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


September 24, 2013

If anyone knows upstate farmers, it's yours truly


In the real world of agriculture in Delaware and Otsego counties, if you have 250 acres, maybe 50-90 are useable. The balance of the acreage is mountains and woods. Tillable land and pasture are at a premium, and if a living is to be made and a mortgage is to be paid, land must be fertilized and worked to its potential.

This is not a bad thing. The Sustainable “crowd” may find this hard to believe, but then again, reality has always been a problem for them. Some farms in our area have been worked for 150 years, and still produce good, healthy crops and livestock.

However, if you want to live like a peasant, let your land sleep, keep bees, and grow organic corn where the ear is no bigger than a Dill pickle, knock yourself out! Just don’t be miffed if the rest of us refuse to follow your Pied Piper into dreamland.

Fathom this: The average dairy farm in our area is 70 cows, and if they are Holsteins, which most are, a farmer will produce, between milk sales, cattle sales and miscellaneous income, about $250,000 per year. That’s just one dairy farm, and I’d bet almost 100 percent of that income is spent in the local economy. 

Again, if you want to produce sausage or homemade cheese or honey, go ahead. I hope you make a living, but just how many eco-friendly, holistic-organic, boutique, and Sustainable-Gaga businesses will it take to equal the income of one average dairy farm?

The point is, you folks don’t know what you’re talking about. You don’t have a clue, and when something comes along that has potential to generate real economic growth like gas exploration, you’re against it. You cite junk science, quote people with agendas, and resort to fear-mongering.

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