ALBANY — State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that, in celebration of Beef Month, the New York State Grown & Certified program has expanded to include beef producers. May is Beef Month in New York State and in addition to taking part in promotional campaigns this month, the Department will now market producers participating in the Grown & Certified program on a year-round basis.
Commissioner Ball said, “The NYS Grown & Certified program continues to grow, in the number of producers participating and in its reach to consumers who are recognizing what the seal means in terms of the great care our farmers and producers are taking when it comes to food safety and environmental stewardship. We are proud to announce the addition of New York beef to the program, and are excited to help tell the story of our State’s many excellent beef producers who are raising quality food for our schools, communities and families.”
NYS Grown & Certified promotes New York’s agricultural producers and growers who adhere to food safety and environmental sustainability standards. For beef, participants must be local producers and their herd must have spent at least 2/3 of their lifetime in New York State. To meet the program’s food safety standards, the producer must participate in a herd management program, such as the NY Beef Quality Assurance program at a Tier 2 level, and animals must be processed in a USDA-inspected plant.
In addition, the producer must participate in the New York State Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program, administered by the Department of Agriculture and Markets, with the completion of Tier 2 of the program (or higher). Alternatively, the producer must have a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Beef producers who have joined the NYS Grown & Certified program so far are:
- Slate Foods – Farm and processing partnerships in Oneida, Delaware, Otsego and Chenango Counties.
- Lucki 7 Livestock – Rodman, Jefferson County
- Adirondack Beef Company – Croghan, Lewis County
- Cross Island Farms – Wellesley Island, Jefferson County
- Stonehedge Beef Farm – Scottsville, Monroe County
- Water Wheel Farm – Sidney Center, Delaware County
As of January 2018, New York State has nearly 13,600 cattle farms with 1.45 million cattle and calves overall, and 105,000 beef cows supplying nutritious, wholesome beef to consumers. These farms contribute to New York State’s economy by generating more than $329 million in sales. Thousands of people—from cattle producers and feed manufacturers to equipment dealers and food marketers—play a role in bringing beef from pasture to plate.
New York schools across the State currently source their beef products from Slate Foods and Lucki 7, who are Grown & Certified. Slate Foods, based in NYC, has been an active participant in Farm-to-School advocacy and began producing beef for schools in 2011. Relationships with State-managed and State-contracted warehouses has helped facilitate distribution of local beef products to school districts in Western New York, the Southern Tier, Hudson Valley, and Long Island. Lucki 7 currently sells their local ground beef to Massena High School and Hammond High School in the North Country. It also serves several colleges across the State, including Colgate University and Hamilton College, under the Red Gate Grocer label.
Julia Van Loon, Owner of Slate Foods, said, “We experienced a sense of real validation placing our first NYS Grown & Certified seal on our beef label as partners in a program that not only met our own values for the local beef we produce but that had established and codified specific and stringent standards for others to follow. The seal represents tangible, significant protocols for producing beef responsibly while safeguarding our land and the animals we raise. It is a symbol that helps schools and communities to identify and select products with confidence, assuring that they are supporting our local economies and serving a product guaranteed to have been produced with integrity and to have met the highest standards for quality and food safety.”
Stephen Winkler, Owner of Lucki 7 Livestock, said, “The NYS Grown & Certified program gives us a label of creditability. To be certified, you must participate in animal humane treatment and handling, safe food handling and be environmentally responsible. These are all important categories to Lucki 7 Livestock Co. Lisa and I look forward to seeing the label on our products and marketing our beef to the great New York State customers!”
Brenda Bippert, Executive Secretary for the New York State Beef Producers Association, said, “This program is just another way we, as New York beef producers, can help consumers and others understand our commitment to safe, wholesome and nutritious beef and also our commitment to helping preserve the land now and for future generations.”
The addition of beef producers to the NYS Grown & Certified program builds on the State’s efforts to promote New York’s beef industry and connect producers to new markets, including restaurants and other food buyers, such as local schools. The Department held three Taste NY culinary tours in 2015 that featured beef producers, and in 2016, announced the increased procurement of New York State foods, including beef products, in state-operated facilities through the Buy NY program. In addition to the Buy NY partnership, the State’s Farm-to-School program supports the purchase of local products to serve in New York’s school districts. Since the Governor launched New York’s Farm-to-School Program in 2015, $1.85 million has been invested in the program to support a total of 25 projects that benefit 206 school districts across the State. The Department also assisted in New York City’s NY Thursdays program that brings locally grown or produced foods directly to students in New York City Department of Education schools, providing them with healthy meals. In the fall of 2016, hamburgers made from 100% New York beef debuted on school lunch menus in New York City.
Producers interested in learning more about how to become NYS Grown & Certified can contact the Department of Agriculture and Markets at 518-457-7076, ext. 3 or email NYSGrownAndCertified@agriculture.ny.gov.
About NYS Grown & Certified
Governor Cuomo launched NYS Grown & Certified in 2016 to help meet the growing consumer demand for local foods grown or produced to a higher standard. The program certifies New York State producers who adhere to high food safety and environmental stewardship standards. It is supported by a marketing campaign including on-product labels, promotional materials, such as the NYS Grown & Certified website, and sales materials, to educate retail and wholesale buyers on the value of the program.
In addition to beef producers, fruit and vegetable growers, oyster growers, Christmas tree growers, pork, chicken, egg and maple producers are also participating in the program. There are also ten dairy processors participating, representing nearly 1,400 dairy farms across New York State. For more information on NYS Grown & Certified, visit certified.ny.gov, or follow the program on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
–NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
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