Farmers Going Green

Select wineries on Long Island have begun using kegs to distribute their wine to local restaurants. Already, over five years, the number of restaurants in NYC and Long Island serving wine on tap has grown from a handful, to possibly dozens.  In the coming years, we will see many more. What makes wine in kegs sustainable?  The simple answer to this question is two-fold: reuse and bulk.  The waste stream associated with wine in glass bottles includes not only the glass bottle but the wine label, the cardboard carton, the packaging tape used to seal the carton, the cork and capsule, or screw cap, etc. Wine in kegs eliminates all of that.

Farmers on Long Island use programs such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which aims to reduce pesticide use through more scientifically based applications and alternative treatments.  Some farmers even “grow” and introduce good bugs to their crops, which will, in turn, eat the bad bugs to keep their plants healthy. 

Some greenhouse growers on Long Island are recycling water. Forward thinking greenhouse farmers on Long Island are using highly mechanized systems to recycle and reuse water while growing lettuce and herbs in the middle of winter. Recycing and reusing the water allows the farmer to control the water, disease, run-off and water waste.

LI farmers, and farmers across America, are using a special controlled-release fertilizer that releases nitrogen gradually into the soil profile for plant uptake. The fertilizer releases nitrogen over time to better match the nitrogen demands of the crop. Increasing plant nitrogen-use efficiency can increase crop yields and minimize the potential for nitrate leaching into ground and surface water.

Along with carefully monitoring both crop damage and insect populations, Long Island farmers have shown great success incorporating insect pheromones as an alternative to insecticides for preventing damage in fruit orchards. The insect-specific pheromone dispensers are placed in orchards and prevent serious pests, such as oriental fruit moth and peachtree borers, from breeding, ultimately reducing damage to fruit and fruit trees. The technology has become very popular in the last few years thanks to efforts by Dr. Faruque Zaman, Associate Entomologist, and the Agriculture Stewardship Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.


New York State continues to be a leading agricultural state with 36,300 farms producing $4.7 billion in products annually, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. New York ranks among the largest producers in the nation for some goods, including ranking second in wine production.

“While farming in New York is mainly a small, family business, its economic impact is  widespread, DiNapoli said. Farming supports thousands of New Yorkers in a variety of industries and services, such as food processing, trucking and tourism. Farms also protect open space and improve public health by meeting the rising demand for nutritious, locally grown food. We need to do all we can to make sure New York farmers can successfully continue their way of life.”

The report was announced at the New York State Fair, a showcase for New York agricultural community since 1841.

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