Agriculture_Markets
Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
 
 
 

Annual Report of the
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
for 1998

CONTENTS

Foreword
Agricultural Protection and Development Services
Agricultural Statistics
Animal Industry
Counsel
Dairy Industry Services and Producer Security
Fiscal Management
Food Laboratory
Food Safety and Inspection
Human Resources Management
Information Systems
Internal Audit
Kosher Law Enforcement
Milk Control
Plant Industry
Soil and Water Conservation Committee
State Fair
Weights and Measures
Executive Staff

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New York State Seal

STATE OF NEW YORK
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS

George E. Pataki
Governor

Nathan L. Rudgers
Commissioner

November, 1999

 

The Honorable George E. Pataki
Governor, State of New York
Executive Chamber
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Pataki:

There is much good news to share about agriculture in New York State under your leadership. Farmers are paying less in taxes, workers' compensation, and energy costs, while at the same time, farm-gate revenues are holding steady or increasing. Many farms are thriving, thanks in large part to the work you've done to promote agriculture.

I am pleased to submit to you the Annual Report of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for 1998.

We've worked hard to follow your directive that State agencies become more efficient and effective. With that directive in mind, Department staff addressed our responsibilities with respect to animal and plant disease, food safety, kosher law enforcement, weights and measures, food and pesticide laboratory data, gasoline octane testing and milk control. We also met several additional challenges in 1998 such as providing assistance to farmers in the North Country who suffered severe losses from the 1998 ice storm and working to eradicate the Asian Longhorned Beetle.

We will continue to help carry out your goal of making agriculture in New York State a viable, healthy and profitable industry.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Commissioner Nathan L. Rudgers' Signature

Nathan L. Rudgers
Commissioner

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DIVISION OF AGRICULTURAL PROTECTION

AND DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

The Division of Agricultural Protection and Development Services is concerned with farm protection, food and agricultural industry development, and maintenance of an adequate farm labor supply. The Division administers sections of the Agriculture and Markets Law relating to direct marketing, marketing orders, farm labor child care, agricultural districts, and local agricultural and farmland protection programs. It also has various other economic development and marketing responsibilities.

Agricultural and Farmland Protection

The Division administers the Agricultural Districts Program, the State's primary farm protection program. At the close of 1998, there were 392 districts in existence, comprised of approximately 21,796 farms and 8.335 million acres. These districts were all voluntarily formed by agricultural landowners and adopted by county legislative bodies following State certification. In 1998, the Division supervised the renewal and/or consolidation of 75 existing districts, many of which were recertified with modification.

Agricultural Assessment

One of the most important provisions of the Agricultural Districts Law is the opportunity for farmland owners to receive real property assessments based on the value of their land for agricultural production rather than on its development value. Farmers participating in the agricultural assessment program save over $50 million in real property taxes annually. The Division maintains the Land Classification System, which serves as a basis for the agricultural assessment program. County soil and water conservation districts implement the system on the Department's behalf. It is estimated that districts processed around 2,000 requests by landowners for soils information in 1998.

Notice of Intent

Any State agency, local government or public benefit corporation which intends to acquire land in an agricultural district, or which intends to advance public funds for certain construction activities in a district, must file a preliminary and final Notice of Intent with the Commissioner prior to undertaking the action. The preliminary notice must be filed no later than the point in time when it is determined whether an environmental impact statement is needed; the final notice must be filed at least 65 days prior to undertaking the action. Generally, these notices must identify potential adverse impacts to agricultural lands and operations within the district and demonstrate that all practicable means will be exercised to mitigate or avoid such impacts.

Thirty-three Notice of Intent actions were fully processed by the Division in 1998 and an additional 44 were in various states of review. The Division received 52 new notices in 1998. The majority of these were related to water and sewer facility development. Of the 33 projects for which reviews were completed, two were delayed for an additional 60 days. At the end of the 60-day period, the Commissioner recommended mitigation measures that were eventually adopted by the respective project sponsors. In other NOI actions, the Commissioner recommended mitigation measures that were accepted by the project sponsor without having to delay the action.

Restrictive Regulations

Section 305-a directs that local governments shall not unreasonably restrict or regulate farm operations within agricultural districts when exercising their powers to enact or administer comprehensive plans and local land use laws, ordinances, rules and regulations unless it can be shown that the public health or safety is threatened. In 1998, Division staff and Counsel's office were engaged in 14 cases involving the review of local ordinances that were considered by farmers to be unreasonably restrictive. The Commissioner provided comments to several towns to change their proposed local law to be compatible with agricultural uses and practices that may have been restricted or denied under the proposed law.

Agricultural Practice Review

Section 308 of the Agriculture and Markets Law directs the Commissioner to issue opinions, upon the request of any party, concerning the soundness of specific agricultural practices. In 1998, the Commissioner received three requests for the conduct of a Sound Agricultural Practice review and issued one agricultural practice opinion. The one case involved the use of composted sludge as a soil amendment for the production of turf on spent mucklands.

Prior to the issuance of any opinion, Department staff conduct a thorough review and assessment of the practice in question including the gathering of facts and information from all affected parties (e.g., the farmer, neighbors, complainants, and local officials), a search of relevant published guidance on the type of practice under review, consultation with appropriate experts, and a comparison against sound agricultural practice guidelines.

Planning Grants Program

Article 25-AAA provides the Commissioner with the authority to implement a matching grant program to assist county governments in developing agricultural and farmland protection plans. The Commissioner has also been given the authority to provide funds for the implementation of municipal agricultural and farmland protection projects. This program is intended to promote local initiatives to maintain the economic viability of the State's agricultural industry and its supporting land base and promote the development of plans and programs that recognize and protect the environmental and landscape preservation values associated with agriculture. Through the plan development process, local governments and County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Boards (AFPB's) examine the complex factors and issues associated with farmland conversion, such as urban growth; farm profitability; government taxes, regulations, and incentives; availability of farm labor; the resale market (i.e., farmer vs. non-farmer); retirement; open space; and community attitudes.

The Department received $8,000,000 for 1998 to conduct agricultural and farmland protection planning and project implementation activities. Planning applications were received from and approved by the Department for Sullivan ($50,000), Montgomery ($50,000), Chautauqua ($50,000), Seneca ($17,462), Ontario ($17,462) and Schuyler ($50,000) Counties. The Department also awarded $7,700,000 for the purchase of conservation easements or development rights on farms in Suffolk ($1,253,518), Onondaga ($538,000), Dutchess ($365,000), Essex ($302,000), and Washington ($190,000) Counties and in the Towns of Pittsford ($750,000), Amherst ($200,000), Southampton ($480,082), Southold ($500,000), East Hampton ($250,000), Riverhead ($400,000), Warwick ($1,330,000) and Ancram ($1,141,400).

Advisory Council on Agriculture

Division staff continued to provide support to the New York State Advisory Council on Agriculture, a body established under the Agricultural Districts Law to provide advice and recommendations to the Department and other State agencies about government plans, policies and programs affecting the State's agricultural industry.

Land Use Review

The Division maintains review responsibility for a wide variety of land use projects in addition to those subject to Notice of Intent filing. Due to staff limitations, the Division's two project review specialists continued to concentrate principally on the review of gas pipeline and electric powerline cases subject to Article VII of the Public Service Law or the State Environmental Quality Review Act, as well as gas pipelines under the control of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Food and Agricultural Industry Development

The Division provides a wide range of services and programs aimed at developing the State's food and agriculture industry.

Direct Marketing

The primary direct marketing program administered by the Division is the New York State Farmers' Market Nutrition Program. Under the program, special checks are provided to low-income, nutritionally at-risk families enrolled in the Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC) and Senior Meals Nutrition Program. The checks are redeemable for fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmers' markets. The purpose of the Program is to promote improved nutrition through increased consumption of fresh produce and to expand sales by farmers at farmers' markets. The Department collaborates with the New York State Department of Health, the Office for the Aging, and Cornell Cooperative Extension in administering the Program.

The USDA grant and matching State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds permitted the Farmers' Market Nutrition Program to operate at 212 farmers' markets in 55 counties across the State in 1998. During the course of the Program, 166,583 WIC families consisting of over 233,611 women, infants, and children from 93 local agencies, each were issued $20 worth of farmers' market checks. The participants consisted of 182,302 children, 67,618 infants and 82,141 women. In addition, 6,641 low income seniors were issued $8 worth of farmers' market checks. 706 farmers redeemed checks in the amount of $3.1 million. Surveys of WIC families indicated that 94 percent purchased substantially more fresh produce than they would have without the program and approximately 53 percent reported they continued to purchase produce without program checks. Among the reporting participants, 78 percent thought the quality of fruits and vegetables at the farmers' market was better than the stores where they usually shopped and 61 percent reported the prices were lower. Apples, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet corn and carrots were the most popular food items purchased. In addition to operating the program, Division staff provide technical assistance to community groups and organizations interested in organizing community farmers' markets, as well as to farmers operating roadside stands and pick-your-own operations.

Domestic and International Trade

Division staff help New York firms capitalize on new market opportunities abroad by fostering communication between the industry and the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, disseminating information on products available for export and trade leads, sourcing product for foreign buyers, conducting market research and development activities, and organizing New York State exhibitor pavilions at selected trade shows.

The Division continued to provide export assistance to New York agribusinesses through Food Export USA-Northeast, formerly EUSAFEC. Food Export USA-Northeast is a USDA state-regional trade cooperator group for value-added product promotion programs funded by the Foreign Agricultural Service. Twenty-one New York firms which, with the Department's help applied for Market Promotion Program funds through Food Export USA-Northeast were awarded approximately $750,000 in export promotion grants.

The Division also actively participated in a number of Food Export USA-Northeast generic export activities including the l998 Sial Food Show, the American Food and Beverage Trade Show in Miami, the IFE Food Show in London, and Nursery Industry Trade Missions to Europe and Canada.

In addition to Food Export USA-Northeast activities, the Division organized and sponsored New York food company pavilions at the Food Marketing Institute/US Food Export Showcase in Chicago, the Fancy Food Show in New York City, the Produce Marketing Association Exposition and Convention in New Orleans and the annual Kosherfest Show in New Jersey.

Marketing Orders

The Division administers four marketing orders. These orders have been established to assist the industry in achieving a variety of objectives, differing by individual market order, including product promotion, research, and advertising. The marketing orders administered by the Division are the Apple Marketing Order, the Apple Research and Development Program, the Sour Cherry Marketing Order, and the Onion Research and Development Program.

The Division is responsible for overseeing and supervising the daily operation of the marketing orders. These duties include the preparation of budgets, disbursement of funds, investigation of delinquent accounts, conduct of referenda, and representing the Commissioner at industry meetings and conferences. Furthermore, staff work closely with the marketing orders' respective Advisory Boards in the administration of the orders. In 1998 the orders took in the following sum of grower assessments: Apple Marketing Order ($1,603,494); Apple Research and Development Program ($148,086); Sour Cherry Marketing Order ($29,373); and Onion Research and Development Program ($31,392). In 1998, the Onion Research and Development Program was allocated an additional $100,000 by the New York State Legislature for onion research.

Agribusiness Assistance

The Division maintains a small staff of business assistance specialists who work with food and agricultural firms to obtain needed financing. This staff reviews business plans or assists in their development, identifies sources of public and private funding, and advises or assists in the development of financing proposals. Staff may also assist firms in the resolution of "red tape" concerns associated with government regulations.

During 1998, Division specialists secured a Federal-State Marketing Improvement Grant for $42,500 to organize a statewide specialty meat marketing organization.

Agribusiness development staff continued to fulfill the Department's statutory responsibilities as a member of the Job Development Authority during the year, including the review of all JDA loan applications brought before the Board and the analysis of proposed programs and operating policies of the Authority.

Agricultural Labor

The Division is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Agribusiness Child Development Program and for addressing issues involving the State's farm labor force, including farmworker training.

Agribusiness Child Development Program

The Agribusiness Child Development Program (ABCD) continued its mission of providing high-quality child development services to the children of individuals employed in the production, harvest and processing of New York farm products. The eleven ABCD centers are fully accredited by the prestigious National Academy of Early Childhood Programs. The 1,675 children served by the ABCD received a full range of Head Start services including transportation, meals, medical, dental, and handicap services, and individualized educational programs, as well as the WIC Supplemental Feeding Program. The ABCD is the seventh largest non-profit child care program in the nation. It is operated by a private not-for-profit corporation under contract to the Department.

Agricultural Workforce Certification Program

Since 1992-93, the Division has administered the Agricultural Workforce Certification Program (AWCP) for the purpose of providing entry level farm training to individuals new to farm employment as well as skills development training to those already employed in the industry. With funding from the Empire State Development Corporation and the State University of New York, the Department collaborated with Cornell, Farm Bureau, and scores of growers in 1998 in certifying over 825 farmworkers in 9 different commodity-based programs.

