It was a typical, grey, Central New York day with cloud-dotted skies in late August when people gathered for Family Day at Raycliff Farm. Raycliff Farm is located on Snellsbush Road in eastern Little Falls. Raycliff Farms is a Quarter Horse farm founded in 1964. Judy Mijares and Ray Hutten opened their farm for the 5th year for Family Day at Raycliff Farm. Judy explained that Family Day at Raycliff Farm was sponsored by: the Town of Manheim, Herkimer County Dairy Promotion, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Soil & Water, and the Farm Bureau. She said, “The idea is to give folks an idea about agribusiness, old fashioned fun (bale toss and egg and spoon race), and expose people to farm life.”
Judy described the farrier demonstration, FFA display, and all sorts of other vendors. Judy added, “We would definitely welcome more agribusiness vendors next year.”
“Horses brought me here. I came with two dogs, two cats, and now we have 22 horses, two dogs, eight cats, and a barn full of chickens, Guineafowl, ducks, and peacocks.” She said with a chuckle as she explained her history in agriculture.
Judy explained, “Family Day at Raycliff Farm is important because it lets people know where their food comes from.” She thanked her “wonderful volunteers,” and said, “Hopefully people will learn something.”
At the FFA display, complete with a Holstein cow and a calf, it was all about teaching the people the virtues of farming. Following the FFA motto, “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve” was in effect as the FFA from Oppenheim Ephratah St. Johnsville passed along information to people attending Family Day at Raycliff Farm. Kait Isaac, president of OESJ’s FFA and New York State FFA reporter, explained there are 14 members of OESJ’s FFA and 4,014 state wide. OEJS is looking to grow their membership once school starts this fall.
Kait who will be a senior at OESJ said, “The FFA promotes agriculture through leadership.”
Chris Smith and Kristy Shafer are the FFA advisors at OESJ. Chris Smith teaches agriculture and Kristy Shafer teaches technology. They explained that the OESJ FFA covers Fulton and Montgomery Counties. The OEJS FFA will actually cover farm events all over Central New York. Chris Smith explained that today’s FFA is more than just farming. It is technology, it is welding, it is the business of agriculture, not just planting and milking.
Kait Isaac said, “Agriculture gives so much to the community it’s our job as FFA members to educate and advocate back to the community.”
Family Day at Raycliff Farm included a tractor parade, live music, and old time games like egg and spoon race and bale toss. Pies, fudge, home grown fruits and vegetables were available from many local vendors. The Herkimer County Dairy Princess gave out free ice cream.
Stephanie Arndt from St. Johnsville, NY and Pandora the painted cow were on hand. Stephanie lets kids put their painted hand prints all over Pandora. Stephanie said, “Me and Pandora are trying to show kids you can be whatever you want to be. Kids can see, feel, and put their hands on Pandora. It makes it real for them.” Follow Pandora the Painted Cow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Pandora-The-Painted-Cow/582151351900999 .
Raycliff Farm opens their doors so people can reconnect with agriculture and farming. Mark your calendar, join them next time, and start taking part in learning about farming and agri-business. And pie too.