Tag Archive | "Long Island Farm Bureau"

Hundreds of Protestors Gather at “No Cull” Rally in East Hampton to Protest Government Plan to Kill Deer

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Protest organizers concert promoter Ron Delsener and East Hampton Group for Wildlife founder Bill Crain at the "No Cull" rally in East Hampton Village Saturday, January 17. (Michael Heller photo).

Protest organizers, concert promoter Ron Delsener and East Hampton Group for Wildlife founder Bill Crain, adress the crowd at the “No Cull” rally in East Hampton Village Saturday, January 17. (Michael Heller photo).

By Tessa Raebeck

Some three hundred people gathered in East Hampton Saturday in opposition to the village’s plan to bring federal sharpshooters in to cull the deer herd. Hunters and wildlife activists joined together at the “No Cull” rally, organized by the East Hampton Group for Wildlife and supported by hunting organizations like Hunters for Deer and Long Island Archers.

Chanting “What do we want? Stop the cull? When do we want it? Now!” demonstrators, some who had driven hours to reach the village, marched from the Hook Mill in East Hampton to Herrick Park.

East Hampton Village and Southold Town have agreed to a Long Island Farm Bureau (LIFB) program that would bring USDA sharpshooters to the East End to cull the deer herd, which many local residents and farmers say is overpopulated and destructive. LIFB executive director Joe Gergela estimates 1,500 to 2,000 deer would be killed during the 40-day cull.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has not yet issued a permit for the cull (see sidebar).

Proponents of the plan say the deer population, with no natural predators, has outgrown the available food supply and natural environment on the East End. Deer, they say, create hazardous conditions on roads, carry tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease and negatively impact the local agriculture industry.

East Hampton Town agreed to the program in December under the last administration, but new town supervisor Larry Cantwell said last week he is unsure whether the town will still take part.

The program is funded by a $200,000 state grant LIFB received for deer management and would be one of the largest removals of deer ever undertaken by the government.

The hundreds who gathered Saturday are calling on the LIFB to stop the cull and for all municipalities to withdraw their support. East Hampton Village has committed $15,000 to the farm bureau and Southold Town has pledged $25,000. Those funds support sharpshooters coming into public lands, but the cull can continue on private land without official support from local governments.

In December, The Group for Wildlife, along with 13 individual plaintiffs and the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays, filed suit against East Hampton town, village and the town trustees.

“We’re going to sue each and every town or village that even thinks about entering into this plan,” Wendy Chamberlain, a Bridgehampton resident who helped organize the rally, told the crowd Saturday.

“It gets better,” she added, “We’re also going to sue the heinous USDA!”

Despite the uncommon collaboration of hunters and animal rights advocates, the rally was peaceful aside from one disruption, when concert promoter Ron Delsener shouted at East Hampton school board member Patricia Hope.

Hope was passing out flyers supporting immuno-contraception as a more peaceful way to cull the herd than the “wholesale slaughter of does and fawns” when Delsener, who has a house in East Hampton and is funding the anti-cull lawsuit, yelled, “This lady wants to kill the deer!”

“I don’t want to kill the deer,” Hope replied, moving away from Delsener.

Group for Wildlife founder and Montauk resident Bill Crain encouraged the crowd to write letters and call their government officials to “let them know we will not stand for this.”

“They don’t have a chance of re-election if they are going to pursue this barbaric, murderous slaughter,” Crain said.

Many protestors dressed in hunting gear and held signs with slogans like, “Cull the board not the herd,” “Slaughter, savagery, stupidity,” and “Deer epidemic NOT proven.”

One sign said, “Are the swans next?” referring to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) new proposal to kill or capture all mute swans by 2025. Another had a photo of fawns and the words, “Are you going to kill my mommy?”

“They don’t deserve to die,” Sag Harbor’s Anne Plucis shouted to passing drivers, “They’re not the reason for this.”

Plucis said mice and rats are to blame for the prevalence of tick-borne illnesses, not deer.

Mike Tessitore, a former Sag Harbor Village policeman who is a member of Hunters for Deer, called the proposed plan “a slap in the face to the community, as well as the hunters on Long Island and in New York State.”

“If hunters were given the same opportunity as USDA in killing deer they would be successful,” said Tessitore.

