Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County has successfully secured a $5.3 million, five-year contract to implement a regional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Program (SNAP-ED). The purpose to the program is to educate low-income residents who are eligible for, or in receipt of SNAP benefits, in how to manage their resources to secure nutritious food for themselves and their families. SNAP-ED programs will utilize a variety of education strategies, including policy and environmental approaches to help residents adopt healthy food choices and physically active lifestyles.
CCE Onondaga is responsible for the implementation and management of the SNAP Ed Program in an eight county region that includes; Onondaga, Madison, Cortland, Broome, Tioga, Chenango, Otsego and Delaware Counties. CCE Onondaga will be sub-contracting a portion of the work to CCE Chenango, CCE Broome and CCE Delaware for more efficient delivery of the program. The contract is with the New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (NYS OTDA).
The SNAP Ed program has been delivered through Extension Associations across New York State since 1998. Prior to 2015, local Department of Social Service Agencies (DSS) contracted with each respective CCE Association to deliver SNAP-Ed, formerly known as Food Stamp Nutrition Education. CCE Onondaga has developed strong partnerships with the Onondaga County Health Department, Syracuse City School District, Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth and many others to create an impactful nutrition education program.
The new eight-county SNAP Ed Southern Tier Regional program will target program delivery, messages and collaborations proportional to the SNAP eligible residents in each county. Onondaga County is home to about half of the SNAP eligible residents in the eight-county Southern Tier SNAP Ed Region.
Veteran CCE Nutrition Program Leader, Kathy Dischner, will lead the regional program. The effort to secure the contract was aided by CCE Broome, Chenango and Delaware Counties.
Letters of support for the CCE Onondaga proposal were received from: Onondaga County Executive Mahoney; State Senator John DeFransico; Onondaga County Department of Social Services, Onondaga County Commissioner of Health Mignano, PEACE Inc., Crouse Hospital Outpatient Service Unit, City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth, Food Bank of Central New York, Huntington Family Center, Farmers’ Market Federation of New York, Jobs Plus, OCM BOCES, SUNY Educational Opportunity Center, Women’s Opportunity Center and the Board of Directors for CCE Onondaga County.
During March, Nojaim Grocery Store on Gifford Street was host for over 35 shoppers who learned new skills to purchase healthy food on a budget. Our Nutrition educators provided point-of purchase information focused on produce, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean, and inexpensive protein sources. Tour participants received a $10 gift card to purchase healthy food at Nojaim’s that day. Special thanks to Roberto Martinez, Healthy Neighborhood Initiative Project Coordinator, who helped to provide Spanish language translation. A grant from the NYS Health Foundation funded the gift cards provided through the Lerner Center for Health Promotion.
CCE partners from the Onondaga County Health Department, Huntington Family Center, HOME, Inc. and others were key to help recruit residents for the event. To learn more, visit our website:
Cooking Matters at the Store (see attached). Contact the Nutrition Department to learn more about tour eligibility and locations
SNAP-Ed Nutrition education programs are available to all residents in receipt of SNAP benefits, WIC, Head Start and who have children who attend a schools with > 50% free/reduced meal participation.
During April and May, 2015 Nutrition Education workshops and food demonstrations are being held at:
Syracuse City School youth and parent programs, Head Start locations, WIC Offices, JOBSplus, SUNY EOC, Crouse Outpatients, Syracuse Housing Authority, Huntington Family Center and other locations across the county.
Call our main number at 424-9485 to talk with Kathy, Roseanne, Anita, Cheryl, Amie or Katie for a program or workshop for qualifying residents.
The Dairy Acceleration Program provides cost share funding for business planning, facility design and/or Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMP) to dairy farms in NYS looking to expand their operations and/or increase their efficiency. With these types of services, dairies have the opportunity for responsible growth.
In 2014, Onondaga County had five (5) farms receive funding. CCE Onondaga works closely with the funded farms and their business, financial, facility and crop plans to ensure the plan stays on track and meets the program’s requirements.
Of the 5 farms that participated in 2014, 3 farms have designed new barns/facilities, 1 farm has doubled their milk production without the addition of cows, 1 farm has written a business plan to help with the addition of two (2) new business partners that will in time, double the herd size from 300 milking cows to over 600. Two (2) farms anticipate going to all robotic milking in the near future.
