October 14, 2020

Agritourism/COVID update 10.14.20

Time for some reminders on making sure you have and follow a safety plan for dealing with COVID at your operation.


There have been reported violations at agritourism operations this fall – comments on Facebook, complaints to Ag and Markets, Department of Health and Department of Ag and Markets inspections, and news stories – so it is a good time to review your plan.  And remember that it is not just having a plan and signage but monitoring spaces and activities to make sure people are complying with the rules.  Is it fun? No.  Is it easy? No.  Is it necessary?  Yes.


If you have questions, I will try to find the answers.  For anyone interested in the webinar that we held a few weeks ago, the video is linked below.


Where to find information:


NYS Guidelines (these you MUST follow):

Low-risk Outdoor Arts and Entertainment: https://forward.ny.gov/phase-four-industries (select Low-Risk Outdoor … From column on left)

This covers u-pick operations like pumpkins and Christmas trees.


If you have food sales, you must also follow: https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/Indoor_and_Outdoor_Food_Services_Detailed_Guidelines.pdf

**Remember that people must eat in a specified area.  They cannot carry food around and eat it throughout the operation


If you have a retail operation as part of the operation?  This one I am not as sure of – but definitely reducing occupancy to 33% of maximum will apply.



Ag and Markets:

Agritourism Frequently Asked Questions – https://agriculture.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/09/agritourismfaq_0.pdf

Letter from Commissioner Richard Ball: https://agriculture.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/10/agritourismletter.pdf


Best Management Practices from Cornell:

Agritourism – https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/resources/farm-resilience/best-management-practices-for-agritourism-covid/

U-Pick – https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/resources/farm-resilience/best-management-practices-for-u-pick-farms-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Craft Beverage Tastings: https://www.winebusiness.com/content/file/2020%205%2020%20Cornell%20Craft%20Beverage%20Reopening%20FINAL.pdf


Building Resilience series – https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/resources/farm-resilience/


Making a handwashing station: https://blog.uvm.edu/cwcallah/2020/06/09/improving-handwashing-stations/


Videos on Agritourism guidelines


Selling Christmas Trees in the Time of COVID: State Guidelines and Best Management Practices (useful for other operations, too)


Transcript is available (click Show Transcript) although I haven’t reviewed it.


Agritourism Best Management Practices




October 9, 2020

GDD update 9.28.20 and Agritourism update, too

I am seduced outside by the weather but came in for lunch so you will get a quick update.


Frequently asked questions on agritourism can be found here: https://agriculture.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/09/agritourismfaq_0.pdf

We have had questions on food trucks (yes, but follow the rules and people can’t wander around eating) and dogs (can’t find anything official on no pets and haven’t heard back for my email questions.  The no petting zoos with contact with the animals is official.)


GDD                       September 28                                    October 3


Champlain           2326                                                      2349

Geneva                 2627                                                      2655

Riverhead            3350                                                      3416


The curve is flattening.


Please let me know if you have questions on the GDD project.  Was it helpful?


See photo below.  We can actually see the trees in our Christmas tree planting at Cornell AgriTech.  And (good for us) the Doug fir are already showing signs of Swiss needlecast.


Have a great week!  Wheee – off outside for more planting!


October 9, 2020

IPM Update 9.22.20

Happy equinox! And some warm weather!


DEC will hold a Pesticide stakeholder meeting on the proposed changes on pesticide regulations and certification on Oct 1, 2020 from 9-1. We’ve been hearing about what changes might occur.  In this presentation, you can hear the specifics and ask questions and there are also links to make suggestions.  The topics are:


The Federal Certification & Training Rule

Certification & Training

Business & Agency Registration

Commercial Permits

Pesticide Use

Minimum Risk Pesticide Products


Aquatic Pesticides


I attended today’s version and it had lots of useful information.  Also, the certification information was towards the beginning if you can’t attend the whole thing.  To register, go to https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/298.html and the link is under Hot Topics.  That link also has the slides and factsheets, and a comment form.



The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program has a new round starting Sept 21 (yesterday).  There is a webinar on Thursday, Sept 24 at 3:00: https://globalmeetwebinar.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1372084&tp_key=8efafcdd45 to register.  Information on the program is at https://www.farmers.gov/cfap. Remember that this does now include ornamental crops – and there have been payouts made to ornamentals operations in NYS from the first version of CFAP.  Here is the link for the page on Floriculture and Nursery – https://www.farmers.gov/cfap/nursery



Information on the farmworker testing in 5 NYS counties – https://agriculture.ny.gov/coronavirus


Have a great week!


