Central New York’s Farm Progress Show began 40 years ago with fewer than a dozen displays. This year more than 100 exhibitors took part in the annual event, which is hosted by the Leonard Gilbert Family at Len-Lo Farm, Robinson Road, Mohawk, NY.
“The show this year was one of the largest shows to date,” said Dick Presky, President of the CNY Farm Progress Show. “Many new items were displayed this year — such as expanded disc mowing machines, new excavators, new tractors with ultra-modern transmissions, remote control tractors and harvesters, and different types of drones to be used as surveyors and for laying out fields to be used by remote tractors.”
This year Presky and the CNY Farm Progress Show organization was awarded the honor of being declared the Organization of Distinction by the state wide Dairy of Distinction program.
“Every year the New York State Dairy of Distinction program awards two different awards,” said Marylynn Collins, President of NYS Dairy of Distinction program. “One is the Person of Distinction, and the other is Organization of Distinction. This year we decided to recognize The CNY Farm Progress Show as our Organization of Distinction winner, as they were celebrating 40 years of positively promoting agriculture in Central New York. Dick Presky has been actively involved in the planning and organizing of this great event for nearly as many years.”
Collins added that Presky and the CNY Farm Progress Show have been “very supportive” of the Dairy of Distinction program.
The ‘Person of Distinction Award’ was given to the NYS Dairy of Distinction Board Secretary, Nancy Putnam.
Presky noted that show days were changed this year to Friday and Saturday, as had been requested by many exhibitors, which seemed to work out well.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Dairy and Field Crop specialists Dave Balbian and Kevin Ganoe were on hand to discuss updates and market prices at the CCE exhibit.
“The mood seemed to be more subdued because of the lower milk prices,” said Balbian. “People seemed to be interested in milk markets, milk prices, and what milk prices will be over the next year or two. People also asked about how they might be able to cut down on feed expenses and what was the best strategy regarding feed costs.”
Balbian advised folks that, in general, “the best strategy is striving to maximize net milk income per cow, per day, minus feed cost.” Balbian explained this strategy leaves the most money to pay other expenses. “Simply slashing costs without regard to the consequences is not the answer.”
Balbian said folks were also interested in the fact that the MPP program has paid out little and it appears that it may not pay out in 2016.
Discussions also centered around the weather and how dry it has been. Corn silage, leaf blight diseases and cover crops were topics folks discussed with Ganoe.
Other folks like the social aspect of the event as well as the updated information they receive.
“We looked at bale feeders, seeders, tools, mowers, seed catalogs, and other things,” remarked John Kellett of Mohawk Oaks Organic Dairy. “It was nice to talk to some of the people we do business with — and to get free hats, pens, gloves, milk and good information.”
Dairyman Gordon Schaufelberg said, “It’s an annual event that I look forward to each year that provides a chance to mingle with like minded people. It’s close to home and it’s a lot like Empire Farm Days but a condensed version.”
Schaufelberg and Mike Settle of Settle Dairy both said they visited booths that offered insurance they was looking for. “There were insurance agents every where you turned,” commented Ray Hulten of Herkimer County.
Presky reported that three exhibits won awards from the show committee, with ‘Best Indoor Exhibit’ going to Herkimer Soil and Water Office; ‘Best Outdoor Large Equipment Exhibit’ went to Clinton Tractor, Clinton, NY; and ‘Best Small Outdoor Exhibit’ was awarded to Jo and Rose Hubiak.
Steven Smith, a long-time volunteer who has been the chairman of the bale toss contest for years and is now in the Valley Health facility in Herkimer, will also be receiving an award for his long time contribution to the event.
“This is a non-profit corporation which has given out many scholarships with an average of 2-3 per year,” said Presky. The organization supports several 4-H programs and BOCES projects. “We have also supported several cattle judging groups, including a couple that have become best in class cattle judges for dairy cows. We also supported a group of youth to go to Ireland for judging contest. This program was designed — and still is — a county farm show of local dealers to exhibit their equipment and to show their professionalism in the agriculture business,” said Presky. “The show is put together with a small group of volunteers. Many of them have been with the show for the whole 40 years.”
Plans are in the making for next year’s farm show, which will be at the same site. Tentative dates are Sept. 9 and 10, 2016.