October 06, 2009

Senator Gillibrand to Showcase New York Food and Farms at the Nation’s Capital

Will Host Farm Day Tomorrow - Feature Local Wineries, Farmers, Restaurateurs

Washington, D.C.-U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced today that she will host the eighth annual "New York Farm Day" on Wednesday, October 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM in the Senate Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Building in Washington D.C. Senator Gillibrand has invited producers of New York's award-winning wines, farm-fresh products and fresh seafood, as well as leading restaurateurs to travel to Washington to showcase the quality and diversity of New York's agriculture, and its importance to the state's economy. Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted New York Farm Day during her time as New York's junior senator, and Senator Gillibrand is continuing the tradition.

"I'm proud to continue the Farm Day tradition in Washington, DC, where we will highlight the fantastic produce and foods from across New York State," Senator Gillibrand said. "As a member of the Agriculture Committee, I am focused on improving the health and well-being of our families. From rising childhood obesity and outdated nutritional standards to the crisis facing our dairy farmers and the opportunities with specialty crops, agriculture issues in Washington affect families in every corner of New York. New York's farmers are a critical part of our economy and we must ensure their success. Strengthening our agricultural sector and promoting good nutrition for New Yorkers are essential to our long-term health and economic growth."

Over the years, New York Farm Day has become one of the most popular events at our nation's Capitol.  Nearly 1,000 people are expected to attend.  With approximately one-quarter of New York made up of farmland and an agriculture sector contributing nearly $4 billion to the state's economy each year, Farm Day offers an ideal opportunity to showcase the importance and quality of New York's agricultural industry.

Farm Day is organized by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation in conjunction with numerous other organizations and individuals who have contributed their time, products and services for the good of New York, including: CoBank, Constellation Brands, Farm Credit of Western New York, First Pioneer Farm Credit, MasterCraft Glassware, New York Farm Bureau, the New York State Restaurant Association, the New York State Maple Producers Association, the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, Pride of New York (New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets), and Yankee Farm Credit.

A complete list of all the participants in this year's Farm Day can be found at the bottom of the release.

Senator Gillibrand is the first New York Senator in nearly 40 years to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee. As Chair of the Subcommittee on Domestic and Foreign Marketing, Inspection, and Plant & Animal Health, Senator Gillibrand plans to hold hearings on food safety modernization, marketing healthy food to children and dairy pricing.

DAIRY:
Senator Gillibrand is working to support New York's dairy farmers during these difficult economic times. In June, Senator Gillibrand introduced legislation that would double the amount of money farmers get from the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program retroactive to the low point of the crisis in March. She also introduced legislation that would index the MILC rate of $16.94 to inflation. The MILC program payments were originally designed to help dairy farmers in their time of need, but have remained stagnant. The price floor of $16.94 per hundredweight has not changed since the 1990's, yet the cost of production has increased exponentially.

In July, after meeting with Senator Gillibrand, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced immediate action to support struggling dairy farmers by increasing the amount paid for dairy products through the Dairy Product Support Program (DPPSP). The increase went into effect in August and will continue through the end of October.  The increase is expected to generate an additional $243 million in revenue for dairy farmers.

In August, Senator Gillibrand held a field hearing in Batavia, New York that focused on identifying major problems with the current dairy pricing system and determining effective solutions moving forward.  This was the first of a series of hearings she plans to hold both in Washington, D.C. and New York State that will focus on needed reforms for the daily pricing system. Senator Gillibrand is working with stakeholders and economists to develop a proposal before the next Farm Bill is written in 2012.

Just last week, Senator Gillibrand announced $350 million for the USDA to help New York farmers struggling during the dairy crisis in the final Agriculture Appropriations Bill. The agreement includes $60 million in cheese and dairy product purchases for food banks and other nutrition and feeding programs, and $290 million in direct support to dairy farmers using guidelines to be determined by the Secretary of Agriculture. Senator Gillibrand said the direct payments will be important to help keep dairy farmers solvent during this current crisis.

SPECIALTY CROPS:
In July, Senator Gillibrand introduced legislation that would allow New York fruit growers to take full advantage of federal recovery tax breaks. As a way of encouraging businesses to make more capital investments in the short term, the Recovery Act allowed companies to depreciate capital investment property "placed in service" in 2009 at a faster rate.  However, under current law, fruit and nut trees are not considered "placed in service" until the taxable year in which they actually produce fruit that can be sold, which often takes years. Senator Gillibrand's legislation would change - only for the purpose of bonus depreciation - the "placed in service" date for permanent crops to the date on which the crop is planted, putting fruit growers on par with other farmers eligible for bonus depreciation for capital expenditures made this year.

