The annual Oneida County Farm Bureau Banquet recently took place at the Franklin Hotel Restaurant in Rome, NY. Those joining many of the county’s farmers included agricultural businesses, several elected officials and representatives from Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Peter Ricardo from Central Food Bank spoke and thanked the farmers for the millions of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables sold and donated for those less fortunate in our community.

Senior Oneida County Dairy Ambassador Ella Larry of Rome gave a report on her activities at schools and the county fair promoting the importance of dairy products and the nutritional value to the public, as well as a report on American Dairy Association North East (ADA NE) activities.

The Holland Patent High School National FFA was represented by newly elected Chapter President Brian Tolbert, Chapter Reporter Camryn Howard and active member Aaron Finn. They gave a report on the history and the future now that the Holland Patent FFA has reorganized.

Many of our local elected officials, including New York State Sen. Joe Griffo, NYS Assemblymembers Marianne Buttenschon and Brian Miller, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente and Oneida County Legislator Norm Leach, were in attendance and gave agricultural updates from their perspectives.

Communications Director from U.S. Congressman Brandon Williams’s Office, John Salka, also gave brief update on the progress on the Farm Bill, noting that it was on hold until they elected a Speaker of the House.

Oneida Co. Farm Bureau hosts Annual Meeting

(L – R) New York Farm Bureau rep John Wagner, NYS Sen. Joe Griffo, Oneida Co. Dairy Ambassador Ella Larry, Oneida Co. Executive Anthony Picente, NYS Assemblyman Brian Miller, Farmer Ben Simons and Oneida Co. Sheriff/rancher Rob Maciol. Picente led a toast with milk: “Oneida County wouldn’t be where it is without agriculture – it’s the number one industry and it continues to drive our economy to new heights.” Photo by Ben Simons

After Oneida County Farm Bureau President John Collins called the official portion of the meeting to order, the members discussed many policies and issues facing the agricultural industry. These issues were presented, debated and then voted on.

In addition, the election of officers and board members for 2023-24 took place. Those elected to the Board of Directors included President John Collins, Town of Lee, and Vice President Kathy Gregory-Salvo, Marcy. Other elected directors included Tyler Wrisley, Boonville; Larry Hobin Jr., Rome; Pat VanLieshout, Verona; Tyler Ford, Clinton; Casey Holbert, Sauquoit; Kevin Angel, Keith James and Neil Collins, all of Verona; and Colburn Sherwood, Town of Lee.

Lori VanLieshout was appointed office manager, Karen K. Howard was appointed Promotion & Education chair and Maryellan Baldwin was appointed young Farmers & Ranchers chair.

Thank you to all the  farmers that feed us three times a day and thank you for being such a big part of our the county’s economy.

by Ben Simons