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DIVISION OF AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS

The Division of Agricultural Statistics operates under a joint Federal-State agreement between the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The agreement establishes a cooperative agricultural statistics program in New York State through the consolidation and coordination of the activities of Federal and State agencies. The National Agricultural Statistics Service provides a program to collect and publish production and marketing statistics primarily concerned with national implications and to a lesser extent with State concerns. The State is responsible for any additional data needed for State, regional or county reports. Activities include the collection, analysis, and publication of primary statistical data for the State of New York relating to the production, price, value, movement, stocks, marketing, processing and other utilization of crops, livestock and other agricultural products of New York. Through close cooperation of these activities, duplication of effort and confusion from conflicting reports are avoided and efficiency is promoted. This statistical information provided is vital as a source of unbiased information critical to those who provide technical and economic assistance to agribusiness, State and regional planning agencies, and national and state legislatures. It is also essential to the orderly marketing of the State's agricultural products.

The division performs the following major functions:

  • Conducts a regular schedule of surveys throughout the year to compile data from farmers, agribusiness merchants, and others for weekly, monthly, quarterly, and other periodic reports.
  • Prepares reports, forecasts, and other statistical information for use by farmers and farm organizations, agribusiness, governmental leaders and policy makers, and other interested groups.
  • Conducts research studies, analyzes data, and applies new statistical methodologies to improve the statistical program of State and Federal agencies.

An overview of New York agriculture in 1998 follows:

There were 38,000 New York farms in 1998 that produced and sold $3.16 billion worth of farm products. The number of farms has remained steady for the past three years, as has farmland at a total of 7.8 million acres. The number of farms with sales of $100,000 and over has increased slightly in the last three years to 8,600 in 1998. This group accounted for 23 percent of all farms but operated 49 percent of the farmland. The number of farms with sales between $10,000 and $99,999 was steady at 11,000 in 1997 and 1998, at 29 percent of all farms and 28 percent of farmland. Smaller farms below $10,000 fell slightly in 1998 to 18,400. This group made up 48 percent of the farm numbers and farmed 23 percent of the land in farms.

Net farm income in 1998 rebounded to $447 million compared with $195 million in 1997 for an average of $11,800 per farm. The value added to the New York economy by crop outputs in 1998 rose less than 1 percent to $1.03 billion as animal outputs jumped 16 percent to $2.08 billion. The services and forestry sector also increased in 1998, up 4 percent to $.29 billion. The total agricultural sector outputs in 1998 were 10 percent above the previous year at $3.40 billion. Intermediate outlays in 1998 were 3 percent above 1997 at $1.79 billion. Feed and livestock purchases were essentially unchanged from a year earlier, seed purchases were up 8 percent, fertilizers and lime were down 2 percent, pesticides increased 6 percent, and fuels and oils fell 11 percent. Labor costs were 4 percent higher in 1998 and direct government payments to farmers increased 51 percent.

Livestock and dairy products continue to be New York's leading farm output as they accounted for $2.09 billion, 66 percent of the total sales. Dairy products alone totaled $1.79 billion, 57 percent of all cash receipts. Vegetables were the second leading area at 10 percent of the total, $.30 billion. Field crops were next with $.27 billion of sales followed by greenhouse and nursery crops at $.26 billion of sales.

Dairy production continued to rebound with a 2 percent increase in 1998, at 11.7 billion pounds. Cow numbers also increased in 1998, going from 699,000 to average 701,000 for the year. The year 1998 marks the first increase in cow numbers following 12 years of steady decline. Milk cow farms continued to fall with a loss of 300 farms in 1998, down to 8,700.

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DIVISION OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY

The Division of Animal Industry seeks to detect, control and eradicate communicable diseases in food and fiber producing animals. These diseases cause severe livestock production and economic losses and represent a significant threat to human public health.

The implementation of the Division's disease detection, control and eradication programs is based on a multiple barrier approach. Sampling for specific diseases of concern is conducted at livestock concentration points, at slaughter, and at the point of production. Evaluation of samples is performed by contract laboratories which are monitored by the Division. The source of disease is determined through transaction records maintained by Domestic Animal Health Permit holders (livestock dealers) who are under permit by this agency. Division veterinarians and inspectors would then restrict the movement of animals originating from the source of the infection to prevent further spread and implement specific control measures to reduce the incidence and eventually eradicate the disease.

Prevention of the introduction of disease from animals purchased from other states is accomplished by the Division's import/export health certificate and test monitoring program.

Division responsibilities also include the administration of the dog licensing, identification and control law, animal care inspections of municipal dog shelters, and certification and evaluation of municipal dog control officers.

Other duties include the inspection of the health of livestock exhibited at the New York State and county fairs, blood testing pulling horses for the detection of performance enhancing drugs; and the accreditation and special training of New York State veterinarians who perform official program tests.

ANIMAL TESTING AND DISEASE CONTROL

Cattle

New York State attained brucellosis free USDA classification in 1980 and has maintained this status through 1998. Brucellosis surveillance sampling involved the collection and testing, of 18,825 brucellosis milk ring test samples resulting in the identification of 14 cattle herds that required a herd blood test to clarify their disease status. 63,071 calves were vaccinated for brucellosis in 1998.

During market cattle testing for brucellosis 75,904 samples were collected, including 55 positive reactions that required herd identification and further brucellosis testing. Other cattle herd brucellosis tests were performed on 939 herds representing 13,881 individual cattle. Figures for New York State cattle slaughtered and tested in other states are no longer available from these other states due to a USDA policy change.

This year, 11,739 cows in 641 herds were tested for Tuberculosis and l7 suspects were found. There were no reactors.

Horses

In 1998, 46,697 horses were tested for Equine Infectious Anemia, disclosing one reactor which represents a .002 percent infection rate. One horse was euthanized in 1998.

New York State is one of 13 states with quarantine facilities for treatment and testing of mares and stallions imported from countries affected with Contagious Equine Metritis. The presence of this facility makes valuable bloodlines available to New York horse breeders. In 1998, 143 mares were quarantined and 7 stallions were also quarantined.

The Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) import requirement for breeding thoroughbred stallions continues. Thirty-eight stallions were tested.

Swine

Slaughter surveillance for brucellosis in swine involved the sampling of 769 swine. Other swine herd brucellosis tests were performed in 29 herds representing 124 tested swine. Also, 920 swine were tested at slaughter for pseudorabies resulting in the detection of two suspicious animals.

Swine in New York are free of Hog Cholera, African Swine Fever and Pseudorabies. Under a revision of import regulations enacted in 1986, breeding swine entering New York State must originate from brucellosis and pseudorabies-free herds. In 1998, 195 swine were tested for pseudorabies. There were no reactors. New York State achieved STAGE V Pseudorabies Status, the highest classification attainable.

Poultry

Three major hatcheries for egg-type chickens were certified clean for pullorum, mycoplasma gallisepticum, mycoplasma synoviae and salmonella enteriditis. There are 120,000 birds at these facilities. Two hundred thirty-seven exhibition and gamebird flocks were tested Pullorum-Typhoid Clean. These flocks contained 45,000 birds.

Avian influenza surveillance and enforcement activity was conducted in the New York City live bird markets. The addition of two full time animal health inspectors in April 1998 greatly increased Department effectiveness. Four complete rounds of market surveillance were conducted. Positive avian influenza cultures were obtained from 49 markets on the first round, 24 markets on the second round, 13 markets on the third round and 27 markets on the fourth round. Positive markets were depopulated followed by cleaning and disinfection. Enforcement of the avian influenza sanitation and testing regulations continues with regular inspection of all live bird markets.

A quail flock infected with avian influenza was depopulated followed by cleaning and disinfection. A turkey flock infected with avian influenza also was depopulated and the premises cleaned and disinfected.

Seven producers have signed up for the New York State Egg Quality Assurance Program through December 31, 1998. All flocks tested under NYSEQAP were negative for SE.

Deer and Llamas

The New York State deer tuberculosis eradication program achieved the goal of eradication of tuberculosis in captive raised deer in 1994. The last infected herd was depopulated, cleaned and disinfected in October 1994. On farm surveillance continues with 1,999 tested disclosing 7 suspects. No tuberculosis infected deer were found in 1998. Five hundred sixteen llamas were tested with no suspect found and no reactors.

Johnes disease is emerging as a disease issue in the small ruminant industries (see 1998 Paratuberculosis testing summary).

Sheep and Goats

Four hundred forty-one goats were tested with three suspects and eleven sheep were tested with no suspects. No reactors were found.

Imports and Exports

In 1998, 23,758 cattle and 233 embryos were exported to 46 states, Puerto Rico and 14 foreign countries. These shipments were inspected and tested by accredited veterinarians prior to shipment and approved by this Division following satisfactory documentation that the animals represented met the health requirements of the state, territory, or country of destination.

There were 19,254 cattle imported to New York State from 47 states and Canada. Division personnel located, quarantined, and performed additional testing on 654 unqualified imports to ensure that these animals presented no threat to the health of New York State livestock.

There were 2,480 swine exported and 11,086 swine imported in 1998. There were 847 sheep exported, and 459 sheep imported in 1998.

Animal Health Checks and Permits

There were 399 new and renewal permits issued in 1998. Cooperation with the Licensing and Bonding Division has added strength to this program. Livestock and health certificate examinations were performed on 50,404 animals at State and county fairs. Drug blood tests were collected on 173 horses and ponies participating in pulling competitions. No horses were found to have received drugs. Forty-seven horses entered in Sire Stake Races were checked for drugs. Two entries were found to have received drugs prior to racing.

Herd Testing and Diagnostic Laboratory

The emphasis on herd level testing in 1998 has been on Johne's disease (paratuberculosis) and its control. The NAHMS (National Health Monitoring System, CEAH, APHIS, Fort Collins) Dairy '96 survey data estimated that 22 percent of dairy herds in the 21 major dairy states that participated in the study are infected with Johne's disease. This data provided new evidence that Johne's disease (paratuberculosis) is an increasing problem in our ruminant livestock industries. Data from the NAHMS Beef '97 study estimated a lower prevalence of Johne's disease in beef operations in the U.S., thus presenting an opportunity to preserve the industry status. In addition, some scientists suggest that Mycobacterium paratuberculosis may have some association with Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease in humans with, as yet, no known cause. What appears to be endemic prevalence of Johne's disease in the U.S., increased attention in the agriculture and public press, the potential direct impact of the infection in infected cattle operations, implications for international markets, and the question raised of a possible association with human health have spurred an increased concern and activity with respect to Johne's disease. Johne's testing submissions to the Diagnostic Laboratory increased significantly from 1997 to 1998 from 14,587 total tests to 76,305 total tests (523 percent increase).

Interest in Johne's disease by goat, sheep and farmed deer industries is increasing in parallel with the cattle industry. The ELISA test does not perform as well and is not validated in these species. Thus, the Diagnostic Laboratory has developed a serum AGID (Agar Gel Immunodiffusion) test for Johne's disease in these species. Flock and herd testing in these species has increased in 1997 and in 1998, whereas there was relatively little interest previously.

Salmonella and Bovine Virus Diarrhea (BVD) have not been part of the Three Disease Program. However, they have become two diseases of importance in New York and the U.S. recently. Salmonella submissions to the Diagnostic Lab and out-breaks in cattle with positive isolations were very active throughout 1997 and 1998. Some outbreaks involved sickness in farm family members and employees. Salmonella has achieved additional visibility in 1997 and 1998 due to the identification of Salmonella DT 104, a new drug resistant form of Salmonella, in some outbreaks. A nationally publicized infection, diagnosed at the Diagnostic Lab, occurred in a dairy in neighboring Vermont. The Diagnostic Lab has extensive experience in salmonella diagnosis, as well as other enteric diseases and is the anchor laboratory providing these diagnostic services in the Northeast.

Dog Control

During 1998 (exclusive of New York City) license fees were $2,505,180. Counties retained $753,558, towns retained $1,327,745. The State's share was $423,876. The New York State Animal Population Control Program began on February 1, 1996 and $656,417 was collected during 1998 from the $3 fee on all unspayed/unneutered dogs.

There were 226 dog damage claims processed in 1998 with $98,715.95 paid in damages. Three of these claims were appealed to the Department for review.

Five rabies indemnification claims were paid in 1998 for a total of $1,050.

