Long Island Roots: Staying Connected Blog

May 9

Written by: lifbblogger
5/9/2016 9:17 AM

Opportunities for Change
Long Island farmers are gearing up for the season (some already in full swing with spring flowers and vegetables) but they are still taking time out of their busy day to speak to elected officials on a local and federal level about issues that affect the business of farming. Farm Bureau exists to provide its members with opportunity to gather, discuss and speak on behalf of the agricultural industry. Speaking to elected officials is vital to any industry and we encourage all citizens to do the same on issues that affect them.

Congressman Lee Zeldin sat down with local farmers at the LI Farm Bureau office in Calverton in a round-table discussion on issues such as Waters of the US rules and labor issues. Many of the issues we discuss with legislators will not only affect the business of farming, but businesses and homeowners in general on Long Island. With the minimum wage increase passed in NY, the local agricultural community has concerns how this will affect their bottom line, just as any business should. Many of the farmers on LI already pay above minimum wage and labor is still scarce and difficult to maintain.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone also met with Long Island farmers this month. Bellone has been very supportive of the local agricultural community and committed to maintaining the business of farming on Long Island. The agricultural industry generates millions in tax revenue each year and also acts as a backdrop to one of LI’s most beautiful areas, the East End.

How to stay safe on a farm visit
Five tips from agricultural safety specialists

By: Emma Garrison, Bilingual Agricultural Safety Educator, The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health

There are few better weekend activities than visiting your local U-Pick farm for some fresh produce or stopping by the petting zoo to coddle the adorable farm animals. These experiences expose children to new and exciting outdoor environments and parents get the chance to disconnect from their smartphones and busy weekday schedules to take in the clean country air. But, as fun and relaxing as these farm visits can be for the entire family, farms can pose serious dangers and health hazards to grown ups and children alike. To ensure your next visit to a farm is full of nothing but giggles and cute farm critters, farm safety experts have weighed in to offer a few simple safety guidelines.

1.) Dress appropriately: This rule applies to just about any outdoor outing, but the farm environment can be particularly unforgiving, especially if you aren’t wearing the right footwear. No matter the season, anticipate mud, irregular surfaces and possibly sharp objects at ground level. For these reasons alone, wearing close-toed shoes is always a good idea when visiting a farm. Also, be sure to wear plenty of warm layers for winter visits and sunscreen, bug repellent, and a sun hat for summer visits.

2.) Follow all posted rules and teach kids to look for warning signs: Farm owners post signs around their farms for good reason. Those “KEEP OUT” and “CAUTION” signs are warning visitors of potential serious hazards. Before you even arrive at the farm, teach children to look for these cautionary signs and highlight the importance of abiding by the farm’s rules for their own personal safety.

3.) Take animal safety and hand hygiene seriously: Although most petting zoo animals are tame, they are still unpredictable. Children should always be supervised while they interact with farm animals, especially larger animals (i.e. goats, sheep, cows, donkeys, horses, etc.). Supervision is also important to ensure proper hand hygiene. Zoonotic diseases—infectious diseases that can be spread between animals and humans—sicken a significant number of unsuspecting grown ups and children every year. To prevent zoonotic illness, wash hands (with soap and water) rigorously after touching animals or being in animal enclosures. Do your best to discourage small children from putting their hands or other objects in their mouths if they have been in contact with animals (or animal dwellings) and keep food/drinks out of areas where animals are penned.

4.) Farm vehicles and machinery are not toys: Some farms may chose to put their farm equipment, such as tractors and hay wagons, on display for visitors to admire. However, be warned that if children are allowed by the farm to climb and play on these pieces of equipment, their risk for injury is “greatly increased.” Even if the vehicles or machinery are shut off and parked, they can still pose a plethora of risks including falling, tripping, and crushing hazards.

[1] Humann, MJ, Ellis, TM and Lee, BC (2011). Agritourism Health and Safety Guidelines for Children. Second Edition. Marshfield, WI: Marshfield Clinic.


When you buy local trees, shrubs, annuals or perennials, you know they have already adjusted to our climate and soil. Ornamental products grown in other countries or other parts of the US with different climates have a harder time adjusting here on Long Island.

Take the time to ask where products came from. Support the local economy. And reduce your carbon footprint.


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New York Farm Bureau

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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