All five (5) farms have comprehensive business plans to help ensure a profitable future. One Onondaga County farm has been funded for 2015 and applications to the program are still being accepted.
Contact Erin Hull at 315-424-9485 x224
March 23, 2015
Greg McCartney loves to make maple syrup. A native of the Adirondacks, McCartney’s grandfather was a dairy farmer and a maple producer with thousands of buckets and a 20 foot long arch. This was mapling the old-fashioned way.
When McCartney moved to Camillus he was still producing syrup the old-fashioned way, hanging buckets and boiling on a flat pan. Only his flat pan was 2 feet by 2 feet. This meant boiling into the early hours of the morning to produce a small amount of syrup. The production rate of a 2 by 2 pan is about one gallon of syrup in 8 hours on a good day.
McCartney was looking to become more productive. His first investment was in a 2 by 4 foot pan. This doubled his production but meant he was still finishing late at night or having to hold sap until the weekend. Sometimes the sap would spoil in the meantime.
Enter the Onondaga County Cooperative Extension Maple School. McCartney attended the inaugural year in 2012 and met Cornell Extension Maple Specialist, Steve Childs. Childs educated the attendees on the maple technologies that had become affordable to smaller producers, like McCartney. “Technologies like high-vacuum sap collection systems and RO (reverse osmosis water separators) were unaffordable to small producers 10 years ago,” stated Childs. “Since that time, an entry level RO has dropped from $20,000 to as low as $300. A 40-tap high vacuum tubing system is about the same price as new buckets with lids.”
As a result of attending the Maple School, McCartney replaced his buckets with a high vacuum tubing system. The results were remarkable. “I put 27 taps on the vacuum system, one tap per tree, and produced the equivalent of 81 buckets,” said McCartney. He added, “It was less damage to the trees and, the best part, the sap flowed right to the evaporator. No more carrying buckets.”
McCartney attended the 2014 Maple School held at the Plainville Fire Department along with 29 other people. Steve Child’s focus at this School was on RO’s. With Child’s presentation and a visit to the nearby Komorowski Sugarhouse, the group got to see and hear firsthand the value of investing in a RO. McCartney was convinced and, while attending the Maple Producers’ Show in Verona, he purchased a RO machine. It was everything he expected.
He collected 180 gallons of sap during the first run of 2015. In less than 2 hours the sap was processed through the RO and the sugar content increased from 2% to 8%. A 400% increase! McCartney converted the processed sap into four gallons of syrup in just four hours! That is four times faster than before, and it used one quarter of the wood to do so.
“I can now come home from work at 4:00 PM and finish making syrup by 8:00 PM. No more stoking the fire at 3:00 AM”, McCartney said.
When asked about the investment in equipment McCartney said, “First, most of the equipment I invested in will depreciate very little. So if I ever get tired of this, which I won’t, I can get most of the investment back.” He continued, “Second, to get to production rate of one gallon of syrup an hour by up-sizing the evaporator would have meant spending more than double the cost of the RO, and I would be using eight times the wood. “
When asked what is next for his maple operation, McCartney said, “I have made all of the major investments I need to make for now. I have the capacity to expand my tapping with the vacuum system I have so, I plan to add more trees to the system. I have only used the RO twice and I believe there is capacity to increase the sugar content of the sap even more. I will be experimenting with that.”
Onondaga County boasts some of the finest sugar maple on the face of the Earth and almost half of the trees in Onondaga County are sugar maple. The potential to increase sugar production is enormous and it starts with people like Greg McCartney who are willing to learn and invest.
“I can’t say enough about CCE Onondaga, Steve Childs and Kristina Ferrare (CCE Onondaga Ag and Forestry Team Coordinator). We are very lucky to have these workshops available in Onondaga County.”
If you would like to find out more about the next Onondaga County Cooperative Extension Maple School or about the Cornell Maple Camp at the Arnot Forest, contact CCE Onondaga by emailing Kristina Ferrare or calling (315) 424-9485.
Greg McCartney with his high-vacuum tubing system.
Greg and Andrea McCartney with the evaporator.
The reverse osmosis unit that can process 100 gallons of sap per hour.
Fruits of their labor, packaged maple syrup.