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OFFICE OF COUNSEL

The Counsel's Office advises and represents the Commissioner in matters involving legal issues pertaining to the authority and duties of the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Responsibilities include:

  • representation of the Commissioner in litigation, including the prosecution of actions to enjoin the operation of food processing establishments under insanitary conditions; actions to recover civil penalties assessed for violations of food safety and labeling provisions of the Agriculture and Markets Law; the defense of Department actions and Commissioner's determinations in judicial review proceedings for judicial review;
  • advising Agency officers on issues arising under the Agriculture and Markets Law, Soil and Water Conservation Districts Law, Cooperative Corporations Law, Public Officers Law, and the State Administrative Procedures Act; responding to requests of regulated parties, members of the public, and other governmental entities for the interpretation of statutes for which the Department has enforcement responsibilities;
  • development and coordination of the Department's legislative program, including the drafting of proposals and support memoranda, research and analysis of bills which may affect agriculture, food processing, food safety and labeling, domestic animal disease control, plant disease control, weights and measures and other matters relating to Department responsibilities; and negotiation of bill language with legislative staff, other governmental agencies and affected industries;
  • representation of the Department in administrative proceedings, including the examination of witnesses and presentation of documentary evidence and legal arguments in adjudicators hearings before the Commissioner, and before other State or federal agencies concerning application for utility projects having agricultural impacts, and the conducting of investigations into possible violations of the Agriculture and Markets Law; preparation of administrative determinations and orders, and representation of the Department in arbitrations relating to personnel matters;
  • assisting program divisions in the development of regulations which are required or helpful in implementing the Agriculture and Markets Law, and representing the Department in rulemaking proceedings commenced to receive public input in considering the adoption, amendment, or repeal of regulations;
  • preparation, negotiation and review of memorandums of understanding and contracts to which the Department is a party; and
  • providing legal support services to the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee and the Industrial Exhibit Authority.

Litigation assignments handled by Counsel's Office in 1998, included 130 actions to enjoin the operation of food stores and processing plants under conditions whereby food may have become contaminated, unwholesome or otherwise injurious to health. In 17 of the cases, judicial orders to temporarily restrain food processing activities pending hearing were sought due to a threat of serious and immediate danger to the safety of consumers. A total of 488 actions (involving 1,354 alleged violations) were commenced to recover penalties assessed for prohibited activities, such as the sale or offering for sale of food manufactured or stored under insanitary conditions; offering for sale non-kosher food falsely represented as kosher; misleading labeling of food products; inaccurate unit pricing; adulteration of milk products; operation of a Department regulated business without a required license; and violations of quarantine orders prohibiting or restricting the sale or distribution of violative food products. Of the approximately 4,800 penalty assessment cases initiated in 1998, sixty-five percent were resolved without court action.

Agency actions under the Agriculture and Markets Law were defended in several other litigated matters. In Pure Air and Water, Inc., of Chemung County v. Commissioner and Trengo Farms, a sound agricultural practice opinion issued by the Commissioner relative to the manure management and livestock housing practice practices of a farmer was challenged. The plaintiff sought judgment declaring the State's Right-to-Farm Law unconstitutional and enjoining the issuance of sound agricultural practice opinions. The Department successfully moved to dismiss the complaint based in part on prior appellate, level rulings which upheld a Commissioner's determination that manure management practices examined at the same farm with respect to water were sound. The decisions in both proceedings strengthen protections intended by the State's Right-to-Farm Law. In Town of Butternuts v. Commissioner, the Appellate Court affirmed a lower court judgment upholding the Commissioner's enforcement of statutory prohibitions against the enactment or administration of local laws so as to unreasonably restrict farm operations within agricultural districts. In Wright v. County of Orleans, et al., the Department filed a "friend of the court brief" with the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court supportive of a locality's waterline restriction aimed at sustaining viable farm enterprises in an agricultural district. The Court affirmed the lower court in upholding the limitation, noting its consistency with the legislative intent to provide a locally-initiated means for protecting and enhancing New York's agricultural land use. In Commack v. Rubin, the Department continued to assist the Attorney General's Office in defending a claim in federal District Court that consumer protection provisions of the Agriculture and Markets Law which prohibit misrepresentations in the sale of food as kosher are unconstitutional. In Colton v. Swartz, a Commissioner's opinion that a farmer's use of maremma guard dogs constituted a sound agricultural practice was successfully raised as a defense in a nuisance action against the farmer. In Davidsen v. G.K Fish Brokers, a Nassau County District Court ruled that the Department did not have authority to bring actions to recover penalties for violations of the Agriculture and Markets Law upon concluding that they may only be brought by the Attorney General. On appeal by the Department, the Appellate Term of State Supreme Court reversed the lower court ruling and held that the Department has authority to bring such actions. In Brightworks Industries Inc. v. Commissioner, the petitioner sought the release of over 4,000 cans of juice held under Department quarantine based upon a finding that the product was adulterated. Ultimately, the case was settled with the plaintiff s agreement to destroy the juice. Applications to the Court were made and granted to authorize the Department to enter private premises to remove trees infested with the Asian Long Horned Beetle in four instances where permission was not given by the property owners and removal was critical to prevent the spread of the injurious insect.

Analysis and advice regarding 18 local laws or ordinances which may impact on agricultural activities were provided in response to requests of municipal officials and farmers. Counsel's Office worked with the Division of Agricultural Protection and Development Services in investigating and evaluating whether proposed or existing local laws unreasonably restrict farm enterprises within agricultural districts in violation of the Agriculture and Markets Law. Legal assistance was also provided to the Division in considering agricultural impacts of actions described in 57 notice of intent filings received from governmental entities planning to acquire land or advance public funds for construction activities in agricultural districts.

Under the State's Right-to-Farm Law, the Commissioner issues opinions, upon request, as to whether a particular agricultural practice is sound. A practice determined to be sound is deemed not to constitute a private nuisance when conducted in an agricultural district or on land having an agricultural assessment. Counsel's Office advised the Division of Agricultural Protection and Development Services in the application of relevant legal standards to the evaluation of agricultural practices involving the composting of biosolids and land application of the compost for the production of sod, and the use of a diesel powered cooling unit at a farm.

Assistance was provided to the Division of Agricultural Protection and Development Services in developing a request for proposals for the implementation of agricultural and farmland protection plans for which partial funding was available from the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act and the Environmental Protection Fund. Fifteen proposals were received, and reviewed and 14 grants were awarded. Counsel's Office assisted the State Soil and Water Committee and the Divisions of Soil and Water and Fiscal Management in reviewing, for eligibility under the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act and the Environmental Protection Fund, 71 proposals submitted by county soil and water conservation districts for funding of agricultural nonpoint source planning and implementation projects. A total of 40 grants were awarded to various County Soil and Water Districts.

Counsel's Office participated in a team effort by State and federal agencies to develop a conservation reserve enhance program (CREP) proposal for New York which could provide a useful tool for advancing State agricultural and environmental management (AEM) goals and further promote a B federal-State-local partnership for achieving them. The AEM Program is aimed at promoting the economic viability of farming operations while enhancing environmental quality through an approach that is voluntary, educational, incentive based, and locally designed and implemented. Counsel's Office also participated in the Department's review and response to a federally proposed Unified National Strategy for Animal Farming Operations.

284 assignments involved adjudicatory proceedings to consider the revocation or denial of authorization to operate a food processing establishment, and to consider producer claims against the Agricultural Producer Security Fund and other security because of alleged failures to pay for farm products.

349 proposed agreements were reviewed, drafted, and/or negotiated in carrying out various programs relating to market order promotion and research for New York farm products; nonpoint agricultural pollution control projects; farmland protection planning and implementation; motor fuel sampling and testing; events at the State Fair and use of the fairgrounds; emergency watershed protection; and aid to localities.

Department bills which were enacted during the 1998 legislative session included amendments to: prevent the spread of disease in poultry; allow county agriculture and farmland protection boards to jointly apply for State assistance payments for agricultural planning activities; strengthen notification requirements concerning the purchase of properties within agricultural districts; provide a permanent exemption for temporary greenhouses from real property taxation; allow farmers who pay school taxes on qualified agricultural lands under a "land contract" to take advantage of the agricultural property tax credit; and extend until 2009 the current ten-year real property tax exemption for new and reconstructed agricultural buildings. Department bills which were introduced but not passed by the Legislature in 1998 include proposals to authorize the extension of dog licensing periods; clarify and strengthen identification requirements applicable to the sale of food as kosher; extend the time for milk processors to make payment for non-grade A milk under certain circumstances; authorize the adjudication of penalty assessments through an administrative review process; and have the State join the Interstate Pest Control Compact to work with other states in controlling plant pest outbreaks.

Rule making proceedings were initiated to consider regulations to: prevent the spread of an Asian Long Horned Beetle beyond already infested areas so as to avoid serious damage by the injurious insect to New York forests and trees; modify conditions for moving poultry by distributors who meet certain inspection and record keeping requirements aimed at controlling avian influenza; allow the Department's reimbursement to local fairs of premiums paid for poultry exhibits; clarify procedures applicable to the sampling and testing of milk; modify the license applicable to farm product dealers so that their qualifications are determined before the harvest season, and to establish a milk pricing order which would maintain a federal price differential if the federal requirement became unenforceable as a result of court action. The Department also analyzed and commented on a Department of Environmental Conservation proposal to establish a general permit for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), an issue of major importance to the agricultural and environmental communities.

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DAIRY INDUSTRY SERVICES AND PRODUCER SECURITY

 

Milk production in New York State in 1998 was 11.7 billion pounds, up 1.8 percent from 1997, and slightly above the previous record high set in 1985. New York is the third largest milk producer in the country. In 1998, the number of milk cows in the State increased slightly from 1997 and milk production per cow also increased slightly to a new record high of 16,748 pounds. Sales of fluid milk were slightly lower than in 1997. Butter production was down 13 percent from 1997, to 21 million pounds, while cheese production increased 2.4 percent, to 774 million pounds.

Prices received by New York dairymen for milk averaged $15.42 per hundredweight, $2.00 (14.9 percent) above 1997 and $.56 (3.8 percent) higher than the previous record high set in 1996. The value of milk at the farm amounted to around $1.77 billion in 1998, up from $1.52 billion in 1997.

Milk Dealer Licensing

The number of milk dealer licenses issued in 1998 was 758, an increase of 12 licensees from the previous year. In 1998, two processing plants closed and none opened; two manufacturing plants closed and five opened; and there were no changes in the number of transfer plants operating.

Milk payment security was required of 105 milk dealers who purchased milk from producers and cooperatives. The majority of dealers provided security by making payments to the Milk Producers Security Fund which had a balance of $5.5 million at the end of 1998. Six of the milk dealers who participated in the Security Fund were required to file mandatory security covering a portion of the value of their milk purchases. The total security filed by such dealers was $7.1 million. Twenty-five dealers elected to file full security with the Department to insure payments for their milk purchases. The total value of such security was $78.2 million.

During the year, no claims were paid from security filed by dealers or from the Milk Producers Security Fund. Refunds of licensees pro rata share of the Fund totaling $271,305 were made to licensees who either went out-of-business or who were no longer participating in the Security Fund.

Milk Marketing Orders

On April 4, 1996, President Clinton signed the 1996 Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform (FAIR) Act which mandates that the 33 Federal milk marketing areas (as of January 1, 1996) be consolidated or merged into 10 to 14 orders by April 1999. The Act directed the Secretary of Agriculture to designate the State of California as a Federal Milk Order if California producers desire such an order. In addition, the Secretary was authorized to address related issues, such as pricing of fluid and manufacturing milk, as part of reforming the Orders.

To carry out the mandated consolidation of Federal Orders, USDA is using informal rulemaking. In May 1996, the Department outlined a timeline and plan of action that consists of three phases: developmental, rule making and implementation. The process was generally on schedule through the developmental phase which continued throughout 1997 as the USDA issued several reports on key order reform issues and requested input on these issues and on any other aspect of the order program. The rule making phase began in January 1998 with the issuance of a proposed rule which consolidated and reformed federal milk marketing orders. The public was allowed 90 days to submit comments on the proposed rule.

On October 21, 1998, the President signed the Omnibus Consolidated Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill, which contained a provision that extended the deadline for completing federal milk marketing order reform. This provision required a "Final Rule" to be submitted to Congress between February 1 and April 4, 1999. Implementation of the new federal order systems was delayed from April 4, 1999 to October 1, 1999. This provision also extended the authorization of the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact until October 1, 1999.

In a separate matter, the USDA held a public hearing on February 17, 1998 in response to industry requests to consider flooring the level of the basic formula price for the purpose of determining Class I and Class II prices through December 1998. On June 10, 1998, Secretary of Agriculture Glickman issued a decision denying the petition to floor the level of the basic formula price. The Secretary stated that, while dairy farmers continue to undergo significant stress, neither the requirements of federal law nor the evidence viewed at the hearing justified establishing a price floor.

In the Minnesota Milk Producers court case that began in 1990 with a lawsuit challenging the use of existing Class I differentials, Judge David S. Doty of the United States District Court of Minnesota, on December 5, 1997, issued a three-month stay (until February 15, 1998) of his November 3, 1997 decision which enjoined the Secretary of Agriculture from enforcing existing Class I differentials in most of the Federal Orders.

The New York Milk Producers' Cooperative Bargaining Agency, Inc. had filed a petition effective December 2, 1997 with the Commissioner, requesting, pursuant to Section 258-m of the Agriculture and Markets Law, the establishment of an interim price for Class I milk marketed in the New York portion of the New York-New Jersey Milk Marketing Area. Following a review of the petition and consideration of factors set forth in Agriculture and Markets Law, the Commissioner issued an Interim Price Determination and Order on December 3, 1997 that established an interim price for Class I milk. When Judge Doty issued the three-month stay, the Interim Price Order ceased to be in effect.

