January 16, 2009 - 10:39am
NYS Agriculture Society 177th Annual Meeting
The New York State Agricultural Society was organized in 1832 to “foster, promote and improve the New York State Food and Agriculture Industry”. The Society’s Mission is to improve the condition of agriculture through education, leadership development and recognition programs. The NY State Agricultural Society continues to serve the changing needs of New York State’s food and agricultural industries. In case you didn’t know - farming is a $3.6 billion industry vital to New York’s economy.
On January 8th the NYS Ag Society held its 177th annual meeting in Syracuse, NY. This year’s theme was "Planning for the Future – with a Smile". Break-out sessions were offered in generational transfer, strategic planning and risk management. One take home message – “Long term success requires unconventional thinking.”
One of the highlights of the annual meeting is recognizing those people who have had a positive impact on the industry over the past year. The Harold L. “Cap” Creal Journalism Awards recognize journalists who promote an understanding of New York agriculture. Tom Rivers received the award for “General Media – Print Series” for his outstanding series on farm jobs that we all read in The Daily News last year. In case you missed them, Tom spent the growing season working on area farms. He endured lightening storms, lots of mud, ladders and giant cabbage to bring us articles on how our food is produced. Tom also received special recognition for his series and was presented with a Carhartt jacket and a gold pitch fork for being a super reporter.
Another highlight is the Century Farm Awards which honor farms that have been in continuous operation on the same land by the same family for 100 years or more. This year two Genesee County farms were honored – Cottonwood Farms and Norton Farms.
Cottonwood Farms is located in Pavilion and was established in 1880 by Frank A. Tillotson. The farm is named for the two cottonwood trees that the founder brought back from Kansas and planted in 1880. One of the trees has been judged the third largest cottonwood in New York State. Today this farm is operated as a father-son partnership of 4th & 5th descendents of Frank A. Tillotson. The farm is operated as a 300-cow organic grazing dairy. The farm was certified organic in 2000.
Located in Elba, the Norton Farm/Oak Orchard Dairy was established by Charles Bloom in 1906. His son-in-law, Elmer Norton purchased the farm in 1923 and ran a livestock business and raised sheep. In 1947 the farm changed to dairy. The first herd was Guernseys but they later switched to Holsteins for higher milk production. The farm was a pioneer in the area being one of the first to install a milking parlor. The farm has continued to grow to 1,000 acres and 900 cows. They have received numerous production awards.
Congratulations to all of the award winners.