Love it or leave it? Farmers debate hydrofracking at Farm Bureau Conference

CEW-MR-1-Love it or leave it253by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY —  Hydraulic fracturing. Also known as “hydrofracking,” it is one word guaranteed to stir up a hornet’s nest of comments.

Whether you live in an urban neighborhood or rural district in the northeastern U.S., you’re sure to have heard about fracking at town, city council and school board meetings, or attended scholarly lectures and viewed certain films and television shows. Upstate New York, in an area roughly from the western border with Canada, including the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier east to the capital district, is home to several large natural gas deposits.

Hydrofracking is the process of injecting liquids, water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground to fracture shale rock. In addition, the region’s proximity to Pennysylvania and Ohio, where fracking is a large-scale, and some say profitable industry, brings the topic to mind more often. [Read more…]

Median grazing: Crazy enough to work?

CEW-MR-1-Grazing mediansby Troy Bishopp, The Grass Whisperer

I’m pleased The New York Times released an op-ed piece titled, Keep Farmland for Farmers, poignantly written by Hudson Valley Farmers, Lindsey Lusher Shute and Benjamin Shute which chronicles the plight of finding land and making a go of it beyond the boroughs of New York City. In it they reveal that one-quarter of the land trusts that oversee conservation easements have seen protected land go out of production. Why? A non-farmer had bought it. [Read more…]

Perfection: Belted Galloway, dairy sheep and cheese

CE-MR-2-Meadowood Farms1by Tamara Scully

Award winning Belted Galloway cattle and award-winning sheep’s milk cheese can be found on the same farm in Cazenovia, NY. But there’s no competition on the farm: both the sheep and cattle are thriving, providing milk, meat and superior genetics in a finely-tuned, integrated system. The farm, owned by Marc Shappell and Tom Anderson, is managed by Fiona Harrar and Seth Hanauer. [Read more…]

NYFB delegates vote efficiently on strategic issues at statewide conference

CEW-MR-2-NYFB delegates247by Pat Malin

SYRACUSE, NY — If the U.S. Congress really wanted to get its act together, it should take a page from the New York State Farm Bureau playbook.

“This is true democracy at work,” Farm Bureau president Dean Norton commented as he chatted with fellow farmers from upstate New York during the Farm Bureau’s annual statewide conference, which was held at Holiday Inn in Liverpool, on Dec. 3-5.

Norton, a dairy farmer and livestock owner from Elba in western New York, gave his annual address on Dec. 4 to about 400 delegates from all 62 counties. “What makes our organization so strong comes from you,” he said. [Read more…]