As a result of concern and uncertainty as to what would happen when the three-month stay ended, the New York Milk Producers' Cooperative Bargaining Agency, Inc. filed another petition on January 23, 1998 requesting that the Commissioner, pursuant to Section 258-m of the Agriculture and Markets Law, establish an interim price for Class I milk in the New York portion of the New York-New Jersey Milk Marketing Area. On January 29, 1998,following a review of the petition and consideration of factors set forth in Agriculture and Markets Law, the Commissioner issued an Interim Price Determination and Order to be effective beginning with milk produced in February 1998.

On February 12, 1998, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit extended the stay of the U.S. District Court's decision. This action permitted the Secretary of Agriculture to continue to enforce existing Class I price differentials in all Federal Milk Marketing Orders. In addition, the New York State Interim Price Order contained a provision that stated that the Order would be "of no force and effect in the event that the November 3, 1997 Order of the District Court in Minnesota Milk Producers.et al. v. Dan Glickman, Secretary, USDA is further stayed, vacated or reversed..." Therefore, the lnterim Price Order did not go into effect.

On August 13, 1998, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued a ruling that reversed the U.S. District Court's decision of November 3, 1997. The Appeals Court stated that the Secretary's decision to maintain the current system for pricing Class I milk was within his discretion and that he may continue to enforce the existing Class I pricing system.

Over-Order Pricing

Competitive premiums paid to producers over the minimum market order prices averaged approximately $.40 per hundredweight, about the same as in 1997.

Dairy Promotion Order

In 1998, New York dairy farmers spent nearly $11.6 million to promote the sale of milk and dairy products in New York State and nearby states where their milk is marketed. The promotion activities were financed by an assessment of $.10 per hundredweight of milk marketed by New York dairy farmers. In addition, $.05 per hundredweight of milk marketed is contributed to the National Dairy Promotion Program by all New York dairy farms.

Approximately 83 percent of the New York Promotion Order funds were spent in New York State markets. The remainder was used to promote the sale of New York milk in adjacent states. The New York promotion program and out-of-state programs are coordinated with the National Dairy Promotion Program to improve the effectiveness of the overall dairy promotion campaign. The largest portion of the New York promotion funds is spent for media advertising; but substantial amounts are spent for nutrition education, publicity, information and supporting services, research and national program support.

Packaged Milk Prices and Margins

Retail prices of milk, low fat milk and skim milk were surveyed each month in 22 Upstate New York markets and 9 Metropolitan New York areas. The survey covers supermarkets throughout the State and smaller grocery stores in Metropolitan New York, while prices charged by convenience and dairy stores in Upstate markets were surveyed each quarter. For the year, the retail supermarket price for a gallon of milk averaged $2.53 in Upstate New York, up $.17 from 1997, and averaged $2.77 in Metropolitan New York, up $.14 from the previous year. The raw milk cost averaged $1.37 per gallon in Upstate New York and $1.43 per gallon in Metropolitan New York, both $.15 higher than in 1997. As a result of these changes, the gallon marketing margin for 1998 increased $.02 in Upstate New York and decreased a penny in Metropolitan New York.

Milk Price Gouging

In May 1991, as part of legislation to provide temporary price relief to New York State dairy farmers, General Business Law Section 396-rr was enacted to protect consumers from price increases greater than a temporary amount provided to farmers and from excessively high retail prices on a continuous basis. Monitoring retailers' compliance with the provisions of the statute has been primarily carried out using existing milk price surveys. Compliance has been widespread, and there were no referrals of apparent violations to the Attorney General during 1998.

Research and Information

Statistical information was compiled from monthly reports filed by licensed milk dealers. Much of the data was published annually in Department publications, while other information was summarized and analyzed for in-house administrative or program purposes. The data provided detailed information about sales of fluid milk, the production of manufactured products, utilization, prices paid, and shipments of milk into and out of New York State. Statistical data was provided to state and federal agencies and Cornell University for research and informational purposes. The Dairy Statistics Data Base System was maintained and distributed to regular users and used to respond to specific requests. Additional requests to obtain the System continue to be received and fulfilled.

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FISCAL MANAGEMENT

The Division develops the Department's budget request for State Operations, Capital Projects, and Aid to Localities funds, and monitors and ensures appropriate expenditure of these funds throughout the fiscal year. In 1998, the Division reviewed Department funding needs for 1999-2000 and prepared and submitted the Department's 1999-2000 budget request. The Division prepared funding assignments, expenditure plans and administrative cost allocation proposals for the 1998-99 fiscal year; and prepared regular expenditure reports for Department program staff and other State agencies.

The Division processes three bi-weekly regular and temporary employee payrolls, with more than 3,500 changes that must be individually processed each year. In 1998 the Division developed new procedures to respond to the adoption of a new payroll processing system by the Office of the State Comptroller.

The Division oversees the recording and deposit of revenues for 22 separate revenue accounts, produces quarterly reports on account activity and balances and maintains the petty cash and travel advance bank accounts for the Department.

In 1998 the Division reviewed and processed 219 contracts and 868 periodic payments on these contracts, and transmitted several hundred State Fair contracts to approval agencies. The Division coordinated contracts for the emergency removal of trees infested by the Asian Long Horned Beetle. The Division continued intensive follow-up of Not-for-Profit contract status with other Department divisions and with vendors, to minimize delays in payments to these contractors.

The Division processed close to 3,000 purchase requests, over 5,600 payments to vendors, and over 4,300 travel reimbursements to Department staff. The Division developed and implemented procedures to oversee and account for the use of new travel cards that will replace many of the paper documents formerly used to purchase travel services.

In 1998 the Division collected and recorded extensive data regarding the Department's operating expenditures to respond to the 1998 north country ice storm, and processed indemnity payments to close to 300 owners of dairy herds affected by the storm.

The Division audited premium reimbursement requests from 59 local fairs in the State, and determined each fair's prorated share of the appropriation made for this purpose. The Division also maintained liaison throughout the year with local fair officials to insure understanding of reimbursement issues and procedures.

Fiscal Management serves as the central point for submission and accounting for federal grants. The Division developed fiscal data and coordinated submission of grant applications; prepared monthly, quarterly, and annual financial reports and billings for grants totaling over $7 million; and prepared the annual federal indirect cost proposal.

The Division provides mail, supply, messenger, and central reproduction services for the Department's Albany offices. The Division also maintains and conducts random spot checks of the Department's equipment inventory, to safeguard State assets.

The Division received and distributed all incoming mail, supplies, and equipment; maintained warehouse space for storage of certain large items or bulk supplies; and processed over 300,000 pieces of outgoing mail. In 1998 the Division developed an agreement with another State agency for that agency to perform the monthly mailing for the Department of close to 650,000 dog license renewal forms each year.

The Division oversees management of a fleet of over 100 cars and trucks used by the Department's field staff, purchasing, assigning, and surplussing vehicles, overseeing vehicle maintenance and periodically reviewing vehicle use. In 1998 the Division developed improved quarterly reports of the use and costs of Department vehicles, to allow improved monitoring by both fleet managers and program staff responsible for vehicle management.

The Division coordinates all space and telephone changes for the department, and maintains liaison with the Office of General Services and the Department's Albany landlord on all lease-related issues.

The Division is responsible for coordinating the Department's Year 2000 effort with relation to potential embedded chip problems in all areas except the State Fair. In 1998 the Division inventoried and prioritized equipment and systems that might be affected, and contacted all vendors to determine potential problems and recommended solutions.

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FOOD LABORATORY

New York State consumer food protection programs conducted by the Department accounted for the major work performed in the Food Laboratory during 1998. The various Divisions submitted 18,669 food and beverage samples. Total number of chemical and microbiological tests conducted for the Department was 74,700.

Analysis of 3,994 Food Safety and Inspection samples and 14,675 Milk Control samples were performed. Food Safety and Inspection also submitted 250 feed samples for analysis. The Division of Plant Industry submitted 90 fertilizer and lime samples for analysis. Approximately 85 percent of the samples were found to be properly labeled and free of adulteration.

Laboratory personnel also tested 732 pieces of Babcock, Gerber, and bacteriological glassware for conformance with construction and calibration standards. Approximately 2 percent failed to meet standards. Regulations require that glassware and other instruments used in the testing of milk and dairy products for payment must be approved or certified before official use.

Chemical and microbiological services provided for other agencies included the testing of 51 wine cooler and liquor samples for the New York State Liquor Authority and the pesticide residue testing of 1,655 fruit, vegetable, corn syrup and milk samples submitted by the Division of Food Safety and Inspection and other states involved in the Pesticide Data Program. Approximately half of all personal and non-personal services costs were funded by USDA.

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FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION

The Division of Food Safety and Inspection is responsible for maintaining the safety of the food supply from the producer to the retailer, as well as providing unbiased third party product grading service for a wide variety of farm and fishery products.

Food Safety, Sanitation and Labeling

During 1998, 29,562 sanitary inspections were conducted in an effort to ensure the safety, cleanliness, and proper labeling of food during processing, transportation, and sale. There are 28,536 establishments under the Division's jurisdiction, including food canneries, frozen food processing plants, bakeries, candy manufacturers, beverage bottlers, cereal and baby food manufacturers, flour mills, retail food stores, and refrigerated warehouses. At the end of 1998, approximately 93 percent of these establishments were in substantial compliance on their most recent inspection.

Approximately 5,702 samples of various foods were collected for analyses by the Department's State Food Laboratory to determine compliance with food standards, adulteration with inferior substitute ingredients, undeclared or non-permitted preservatives, heavy metals, color additives, contamination with filth, spoilage, pathogenic bacteria, toxins or parasites.

There were 1,134 samples collected and analyzed for pesticide residues; 94 of these were found violative in that they contained residues of unapproved pesticides or approved pesticides at levels slightly over permitted tolerance levels. The majority of samples tested for pesticide residue analysis were collected under terms of the Department's cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This nationwide program is in its seventh year and has ten participating states, including New York. When violations are found, USDA notifies the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for follow-up action.

There were 4,633 penalties assessed, totaling $2,386,745 for insanitary conditions at food establishments, misbranded eggs or produce, economic fraud, unit pricing violations, sale of adulterated food, operating without the required license, unauthorized removal of seized foods and other violations of the Agriculture and Markets Law.

Final determinations were made by the Commissioner in 82 cases following 264 administrative hearings to consider revoking or declining to grant or renew licenses at food establishments because of insanitary conditions. 102 licenses were denied or revoked. Six hearings were requested to consider the disposition of food seizures.

128 requests to initiate action in the State Supreme Court to enjoin establishments from operating under insanitary conditions were forwarded to Counsel's office. These requests pertained to establishments which are either not required to be licensed, failed to acquire a license or disregarded a Commissioner's Determination denying them a license.

Other requests to Counsel's office included 16 Temporary Restraining Orders, 7 Contempt Citations, 2 Inspection Warrants and 1 Arrest Warrant.

The Division also scheduled 839 industry conferences during FY 97-98. 472 conferences were actually held. These conferences are an interim step which are held in lieu of an administrative hearing or injunction proceeding. Approximately 71 percent of the establishments which participate in such conferences are found in compliance during their next inspection. This, of course, significantly reduces the need for administrative hearings, injunctions or other legal remedies.

In 1998, 10,260 food-related investigations were conducted, in addition to 4,011 consumer complaint investigations. 2,089 food seizures were made, and 1,232,409 pounds of adulterated or otherwise unfit foods were destroyed.

Statutory requirements for ingredient and nutritional labeling of livestock feed and pet food were enforced by collecting and analyzing 250 samples of these products; approximately 90 percent were found in compliance.

There were 2,797 inspections relating to food labeling and advertising. Penalties totaling $42,000 were assessed against firms for violations involving labeling, advertising and health claims.

In 1998, 84 unit pricing inspections were accomplished and $10,185 in penalties were assessed against non-compliant firms.

Under contract with FDA, 238 inspections were conducted at food processing establishments and 4 at medicated feed mills. The Division also contracted with FDA to collect 235 samples of various foods for pesticide residues and 20 samples of imported foods. All these samples were analyzed by FDA. We also conducted 20 Seafood HACCP inspections at seafood manufacturing firms as part of a partnership agreement with FDA.

Fees collected for registration of over 5,965 brands of pet food totaled $149,125. An assessment of 5 cents per ton on commercial feed yielded $130,209.56. License fees totaling $811,439 were collected for 12,369 operations, including food processing establishments, disposal plants, food salvagers, slaughterhouses, and refrigerated warehouses.

As part of the State's Disaster Preparedness Plan, Division personnel, along with officials from several other agencies, participated in several meetings and emergency response exercises during the year. The Division's role in the plan is to protect and monitor the food supply of the State and assist in the movement of food in the event of a natural disaster or an accident at any of the nuclear power plants in the State.

