Basil Recall Prompted By Food Borne Parasite

The New York state health department said 69 cases of cyclosporiasis have been identified in people who ate at restaurants or attended events in the capital region, but local authorities warned people across the state to be careful.

Tompkins/Cortland Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton On 2019 Legislative Session

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – The 2019 New York legislative session saw the passage of a raft of legislation that has been blocked in previous years. Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton spoke with WSKG’s Celia Clarke in the Ithaca studio. She represents Tompkins County and part of Cortland County in the state Assembly. Lifton spoke about the new farm labor rights, legalization of electrically-assisted bicycles and scooters, and why she thinks marijuana legalization is inevitable. The conversation begins with Lifton talking what she considers the most important accomplishment of the session.

Researchers Rush To Answer Questions About Newly-Legal Hemp Crops

HARRISBURG, PA (WITF) – Alyssa Collins said she has been fielding around five phone calls every day from people with questions about hemp–and that’s not even counting the emails. Collins directs Penn State’s Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Lancaster County, where researchers are part of a multi-state, USDA-supported study into different varieties of hemp that can be used for food and fiber. Pennsylvania approved more than 300 permits to farm industrial hemp this growing season, after Congress loosened restrictions on the crop last year. Hemp was long banned because of its relationship to marijuana, but it does not have enough of the psychoactive compound THC to produce a high. So now, researchers like Collins are trying to clear up uncertainties about the crop.

Ithaca Legalizes Backyard Chickens

The ordinance would only allow for hens. No roosters!  Only six per household will be allowed, a property must be at least 2,000 square feet and there are other requirements for the chickens shelter and regular inspections.

Farming Communities Train Residents To Spot Mental Illness

There are about 20 people in a basement conference room at the Wyoming County Agriculture and Business Center, sipping coffee and playing an introductory name game. Today, participants will learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts and more in a course called Mental Health First Aid.

With Backlog Affecting New York Brewers, Schumer Urges Action

A backlog on the federal level is hurting local brewers. Sen. Chuck Schumer brought that message to Rochester’s Genesee Brewery on Monday. Schumer said brewers are heavily regulated and must file applications with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in order to release new flavors, update labels or change the size of a bottle.

Health Fears Have Hunters Shifting To Copper Bullets

Frank Femia runs Klubfunstore Guns and Ammo in Henrietta, where the popular ammunition this season is copper bullets. “It’s been hard finding them because everyone’s been sold out of them and it’s been hard to keep in stock,” Femia said.

New York Breweries Make Beer To Support CA Wildfire Victims

Today is Giving Tuesday, and breweries across the region are joining a nationwide effort to raise money for victims of the Camp Fire in northern California. Hundreds of breweries are making the exact same beer recipe and donating the proceeds.

Sen. Toomey Raises Alarms About Trump’s New Ethanol Policy

STATE IMPACT PENNSYLVANIA – Philadelphia area refineries are raising alarms about the costs of a recent move by President Donald Trump to boost corn-based ethanol. Following through on a promise made to Iowa voters, Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency to allow sales of so-called E-15 fuel throughout the entire year.

Cornell Removes Professor From Teaching Post After Research Retracted

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – Brian Wansink, the Cornell professor who authored six articles retracted by the Journal of the American Medical Association Wednesday, has been removed from all teaching and research at the university, and will retire at the end of this academic year.

PA Dairy Farmers Face Same Problems, Only Congressional Districts Have Changed

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – The boundaries of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts changed this year after protracted court hearings. The issues facing citizens didn’t change, including for dairy farmers. In the new 12th District, Democrat Marc Friedenberg is running against Republican incumbent Tom Marino. Friedenberg is a first-time candidate. The district includes Bradford, Susquehanna and Tioga counties.

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Diner Offers Free Lunches To Hungry Kids

She serves breakfasts and lunches to customers from her Lancaster diner. Robin Finsterbach, owner of Aunt Robin’s Diner, wants to be sure kids don’t go hungry during the summer. So, she giving them a free bagged lunch.

A Tompkins County Food Pantry Re-Opens After Temporary Suspension

ENFIELD, NY (WSKG) – The Enfield Food Pantry has re-opened. It was temporarily suspended by the Food Bank of the Southern Tier for potential rodent problems.

Enfield is about 6 miles from Ithaca. About three weeks ago, Food Bank of the Southern Tier stopped delivering food to the pantry until they did a few things to prevent rodents from getting in. The town owns the building where the pantry’s located. So, the Town Board, Pantry volunteers and the Food Bank came together to resolve the problems.

Now, the food pantry has freshly spackled and painted walls to keep rodents from getting in.

Raising Fish…To Make Booze

GREAT LAKES TODAY – Out on farmland in western New York, near the shore of Lake Erie, is Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing. Here, they make more than just booze. They also raise fish.

“The Hustle: Poverty In Motion”

People who are poor move a lot – between homes, to get groceries and healthcare. It can be difficult to achieve upward mobility, leaving people feeling like they’re running in place. Click here to check out the stories.

New York Awards $400K For Farm-To-School Projects In Finger Lakes, Southern Tier

Education groups in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes will share $400,000 to use for farm-to-school projects. Among the awardees: Broome-Tioga BOCES, Sidney Central School District and the Cornell Cooperative Extensions serving Steuben and Seneca counties. The Farm-to-School program, funded through the FY 2017-2018 state budget and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Program, is meant to connect kindergarten through grade 12 schools with local farms.

The governor proposed an expansion to this program in his 2018 State of the State Address and announced the awards last week.

