The U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted a NY Rural Roundtable Summit at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. The first of three to be held in Eastern New York, the summit brought together small business owners, farmers, and other community advocates to give participants a chance to learn about government programs and grants, and other opportunities available to help strengthen rural communities.
Lee Telega, NY State Director for USDA, Rural Development, said the roundtables aim to spread information on a variety of programs to those in less accessible areas.
Schumer last summer asked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to modify the federal school lunch program to incorporate Greek yogurt as a high-protein meat alternative. USDA officials told Schumer this week that they are starting a pilot program that could lead to more Greek yogurt in schools as early as April.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Federal agriculture officials say New York's strawberry crop took a hit last year, but blueberry production was up.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says strawberry production dropped to 3.2 million pounds, down 11 percent from 2011. Many farms reported shortened seasons because of a snap of cold weather that generally hit early crops around the state.
NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (AP) — An upstate New York school district is opting out of the National School Lunch Program as students throw out fruits and vegetables required under new nutritional guidelines.
The Niskayuna Central School District near Albany plans to opt out April 1. Officials in the suburban district say the number of students buying lunch dropped significantly this year and the program is running a $70,000 deficit.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says rain in late summer and early fall of 2012 helped save crops in most of the state.
The USDA says production of grain corn, soybeans, wheat and oat crops all increased from the previous year. Soybeans were estimated at a record high 14.4 million bushels, 20 percent more than was harvested in 2011.
The USDA is helping fund an effort to get products from local farms into the kitchens of large institutions in the region, such as colleges and hospitals. Officials say the demand for food from closer to home continues to grow, but the infrastructure to supply it has not kept up. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports