DELHI, NY – Nothing beats a live event, especially after a two-year pandemic and being “Zoom-ified” by the virtual world of information sharing. What a difference it makes for farmers and presenters who can make eye contact, share practical ideas and brainstorm solutions on agricultural subjects and enjoy fellowship over a meal again.
The 2023 Catskill Regional Agriculture Conference was once again spearheaded by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County, in partnership with the Watershed Agricultural Council, and held on the SUNY Delhi Campus. Dairy, livestock, grazing management, vegetables and cut flower production continue to be the mainstay of information requested from area farmers.
The vestibule offered a small trade show featuring services from the Delaware County Soil & Water Conservation District, Farm Credit East, the Upper Susquehanna Coalition, Kencove Farm Fence and the Watershed Ag Council.
Two early bird sessions were showcased: “Creating an efficient pastured broiler enterprise” from CCE Livestock and Beginning Farm Specialist Amy Barkley and “Standing out at farm stands” with a panel of local farmers. A lunchtime presentation on the potential impacts of climate change policies on New York State agricultural producers was also discussed.
The dairy track featured how the milk price is determined, lowering bulk tank somatic cell counts and innovative approaches to terminating winter rye cover crops. The grazing session featured management tools for grazing success, hayfield grazing considerations and planning a fence project.
Livestock topics included leveraging the stocker cattle enterprise for New York farmers, the basics of breeding selections for beef and sheep operations and an interesting look at the status of dung beetles in New York and their role in the ecosystem.
The vegetable track focused on weed identification and management options, soil health properties and expanding a farm’s offerings to customers with uncommon fruits. The well-attended flower sessions discussed calculating cut flower profitability, considerations for a U-cut flower operation and wedding opportunities for the farmer florist.
by Troy Bishopp