June was Dairy Month and it was very busy, with lots of activities here in Oneida County. On June 1, the Oneida Co. Farm Bureau unveiled a life-sized Brown Swiss milking cow made of plastic, fiberglass and rubber to show people how to milk a cow and promote the dairy industry in the county. Her name at this time is number 18001, because there are approximately 18,000 cows in Oneida Co. There is a contest to give her a name by filling out a paper ballot and a majority name will win.

On June 2, Farm Fest hosted by the DiNitto Farms in Marcy. During the day they hosted many elementary students from various schools throughout the county. New York State Ag Commissioner Richard Ball attended and presented a proclamation that June is Dairy Month in New York. It was presented to Farm Fest Coordinator Terri DiNitto during an evening event that was open to the public.

On June 6, Finndale Farms of Holland Patent hosted 190 kindergarten kids from area school districts. Then, on June 16, 90 eighth grade students visited the farm with tours about what it takes to care for, feed and milk 850 cows and 850 heifers to produce a high volume of high quality milk. The highlight was the Farmer Ben-narrated hayrides when the students got to experience the birth of a couple brand new calves (and one was breached!).

A month-long celebration of all things dairy

Third grade teacher Anna Carnevale’s class poses for a pic on their field trip from Holland Patent Elementary School to Finndale Farms. Photo courtesy of Anna Carnevale

Then, on June 14 at the Oneida Co. Legislators meeting, County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. presented a proclamation that June is Dairy Month in Oneida Co. and presented it to Oneida Co. Dairy Ambassador Ella Larry from Floyd.

Later, on June 26, there was a ribbon cutting/open house with a tour of the facility called Copper City Meats (formerly Gold Metal Packing) in Marcy, with the new owners and managers, many area farmers and elected officials in attendance. Their business plan is to buy and process local cows, calves, pigs and sheep that are conventional and organic certified as well as certified grass-fed. It is a USDA-inspected as well as organically certified facility. It is the largest processing facility in New York and the Northeast.

Throughout the month there were many “Drive Your Tractor to School Days” across the county. And lastly, Sheriff Rob Maciol and Farmer Ben have been on a road show, attending schools to educate young drivers about the safety of driving on rural roads and the use of slow-moving vehicle (SMV) signs.

Agriculture is alive and well in Oneida Co. Dairy is the largest segment of agriculture in the county.

by Ben Simons