Updated 08/21/2012 09:13 PM
Officials see local farms first hand
St. Lawrence County legislators and other North Country officials were given the opportunity to see farms up close and personal. The group visited three farms during Tuesday's Agriculture tour: Sheep and dairy farms, as well as an organic fruit and vegetable farm. Each facility had its own experiences and concerns to share and officials say they were ready to listen. Our Cara Thomas has the story.
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ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. -- Mapleview Dairy Farm was one of the stops on St. Lawrence County's agriculture tour. The farm has about 1,900 cows which produce 85 pounds of milk per day per cow. Mapleview Dairy is a family run business and while it's far from an easy job, workers say they do it because they love it.
Jordan Fisher from Mapleview Dairy LLC said, "We're making a food product and we're trying to feed people and so if we make a good quality food product, that makes me feel good."
But while it's a rewarding career, there are many challenges that go along with it. One being the price of milk. Farmers say with the cost of production being so high and the price of milk being so low, it's difficult to make a profit.
Fisher said, "If it gets below our cost of production, it's pretty tough, especially when a drought like this hits, grain prices get high and it makes things very difficult."
And it was expressing concerns like these that organizers say was the point of this tour. Legislators and local officials heard from a variety of farmers about the issues they face every day.
Farmland Protection Board Chairman Bob Andrews said, "It's important that these people realize that they've got to support agriculture if they want to maintain agriculture in this area."
Assemblywoman Addie Russell said, "I really want to ensure that I'm hearing from a diversity of our farmers. There's lots of different places we're going today, different farmers having different experiences, so it's always good to go into a legislative session with the most up to date information about what our farmers need and how they're doing."
Farmers say they were grateful that the legislators and government officials took the time to see their farms first hand. They say they think the group learned a lot from the tour and will hopefully continue to support the agriculture business in the future ahead.