Senator Gillibrand has been a strong advocate for programs that develop fresh, local food for New York's families and supports programs providing technical assistance, training, and equipment for the procurement of local foods in our schools. This summer, Senator Gillibrand secured a commitment from the USDA to create a task force to promote and develop sustainable local and regional food systems.

And just last month, after leading the fight on behalf of New York farmers, Senator Gillibrand secured a commitment from the USDA to allow New York farmers to process fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables for children to snack on in New York schools.  In February, Senator Gillibrand sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting that he change an administrative rule barring local farmers from delivering pre-cut and packaged fruit and vegetables to schoolchildren.

SAVING FARMS FROM FORECLOSURE:
New York has been hit hard by the economic crisis, and Senator Gillibrand is working to help families keep their farms. In a March letter, Senator Gillibrand and 17 of her Senate colleagues called on the USDA and Treasury Department to consider a foreclosure mitigation program that includes loan restructuring for farmers, as they have already done for home loans.  In response to Senator Gillibrand's efforts, a report by the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP) for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was released outlining different methods that could be used to help farmers and ranchers restructure their loans as an alternative to foreclosure either through a mandatory program or a voluntary program that could be opened up to more than just TARP recipients.

AGRICULTURE DISASTERS:
From the devastating freeze in Northern New York early this spring to the excessive rainfall and flooding this summer, Senator Gillibrand has pushed the USDA for prompt responses to the natural disasters faced by New York's farmers. A disaster declaration clears the way for affected farmers to apply for emergency loans, which can often mean the difference between staying in business and closing the farm.

With much of federal agricultural aid going to farmers outside of New York, Senator Gillibrand is committed to ensuring that New York's farmers receive the federal help they deserve. She will continue to fight to ensure that farmers in need receive the disaster aid they deserve.

The USDA has issued disaster declarations for 16 New York Counties: Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Columbia, Clinton, Dutchess, Erie, Greene, Oneida, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan and Ulster.

COMBATING CHILD OBESITY, PROMOTING CHILD NUTRITION:
In her time in the Senate, Senator Gillibrand has established herself as a leader in efforts to combat childhood obesity and promote healthy nutrition for children and families.  She has launched a comprehensive strategy to improve the quality of school lunches, eliminate junk food from our schools, and provide more physical exercise opportunities.

The current federal reimbursement rate for school lunches has not kept pace with inflation or the increased costs of providing quality meals. Senator Gillibrand proposes increasing the current reimbursement rate by 70 cents in the upcoming Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill - from $2.57 per meal to $3.27 per meal. In today's typical school lunch, a child may have chicken nuggets, chips, canned peas and canned fruit cocktail. Under this new plan, a student could have grilled chicken breast on a seven-grain roll, steamed broccoli and a fresh fruit cup.

Senator Gillibrand is also working to provide targeted relief to high cost areas like New York City and other communities around the state, including Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Ulster, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Dutchess Counties.  Her legislation entitled the LUNCHES Act would provide targeted relief to high cost areas.

Senator Gillibrand also authored legislation that would ban trans-fats in public schools. Any school that receives federal reimbursements would be required to remove food containing trans fat from the school.  Schools would have a five year window to implement the policy.

Senator Gillibrand is working on legislation that would expand USDA authority to regulate all food served in schools, including vending machines. This would force all food served on school grounds during school hours to meet federal nutritional standards. This legislation will enable the USDA to eliminate sugary sodas and candy from school during school hours, so that children are more likely to eat the fruits, vegetables and other nutritious food served in cafeterias.

Senator Gillibrand is also pushing the Student Breakfast and Education Improvement Act, which would provide $2 million in competitive grants to schools with creative breakfast programming including serving breakfast during the school day, incorporating local foods into breakfasts and providing nutritional education to students.

 

 

FARM DAY PARTICIPANTS

 

LONG ISLAND:

Cool Fish Restaurant- Cool Fish Restaurant of Long Island will be serving roasted Satur Farms Butternut Squash Salad with Smoked Jurgielewicz Farms Duck Breast, apple, Catapano Farm Feta and Arugula, finished with a Cider-Honey Vinaigrette and Pumpkin Shooters.

Long Island Farm Bureau- The Long Island Farm Bureau will be providing Schmitt's fresh Mixed Greens and Catapano Goat Cheese topped with a Vinaigrette Dressing, North Fork Potato Chips, Fresh Oysters and Hard Clams farmed by F.M. Flower & Son and Noank Aquaculture Cooperative, and smoked duck from Crescent Duck Farm.

