LIVERPOOL, NY -— Richard Ball has been a farmer for four decades, but in the past 12 months he was surprised to witness some very different aspects of agriculture.
After he donned the hat of New York Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets in January 2014, Ball traveled constantly, listening to and helping other farmers with their concerns. Occasionally, their concerns were beyond his personal experience.
Last July, for example, he visited farms in Lewis County in far northern New York that were hard hit by a rare tornado. In November, he commiserated with farmers in Erie County in western New York following an unusually-heavy snowstorm that leveled, by local accounts, nearly 100 barns and greenhouses and wiped out livestock and crops. Yates County farms suffered from a severe hail storm. Continue reading