Long Island Roots: Staying Connected Blog

Oct 3

Written by: lifbblogger
10/3/2015 10:16 PM

A Statement from NYFB President Dean Norton

“New York Farm Bureau has serious concerns about Governor Cuomo’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15. Farmers in New York are already at a competitive disadvantage compared to those with lower labor costs in other states. They cannot make up the increased spending by simply raising prices because they are competing in a global market where supply and demand dictate what consumers pay.

For example, if Michigan growers can offer cheaper apples to grocery stores that is what largely will be purchased on the open market. In turn, New York farms will be forced to absorb the higher labor costs. For those who sell directly to consumers, higher food prices will become the norm.

In general, farms in New York already pay more than the current minimum wage. According to the USDA, the average agriculture wage rate in the state is $12.15. Upping the minimum wage would lift all farm wages. A worker who already earns a higher hourly rate based on experience and time on the farm would still expect a higher salary than those who are newly hired. This proposal would likely force the average wage rate well above the $15 mark.

The impact will be clear. We have already seen farmers, who can afford it, turn to automation to milk cows and harvest crops in order to reduce labor costs. This trend will only be exacerbated by an extreme minimum wage hike thereby shrinking the agricultural workforce across New York. The wage hike will also be a bigger barrier for smaller farms who are interested in hiring new employees to grow their businesses. This will ultimately be bad news for the rural economy that depends on agriculture as its bread and butter,” said Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau President.

Long Island Farmers Visit 4th Grade Classrooms
Each winter, when farmers have some down time (and we use this term very lightly because the business of farming, contrary to popular belief, is in fact a year round business!), they will visit 4th grade classrooms across Long Island and to keep kids connected to their agricultural roots. Knowing where your food came from and how it was grown is an important part of eating healthy and staying connected to the community, especially when your community produces over 240 million dollars of product revenue on 35,000 acres on an Island just outside of New York City.

If you are a 4th grade teacher and would like to have a visit to your school, please contact us before October 31, 2015. Visits take place in January and February based on mutually available dates and times. Email Natasha with your school name, location, number of 4th graders in the school at

Keep your pumpkins fresh!
Long Island fall season is here! Corn stalks, mums, Halloween decorations and of course the beloved pumpkin! Because of the unusually hot September this year, pumpkins arrived a little earlier than anticipated! (Despite what most may think, farmers don't actually run the show - Mother Nature does!). So keeping those pumpkins fresh looking could pose a challenge.

First and foremost, your goal of keeping a fresh pumpkin begins with the pick! It's always best to pick locally grown pumpkins. Locally grown pumpkins have adapted to their local environment already so they are less likely to struggle through extreme weather. Also, when choosing the pumpkin, pick one with stem intact and avoid pumpkins with soft spots. Read more about choosing your pumpkin here.

If you plan on leaving the pumpkin uncarved, clean off the outside of the pumpkin and place on the porch (covered porches are even better) and if it rains, tip the pumpkin so the water on top drains off or dry it with a towel to prevent rotting. If you are planning on carving your pumpkin, be sure to scrape the inside of the pumpkin completely and keep out of reach of the sprinklers and rain.

In addition, below are a couple websites that share their scientific and creative ways to preserve your pudgy orange doorstep friend.
How Do You Preserve a Jack O' Lantern

5 Ways to Make your Halloween Pumpkin Last Longer

How to Preserve your Jack-O-Lantern

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Long Island Farm Bureau is a county Farm Bureau in New York State, and is affiliated by agreement with New York Farm Bureau.  Long Island Farm Bureau programs and services are available only to Farm Bureau members within Long Island. The political views expressed in these pages represent the Long Island Farm Bureau's position on various issues as they relate to Long Island.
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