by Troy Bishopp

DEANSBORO, NY — Robin Williams once said, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” Ideas come from getting together, sharing experiences and having discussions which can invariably lead to change. It’s what farmers do regularly, whether in the barn, shop or over coffee.

This premise has led to the formation of a new Oneida County young farmer discussion group.  Spearheaded by Oneida County’s Cornell Cooperative Extension Dairy & Livestock Educator and local farmer, Marylynn Collins, a group of 22 young people met at the Boro in Deansboro for the first kick-off meeting.

“I recognize the current challenges and hardships that are occurring in our farming community. I also recognize that without farmers our community would suffer greatly. I’d like to think that by facilitating this group of young and motivated farmers they will find the encouragement, comradery and benefits of sharing similar opportunities, struggles and experiences to help them keep going and succeeding in agriculture here in Oneida County,” said Collins.

“While the atmosphere and location may be conducive to socializing, my goal is to bring topics to the group that initiate positive, productive conversations and discussions that will benefit the group as a whole,” said Collins.

After introductions and some tasty finger food provided by the Oneida County Farm Bureau, the group of mostly dairy-oriented farmers visited about the group structure, meeting frequencies, location and times. It was suggested that meetings be kept social and informal, possibly being hosted on farms. Evening hours were preferred with special consideration given to working around the hectic cropping season.

Conversations veered into controlling input costs, dealing with the current low milk price situation, marketing and finding ways to support each other’s endeavors. Laughter was also an important component as the stories kept the mood light.

“I’m confident this young group is capable of putting their heads together to work on finding possible solutions to the multitude of challenges that agriculture throws at them,” said Collins.

If you’re interested in participating with this new group, contact Marylynn Collins at or 315.736.3394 ext. 132 at the Oneida County Cornell Cooperative Extension office.