The LIFB has said all meat would go to Long Island Harvest to be processed and sent to food banks, but with a cost of $50 to $80 to process each corpse, many of the cull’s opponents are skeptical the meat will be properly used.

Tessitore called the plan “$250,000 to $500,000 to throw deer in dumpsters.”

“Hunters,” he added, “actually use the meat to provide for their family and friends – and we do it for free.”

Local residents remain divided on whether or not the federal sharpshooters should be welcomed. Usually allied, many farmers and hunters are on different sides. Some wildlife advocates favor culling the herd, saying deer overpopulation negatively affects the habitats of other animals and that being shot is more humane than starving to death.

Those wildlife activists opposed to the cull, however, were in clear view Saturday.

Calling the plan “cruel and inhumane,” ARF co-founder Sony Schotland said immunization worked to control the population in several other areas. East Hampton resident Brooke Spencer circulated a petition against the cull through the crowd.

“I’m here,” East Hampton resident Elizabeth Mensch said, “because I just think this whole situation is extremely unethical and inhumane. I believe they have every right to be here and we have no right to say if something dies or lives.”

K.K. Shapiro, Mensch’s longtime friend and former classmate in East Hampton, added, “If you really have a problem with wildlife, move to the city.”

Oh Deer! East End Wildlife Groups Plan “No Cull” Rally for Saturday

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deer

By Tessa Raebeck

Plans to unleash federal sharpshooters on the East End deer population have been met with bureaucratic setbacks and vocal opposition, but are moving forward nonetheless.

In coordination with the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Long Island Farm Bureau (LIFB) plans to hire USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) sharpshooters to kill deer with high-powered rifles to cull the local herds.

In addition to carrying tick-borne illnesses, causing car accidents and adversely affecting other animal habitats, deer destroy an estimated $3 to $5 million worth of crops annually on the East End, according to Joe Gergela, LIFB executive director.

Gergela said the cull, which will be largely funded by a $200,000 state grant, aims to kill 1,500 to 2,000 deer. All processed meat will go to Island Harvest to feed the hungry on Long Island.

“We felt whatever we did with the grant should be for community as well as farming benefit,” Gergela said Wednesday, adding a cull is crucial to having a successful agricultural industry.

LIFB has asked that villages and towns who want the sharpshooters sign onto the program by committing $15,000 or $25,000, respectively.

The DEC has yet to reveal whether it will require a single permit for the program or make each municipality signing onto the program file individually. Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. said Tuesday although many municipalities have expressed interest in joining the program, they don’t want the legal liability of having the permit in their name.

So far, East Hampton Village, Southold Town and the eastern part of Brookhaven Town have signed on.

North Haven Village opted out, but is pursuing its own organized cull.

Sagaponack Village’s participation is contingent on the participation of both East Hampton and Southampton towns.

Southampton Town has thus far stayed mute on the subject — which has been under public discussion since September. Calls to Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst were not returned as of press time.

The East Hampton Town Board, under the previous administration, adopted a deer management plan that included plans for a cull. On Tuesday, however, newly elected Supervisor Larry Cantwell said he was unsure if the town would, in fact, join the LIFB in this initiative.

“At the moment, it’s up in the air,” Cantwell said, adding he would like to see culling on a limited basis and there are advantages to participating, but the town’s decision will be based primarily on the opinions of its residents.

“To some extent,” said Cantwell, “this is happening fairly quickly in terms of building a community consensus moving forward.”

The East Hampton Group for the Wildlife, the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons and 13 individuals have filed suit against East Hampton Town, East Hampton Village and the East Hampton Town Trustees.

The lawsuit asks for a temporary restraining order against the town’s deer management plan and specifically, any proposal that calls for an organized cull.

“The lawsuit,” Cantwell said, “is certainly a factor in the decision-making process about this.”

Critics contend little information has been provided to show the cull is truly necessary.

“Killing other beings as a way of solving the problem is abhorrent, unethical and monstrous to me,” said East Hampton Group for the Wildlife President Bill Crain. “These are living beings with families and social lives and emotions, so to kill them just seems like a moral outrage.”

“It’s not about animal cruelty and all the nonsense that the Bambi lovers are spouting,” Gergela said. “If they would sit down and listen to people, they would realize there are no practical solutions other than to hunt or to cull.”

