The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Columns

September 24, 2013

If anyone knows upstate farmers, it's yours truly

I’ve been dealing with dairy farmers in Delaware and Otsego County for the last 42 years, and while there’s no way of knowing the exact number, I’d bet 90 percent of them have gone out of business. I suspect that I’ve seen it all.

Many farmers retired and headed south. Too few, for economic reasons, passed the farm on to their children. Some lost their lives jump-starting that old tractor or repairing their silo unloader. Too many lost everything they had, and in some cases, lost their families too.

I learned early on that dairy farming is a hard life. You work from before dawn until after dark, seven days a week. Farmers buy retail and sell wholesale, and unlike any other industry, they pay to have their product shipped from the “factory.” Furthermore, farming is supremely practical. Nonsense doesn’t cut it! 

Lately, nonsense seems to be in abundance. The Sustainable Otsego “crowd” have their shorts in a knot over my views on their “economic plans” for our area, and when I mention gas exploration and fracking as possibly the only viable solution to our upstate economic woes, a seismic tremor is recorded in Cooperstown.

It seems that some members of Sustainable, in addition to promoting boutique farms, grape-growing, and sausage-making, are now advocating “holistic farming” as a means to end our financial distress.

In the opinion column of the Daily Star, Priscilla Rich of Sustainable writes, “If New York dairy cows and cattle were raised with holistic grazing, they would be part of a new solution, recognized by mega businessman Richard Branson and his Virgin Earth Challenge.” 

Are we to believe that Sustainable and some “green-environmental think tank” have the solution to New York’s agricultural problems? Holistic? Let the land rest? Sure, why not? 

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