Because farming is heavily land dependent, agriculture is easily susceptible to restrictive land use regulations. Average farms in Jefferson County operate on approximately 200 acres with many farming more than 1,000 acres. Fees, taxes, zoning restrictions, junk laws and other land-use regulations can impact a farm to the point where it could struggle to stay in business financially or lose its ability to farm its land.
Dairy industry experts say finding solutions for farmers to boost milk production seems like solving a jigsaw puzzle.
Participants in an agriculture business round-table discussion Wednesday at Watertown’s Ramada Inn used words like “crossroads,” “turmoil” and “volatile” to describe their industry. But by the end of back-and-forth conversation, educators, business leaders and farmers were armed with fresh ideas about how to turn the industry in a positive direction.
Attended by about 40 people, the discussion underscored the many challenges that face dairy farmers.
But while farmers here are awash in challenges, the state’s milk demand is poised to boom in the next two years with the launch of several Greek yogurt plants. Milk cooperatives in New York state and across the Northeast — which supply milk from farmers to production plants — are struggling to get enough milk to meet the high demand, said Bruce W. Krupke, vice president of the Northeast Dairy Foods Association, which represents 120 dairy plants across eight states in the region.
There is an old saying that a “good fence builds strong neighbors.” In Jefferson County, protecting that fence also builds good neighbors. A series of partnerships is strengthening two industries and protecting part of what makes our community unique.
The most recent case of two local farm workers involved in a motor vehicle accident in southern Jefferson County brought to the surface a huge national issue that constantly boils under the surface. What do we do about the people who enter our country illegally to find jobs?
On July 21 and 22, the first “Farm and Food Family Weekend” came to farms across Jefferson County. The event encourages families or anyone looking for something to do, to spend a day exploring all that Jefferson County’s agricultural industry has to offer. Farms and agricultural businesses participating in the program opened their doors, inviting the public to explore their operation.
Farms and agribusinesses throughout Jefferson County will open their doors on Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22, to allow the public to better understand what their enterprises are all about.
One percent of our population makes their living from agriculture. Most are at least two generations removed from farming, if not more. Ask many of our urban children where their food comes from and they answer, “From the grocery store.”
I liked the old red barn” is the comment I hear often when talking with people in the community who grew up around agriculture but didn’t necessarily experience it firsthand.
Another comment frequently shared with me whether I want to hear it or not is: “I miss seeing cows in the fields when I’m driving around.” There is a certain sentimental value placed on farming that runs strong today in the 21st century. Many hang onto what they remember from their childhood and believe that farming should still be like that: An old red hip roof barn with cows lazily grazing in the field next to the stream. Some of the lost sentiments spill over into misunderstanding and resentment about the changes and use of new technologies in farming.