A petition on change.org to stop the “stealth plan to brutally slaughter 5,000 East End deer” had garnered over 10,600 signatures as of press time. In addition to local residents, activists from as far away as Belgium have signed the petition, which calls for the “unethical, ‘quick-fix,’ non-science-based plan” to “immediately cease and desist.”

A rally in protest of the cull will be held Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. at the Hook Mill in East Hampton.

Gergela dismissed the opposition as a “vocal minority” of non-locals with “no vested interest other than they enjoy animals and they enjoy their peaceful weekend on Long Island.”

“That’s very nice,” he added, “but for those of us that live here, whether you’re a farmer or a general citizen that’s had an accident, that has Lyme Disease or whatever, everybody says to me, ‘You’re doing a great thing.’”

Local hunters have also expressed their opposition to the cull, arguing if state and local governments lessened hunting restrictions, they themselves could thin the deer population.

Terry Crowley, a lifelong Sagaponack resident whose family has been hunting on the East End for generations, called the cull “a little ridiculous.”

“They should just change a few laws so more deer can be killed,” Crowley said Tuesday.

Thiele is working on legislation that would implement the state deer management plan, which has a number of recommendations to increase hunting opportunities, including expanding the January season to include weekends and allow bow and arrow hunting.

Cantwell voiced his support of such legislation.

“I certainly want to work with the local hunters who want to take deer,” the supervisor said Tuesday, “because I do think that removing some deer from the population on an ongoing basis is necessary to control the population.”

Suit Filed Over Deer Cull in East Hampton

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Two not-for-profit wildlife organizations and a group of individuals have banded together and filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent a regional plan to cull deer with federal sharpshooters beginning this winter.

The Montauk-based East Hampton Group for the Wildlife and the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons in Hampton Bays, along with 15 residents, filed suit in Supreme Court Thursday against East Hampton Town, East Hampton Village and the East Hampton Town Trustees. In the suit, they ask for a temporary restraining order against the town’s comprehensive deer management plan, and specifically any proposal within that plan that calls for the organized culling of the whitetail deer.

While the lawsuit was served on the town last Thursday and the village on Friday, that same day, the East Hampton Village Board moved forward by passing a resolution to join the Long Island Farm Bureau’s (LIFB) proposal to bring in federal sharpshooters to cull deer herds in municipalities across the East End.

The LIFB’s plan, which it is coordinating with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), entails bringing United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sharpshooters to the East End to cull the herd. The program will be funded by the LIFB through $200,000 in funding through the 2013 state budget.

The Farm Bureau has asked East End villages and towns to sign onto the program by committing $15,000 to $25,000, respectively, to have federal riflemen come to their municipalities. The cull will take place in a four or five week window beginning in February, timing Farm Bureau Executive Director Joe Gergela noted was designed to give local hunters a chance to cull the herd themselves during deer season, which runs through late January.

The goal, said Gergela in an interview earlier this month, is to cull 1,000 to 2,000 deer from across the East End. The meat from the culled deer will go to Island Harvest to feed the hungry on Long Island.

The USDA sharpshooters use suppressed rifles and depending on terrain, either trap deer with a drop net, work as a mobile team with a driver, spotter and shooter, or shoot from tree stands. The Farm Bureau will coordinate efforts with municipalities that sign onto the program to identify areas deer herds tend to populate the most.

East Hampton Village has agreed to pay $15,000 into the program and joins East Hampton and Southold town, who have both agreed to provide $25,000 in funding.  Southampton Town has yet to decide on whether or not it will join the regional cull, and Sagaponack officials have said that village would wait until both towns sign on before making its own commitment. The Village of North Haven is pursuing its own organized cull.

While supporters of the plan point to the incidences of tick borne illnesses on the East End, public safety concerns connected to deer and motor vehicle accidents, as well as the financial impact on farms and on private landscaping, critics contend there has been little information provided to show the cull is truly necessary. Local hunters have also opposed the cull, arguing if New York State, and the towns and villages, opened up hunting restrictions, they could thin the deer population themselves.

“There is not enough proof that there is the kind of population that would warrant this,” said Virginia Frati, the Executive Director and Founder of the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center. “How can we do this without proof of that?”