Food Safety Outreach Program

During 1998, the Division conducted 14 food safety and labeling seminars for members of the regulated industry across New York State. More than 989 food establishment executives, supervisors, and employees attended these seminars which explained the food safety issues behind Agriculture and Markets law and regulations, and offered advice on how to keep their respective businesses in compliance.

In addition, the Division made available, upon request, inspection status reports and statistics to food chains interested in monitoring their compliance status and pinpointing problem areas. These reports are frequently customized to meet the specific needs of a given chain.

Division staff also routinely met with industry trade associations to discuss food safety and regulatory issues of mutual concern.

Farm Products Grading and Inspection

The Division of Food Safety and Inspection also grades and certifies fruits, vegetables, fish and fishery products, poultry, eggs, red meat and grain. Official certificates are required on export shipments, government purchases, and many commercial sales contracts. The Division provides this service on a fee basis to producers and shippers of agricultural products. This is facilitated by cooperative agreements between the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, USDA, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The USDA licenses state inspectors to inspect various commodities and to issue federal certificates attesting to the product's grade. In addition to fruits and vegetables, the farm products inspection section grades and certifies fish and fishery products, poultry, eggs, red meat, and grain. The service is widely used to insure fulfillment of purchase contract requirements, as a basis for delivery rejections, and in the settlement of disputes over product quality and grade.

Enforcement Activities

During 1998 inspections were performed at 3,014 establishments, where 32,218 lots of fresh produce and eggs were inspected. Of the above lots, 1,982 were found to be in violation and penalties totaling $17,375 were assessed.

Controlled Atmosphere

6.0 million bushels of apples were stored in 387 rooms at 109 storages during the 1998-99 marketing season, including 692,538 bushels stored in 54 rooms under the Rapid CA program. In addition, there were 16 repacking operations registered.

1998 Volume Report Grading and Certification

1998 ACTIVITY

CERTIFICATES
ISSUED

VOLUME
(000 lbs.)

FEES
($000)

Shipping Point (Includes fruits, vegetables, dry beans, hay and processing)

32,436

1,002,300

573

Terminal Markets

3,811

107,232

380

Institutions

737

800

21

Shell Eggs

----

36,488

158

Shell Eggs Surveillance (visits)

128

----

19

Egg Products

----

21,174

133

Grain (sampling and certification)

191

1,583

5

Seafood (staff hours)

1,265

412

127

Meat

65

911

25

TOTALS

38,633

1,170,900

1,441

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HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

Human Resources Management is responsible for establishing and administering the Department's human resources policies including recruitment, examination, time and attendance, classification, labor relations, training and development, and health and safety programs.

During 1998 New York State implemented Year 2000 compliant personnel and payroll transaction systems and an accident reporting system. Concomitantly, the Division developed and implemented computerized internal control procedures to track eligible lists and vacancy postings. Additionally, the Division designed new forms to better manage personnel transactions. These administrative and system changes will facilitate the communication of quick, high quality personnel information between the various control agencies, the Division and the Department.

Examinations and Recruitment

During calendar year 1998, there were 38 appointments, made primarily from open competitive lists. In anticipation of expiring and depleted eligible lists Division staff coordinated with program managers and the Department of Civil Service to develop a two-year examination schedule which covers 17 of the Department's critical regulatory titles.

Division staff reviewed 730 applications for the decentralized food inspector examination, approving 248 for testing. Of those individuals actually tested, 24 percent passed, thus providing a sufficient candidate pool for downstate locations. Division staff also responded to over 130 written employment inquiries and canvassed approximately 50 Civil Service eligible lists.

Classification of Positions

A considerable amount of staff time was devoted to reclassifying and reallocating the Director, Rural Affairs and various clerical positions. The Division staff also responded to out-of-title work grievances and requests for upgrades, which were submitted by clerical employees.

Labor Relations

In calendar year 1998, the Division received 2 out-of-title work grievances and 1 contract grievance, all of which were decided in the Department's favor. One interrogation was conducted which resulted in discipline. In addition, the Department's Labor Management Team convened to discuss and resolve issues.

Training and Development

The Division of Human Resources administers and coordinates various tuition reimbursement and skill development programs sponsored by state bargaining units. Major programs include: PEF/PSTP Tuition Support Program, Public Service Workshops Program, LEAP Tuition Voucher Program, CSEAP Program, and the MC Tuition Reimbursement Program. The Division also schedules eligible employees for retirement workshops and seminars conducted by the Office for the Aging and the Office of the State Comptroller. Additionally, employees are scheduled for computer training in Microsoft Windows, Word, Email, Excel and Access.

During 1998, the Division arranged for the Executive component of the Sexual Harassment in the Workplace training, which has been developed by the Governor's Office of Employee Relations. Plans were also confirmed to begin the All Employees module of the training in 1999.

Affirmative Action

During calendar year 1998, there were 38 appointments, made primarily from open competitive lists. Protected class members were appointed to 18, (or 47 percent) of these filled positions. This is a significant increase from the prior year as the Department made 14 more appointments in 1998 and 9 of those (or 64 percent) were protected class appointments. The Department's decentralized examination for entry-level Food Inspector positions in the New York City metropolitan area continues to yield a pool of protected class candidates.

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INFORMATION SYSTEMS

The Division of Information Systems is responsible for supporting the computer resources and the majority of computer applications for the Department. Its computer resources include a Novell network of more than 200 users/PCs and related peripherals, an IBM AS/400 midrange computer, over 100 notebook PCs used by field staff, AS/400 terminals in the Brooklyn office, telephone lines to support connections to various offices and agencies, an Internet server, and a variety of stand-alone PCs and peripherals.

There are over 60 significant computer applications supported by the division; the majority are on the AS/400 and provide support to the program divisions for processing licenses and registrations, inspections, penalties, etc. The remaining applications maintain information to support administrative functions, provide statistical reports and analyses, and assist with agricultural production and promotion programs.

During the year a new operating system was installed on the AS/400. This upgrade provides additional functionality and assures that the AS/ 400 is Y2K compliant in relation to its operating system and licensed software. In addition a new disk was installed on the system, effectively tripling disk capacity.

Converting computer applications to correctly process the year 2000 (Y2K) continued to be the most important activity of the Division; 17 additional applications were converted in 1998. Among the systems converted were Dog Licensing, Milk Dealer Licensing, Domestic Animal Health Permits, and Laboratory Certification. Also, during the year the process of replacing or upgrading personal computers and related software began. Approximately l50 desktop and notebook PCs were replaced or upgraded to satisfy Y2K compliance requirements.

In October, the Food Safety Inspector's notebook project reached a milestone when distribution of notebook PCs was completed and all food inspectors had computers assigned to them. During the year over 11,800 sanitary inspections were recorded on the notebook computers by the inspectors and transmitted to the Albany office for processing and distribution. This represents almost 40 percent of the total inspections conducted for the year.

The number of localities in the State that participate in the program to electronically transfer dog license information continues to grow. During 1998, additional 58 localities were approved to send dog license transactions to the agency via Email or on diskette. This process of electronically filing license transactions replaces the current system that requires city and town clerks to mail paper licenses to the Department for data entry on the State centralized system. The electronic transfer project is a collaborative effort between Information Systems and Animal Industry, the division responsible for administering the dog license program.

Connections to two major computer systems administered by other State agencies were implemented and enabled on various personal computers. These links give agency employees access to the PaySR system operated by the Comptroller's Office and Civil Service's NYSTEP system.

During the year the Computer Help Desk responded to over 1,500 calls (double the number for 1997) for assistance and information, and the Data Entry Unit continues to provide timely support to all divisions for entering large volumes of data and updating their files.

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DIVISION OF INTERNAL AUDIT

The Division of Internal Audit provides the Commissioner with an independent and objective appraisal of Department operations by conducting financial, compliance, economy and efficiency, and program results audits to ensure programs are carried out in accordance with established goals and objectives in the most cost effective manner, Department resources are properly safeguarded against loss, and financial and operating information is accurate and reliable.

The Division also conducts audits of Department grants and contracts; serves as a liaison with external auditors; recommends standards of control for new systems; provides technical assistance to program managers in developing and maintaining sound systems of internal control; and monitors the implementation status of audit recommendations.

During 1998 the Division finalized 7 internal audits, reviews, special projects and investigations which included recommendations for improving program efficiency and accountability within the Department.

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KOSHER LAW ENFORCEMENT UNIT

The Kosher Law Enforcement Unit helps assure that food represented as kosher is prepared, labeled and sold in accordance with provisions of the Agriculture and Markets Law aimed at protecting consumers from false or misleading claims about the kosher status of products they may purchase.

The increase in inspections (an all time high), has resulted in a higher degree of compliance and as a result, a decrease in violations. This had a very positive impact on this division.

There are currently more than ten million consumers purchasing from about 50,000 food items marked kosher.

During 1998, there were 8,401 inspections, 392 investigations and 46 consumer complaints. 103 cases were sent to Counsel's Office for review.

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DIVISION OF MILK CONTROL

The Division assures consumers that milk produced in New York State is wholesome and pure.

Product Sanitation

The Division issues licenses for those who sample, receive or test milk, including tank truck drivers and those who work in laboratories testing milk and milk products.

The Division is active in the Interstate Milk Shippers Program, a federal-state program designed to facilitate interstate movement of wholesome, quality milk. Shippers must meet high standards in regular evaluations to remain in the program.

During the year, the Division's four rating officers completed all of the required ratings and participated in the required check-ratings with the FDA Regional Milk Specialist. They also inspected single-service fabricating plants and participated in educational and training meetings, including a seminar held by FDA for all rating officers.

The Division certifies and supervises 153 industry milk inspectors, who inspect approximately 8,500 dairy farms.

During the year approximately 4,540 dairy farms were visited by our Dairy Products Specialists for the purpose of determining the accuracy of sampling producer milk and to evaluate the performance of Certified Industry Milk Inspectors. Milk delivery vehicles were inspected so as to be certain milk was properly transported. 1,814 pasteurizer tests were performed during 1998 to determine their compliance with pasteurization requirements and that they were functioning properly. 1,935 inspections were conducted of milk, frozen dessert and cheese processing plants to assess the sanitary conditions under which dairy products are processed.

To assure adequate practices and safeguards are followed, and to minimize environmental contamination of dairy food, the Division continued to work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in its initiatives relative to dairy plant sanitation and control of animal drugs used on dairy farms.

The Division rated over 100 milk supplies, qualifying the shippers for participation in the Interstate Milk Shippers Program; handled 139 complaints; processed 3,343 milk violation cases; 276 labeling and misbranding cases; 1,063 sampling cases; 1,812 cases involving inspections and investigations; and held 6 office conferences with industry representatives to resolve a variety of compliance problems.

Labeling and Representation of Milk and Dairy Products

During 1998, the Division's Dairy Products Specialists submitted 14,873 samples to the State Food Laboratory for chemical and bacteriological analysis and screened many samples at the Department's nine regional laboratories located throughout New York State. Approximately 7,000 samples of consumer milk and dairy products were field tested for butterfat and added water. More than 12,000 tests of producer milk were conducted for butterfat, water, antibiotics, abnormal milk and sediment and approximately 6,000 weight tests performed on packaged milk and ice cream.

Training, Seminars and Consumer Education

Seven Milk Processing Superintendent seminars were held in 1998, with over 200 in attendance. Six annual training schools for Certified Industry Milk Inspectors were also held, with approximately 200 in attendance. Seminars were also held for Milk Laboratory Technicians, with approximately 150 in attendance.

The Division played an important role in the operation of the dairy products exhibits at the State Fair, including complete operation of the Rainbow Milk Bar, where more than a quarter of a million cups of milk was sold. The Division conducted the popular dairy products competition program for a variety of cheeses and butter.

Producer Protection and Services

In 1998, the Division conducted 1,041 inspections of milk receivers (persons who sample and measure milk at the farm); made 411 inspections of milk testing laboratories; assuring that properly trained and qualified people use proper equipment and techniques to determine the acceptance or rejection of milk from farmers and that farmers' milk is accurately measured, sampled and tested.

The Division sent out duplicate milk samples to industry and commercial laboratories to verify the validity of the work they perform. This program worked very well and qualified the laboratories for certification as required by the Interstate Milk Shippers Conference. Duplicate samples were also sent to laboratories that test milk for vitamin analysis, and to laboratories testing for coliform bacteria, to assure accuracy.

Animal Drug Residue Control

The Division continues to work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments to assure an effective animal drug residue control program for the milk supply. Much of the national program was patterned after the program that has been in place in New York for many years.

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DIVISION OF PLANT INDUSTRY

The Division of Plant Industry is responsible for maintaining plant health, promoting the statewide adoption of integrated pest management practices, monitoring the availability and labeling of basic agricultural commodities, the identification of vacant public land suitable for community gardening and detecting and preventing the spread of bee diseases through the administration of Articles 2-C, 9, 9A, 10, 10A, 11, 14 and 15 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.