October 9, 2020

Greenhouse IPM update 9.18.20

Ah, blue sky makes me happy.  And I hope that means more fires are getting under control in the West.  Frost warning for tonight and Saturday night in the Ithaca area.


Education season is getting underway – mostly virtually this year.  Lots of pest management topics included.


The Northeast Greenhouse Conference is moving to Fall 2021 but there will be 6 online webinars from Nov 4-Dec 16, 2020

https://www.negreenhouse.org/virtual-series-schedule.html  $25 each or all 6 for $100 (You can find registration information at the same link).  NY DEC pesticide recertification credits are available.


UMass Extension Green School is also going virtual – a 12 day certificate program for nursery/landscape operations.  Courses start on Oct 26 and run through Dec 10, 2020.  You must register by Oct 15.  You would need to check with the program to find out if NY pesticide credits are available.  They are not listed in the description.



American Hort’s Disease, Insect and Growth Regulator (DIG) Conference Nov 3-5, 2020



A recorded webinar on an important topic in these times – Stress Management and Mental Health Awareness from NY Farmnet



A question came up in the weekly SFE Harvest 2020: COVID office hours about air circulation and what it might mean for COVID infection in controlled environment agriculture.  Growers have the ability to increase the number of air exchanges per hour – while considering temperature and venting needs – which is perhaps a benefit.  However, it is also worth noting the direction of air flow as that seems to have an impact in some situations. Some references that were proposed:



Neither are specifically aimed at greenhouse production but might be useful in keeping your employees healthy as we all move inside.


I’m sure there are more updates lurking on my computer but it seems like a good time to send this along to you.


Have a great week!


October 9, 2020

GDD update 9.18.20

Good news – the sky is blue again!  I was wondering if we would have haze until all the fires were out in the west.


Bad news (well not that bad) – Frost warning for tonight.  And while you won’t find me hanging out in the weedy edges of your fields at those temperatures, remember that it is not yet cold enough to not find ticks out there waiting for you to wander by.  Stay tick safe!


And on the issue of staying safe, this story made me think of Christmas tree growers. https://www.morningagclips.com/farmer-who-is-lucky-to-be-alive-takes-time-for-safety/  There is a lot going on when you are out working but keep safety up there at the top of mind.


It drives me nuts when I have to look up an acronym to understand what something is about (feel free to call me out if I do it to you- I’ll give myself a bye for IPM), so I looked this one up for you:

IVM (Integrated vegetation management) – Non-target injury: Applicator Prevention and Response

Wed, Sept 23, 2020 12:00-1:30 Eastern



Don’t forget the Agritourism webinar we’ll be presenting Sept 23 from 7:00-8:00

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 918 8765 4517

Passcode: 123456


GDD                                       Sept 18                                 Sept 23

Champlain                           2240                                      2252

Geneva                                 2512                                      2534

Riverhead                            3180                                      3222


Another set of bug questions this week – Cinara aphids.  They are large, often black in color and don’t do much physical damage to the trees.  However, they can stay on the tree after it is cut and once in someone’s home, abandon the tree for the walls, etc.  When squashed they are likely to leave a purple stain.  Neither characteristic leads to happy customers.  So scout for them this time of year on trees that are market sized – sometimes the presence of wasps/yellow jackets on the honeydew helps.  They are often in colonies on the trunk.  We don’t seem to hear of lots of trees with them at the same time but you might want to mark those trees and keep an eye on the colony as you get closer to cutting as beneficials may take care of them.  Shaking will dislodge many but not all – one more thing to check when you are selling trees.


Pictures – https://influentialpoints.com/Gallery/Cinara_curvipes_bow-legged_fir_aphid.htm


Have a great week!

October 9, 2020

Scout now for spotted lanternfly

Yes, we do sadly have a population in NYS  on Staten Island so upping the scouting game is important to prevent spread throughout the state.  In addition to Brian’s comments below, remember that Spotted lanternflies are great hitchhikers so check vehicles and other equipment before heading out.



For the next few weeks, until hard frost hits, it is prime time to look for adult Spotted Lanternflies.  With the recent discovery of populations on Staten Island it is especially important for the NYC area, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley.


Although they may be found on maple trees, grapevines and a variety of other host plants at this time of year, the Ailanthus tree is their favorite and that’s the first place I would look.


Because other trees, like walnuts, can look like it, I put images of Ailanthus here: https://cornell.box.com/v/AilanthusSLF


As a reminder:

Suspected cases can be entered here:  https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/a08d60f6522043f5bd04229e00acdd63


an email can be sent directly to: mailto:spottedlanternfly@agriculture.ny.gov