Need For High-Speed Internet Tops Lawmakers’ Agriculture Agenda

HARRISBURG (WSKG) — State lawmakers on the Agriculture Committee took advantage of the Farm Show’s presence in Harrisburg this week, and convened in a back room of the complex to discuss their top priorities with Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. One of their primary focuses didn’t have to do with farming, exactly; rather, with making sure rural communities aren’t held back by bad internet access. In cities and suburbs, high speed broadband internet is typically a given. But Representative Pam Snyder said in her rural district in Pennsylvania’s southwestern corner, it’s often a luxury — and that can profoundly affect the people living there. “I have all or part of eight school districts.

If Expanded, Farm-To-School Plan Would Offer Students Healthy Meals, Farmers A Diverse Market

As part of his 2018 State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to double the funding for a program that connects schools with local farmers, Farm-to-School. The state currently spends $750,000 on the program, and Cuomo wants to increase that to $1.5 million. The money can go toward capital costs for transporting and storing food, supporting training, and to hiring farm-to-school coordinators. One incentive under the proposal: The state will reimburse districts a quarter per meal if they get 30 percent of the ingredients from New York farms. That’s compared to the six cents they get now. “It really helps [farmers] diversify their business.

Help Available For Horses And Other Farm Animals During Frigid Weather

SYRACUSE (WRVO) – One Central New York non-profit organization is concerned about how horses are faring during this cold snap. Rescue horses munch on carrots in the huge barn that’s part of The Haven at Skanda, an organization in Cazanovia that cares for rescue horses and farm animals. Executive Director Ellen Beckerman says horses will need extra protection this winter. “We’re concerned that this winter temperature-wise is much more challenging than last winter, for example, so then it can be difficult,” said Beckerman. “Horses that can do okay in a lean-to in an ordinary winter might not now be okay with that.”

Frigid temperatures can be dangerous for horses on a couple of fronts, according to Beckerman.

Hershey Company Making Healthier Snacks With Latest Acquisition

(Harrisburg) — The Hershey Company is making a move to gain a stronger foothold in the “better for you” snacking market. It’s the chocolate-maker’s second non-candy acquisition in the last three years. Hershey has agreed to pay $1.6 billion for Texas-based Amplify Snack Brands, which makes healthy snacks like Skinny Pop popcorn and Oatmega protein bars. Read full story here. 

Craft Beverage Manufacturers Booming Across New York State

The Finger Lakes is leading New York state with the most craft beverage manufacturers. Some distillers, farmers and cider makers credit the growth to the passage of a 2014 law. The Craft New York Act lowered some taxes, provided grant funding, and eased some regulations. It had strong bipartisan support, in part, because of its benefits to the upstate agricultural economy. The number of new craft businesses has grown significantly in every region of the state.

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Almost All New Yorkers Think Poor Families Struggle To Get Healthy Food, New Poll Says

Ninety-six percent of New Yorkers say, “in our state, no one should go hungry,” according to a new poll released from Siena College today. However, about 1 in 8 New Yorkers received food from a pantry last year. Most respondents to the survey said they understand a few things about struggling to get food: it’s harder to plan a meal; it’s harder to get to the store; and it’s harder to eat healthy. In the last year, 45 percent of respondents said they contributed money to an anti-hunger agency. Forty-nine percent said they have donated food.

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No Paperwork, Just Lunch: This Bill Could Change How Schools Feed Students

For decades, free and reduced priced school meals have been a source of healthy food for low-income kids. Last school year, over a million New York children qualified for free or reduced meals. WSKG’s Sarah Gager and Gabe Altieri discuss a bill currently in Congress that could change how schools feed students. It’s a bill that reauthorizes the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Interview Highlights

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act has been up for reauthorization since last year. Currently, it’s running in the format that passed in 2012 while lawmakers work out an updated version. There are two different versions in the House and Senate.

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How Southern Tier Farmers Fought To Hold The Union Line

Many books and movies have been written about Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and his valiant success at Little Roundtop, but very little has been said about the right end the line where Colonel Ireland was with his regiment. Today, they’re getting a little time in the sun. The 137th New York and their leader Colonel David Ireland held down the right side of the line on Culp’s Hill. Culp’s Hill is actually two hills sloping down into a ditch or a swale. On the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, General Lee and the Confederate army attempted to get around the Union line.

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Behind The Rich History Of Upstate Farms

New York state has long been a center for agriculture. and, tonight, WSKG premieres a new documentary that celebrates upstate’s farming history. The movie is called Harvest. Brian Frey directed the film, and he says he misses the presence of farmers in popular culture.

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Bought A Whole Pig? Put It In The Corning Meat Locker

A new venture in Corning wants to help people buy the whole hog, instead of just a couple pork chops. The Corning Meat Locker is a communal freezer for people to store meat they buy in bulk. It opens September 15, and organizers say it’s a boon for farmers and buyers. The locker is really just a big walk-in freezer. Users will rent plastic tubs and pay by the month to store them.

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Rural Kids Struggle Under Summer Lunch Program Rules

During summer vacation, many low-income kids depend on free lunch programs. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul visited a summer meal site in Elmira Thursday to talk up state support for such efforts, but programs in rural Chemung county still struggle with a big challenge. Kids who participate in the government’s free summer meal program must show up at a designated site during scheduled hours to get their food. That can be a problem in rural areas. “During the school year, kids can hop on a school bus,” says Jonathan Fuller, who works at the Food Bank of the Southern Tier in Chemung county. “They can come to a centralized location at a school, and that’s where they get their meal service.

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Chobani Yogurt Joins National School Lunch Program

Greek yogurt is coming to a school cafeteria near you. Yesterday the U.S. Department of Agriculture added Chobani yogurt to its school lunch program. The company is headquartered in Norwich, New York. Chobani’s nutrition director Robert Post calls the Greek yogurt “nutrient-intense”. The U.S. government apparently agrees.