Long Island Wines - For over a quarter century, the Long Island wine industry has grown from one small vineyard to over 3,000 acres of vines and over thirty wineries producing world-class wines. These quality wines, including Bedell Cellars, Martha Clara Vineyards, and Wölffer Estate, will be on full display at Farm Day.

HUDSON VALLEY:

Culinary Institute of America - The world's premier culinary college, the Culinary Institute has a campus in Hyde Park, New York that operates five award-winning, student-staffed public restaurants.  They will be providing hand-made candies, Quigley Farm Raspberry Jelly, Glorie Farm Peach Jelly, and Russel Farm Maple Fudge at Farm Day.

Hudson Valley Wines - One of America's oldest wine making and grape-growing regions, the Hudson Valley has more than 20 operating wineries producing premier wine products. Wines on hand this year will be from Brotherhood, America's Oldest Winery, Benmarl Winery, Clinton Vineyards, and Millbrook Vineyards & Winery.

Tuthilltown Spirits - New York's first whiskey distillery since Prohibition, distilling some of America's most prized spirits in the Hudson Valley. Their handmade spirits, which start at farm distilleries as raw grain and fruit, are genuine Hudson brand whiskeys that include Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey, Hudson Single Malt Whiskey, Hudson Baby Bourbon, Hudson Four Grain Bourbon, Hudson New York Corn Whiskey, Heart of the Hudson Vodka, and Spirit of the Hudson Vodka, all of which will available at this year's event.

CENTRAL NEW YORK:

New York Farm Viability Institute - Located in Syracuse, New York, the New York Farm Viability Institute is a farmer-led nonprofit group that works with farms to foster a vibrant agriculture business sector in New York State. They will be on hand with information on how they can support applied research, outreach education, information transfer, adoption of technology, business planning and market analysis, all of which can help our farmers expand their businesses.

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry - Dr. Thomas Buchholz from the SUNY College of Environmental Science in Syracuse, New York will be distributing shrub willow cuttings with directions for planting as well as additional information highlighting willow as an alternative agricultural crop that is a financially rewarding source of bioenergy and bioproducts.

ROCHESTER/FINGER LAKES:

Cornell University College of Agriculture & Life Sciences- As one of New York's premier schools of agriculture, Cornell will be presenting three unique flavors of ice cream, including Slammin' Yam, Beehive Crunch, and Sticky Buns.

Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty - The Culinary Bounty links the farms and wineries of the Finger Lakes region to small-scale food processors to provide area residents and tourists with fresh, locally produced creative cuisine.  This year, they will be featuring Knapp Farms Jam, Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese, Crackerman of Etna Crackers, Golden Oaks Foods Nunda Mustard, Hill ‘n Hollow Fruit Chutney, Finger Lakes Honey, Geneva Crabapple Sauce, Chef Lerman BBQ sauce and salad dressings, Java Gourmet Chocolate Bark, Allens Hill Farm Apple Cider Molasses cookies, Hill'n Holloe & Cherry Knoll Vinegars.

Finger Lakes Wines - Finger Lakes Wine Country, New York now boasts over 80 wineries, making it the largest wine producing region east of California. Wines available at Farm Day will come from Anthony Road Wine Company, Arbor Hill Grapery, Dr. Konstantin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars, McGregor Vineyard Winery, Ravines Wine Cellars, Hosmer Winery, King Ferry Winery (Treleaven), Red Newt Cellars, Sheldrake Point, Casa Larga Vineyards, Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Imagine Moore Winery, Lakewood Vineyards and Wagner Vineyards.

Finger Lakes Wine Alliance with Food by Simply Red Bistro - The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance, an organization with the mission to increase the visibility and reputation of the wineries of the Finger Lakes Region, will be displaying a flavorful combination of food from Simply Red Bistro of Sheldrake Point, New York, including flatbread made from fingerling potatoes, shitake mushrooms and truffle oil.

Fox Run Vineyards & Café- Situated on Torrey Ridge overlooking Seneca Lake in New York's Finger Lakes Region, Fox Run will be presenting Lively Run Goat Farms Goat Cheese and Sage Scones with Fox Run Vineyards Blackberry Port Jam.

Freshwise Farms - A hydroponic greenhouse, Freshwise Farms provides the highest quality, pesticide-free greens year-round, fighting hunger as a social enterprise through its affiliation with the Foodlink Foundation.  They will be displaying Spring Roll stuffed with Freshwise Farm's own fresh Wasabi Greens, Peppers, Leeks and Carrots, Sautéed in Sesame Oil.

