Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752

May 24, 2016

State Agriculture Commissioner Highlights ‘Farm to Fork’ Tours as Opportunity to Connect Producers to New Markets

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today highlighted the New York Beef Council’s upcoming “Farm to Fork” tours as an important opportunity to connect industry influencers with producers as part of Beef Month in New York State.  Dozens of representatives from the retail food and restaurant industries, as well as culinary instructors and dieticians from across the state have signed up for one of five Farm to Fork tours being held in several locations across the State this June.  Participants will learn about the growing beef industry in New York State, the high quality animal and land care practices New York farmers use, and the numerous health benefits beef provides.

Commissioner Ball said, “Consumers increasingly want to know where their food is coming from, and these tours will help restaurant owners and retail establishments learn more about New York’s high-quality local products. The NY Beef Council’s Farm to Fork tours provide participants a better understanding of the importance of the beef industry to New York State’s agricultural economy, as well as highlight the great opportunity for our producers to tell their story. I look forward to supporting and attending the tour.”

“This is our sixth year hosting these tours, and we always have great feedback and see a positive shift in attitudes towards farming and agriculture,” said Jean O’Toole, Director of Public Relations for the New York Beef Industry Council.

The tours will take place in the Hudson Valley, Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes and Western New York regions.  All five Beef Month events will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Tuesday, June 7 – Millbrook, NY/ Walbridge Farms (Hudson Valley)
  • Wednesday, June 8 – Westerlo, NY/ Golden Acres (Capital Region)
  • Thursday, June 9 – Tully, NY/ Lucky 13 Farm (Central NY)
  • Friday, June 10 – Medina, NY / SK Hereford (Finger Lakes)
  • Saturday, June 11 – Alden, NY/ WBB Farm (Western New York)

New York State has nearly 13,600 cattle farms with 1.45 million cattle and calves supplying nutritious, wholesome beef to consumers.  These farms contribute to New York State’s economy by generating more than $294 million in sales. Thousands of people—from cattle producers and feed manufacturers to equipment dealers and food marketers—play a role in bringing beef from pasture to plate. 

Brenda Bippert, owner of WBB Farm, said, “We are a three generation family farm and welcome these tours to our farm to increase the awareness of our daily practices to provide quality beef products—from our animal care to our responsibility as land owners to protect our environment for future generations.”

Doug Giles, owner of Walbridge Farm, said, “We have been working with the NY Beef Council for a number of years hosting tours and look forward to them every year. I consider it a privilege to share our story and help educate hundreds of people on what we do.”

The Department, working with partners across the agricultural industry, has taken recent steps to connect restauranteurs and other food buyers with the State’s producers.   The Department held three Taste NY Culinary tours in 2015 that resulted in nearly 100 chefs and restaurant owners from across the state being introduced to some of New York State’s best agricultural food and beverage producers. 

The Department also recently announced the success of the Buy NY program and increased procurement of New York State foods, including beef products, in state-operated facilities.  In addition to the Buy NY partnership, the Governor launched the State’s Farm to School program in 2015 to strengthen ties between local farmers and school districts. Six school districts were awarded a total of nearly $325,000 in October. In addition, this year’s budget includes another round of funding to be invested in the state’s Farm to School program.

The Department also assisted in New York City’s NY Thursdays program that brings locally grown or produced foods directly to students in New York City Department of Education schools every Thursday, providing them with healthy meals.

2016 Press Releases