DEANSBORO, NY — American essayist and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau waxed poetic about life by saying, “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”
Area farmer Troy Bishopp, aka “The Grass Whisperer” has been following Thoreau’s reverent path, but it happens to be lined with fencerows, cattle, wildlife, healthy soil, clean streams and a carpet of green pastures.
This journey of management-intensive grass farming, teaching, advising, writing, speaking and photographing in the hamlet of Deansboro, NY on the family’s multi-generational, 100 acre organic grass farm has once again brought the farmer accolades on a national scale. Bishopp was surprised at the 2017 National Grassfed Exchange Conference in front of 500 farmers and ranchers in Albany, NY with a coveted Service Award for his over 30 years of grassland advocacy, leadership and dedication to expanding grass-fed livestock enterprises and mentoring grassland stewardship throughout New York and the Northeast.
In addition to farming, Bishopp takes this passion and work ethic to the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Upper Susquehanna Coalition and directs grazing assistance and practical holistic land management concepts to hundreds of area farmers. He’s also a free-lance writer/photographer for Lee Newspapers, OnPasture.com, and other regional and national media outlets.
“He practices what he preaches,” said District Manager, Steve Lorraine. “It makes him an effective leader and promoter of high-level grazing and land management systems.”
This national honor adds to Bishopp’s body of work within the agricultural community. He was previously awarded with the NYS Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Pioneer Grazier’s award, has garnered numerous Harold “Cap” Creal Excellence in Journalism awards, Agriculture in the News awards, NESARE & National NACD photography awards and several Mohawk Valley Toastmasters International Public Speaking contest awards.
Grassfed Exchange Board member, Dr. Allen Williams said, “Troy has long been a pioneer and innovator in the world of grazing. He is a tireless practitioner, advocate, and promoter of the myriad benefits of adaptive grazing principles. He is always willing to share his extensive knowledge with anyone who has interest and has been instrumental in positively affecting grazing at a landscape scale. Truly an honor and well deserved.”
Friend, NY Beef Farmer and Grassfed Exchange Board member, Morgan Hartman praised the Grass Whisperer. “I got started into grassfed beef seriously in 2007. One of the key people who inspired me and has been a mentor is Troy Bishopp. He’s been at this as a practitioner/farmer and as a teacher since before it was cool. One of the most inspiring aspects of what Troy does is his commitment to helping other farmers and his passions for seeing others succeed.”
University of Vermont Pasture Program Coordinator Jenn Colby said, “Troy’s passion and commitment to grass-based livestock farmers in the Northeast is unparalleled. He is ready to ask hard questions or share personal feelings and experiences to help each farmer feel supported and be more successful. Seeing Troy’s local and regional efforts rewarded on the national level was not only well deserved, but a personal highlight for those of us knowing how hard he works to achieve the mission of grass farming.”
“Troy Bishopp has dedicated a great amount of his time assisting members of the agricultural community. He has helped many of us in creating a vision through his passion of farming. His one-on-one approach has not only kept me farming, but has made it profitable. This has not only helped our operation increase time spent with family, but has made farming enjoyable. I have also noticed my decrease in fuel consumption, reducing my carbon footprint. Troy has been a great asset to the farming community of this area and a dedicated voice,” said Purple Tie Farm Beef Farm’s, Allen Riley.
“Troy has connected the dots between the profitability of grass farming for rebuilding local farm communities. He has been a tireless advocate for farmers and local food sheds. He is to be commended for his efforts to educate his peers, governmental agencies in charge of grassland management, and the politicians who empower the programs. His wit and humor, mixed with realistic commentary, about what is wrong with our rural farm economies prove Troy’s passion for farm sustainability. Farmers and local communities have been the benefactors of his energized grazing career,” said Kim Seeley, Milky Way Dairy Farm.
“This award is dedicated to my ancestors and family who have given me inspiration to build ‘sweat equity’ for the good of the earth and in memory of my late brother, Scott Bishopp, who knew the value of mentoring and teaching the next generation lessons in life. I am humbled, proud and thankful to receive recognition for this 2017 service award from my peers at the Grassfed Exchange. This award speaks volumes on behalf of all who have mentored me over my 35 years advocating for the use of managed grasslands to feed and clothe the soil of America. I hope my toil will spur future generations to consider the awesome possibilities of grassland farming for economic, environmental and family well-being,” emphasized Bishopp.