State Senator Patty Ritchie "got schooled" at the annual "Maple School" hosted by the St. Lawrence County Maple Producers Association and the local FFA.
The event, held Saturday at Gouverneur Central School, drew nearly 100 current and aspriring maple producers from across the North Country to learn from experts and fellow farmers about the age-old springtime tradition of sugaring, as well as new techniques to improve production and quality.
This week’s pet of the week is Fred, a short haired domestic male who is just over a year old. According to the Jefferson County SPCA, he’s a big cat with a big heart. For more information on Fred, visit the Jefferson County SPCA's website at www.jeffersoncountyspca.org or call (315) 782-3260.
State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk organized and participated in a meeting between members of the Upstate farming community and officials from Grow NYC, which manages the largest Greenmarket in the country.
Senator Tkaczyk said, “My goal is to connect small Upstate farmers with the New York City markets, forge new partnerships and collaborations and bring more produce from our local farms to the restaurants and consumers in New York City.”
Tkaczyk organized the meeting and was joined by farmers and agricultural experts to tour Grow NYC’s largest Greenmarket, their flagship in Union Square Park. Since its start in 1976, the Union Square Greenmarket has grown to include, during peak season, 140 regional farmers, fisherman and bakers.
Measures Would Spotlight Black Lake, Lisbon and Winthrop Wineries
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has introduced legislation to establish a St. Lawrence County Wine Trail in an effort to help put local wineries and vineyards on the map, boost local businesses and create jobs in the North Country.
“Over the past 27 years, more than 250 new wineries have opened across New York State—that includes many in the North Country. Along with those new businesses come new opportunities to attract tourists to our region,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie.
“This legislation will literally put our local wineries on the map, creating a county-wide tourist destination that can eventually be linked to the Thousand Islands Wine Trail in Jefferson County. Moreover, the measure will help to spotlight these new wineries, boosting their businesses and also will provide for new business and employment opportunities in the North Country.”
There are currently 16 wine trails across New York, from the eastern end of Long Island to the Niagara escarpment, and including Jefferson County’s wine trail. The St. Lawrence County Wine Trail would be the state’s 17th; a reflection of the industry’s growth and statewide presence.
Under the proposed legislation (S.6321), the St. Lawrence County Wine Trail would begin near Black Lake’s Bella Brooke Winery in Morristown, extending to Lisbon’s River Myst Winery and then to High Peaks Winery in Winthrop. The trail is designed also to attract visitors to St. Lawrence Brewing’s microbrewery in Canton, providing the four establishments additional opportunities to collaborate and market themselves.
REPORT IDENTIFIES OVER 2,000 STATE RULES AND REGULATIONS THAT WARRANT REFORM OR REVIEW
ALBANY – The New York State Senate Majority Coalition issued a comprehensive report today that sheds light on New York State’s notoriously dense regulatory structure and identifies 2,219 specific rules, regulations and practices that put New York’s businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C, I – Schenectady) is pleased that the governor signed into law an important bill that he supported to better protect animals.
Legislation that was signed into law helps protect the health and safety of dogs and cats across New York State by authorizing local municipalities to adopt more stringent laws to regulate pet dealers.
The law authorizes municipal governments to enact more stringent laws than those currently existing at the state level by removing the current preemption on municipalities to enact their own laws regulating or licensing pet dealers. Any new local ordinance must be at least as stringent as state law and must not result in the banning of the sale of dogs and cats raised in a safe and healthy manner.
ALBANY, 01/10/14 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) today commented on Governor Cuomo’s nomination of Richard A. Ball as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets:
Today marks the beginning of the 2014 Legislative Session and with a new year comes new opportunities to create a brighter future for all New Yorkers.
In recent years, we have worked diligently to make changes that deliver results for the hardworking people of this state. We ended decades of late, unbalanced and bloated state budgets by passing three consecutive early budgets. We have kept money in the pockets of hardworking middle class taxpayers by reducing income tax rates and enacting a property tax cap. We’ve also continued the hard work of rebuilding our state’s economy by creating thousands of new jobs in our region and making strategic investments in Central and Northern New York.