The Division's field staff is comprised of 2 Senior Horticultural Inspectors, 15 Horticultural Inspectors, a Labor Supervisor associated with the Golden Nematode Program, 1 temporary employee associated with the eradication program directed at the Asian Longhorned Beetle and 2 seasonal Apiary Inspectors hired to provide certification for the interstate movement of honeybee colonies and equipment to those states requiring a certificate of health.

Plant Pest Law

While the combined number of nursery grower and nursery dealer licensees declined slightly in 1998, total acreage (27,422 acres) and square footage of glass (24,419,592) engaged in the production of plant material increased.

The 2,476 nursery grower licenses validated through 1998 were comprised of 1,912 main locations, 301additional selling sites, and 263 growing locations. During this same period, 4,410 nursery dealers were licensed.

The inspection activities conducted by Department Horticultural Inspectors may be summarized as follows:

Nursery Inspections

3,694

Nursery Dealer Inspections

2,000

Shipment Inspections (incoming)

104

Shipment Inspections (outgoing domestic)

672

Shipment Inspections (outgoing foreign)

664

Total Plants Inspected (shipments only)

10 Million

Total Plants Rejected (shipments only)

----

Number of Federal Certificates issued

293

Number of State Certificates issued

1,075

Federal Domestic Plant Pest Quarantine

Asian Longhorned Beetle

In mid-August of 1996, the discovery of the Asian Longhorned Beetle in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn was reported by an employee of the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation. Shortly thereafter, a second infestation was detected in the vicinity of Amityville, Long Island. Subsequent survey activities conducted by State, federal and municipal personnel have delineated the extent of the only two known areas of infestation which have since been placed under federal and State quarantine.

Speculation places the original introduction of the Asian Longhorned Beetle into Greenpoint approximately ten or more years ago. Upon the recommendation of a Science Advisory Panel, an eradication program was initiated. As of the end of 1998, more than 2,600 trees from the quarantined areas of Greenpoint and Amityville, New York have been cut, chipped, and incinerated.

Under Phase I of the program, a total of 1,220 infested trees were identified and removed (Brooklyn/Queens 766, Amityville 454). Phase I activities were conducted from August 1996 through June of 1997. Additional 784 beetle infested trees were removed during Phase II of the operation that ended April 30, 1998. Phase III, currently underway, has identified and removed 601 infested trees to date bringing the total number of trees cut and removed to 2,605.

Emergence of the adult beetle was again observed in July. If the identification of infested trees continues unimpeded, significant suppression of the pest population can be achieved. Eradication however, will be dependent upon our ability to prevent future introductions and to locate the remaining infested trees and/or the satellite populations of the beetle.

Delineation of the boundaries of the present populations continues to be a daunting task. An expansion of the existing quarantine boundaries has to better reflect those areas monitored for the movement of regulated articles.

Golden Nematode

The Golden Nematode (GN) is a quarantined pest that has been discovered in potato fields on Long Island and several areas in upstate New York. It is recognized throughout the temperate regions of the world as one of the most difficult of all crop pests to control. It can drastically reduce yields on the farms where it exists, and if left uncontrolled, poses a threat for spread to other fields. This risk of spread would force the federal regulatory agency to prohibit the interstate movement of all crops which could carry soil on them were it not for an effective management program.

For over fifty years, the Department and the United States Department of Agriculture have worked cooperatively to preserve the potato industry in New York and to prevent the spread of the nematode. Beginning in 1992 in response to fiscal reductions at the federal level, the acreage surveyed annually Upstate and on Long Island started to decline.

In response to declining federal and State appropriations, a Science Advisory Panel was jointly appointed through the National Plant Board and the United States Department of Agriculture in 1995. In its pest risk assessment of the golden nematode, the SAP concluded it to be a pest of very great economic and quarantine significance.

The value of host crop production in New York State is estimated to be $80 million annually. Nationally, the combined annual farm gate production value of the principal host crops is $5.7 billion. The inclusion of other soil bearing commodities that could come under regulation, such as nursery and ornamentals, sod, onions, carrots, beets, etc. would increase this figure at least threefold. In addition, more than 2 million acres of land in host crop production could become subject to quarantine.

A new biotype of the golden nematode (Ro2) was identified and confirmed in 1994 on Long Island and Upstate New York. This strain cannot be controlled with the resistant potato varieties that have been used and found to be effective against the traditional strain (Ro1). Although not believed to be widespread, the new biotype will require additional survey and research to identify its distribution and to support the development of new potato varieties resistant to its multiplication and spread.

Delimiting surveys were conducted on lands exposed to GN infestation in Genesee, Livingston, Seneca, Steuben, Suffolk and Wayne Counties. Detection surveys were conducted on seed land and non-exposed land in Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Madison, Steuben and Wyoming Counties. Detection surveys were conducted on non-infested potato land in Suffolk County that was being converted to nursery production. Statewide, a total of 8,228 samples were collected from 3,761 acres.

Personnel located at Westhampton Beach, Long Island collected 1,340 samples from 665 acres and personnel upstate collected 6,888 samples from 3,096 acres. Examination of soil samples resulted in viable GN cysts detected in five new properties totaling 99 acres. Non-viable cysts were found in samples from two new properties. Post Resistant Variety Treatment Survey(s) (PRVTS) were conducted on sixteen properties totaling 331 acres. Fifteen of these properties yielded no cysts. The remaining property yielded ten viable cysts that were submitted to Dr. Brodie (USDA-ARS) for race determination. A New Race Detection Survey (NRDS) was conducted on a 12-acre field (37-A-54) with no detection of viable cysts. Three hundred ninety-five treatments were administered to disinfect used farm equipment prior to its movement outside regulated areas.

Pine Shoot Beetle

New York is one of the original six states that PSB was found during 1992. The USDA found three new county records for Pine Shoot Beetle in a 1998 trap survey. This brings the total number of infested counties in New York to 22: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Cortland, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Onondaga, Orleans, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tompkins, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates. As of September 1998, the Pine Shoot Beetle has been detected in 243 counties and 9 states.

Endemic Pest Survey

Seleroderris Canker

There are two strains of Scleroderris Canker in North America. The Lake States strain, present throughout northeastern North America, attacks young trees but does little damage to trees taller than six feet. The second, the European strain, which is found in New York and other states, has caused serious mortality in pole-sized red and Scotch pine plantations. In 1988, Douglas fir, larch and spruce were deleted from the list of articles regulated under Part 130 of the Scleroderris Canker Quarantine. As a result of this action, inspection and regulatory activities are solely directed at the sale and movement of pine trees and their parts.

To determine their eligibility for movement, pine Christmas trees and pine nursery stock growing at 21 locations (468 acres) were inspected for the presence of Scleroderris Canker disease. The movement of trees grown on sites that have been found infected or exposed to infection is restricted to locations within the quarantine area. Plant material from sites within the quarantined area that have been inspected and found free of the disease received certification and were allowed to move with no additional restrictions. Results of retail Christmas tree sales yard inspections conducted throughout the State were as follows:

Number of locations inspected

665

Number of trees-origin verified

2l, 238

 

Other

Late Blight Initiative - Potatoes

Late blight was again a threat throughout the United States and Canada in 1998. Late blight was severe on spring crops on tomatoes and potatoes in the west. Potatoes were affected by the US-8 lineage of Phytophthora infestans and tomatoes were mainly affected by the US-11 clonal lineage (Al mating type). In Western New York, the very wet weather in June and early July exacerbated problems due to late blight (US-8) early and midseason. Some hot spots were destroyed with herbicide or disking, and fungicides were used intensively in several locations. The much drier weather from mid-season on, in combination with effective use of fungicides combined to prevent a major catastrophe. Similarly, the dry weather throughout the latter part of the season combined with fungicide application to lessen the importance of late blight throughout the Northeast in the 1998 growing season.

There are many components to an effective management program to suppress potato late blight. Each component is important and there are still no "silver bullets" that work effectively in isolation. In the short term, cultural practices contributed significantly (healthy seed tubers, elimination of sources of P. infestans through destruction of cull piles and volunteers, and proper storage conditions after harvest). In the short term, fungicides are an important component of an integrated management strategy. In the longer term, resistant potato plants will contribute to an integrated management strategy.

On January 21, 1998, a specific exemption request for the use of cymoxanil (Curzate M-8), dimethomorph (Acrobat MZ), and propamocarb (Tattoo C) to control late blight on potatoes during the 1998 growing season was submitted to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. A similar request for Tattoo C was submitted to EPA on January 26, 1998 to control late blight on tomatoes grown in New York State during the 1998 growing season.

Biotechnology Permits For Genetically Engineered Plants and Micro-Organisms

Organisms that have been genetically engineered (via recombinant DNA techniques) from a donor organism, recipient organism, vector or vector agent that is a plant pest or contains pest components are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Biotechnology, Biologics and Environmental Protection. Other genetically engineered organisms may be regulated if they have been genetically engineered using an unclassified organism or if the Director of Biotechnology, Biologics and Environmental Protection determines that the genetically engineered organism is a regulated article.

In 1998, one environmental release permit was approved, 23 movement permits were granted and 68 notifications were received and acknowledged.

Application and Permit to Move Live Plant Pests or Noxious Weeds

In 1998, the Division processed 150 applications to permit the movement of live plant pests and/or noxious weeds for experimental use and testing. This is a federal-state cooperative program.

Apiary Inspection Program

Since the discovery of the honeybee tracheal mite in 1984 and the subsequent detection of the Varroa mite in 1987, the maintenance of the State's viable honeybee population has been of great concern to the Department. Left undetected or untreated, apiaries infested with these parasites will exhibit a high rate of colony mortality. A concern regarding honeybee mortality centers on the importance of the honeybee as the major crop pollinator.

Article 15 of the Agriculture and Markets Law relating to bee diseases provides the Department with the authority to inspect the State's 6,700 apiaries and 58,000 honeybee colonies for the detection and control of infectious and contagious diseases and parasites of honeybees.

3,623 honeybee colonies from 67 apiaries were inspected for American foulbrood disease and parasitic mites.

In 1998, the Division issued 24 certificates to 22 beekeepers permitting the interstate movement of 10,424 honeybee colonies. Approximately 24,200 honeybee colonies entered New York State under permit in 1998.

In June of 1998, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued a pest alert for Aethina tumida, the small hive beetle. Shortly thereafter, the states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia reported the discovery of this pest.

The small hive beetle is known as an apiary pest in South Africa. Adults and larvae inhabit beehives, where they feed on stored pollen and honey. Combs are damaged and brood killed by the burrowing of the beetle larvae, and bees have been observed to abandon combs once they are infested.

The Department, in cooperation with the State lead agency (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation) and Cornell University sought and obtained a FIFRA Specific Emergency Exemption (Section 18) request for the use of coumaphos for the control of the Varroa mite and the small hive beetle in New York State during 1999.

Although the small hive beetle has not been reported from New York, it is suspected to be present as the result of the interstate movement of migratory honeybee colonies and through the sale of package bees.

Commodity Inspection

Fertilizer and Lime

The application and use of fertilizers and liming materials are required to maintain productive, profitable, and competitive agricultural and horticultural industries. In 1997, product sampling of commercial fertilizers or agricultural liming materials was reinstated. In 1998, 90 samples were obtained for analysis and for comparison to their labeled guarantees.

Statistics for 1998 include:

Fertilizer:

Firms licensed

302

Inspections performed

181

Samples taken

80

Liming Materials:

Registered

142 brands

Inspections performed

22

Samples taken

10

 

In 1998, 80 commercial fertilizer samples were obtained for analysis and comparison to their labeled guarantees. Forty nine percent of the products sampled were found to be deficient in one or more of their stated guarantees. In addition, ten agricultural liming materials were also sampled for analysis. Nine of ten of the products sampled were found to be deficient in TNV, fineness and/or ENV.

Seed

Seed offered or exposed for sale within New York is subject to the specific labeling and testing (germination, purity, and performance) requirements as stated in Article 9 of the Agriculture and Markets Law. A limited amount of seed sampling was performed in 1998. Forty-eight inspections were conducted with 57 samples being taken for analysis.

Contractual Agreements

Integrated Pest Management ($837AM)

The New York State IPM Program seeks to transform chemically-intensive agriculture into an ecologically sound production system. It takes a holistic approach to understanding the relationships between organisms in the agro-ecosystem, to finding ways to enhancing natural pest management processes, and to adopting the cropping patterns most suited to the local environment. IPM tools include biological control agents, cultural controls, host plant resistance and some chemicals, -- not pesticides alone. The program's desired outcome is increased overall social and environmental welfare in addition to the economic management of plant and animal pests.

The 1998 allocation for the Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program conducted through the New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell totaled $837,000. Cumulative appropriations for this publicly supported program have amounted to $1,058,029 over a thirteen year period since its inception in 1985.

