The Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency is forming an Agricultural Development Council to address the needs throughout the agriculture industry, but in order to do that, they first need to hear what the problems are. John Piseck is the Executive Director of the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency.
"Find out what concerns and comments and questions that they have so we can then form individual groups, work together as a larger group and see how we can best support the farming and agricultural and agri-tourism here in the county."
Farmers were more than eager to address the difficulties facing the industry.
“We have a surplus of milk. We rely too much on exports. Until we realize that we cannot rely on exports, ok, we are going to be in trouble in this industry.”
“Can you help us transition some of our land into new agricultural production for other areas besides dairy, because the dairy industry for a small farm… it really has to be said, it’s dead. We’re not going to make it.”
“There needs to be something to help them move on to a next chapter, and there’s nothing.”
“They are more interested in paying for cable TV. They’re interested in paying for internet. They’re interested in paying for smart phones, but they’re not interested in paying for quality food."
The Deputy Commissioner of New York State AG & Markets, Kevin KIng came to hear their concerns and left them with this advice.
"Stay the course. You know the pressures are intense but it’s more than just the immediate concerns and really focusing on how can they work effectively together to overcome some of the challenges that are out there."
While some bigger farms have switched over to automation, smaller farms are having to diversify and keep their debt ratio low in order to survive.