Our achievements aside, there’s still a lot more to be done. Today, we heard Governor Cuomo discuss the benefits of cutting taxes. In the past three years, I’ve been pleased to support a total of 30 different tax cuts—saving New Yorkers $3 billion. This year, I’m looking forward to working just as hard to continue to push for new tax cuts that help to create more opportunities for New Yorkers to succeed.
Measure Seeks to Increase Local Foods in State Facilities
A bill sponsored by State Senator Patty Ritchie that seeks to use the tremendous buying power of state government to boost purchases of locally grown foods for use in state prisons, hospitals and other agencies has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Under Senate Bill 4061, officials will be directed to create a list of competitively priced food products available for institutional sale, giving state agencies easy access to farm fresh products. State officials will also be required to regularly update their local food purchasing lists and measure state agencies’ compliance with directives to expand purchases from local food sources.
“Eating local is a big trend right now—and it can mean big business for local farmers and food producers. This legislation builds upon that movement, seeking to use the purchasing power of state government to help farmers grow,” said Senator Ritchie, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Squadron-Kavanagh Legislation Would Prohibit Use of Non-Therapeutic Antibiotics in Animals Sold as FoodSquadron, Kavanagh: FDA Moving in Right Direction But Undermined by Reliance on Voluntary Compliance by Drug Companies
NEW YORK – In response to new federal regulations announced this week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for regulating antibiotics in livestock, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh are urging immediate passage of their bill to ban the use of antibiotics in animals sold for food in New York State and calling for mandatory compliance with the improved federal guidelines.
Nearly 60 farmers, agribusiness owners and others involved in the agriculture industry accessed information on a variety of funding and loan programs at today’s Agricultural Grant Opportunity Workshop, sponsored by State Senator Patty Ritchie and the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council.
“From young people just starting their careers to people who have been farmers their entire lives, the group in attendance at today’s workshop was as diverse as the agriculture industry itself,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie.
“I’m thrilled that along with the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council, we were able to provide agribusiness owners with vital information they need to expand their businesses, create jobs and benefit the region’s economy as a result of their efforts.”
Joined by a broad spectrum of drug law reform advocates and fellow elected officials, State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) announced that she will be introducing the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) today. The legislation would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana under state law along lines similar to the state’s current system regulating alcohol, and would represent a new approach for New York State after decades of costly, counterproductive policies that have produced racially discriminatory outcomes.
“Prohibition of marijuana is a policy that just hasn’t worked, no matter how you look at it, and it’s time to have an honest conversation about what we should do next,” said Sen. Krueger. “The illegal marijuana economy is alive and well, and our unjust laws are branding nonviolent New Yorkers, especially young adults, as criminals, creating a vicious cycle that ruins lives and needlessly wastes taxpayer dollars. Worst of all, this system has resulted in a civil rights disaster: African Americans are dramatically more likely to be arrested for pot possession than whites, despite similar rates of marijuana use among both groups.”
It’s the holiday season, and for many people, that means there are holiday parties to attend. This time of year, get-togethers are not only a great way to spend quality time with family and friends, they are also an opportunity to treat ourselves to our favorites—whether it be Christmas cookies, hot cocoa, mulled cider, eggnog or any of the season’s specialties.
Much of the food and drink we enjoy during the holidays (and in fact year-round) is produced right here in New York. If you’d like to taste the best of what our state has to offer—and help support local businesses too—I encourage you to visit the “Pride of New York” website. Located at www.prideofny.com, you can use the site to search for locally grown and produced food and beverage products from more than 3,000 “Pride of New York” members.
But it’s not just individuals who are buying locally produced food and drink. According to a recent, informal survey I conducted, half of our region’s bars, taverns and restaurants serve wine and beverages produced locally in Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties. Key findings of the survey—which included barkeeps, restaurateurs and chefs from the region—include the following:
State Senator Patty Ritchie has released the annual report of the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture—which she chairs—detailing the activities of the Committee in 2013.
“Agriculture is our state’s biggest industry, and as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, it’s a priority for me to help support our hardworking farmers in an effort to help the industry grow,” said Senator Ritchie
“This report details the hard work done by the Committee in 2013 and I would like to thank my colleagues, as well as the hardworking members of the agriculture industry whose input allowed us to take significant steps to foster further growth of this vital industry.”