vitamins keeps getting higher and higher. A men’s multivitamin today will cost well over $50!

I was looking at the label on the jar and it said that a number of the ingredients are foods, from foods? Why not just eat the right foods? Well, they say foods are
not as nutritional us as they used to be.

I remember reading about one genetically modified grain that was created so it would grow faster. One of the reasons that it grows faster was that the roots are shorter. Well , the shorter roots do not go deep enough to absorb enough minerals, which in turn affects the brain function because of the lack of the minerals.

You can see why a lot of people think that you should eat organic, non-GMO foods. So I wonder why isn’t the food as good as it used to be?

A lot has to do with the soil. It’s been depleted and in many places contaminated.

There’s a graveyard for cars around here. Tons of cars lined up near a river. Every time I drive by I think how stupid to be so close to the river. The acid rain comes down on all the cars and carries all the pollutants into the river and into the farmland.

Man just ignores the cycles of nature, giving little respect to the natural process. They think science can do a better job. There is no balance between nature and science. You really don’t want to wait for nature to build the soil back up.

The way she takes care of things! Think about this: the COVID virus. It is keeping people inside, thereby reducing their impact on nature. Example: air pollution. The virus is killing lots of people, which reduces the population and also the stress on the environment.

Nature has her way of balance if we don’t play fair. Building up the quality of soil in Otsego County should be a pretty high priority on the list. Quality of soil equals quality of food equals quality of people.

I wonder what is being done to protect and enrich our local soil for, as they say, future generations?

R. SCOTT DUNCAN
Hartwick Forrest

PIERCE: When Did People Stop Caring For Each Other
LETTER from CHARLIE PIERCE

When Did People Stop

Caring For Each Other

To the Editor:

Yesterday I had a conversation with a lady I’ll call Ginny. Her three grocery carts were stacked high on top and in the bottoms. Asked about “stocking up so much,” Ginny replied, “I do this once a year for our food bank.”

My mother, who worked three jobs seven days a week with two hernias to meet the basic needs of the seven of us had been ordered by our doctor not to work. She also walked 5.5 miles a day to work and back to save having to pay a taxi.

At that point in time, our government bought good foods then poisoned them or dumped them into oceans to keep farm prices higher. Back then, 85 percent of registered voters were farmers and Republicans. Democrats pleaded for those foods to be given to the poor, and to schools for lunch programs. Decades later Democrats succeeded.

Many Republicans make fun of the recipients by calling them all kinds of names instead of paying them a living wage with benefits. It’s the new form of slavery.

One quits or dies and another is hired.

It was found that grocery stores were best equipped to handle foods, especially perishables, so Food Stamps came into being. Because of name-calling in grocery-store lines, the method was changed to SNAP, using plastic “credit cards.” Note: SNAP is a “farm program,” not a program to help the poor.

A 36-percent excise tax on USA dairy products recently put many New York State farmers out of business. Canada now buys its dairy products elsewhere, even though the tax has been lifted. Guess that makes America great!

I worked on farms until age 19. It is hard work and in my opinion farmers should be well respected, not destroyed.

Cows must be milked two or three times a day. Milk is perishable. To give some help to Upstate farmers, Governor Cuomo set up a program to buy the milk and give it away at places like schools.

Cars were lined up from the Gilbertsville-Mount Upton School all the way back to Gilbertsville Village … the result of making America great.

My dictionary has nine definitions of great … but none seem to apply.

Big grain farmers had the same experience but were given $12 billion then $16 BILLION. The tax was dropped and the grains were sold to China, meaning farmers who donate heavily to your President got paid twice. He doles out our tax dollars as if they were his.

I like Ginny’s thinking better. To me people are much more important than greedy enrichment of and by the wealthy. Let’s show the world how good America is and that people, not money, are more important. If you have never been poor and hungry you won’t understand this as much. If you say you are a Christian, perhaps you can wonder what would Jesus say and do. Ginny gets it.

CHARLIE PIERCE
Otego

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