New York Wine & Culinary Center - The Wine & Culinary Center is designed to engage, excite and inspire the people of New York State and the world in a celebration of New York wine and food. The Center is an educational and experiential gateway to New York State's incredible wine, food and culinary industries. They will be handing out tasty truffles at Farm Day.

Red Newt Cellars & Bistro - The Red Newt Bistro represents the finest in fresh regional cuisine of the Finger Lakes, with every menu built with the diner and the farmer in mind.  They will be displaying Apple Black Bean Salsa, featuring Honey Crisp apples from Thyme Stands Still Produce, black beans from Cayuga Pure Organics, Remembrance Farms Onions, Finger Lakes Food Company verjuice, and Red Newt's own herbs.

The Source - The Source is a premier dining restaurant in the nation's capital headlined by Exective Chef, Scott Drewno, who is a native of the Finger Lakes Region, and will be providing Organic Chicken with Buckwheat Dumplings.

WESTERN NEW YORK:

Alfred State College - As one of SUNY's premier colleges of technology, Alfred State will be presenting Aioli, featuring Pioneer Farm garlic.

Lake Erie, Chautauqua & Niagara Wines - In addition to French-American and European winegrape varieties, Western New York is home to a large bounty of Concord grapes used for grape juice, making New York the largest grape juice producing state in the country. Wines on hand come from Johnson Estate Winery, Mazza Chautauqua Cellars, Merritt Estate Winery, Niagara Landing Wine Cellars, The Winery at Marjim Manor.

National Grape Cooperative/Welch's- For well over a century, the National Grape Cooperative based in Westfield, which owns Welch's, has been a leading supplier of Concord grape juice, and will be displaying Sparkling Red & White Grape Juice and 100% Black Cherry Concord Grape Juice.

CAPITAL REGION:

State University of New York (SUNY) Cobleskill - The State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill will be featuring Maple Iced Oatmeal Applesauce Cookie featuring Sharon Orchards apples, Singer Farms dried cherries, Cayuga Pure Organics flour, Maple Hill maple syrup, and Cooper's Ark Farm eggs.

NORTH COUNTRY:

Ice Wines of New York-Ice wines are a highly specialized dessert wine made from grapes that are left hanging on the vine, becoming very sweet, until they are actually frozen and then harvested.  The luscious ice wines at Farm Day will be from Hunt Country Vineyards and Sheldrake Point Vineyards in the Finger Lakes region, and Johnson Estate Winery in the Lake Erie region.

McCadam Cheese- Established in Heuvelton, New York in 1876, McCadam Cheese produces up to 20 different cheeses and will be displaying McCadam Extra Sharp Cheddar (2007 New York State Fair Grand Champion & 2007 U.S. Cheese Competition best in the U.S.), McCadam Pepper Jack (2006 2nd Place Scovie Awards Winner), McCadam Muenster, and McCadam Horseradish Cheddar.

Mercer's Ice Cream- Mercer's Ice Cream of New York's North Country will have on hand its famous wine ice cream, featuring A La Port, Royal White Riesling, Cherry Merlot, Red Raspberry Chardonnay, and Chocolate Cabernet Wine Ice Cream, and Organic Vanilla Ice Cream.

New York Maple Producers Association- The New York State Maple Producers Association supports the maple products industry in New York State, with over 500 maple producers as members. They will be providing maple mustard, maple coated cashews, and maple cream on wheat crackers.

North Country Specialties-North Country Specialties will be providing Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spinach & Artichoke and Sun-dried Tomato and Basil on crackers, Adirondack Beef Company All Natural Beef Jerky, Well Dressed Food Adirondack Crunchy Maple-Walnut and Apple-Crumble Granola, Gunnison Orchard's Honey Crisp Apples, Whitestone Farm North Country Lamb Sticks, Dogwood Bread Company French Baguette, Asgaard Farm & Dairy Barkeater Buche Goat Cheese.

NEW YORK CITY:

East New York Farms!/United Community Centers - As a collaborative effort to organize youth and adult residents to address food issues in New York City, East New York Farms!/United Community Centers will be providing fresh fruits and vegetables grown right in the heart of New York City using innovative urban gardening techniques.  At this year's Farm Day, they will have New Visions Garden Bittermelon, long beans and peppers from UCC Youth Farm, Hands and Heart Farms collard greens, and honey and herbs from East New York's own gardens.

Rosa Mexicano - A popular Manhattan restaurant that has a Washington presence and features traditional Mexican cuisine, Rosa Mexicano will be displaying Guacamole en Molcajete featuring New York Onions, Tomatoes, and Cilantro.

Also featured as exhibitors at this year's Farm Day will be the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and Pride of New York (New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets).

 

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