by Troy Bishopp
“Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try,” said President John F. Kennedy. It’s sage advice in life, and sharing your story on the farm opens the portals of social media. Agriculture has said they need more farmer advocates to educate the public on the realities of farming. Challenge accepted…
The beef business is shining a bit brighter, thanks to farmers Cory, Chrissy and Addison Claudio, who manage Black Angus cattle for O’Mara Farms in Hubbardsville, NY. Despite the pandemic, marketing the positive aspects of beef doesn’t take a day off. In appreciation for the family’s perseverance in sharing their daily farm life, the New York Beef Council (NYBC) named the Claudio family the Beef Promoter of the Year at this year’s virtual NY Beef Producers Association Annual Meeting.
Thirty-five years ago, beef farmers established a program designed to educate and promote on behalf of beef. Through this effort, the beef Checkoff was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. As stewards of Checkoff dollars, the NYBC puts forth efforts daily to enhance the lives of consumers by connecting them with beef and the beef community.
With over 19.8 million consumers calling NY home, the four employees at the NYBC need help connecting and educating the populace about the benefits of beef. “As many in the beef industry know very well, we often enlist help from our local farmers,” said Katherine Staiger, director of producer communications and influencer outreach. “No one is a more trusted voice and educator on how beef cattle are cared for and raised than the farmers who live it daily.”
The Beef Promoter of the Year is awarded annually by NYBC in recognition of extensive and varied education and promotion activities. This award was created to look beyond daily beef production activities and recognize the above and beyond efforts of beef producers highlighting the council’s mission.
Chrissy and Cory Claudio, along with their daughter Addison, work for O’Mara Farms, where they manage a commercial Black Angus herd on 340 acres of grazing and forest land. For the last five years, Chrissy and Cory have lived and worked on Endless Trails Farm in Hubbardsville, where they care for the growing beef herd year-round, manage the grazing system, welcome guests and maintain the buildings and land base. Throughout their years on the farm, the operation continues to expand with a record 150 calves born this spring and 100 steers direct marketed throughout Madison County and through the Side Hill Farmers Cooperative in Manlius, NY.
“New York Beef Producer Association members Chrissy and Cory are first generation farmers who have truly jumped into this industry with wide eyes and both feet,” said Staiger. “For the last two and a half years, Chrissy’s marketing prowess has worked to share beef information by providing 458 farm updates and allowing her 1,025 followers on the @OmaraFarms Instagram page to get a glimpse at the big and small daily tasks it takes to raise a beef animal.”
Followers are regularly shown recipes, “locally grazed-naturally raised” cuts of beef, “Did you know?” posts, invited to ask questions and follow along with Addison as they watch their favorite calves grow and thrive. She also promotes other beef producers and shares timely information about agriculture and food.
Promotion is Chrissy’s endeavor. However, carpenter, equipment operator and farm manager Cory has a following in his own rite. With his signature white cowboy hat, he’s been featured for some selected pasture dance moves, tagging calves, fixing fences, feeding cows and as the congenial farm greeter. “Cory is the unsung hero that makes things happen,” Chrissy said. “He represents the grit it takes to farm and customers appreciate his Mr. Fix-it skills.”
Chrissy is an active alumna of the Masters of Beef Advocacy program and a graduate of the NY Top Advocate training. She participated in California’s Five Marys Farm Small Business & Marketing course through a Chobani Community Impact Fund and support from Paul O’Mara. She also gleans marketing help from other social media mavens like Farmhousecreativemarketing.com.
“Chrissy’s passion for what she does and care for the animals is easy to see and feel, which has made the multiple virtual farm field trips to O’Mara Farms a success. The New York Beef Council has partnered with the New York Agriculture in the Classroom program to tour O’Mara Farms multiple times, which has allowed students from all across the state to visit a beef farm without ever leaving their classroom. Tours of O’Mara Farms have been viewed over 5,000 times!” said Staiger.
“Chrissy’s positive and ‘up-for-anything’ attitude is a great asset. 2020 was an unprecedented year with in-person events and farm tours cancelled, but NYBC quickly turned to social media to connect directly with consumers. Chrissy was one of the first to step up and engaged with followers of the NYBC platforms through participation in Farmer Friday updates and Instagram takeovers,” said Jean O’Toole, NYBC executive director.
She’s even grown to share her beef knowledge beyond the pasture by welcoming social media followers into her kitchen to cook with beef. “Chrissy works to share beef information that paints the entire beef industry in a positive light, highlighting nutrition and sustainability facts. She is a positive role model and advocate of our industry and unselfishly assists NYBC in the promotion of the industry to influencers three to four times removed from the life she, Cory and Addison live,” emphasized Staiger.
“Cory and Chrissy Claudio together with their young daughter Addison have been instrumental in improving the condition, health and happiness of the O’Mara Farms Black Angus beef herd. Since joining our operation in 2017, the Claudios have aggressively pursued the goal of providing the best possible care of the farm’s cattle. They have especially excelled at promoting the beef industry on social media by presenting the good animal husbandry practices used on our farm,” said Paul O’Mara. “The O’Mara family feels fortunate to have the Claudio family on our team.”
“Cory, Addison and I are so honored to receive this recognition,” said Chrissy. “We appreciate the opportunity to represent the beef industry and our fellow beef producers in a positive light. Sharing our passion and dedication for the animals we raise was a no-brainer for us and we are happy to do it.”
Those who visit Endless Trails Farm are able to experience a glimpse of what a working cattle operation is like. Sadly, during this past year, guests weren’t able to visit, but it was an easy transition to share farm experiences with them on social media. “We truly enjoy connecting with our consumers and fellow farmers. We’re working as hard as possible to provide our customers with healthy protein as well as being proactive stewards for the environment,” she added.
You can follow the family on Instagram at @OmaraFarms.