“We are not convinced there is an overpopulation of deer,” she continued. “Where is the proof that an overwhelming majority of residents are even for this? Even the hunters are not in favor of this.”

Thiele Named to Farm Bureau’s “Circle of Friends”

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Last week, the New York Farm Bureau (NYFB) announced it has named New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. as one of its “Circle of Friends.”

This legislative award is based on Thiele’s “demonstrated understanding of the importance of agriculture on Eastern Long Island, as well as how the industry impacts the economy and the future of New York State.”

“I am honored to receive this recognition from the New York Farm Bureau, the State’s largest general farm advocacy organization,” said Thiele in a press release issued September 27. “Throughout my political career, I have remained deeply committed to supporting and protecting New York’s family farms. Agriculture and its related industries are an integral component of the East End economy, so we must help farmers in managing their daily operations in an environmentally conscious and economically viable way.”

The “Circle of Friends” award is determined by a legislator’s voting record on issues of importance to New York agriculture, as well as evidence of other legislative support during the 2012 Legislative Session.

Among recent key pieces of legislation that strengthen New York agriculture , Thiele was the prime sponsor of the proposal to exempt farm wineries and craft breweries from a tax-filing requirement.

“I commend Governor Cuomo for signing this bill so that small farm wineries and craft breweries no longer need to struggle to comply with a needless filing requirement,” said Thiele. “Now, our wineries and breweries can better use their time to grow their businesses and promote their product.”

As a multi-sponsor of the “Let New York Farm Act, Thiele pledged to reduce farm-based taxes, fees, and regulatory burdens to help grow the agricultural economy.

“While this bill remained in committee at the adjournment of the 2012 Session, rest assured that I will continue to work with my legislative colleagues to pass this important measure which will benefit our local family farms and communities,” Thiele said.

East End Digest – October 9

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Bridgehampton Student Honored

On September 18, Bridgehampton School senior Pablo Londono was awarded the 2008 County Executive Achievement Award. This award recognizes students who have demonstrated growth and personal achievement, overcome adversity or met challenges successfully. The awards dinner was held in Holbrook at Village Lombardi’s where Louis Medina, director of the Suffolk County Youth Bureau, presented Londono with the honor.

Londono aspires to be a police officer and is currently enrolled in the law enforcement program at HB Ward Tech in Riverhead each school morning. Londono then spends afternoons at Bridgehampton School completing his twelfth grade course work. He is employed as a waiter at The American Hotel in Sag Harbor, and also works with the Sag Harbor Village Police Department as a traffic control officer.

Southampton Town: Preservation

The Town of Southampton has officially acquired two sought after parcels slated for preservation, according to details released from town hall on Tuesday, September 30.

The first, the Baird property, consists of 40.5 acres of vacant land on Red Creek Road and Old Squires Road in Hampton Bays at a purchase price of $4,000,000.

“We are very fortunate to be able to buy this property,” said town supervisor Linda Kabot. “If we hadn’t been able to act, this pristine land would be a 13 home subdivision.”

Kabot added that the Baird parcel is located in the Paumanok Path Trail area of the Community Preservation Project Plan. It is named after a hiking-trail project of regional importance that will ultimately extend 125 miles from Rocky Point to Montauk Point. It has been a municipal planning objective for more than 12 years.

In conjunction with the second acquisition deal, the town became part owners with Suffolk County of a piece of the Topping family farm. The 7.54 ace parcel is located on Halsey Lane in Bridgehampton and also lies within the town’s farmland Preservation Target Area. The Southampton Town Board has considered the Topping Farm a “high priority” under the town’s Community Preservation Project Plan, and the $2,625,312 needed to fund 60 percent of the $4,375,520 purchase price will come from the Community Preservation Fund.

The recent closing marks the second time within the past year the two governments have partnered to keep the Topping land a farm forever. Last fall, the town paid $8,856,252 to acquire the development rights for 25 acres. Like the current 7.54 acre buy, the county contributed 40 percent of the purchased price.

East Hampton: Centarian Celebrated

On Thursday, October 2, East Hampton Senior Nutrition participants, close friends and family gathered at the East Hampton Senior Center to honor the milestone 100th birthday of Paul Miano. The day was also recognized by the East Hampton Town Board in a proclamation, presented to Miano by board member Brad Loewen.