During this period of sustained support, approximately 650 research and development, demonstration and implementation projects have been funded in the areas of fruit, vegetables, ornamentals and turf, and dairy/field crops. The emphasis of funding continues to be in the area of biointensive studies and implementation projects.

The 1998 allocation of State funds for IPM was as follows:

Implementation Support

$422,810

Research and Development

$260,133

Grape Entomologist

$ 50,000

Public Awareness

$ 36,460

Computer Support

$ 36,529

Weather Support

$ 22,318

Application Technology

$ 8,750

TOTAL

$837,000

 

A total of 50 projects were funded in 1998 involving on-farm demonstrations, research and development, public awareness, electronic technology and weather and disease forecasting.

Plant Insect and Disease Detection ($179,600)

New York State's CAPS Program is the statewide portion of a national effort between Cornell University, USDA/APHIS/PPQ, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and other cooperating State agencies and universities. The CAPS Program is important to the pest survey activities of New York State because it: 1) assists the State in maintaining and improving the exotic pests, pest of export significance, and PPQ Program pests/beneficial organisms survey activities, 2) continues the electronic information exchange of pest and beneficial data to the National Agriculture Pest Information System (NAPIS) database, 3) provides the State with resources for furthering the science and technology of survey and detection, and 4) strengthens the communication bond between cooperating agencies.

The goal of the New York State's CAPS Program is to improve survey, detection, identification, and electronic information exchange of pests and beneficial organisms of importance to New York and American agriculture. The objectives of the program are:

a) To develop a statewide survey plan for exotic pests, pest of export significance, and PPQ Program pest/beneficial organisms in accordance with the national guidelines.

b) To communicate results of survey efforts to interested user groups on a timely basis via electronic message systems.

c) To provide a network of contacts for coordinating emergency pest situations.

d) To maintain and enhance capabilities for collecting and processing crop, pest and beneficial data using electronic capabilities.

e) To transfer pertinent pest data from agricultural detection surveys to the NAPIS database.

The focus of activities centered on the survey of onion production areas for pests of regulatory significance, the development of a Pest Management Program for Minimizing the Economic Impact of Pine Shoot Beetle in Pine Nurseries and Plantations, and the management of data derived from the Asian Longhorned Beetle eradication program.

Golden Nematode Resistant Variety Breeding and Accelerated Propagation ($50,700)

This program is directed at the development of golden nematode resistant potato varieties. The availability and use of the resistant varieties is necessary to maintain New York's $70 million potato industry. In addition, the existing Federal/State cooperative effort requires those growers operating on regulated fields to plant resistant varieties as part of a land management system.

The development of the resistant varieties and their subsequent use had made possible the enforcement of quarantine requirements without the use of pesticides. In the four-year period prior to the use of resistant varieties in the required land management system, 56,000 gallons of soil fumigants had been used in the program. The resistant varieties have enabled the Department to reduce its program costs and lessen the potential of adverse impacts on the environment.

The detection of a new biotype of the golden nematode (Ro2) that is not affected by those varieties developed and resistant to the Ro1 strain will ensure the continued importance and need for the support of this program.

Also included as part of the total program, is the support for continued research and development of meristematic tissue culture. This propagation technique has provided for the rapid increase of resistant varieties and hastens the availability of the new varieties for commercial use. The use of this technique has also provided opportunities for the elimination of a number of plant diseases peculiar to potatoes. Consequently, the potato seed resulting from the breeding program is not only resistant to the golden nematode, but is also free of major diseases.

Plant Pest Diagnosis and Identification ($6,000)

Plant pests can cause extensive plant losses if left undetected and uncontrolled; therefore, their detection and identification is necessary to prevent economic loss. The Department contracts through Cornell University for taxonomic services to support its inspection activities.

Potato Variety Identification Program ($6,500)

The implementation of a system of potato variety identification is necessary to enable the Department to determine whether disease resistant varieties are being planted. Testing determines resistance or susceptibility only. A total of two hundred ninety-eight samples were obtained from 98 regulated fields.

Apiary Research ($75,000)

The objective of this research is to develop mite and disease control strategies that insures the availability of healthy and affordable honeybee colonies for crop pollination. The specific objectives are to determine the efficacy of oils for mite control, investigate chemical and physical mechanisms of mite host location process, to examine hygienic behavior as a basis for breeding, and to establish an apicultural extension program.

New York State Agricultural Experiment Station ($600,000)

The Department provided support for the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, at Geneva for equipment and supplies to conduct agricultural research.

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SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION COMMITTEE

The New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, established as an agency of the State in 1940, is made up of five voting members appointed by the Governor and nine persons who serve by virtue of their position as officials of State and federal agencies, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension, and the Conservation District Employees' Association, as specified by the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Law.

Since 1980, the State Committee has operated as an entity located within the Department of Agriculture and Markets. While the Committee exists and functions under its own statutory charge, its full-time staff, the Division of Soil and Water Conservation, are employees of the Department of Agriculture and Markets.

In 1989, the Legislature amended both the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Law and the Environmental Conservation Law to assign the State Committee a key role, jointly with the Department of Environmental Conservation, in effecting the protection of New York's waters from nonpoint sources of pollution.

It is the mission of the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee to develop and oversee implementation of an effective Soil and Water Conservation and Nonpoint Source Water Quality program for the State of New York that will be implemented primarily through Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The Committee establishes policy to guide Soil and Water Conservation Districts' programs; assists the 58 county local Soil and Water Conservation Districts in organizing, developing and implementing programs; advises all agencies of government on matters relating to soil and water conservation.

Section 319 Clean Water Act (CWA) Funds

The State Committee received $1,294,702 in 319 funding through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. The funding was broken down into four categories: Personal Services, Education/Training, Mini-Grants for County Water Quality Coordinating Committees and Additional Water Quality Initiatives.

Personal Services - $762,690

As in 1997, two full-time positions, a Water Quality Liaison and an Associate Environmental Analyst, were funded to assist with water quality activities. The remainder of the personal services funding was used to contract with county soil and water conservation districts to provide assistance to the State Committee with its water quality workload. Contracts were entered into with:

  • Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District for water quality services in the Southeast section of New York;
  • Wyoming County Soil and Water Conservation District for water quality services in the West section of New York;
  • Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District for water quality services in the Upper Susquehanna River Basin;
  • Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District for engineering assistance for water quality projects statewide; and
  • Schenectady County Soil and Water Conservation District for education and information services for water quality and assistance with other various water quality related responsibilities.

Education/ Training - $64,000

Water Quality Symposium - $35,000

The Water Quality Symposium was funded again to provide water quality training to Soil and Water Conservation District employees, our conservation partners and County Water Quality Coordinating Committee members. Topics include nutrient management, agricultural environmental management, communications, Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) Certification, stormwater design, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOS) and others.

Erosion and Sediment Control and Stormwater Management Training Sessions - $19,000

Training was provided on the following topics throughout 1998:

  • NYS-DOT 2 sessions
  • Contractors Workshops 5, 1-day sessions
  • TR-55 1, 2-day session
  • NYS-DEC E&S 2,2-day sessions
  • Water Quality 2, 1-day sessions
  • NYC-DEP water quality training
  • Syracuse University Water Quality Curriculum - short courses January through June
  • Catskill Watershed Cooperative (CWC) pollution prevention and E&S training

Regional Training of Water Quality Coordinating Committee - $10,000

Mini-Grants for County Water Quality Coordinating Committees - $124,000

In 1998 County Water Quality Coordinating Committees received $124,000 for mini-grants. The grants were awarded on a tier system with the committees getting $500 each for a completion report of county water quality committee activities. The other $99,000 was awarded on a competitive basis. Each county could receive up to $5,000 for a water quality project or up to $7,500 for a regional water quality project. Grants were awarded for the following projects: multi-county watershed monitoring and stewardship project, county-wide erosion and sediment control and stormwater management, stream management, agricultural environmental management and other projects. In addition, the Department of Health provided $500 per county to address source water assessment activities.

Additional Water Quality Initiatives - $344,0l2

The following projects were contracted through soil and water conservation districts to implement water quality activities:

  • Water Quality Inlet Demonstration, Monroe County
  • Lake George Vortechnics, Warren County
  • Water Quality Urban Activities, New York City
  • Ag NPS Assessment, Putnam County
  • Investigation of Ag Sources of Pollution, Statewide Technical Assistance
  • Hudson River Watershed Nonpoint Source Activities, 10 County Coalition
  • Watershed Planning, Wappingers Creek, Dutchess County
  • NPS Pollution Activities, Nassau County

Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Grant Program - $4,744,703

Round V of the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Grant Program was completed in 1998 with funding provided by the Environmental Protection Fund and the Governor's 1996 Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act. The New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee's Technical Committee reviewed the projects submitted from County Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Based on their recommendations the State Committee will administer funding for 34 projects totaling $2,701,235 in State funding from the Environmental Protection Fund and 13 projects totaling $2,043,468 in State funding from the Environmental Bond Act. 

Soil and Water Conservation Districts now have two years to complete the projects. Projects include Agricultural Waste Management Systems, Streambank Stabilization, Nutrient Management and Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) assessment and planning.

Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM)

AEM activities throughout the State have mushroomed with funding of Tier 2 assessment and Tier 3 planning projects. In 1998, 48 of the 62 counties in New York were participating in AEM, involving over 4,000 farms. The AEM Certification Subcommittee developed a process for certifying private sector consultants to develop plans. The AEM Evaluation Subcommittee completed a multi-year document to help assess program participation and effectiveness.

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STATE FAIR

A devastating summer storm, with winds of more than l00 miles an hour and torrential rains, hit the Syracuse area early Monday morning (September 7) forcing the cancellation of the last day of the 1998 New York State Fair. The fairgrounds were hit hard with severe damage to four buildings and other facilities along with downed power lines and trees. Many tent structures were also severely damaged or destroyed. Meteorologists classified the storm as straight-line winds with speeds exceeding 115 mph in areas and torrential rain.

The storm, which raced through the area at approximately 1:20 a.m., proved deadly as two were killed on the fairgrounds. One victim was in his house trailer when a tree split and landed directly on the trailer. The other was in a food stand when debris from a roof also landed on the structure.

Fair Director Peter Cappuccilli and his staff determined the Fair would not open for its final day at 4 a.m. and spread the word through television and radio stations that were covering the storm. Exhibitors who were on site were led to a safe and secure building on site as New York State Troopers, the Solvay Fire Department and Fair security did a grid search of the grounds to determine all areas were safe. When it was completed the vendors and livestock exhibitors on the grounds were allowed to pack up their belongings and leave the grounds. Vendors who were off the grounds were allowed to enter the grounds later Monday and Tuesday to dismantle their exhibits.

Fair staff had the grounds in order, except for building repairs, by the end of the week to handle events scheduled for the following weekend and the busy fall season.

As for the Fair itself, an all-time record 12-day event was in the making. Four daily attendance records were set on the first five days and the 11-day attendance of 865,895 had already surpassed 1997's 12-day numbers, making 1998 the second highest Fair ever with still one day remaining. The all-time record was 882,079 set in 1995.

One of the program highlights of 1998 was a 5,000 square foot National Baseball Hall of Fame exhibit in the wing of the Bell Atlantic Center of the Progress Building. The exhibit was filled with fairgoers throughout the run who saw baseball artifacts displayed. The Hall of Fame's home is in Cooperstown, New York. New layout changes that added even more free entertainment were well received by fairgoers along with additional benches, picnic tables and seating areas throughout the grounds. The Fair expanded its Pan-African Village, the State Department of Parks and Recreation constructed two new exhibit facilities on the grounds and a new horse show outdoor ring was constructed.

The Fair featured a number of free attractions that included the Coronas Circus, the Splash and Crash High Dive Show, the Rix Bears, the BMX Bike Show, the Squalas Shark Show, the Commerford Petting Zoo and numerous grounds performers.

Cole Muffler Court was the setting for two free concerts daily. Among those who performed there were: the Supremes starring Mary Wilson, Don McLean, Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts Band, Roy Clark, the Temptations, the Lettermen and Dick Contino, the Teen Idols with Peter Noone, Davy Jones and Bobby Sherman, Frank Sinatra, Jr., the Charlie Daniels Band, Bowzer's Rock 'N Roll Party featuring the Tokens and the Crystals and David Clayton Thomas and Blood, Sweat and Tears. Jay Black and the Americans were scheduled to appear on September 7, the day the Fair was cancelled.

The 16,000-seat grandstand continued to be a Fair concert showplace as top name performers appeared on the Fair's first 11 days. The Backstreet Boys led the way with a sellout performance of 16,729 on August 30. The other shows were as follows: Clint Black, Martina McBride and Michael Peterson, Aug. 27(6,329); the Wallflowers with the Mavericks, Aug. 28 (4,195); Alan Jackson and Deana Carter, Aug. 29 (8,065); Van Halen with Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Aug. 31 (6,881); Jeff Foxworthy, Sept. 1 (2,999); Randy Travis with John Berry and Chely Wright, Sept. 2 (3,053); Lynyrd Skynyrd with Kansas, Sept. 3 (10,182); Bill Cosby, Sept. 4 (5,114); Vince Gill and Patty Loveless, Sept. 5 (6,574) and dc Talk, Jars of Clay and Jennifer Knapp, Sept. 6 (4,392).

The Fair continued to have B corporate sponsorship ties as nearly $1 million in financial participation was solicited in 1998.

In the entry department more than $250,000 in premium money was awarded from the more than 30,000 entries that were submitted in all categories, including agriculture, livestock and the horse show for the 1998 Fair.

Off-season events continue to be on the increase as the Empire Expo Center's annual event numbers climb. In addition to the growing complement of business and trade shows, farm and home consumer activities, a three-year commitment for an annual statewide convention was secured. The New York State Fire, Industry, Rescue and EMS Expo was held in June and was so successful that a long-term commitment was expected.

In addition to these events the yearly schedule of activities included DIRT Week, antique and craft shows, circuses, summer-long horse show activities, harness racing, theatrical and musical productions, banquets and numerous special events.

With the growing annual usage of the facilities and success of the 1998 New York State Fair, despite the tragic storm, operating revenues continue to grow.

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BUREAU OF WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

The Bureau of Weights and Measures is responsible for assuring measurement accuracy and uniformity in commerce throughout New York State in accordance with Article 16 of the Agriculture and Markets Law. This work is done in cooperation with municipal weights and measures departments throughout the State and involves a variety of programs regulating measuring device accuracy, packaged commodity net contents, and quality standards for gasoline and diesel fuel. The program seeks to assure equity in the marketplace, protecting both consumers and businesses. Consumers get what they pay for in commercial transactions, and businesses get a marketplace based on fair competition.

Municipal Weights and Measures Programs

The Bureau supervises 64 municipal weights and measures programs throughout the State to provide uniform enforcement of the laws and regulations. The Bureau has 16 field specialists to evaluate and train the approximately 180 municipal officials who perform most of the weights and measures inspections. These inspections cover devices, such as scales, gas pumps, and oil delivery meters. They also cover packaged commodities, commodities sold from bulk, and complaint investigations.

Bureau specialists, working side-by-side with the municipal officials, monitor the programs and each inspector's work on a continuing basis. They evaluate training needs and provide training and review as needed. Training is provided to individuals, small groups, and at an annual technical training school to meet the wide-ranging needs of new and experienced officials. Each year there is a significant turnover of municipal officials. We estimate that about 15 percent of the municipal officials have less than two years of experience and require predominately individual training. Individual training is also provided to experienced officials to maintain and expand their proficiency.

The Bureau sponsors an Annual Weights and Measures Technical Training School open to all State and municipal officials to provide training on current inspection and testing procedures, and provide a forum for discussion of regional problems. Service company personnel and inspectors from other states in the northeast are also invited. Bureau specialists serve as instructors, using materials developed by the National Conference on Weights and Measures. Industry provides additional instructors to deliver training in specialized areas. In 1998, 57 municipal directors and deputies attended the school.

During the year, Bureau specialists provided 1,160 hours of training to a total of 147 municipal officials. While evaluating and training municipal officials, Bureau specialists inspected 946 stores, testing 4,396 scales, 451 gasoline stations, testing 6,747 gas pumps, and inspected/tested 423 fuel oil truck meters. They also checked 38,151 packaged commodities, both factory-packaged and store-packaged, for accurate net contents.

The Bureau also coordinates the efforts of the various municipal jurisdictions. Where multiple jurisdictions find similar violations, the Bureau has been moving upstream, to warehouses and production facilities, to identify the cause and correct recurring violations at the source. Bureau specialists conducted several such investigations to correct short measure violations in packaged goods. As part of these investigations, specialists tested 4,538 packages. The Bureau worked with the Division of Milk Control and municipal agencies to follow up on short measure milk within the State. As part of those investigations, specialists evaluate each plant's quality control system and provided assistance to plant operators to ensure future compliance. Where the production facility is out-of-state, the Bureau contacted the corresponding Weights and Measures agency in that state. The Bureau also assisted the Office of General Services to assure that polyethylene bags purchased by State agencies under contract were in compliance.

Petroleum Quality Program

The Bureau administers the Petroleum Quality Program, which requires petroleum marketers at all levels of distribution to accurately represent the quality of the gasoline and diesel fuel products they dispense. In addition to basic standards for each fuel, the program monitors certification and posting of gasoline octane rating, alcohol content of gasoline, and diesel fuel cetane rating.

The program involves year-round sampling of gasoline and diesel fuel products utilizing both State and municipal officials. State specialists collect samples at distribution terminals. Municipal officials collect samples at retail establishments and are reimbursed for the work done under this program. The samples are picked up and tested by a private contractor who provides the laboratory analysis. The program monitors all grades of gasoline at the terminals but now concentrates on the mid-grade and premium grades of gasoline at retail to make best use of resources. The program also monitors all grades of diesel fuel. State specialists collected 6,256 gasoline and 854 diesel fuel samples from 197 distribution terminals statewide. Municipal officials collected 13,430 gasoline and 1,490 diesel fuel samples from 4,677 retail stations and 155 fleet users and their programs received $411,644 in reimbursement.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Bureau tests gasoline and diesel fuel samples for compliance with Federal Clean Air Standards during certain control periods. This involves testing gasoline throughout the State in the summer months for compliance with vapor pressure standards to reduce ozone pollution, and testing gasoline in the New York City Metropolitan Area for compliance with oxygenate standards to reduce carbon monoxide pollution. These two programs are based on sampling at 20 percent of the stations in a control area during each control period. Since the test results from one sample can be used for both programs, the sampling schedules were adapted to collect the samples to satisfy the needs of both programs. The integration of the DEC program with the Bureau's program provides cost savings to both agencies and makes the most efficient use of both State and municipal personnel.

The Bureau reports data on those samples of interest to DEC on a biweekly basis to support their enforcement activities with respect to Clean Air Standards. The data includes summaries of all the tests performed with copies of the sampling reports and laboratory reports for samples that fail to comply. The Bureau reported results from 6,195 gasoline samples for the summer months, 5,720 gasoline samples for the winter months. The Bureau also reported results for 2,344 diesel fuel samples during the year. Municipalities received $142,247 in reimbursements for this work.

Metrology Laboratory

The Bureau operates the State's metrology (measurement) laboratory to verify the accuracy of weights and measures standards and to evaluate new types of weighing and measuring devices. The laboratory is equipped with primary standards provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and a wide variety of secondary standards and precision measuring equipment. The New York State Metrology Laboratory is traceable to NIST, indicating that the standards, devices, and the laboratory personnel have met high standards and have demonstrated the capability of making high accuracy measurements in the areas of mass (weight, volume, length, temperature and time (frequency). The laboratory also serves as an evaluation point for all new types of weighing and measuring devices to assure they meet the appropriate specifications and tolerances.

The laboratory provides calibration services, testing and certifying measurement standards, for municipal weights and measures programs, private industry and other government agencies. Municipal standards are used by weights and measures officials to test the accuracy of commercial weighing and measuring devices as they ensure equity in the marketplace. By law, these standards must be recertified once every five years and the Bureau charges user fees for these services. The laboratory maintains a computerized listing of municipal equipment which permits timely scheduling within the mandated period. The laboratory conducted 82 tests for municipalities and collected $24,682 in user fees.

Private industrial standards are tested and calibrated on a request basis and appropriate fees are charged. The calibration services help businesses meet State and federal requirements and produce high quality products. Our clients include both large and small businesses including repair services, pharmaceutical companies, manufacturing companies, and high-tech industries. The laboratory performed 174 tests for private companies and collected $39,902 in user fees.

The laboratory also performs calibrations for other State and municipal agencies. The laboratory tests a wide variety of items including the balls used by the Lottery to select the daily and lotto numbers, timers and tapes used by the State and municipal police, weights used by the State Department of Transportation, and shellfish gages used by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The laboratory performed 31 tests and collected $7,700 in user fees.

Laboratory staff also evaluates new weighing and measuring devices, as part of a type approval program. This assures that new devices entering the marketplace are accurate and suitable for their intended purpose. With the advent of digital electronic technologies in the weighing and measuring field, this is becoming increasingly important. A sophisticated computerized measuring device has the capability to give a seemingly accurate measurement when, in fact, the computer may produce a faulty measurement. In addition, the performance of electronic scales is dependent on environment, so these devices are tested over a range of temperatures and supply voltages.

This type approval program interfaces with the National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP), under which a device receives a nationwide approval accepted in most of the 50 states. Through this program a manufacturer need only have a device tested once to get approval across the United States. The New York laboratory is one of six state testing facilities in the NTEP program. NTEP also has agreements with Canada to jointly accept testing performed in U.S. or Canadian laboratories on a limited range of devices. The laboratory tested 36 devices during the year and 10 type approvals were granted. Additional 177 devices were approved based on testing by other NTEP laboratories or previous testing in New York. User fees for this program totaled $43,707.

Special Testing Programs

The Bureau operates a group of special testing programs to perform inspections and tests on those commercial devices not tested by municipal officials. This generally includes devices that require specialized equipment and training that can't be justified for the limited number of devices in a single municipal jurisdiction. For these devices, the Bureau maintains the equipment, which can cost over $100,000, and performs these tests on a user fee basis. The devices covered include large capacity scales, rack meters at petroleum distribution terminals, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) meters, and scales used by State and municipal police to enforce highway weight limits.

There are several thousand large capacity, commercial scales in the State. Municipal officials inspect most of these scales with private test equipment in a cooperative partnership with industry. The official witnesses the test that is part of a maintenance agreement between the scale service company and the scale owner. For those scales not tested by the municipal official with private equipment, the Bureau operates a scale test truck. The unit carries 28,000 pounds of test weights and can test scales up to 200,000 pound capacity. Bureau specialists tested 133 large capacity scales and $26,325 was collected in fees.

There are also several thousand commercial meters in use at petroleum distribution terminals. As with the large capacity scales, the municipal officials can perform the tests in a cooperative partnership with industry service companies. For those meters not tested by municipalities, the Bureau operates a meter test truck with 1,600 and 800 gallon test measures, which can certify meters with flow rates over 1,000 gallons per minute. Bureau specialists tested 274 terminal meters and $54,600 was collected in fees.

The Bureau tests and certifies most of the liquid petroleum, gas (LPG) truck meters in the State. Suffolk County is the only municipality that tests these devices. LPG is a highly flammable product kept under pressure, and must be handled with great care. LPG is also a non-lubricating liquid which causes more meter wear then either gasoline or fuel oil, resulting in a high degree of inaccuracy. With two units in operation, Bureau specialists tested 774 meters and $77,050 was collected in fees.

Bureau personnel test and certify all New York State Police scales used for enforcing highway weight limits. Troopers weigh tractor-trailers and other trucks on State and interstate highways to enforce the weight limits and prevent damage to highways due to truck overloading. The scales are tested at a specially equipped test facility at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Tests are normally conducted in April and September, but additional tests may be conducted throughout the year if a scale becomes inoperative. The State Police must keep the scales operational or New York may lose federal highway funds. Bureau specialists tested 305 scales and $18,200 was collected in fees.

Bureau specialists also test and certify the weight enforcement scales for 35 municipalities. Most of these municipalities purchased the scales under grants from DOT as part of the Weight Enforcement Assistance Program. Tests for 1998 included 344 scales and $15,950 was collected in fees.

Weighmaster Licensing Program

Each year the Bureau issues or renews licenses for weighmasters throughout the State. Weighmasters certify the weights of commodities sold or transported where either the buyer or seller can't be present to witness the weighing. Their work is important as the weight tickets they issue are accepted for transactions and shipments within the State and in other states in reciprocal agreements. In 1998, the Bureau issued 3,021 weighmaster licenses and $30,210 was collected in fees.

Metric System

The Bureau of Weights and Measures is the Executive Secretariat of the State Metric Council, a consortium of 14 state agencies created in 1976 for an orderly transition to the metric system. Although industry has set the pace of metric conversion, the State has the responsibility of educating and assisting citizens, industry, and commerce to adapt to the metric system. The Bureau assisted the Department of Transportation in changing its procurement of road construction materials to metric units and revising its testing procedures to respond to the change.

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Executive Staff at the end of 1998:

Donald R. Davidsen
Commissioner

Nathan L. Rudgers
First Deputy Commissioner

Mark Alger
Deputy Commissioner

Dwight Brown
Deputy Commissioner

Joan Kehoe
Counsel

Adele Kusnierz
Executive Assistant

Pete Gregg
Director of Communications

Edward Biel
Special Assistant

Larry Emminger
Director of Internal Audit

Patrick Brennan
Environmental Policy Analyst/Bond Act Coordinator