Miano was born in Brooklyn on October 1, 1908. He worked as an accountant until his retirement at the age of 72, continuing on as a consultant until he was 80. Shortly thereafter, he joined the East Hampton Senior Nutrition Center, and has been a member for the last 20 years. Miano and his wife, Eileen, purchased property in East Hampton in 1969, moving into the residence full-time in 1980.

According to the nutrition center, Miano credits a daily, one-mile walk and his friendly nature for his longevity — never passing anyone without saying hello, making many friends along the way.

Bridgehampton: Cancer Conversations

On Saturday, October 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Southampton Hospital and Cancer Care of the East End will host a forum, “Conversations about Breast Cancer: Update on Medical Treatment, Side Effects, and Psychosocial Issues” at the Bridgehampton Union Free School District auditorium.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Maria Theodoulou, associate attending physician for breast cancer service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Care Center. The day will also feature a host of panel discussions, as well as break out sessions designed to tackle issues like stress reduction, intimacy and cancer, nutrition, and how to discuss the disease with children. Resource booths will be available throughout the day.

For more information, call (516) 364-8130 or visit Hamptonscancercare.org.

Stony Brook-Southampton: Open House

Stony Brook Southampton, the newest addition to the SUNY system, is holding two events for high school students who may be considering college in the near future.

On Saturday, October 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., an Open House will be held in the Avram Theater on the Southampton campus. Then on Columbus Day, Monday, October 13, high school students are invited to sit in on real college classes with Stony Brook Southampton’s faculty from 12:50 to 3:40 p.m.

To reserve a spot for one or both events, call 632-5035 or e-mail joinsouthampton@stonybrook.edu.

Now in its second full year, Stony Brook Southampton continues to grow. Earlier this year, the New York State Department of Education had approved three new majors including Ecosystems and Human Impact, Environmental Design, Policy and Planning, and Sustainability Studies, which join SBS’s existing three majors in Environmental Studies, Marine Sciences and Marine Vertebrate Biology.

A “green” business major is also being introduced this fall. ??This year, the student body has almost doubled in size to over 300 full-time students and approximately 400 students overall while maintaining the same rigorous admissions standards as parent Stony Brook University. The number of classes offered, majors and professors has also increased. ??More residence halls are online with over 150 students living on campus now; again, almost double last year’s number. Residence Life has also added a community service element that will see more Southampton students going into the larger community to volunteer with not-for-profit, community and civic groups. This past spring, new state monies were announced for the Marine Center and the Student Center. ??

Long Island Farm Bureau: Scholarship

The Long Island Farm Bureau invites all Nassau and Suffolk County High School seniors to apply for a $1,000 scholarship from Long Island Farm Bureau. Students must be planning to continue their education in a career related to the agricultural industry, live or work on a farm involved in agriculture and be active members of the community.

In addition, the Long Island scholarship winner will have an opportunity to compete for additional scholarship funds – $1,500, $1,200 and $1,000 – at the 2008 New York Farm Bureau “Spring Break” Conference. The deadline for submission is November 21. For more information, call 727-3777.

Long Island Nursery & Landscape Association: Grants Available

The Long Island Nursery & Landscape Association is offering an opportunity for innovators to apply for grants. Applications will be accepted from nursery and landscape professionals, students, clubs or organizations, colleges, universities and schools, research facilities, botanical gardens or arboreta.

Awards may be presented for activities, projects, studies, programs, equipment development, courses, tours, trips or other endeavors that may qualify. Proposals must have some impact on the local nursery, landscape or retail horticulture industry. In reviewing applications from qualifying institutions, the innovative nature of the request as well as the effectiveness of the proposal in enhancing learning in the field of horticulture will be considered. Applications must be postmarked by November 1 and include the title of a proposed innovative activity, contact information, a summary of objectives, project outline, anticipated costs, how the grant would facilitate the project and explanation of local benefits. Applicants should also include a request for funds at a maximum of $2,500 and the date needed to start. For more information, call the Long Island Nursery & Landscape Association, Inc. (516) 249-0545 or log on to linla@nysnla.com.