Old MacDonald Had A Farm - Farming in NYS

Thursday, March 5, 2015
Fifteen days till spring.....we're almost there.  I don't know about you, but I sure enjoyed yesterday's 30+ degree heatwave.  Before long our snowy white landscape will disappear!  Oh happy day!  Between the frigid temps and some persistent winter health issues, we haven't been out on many blog adventures - thus my lack of posts, but never fear as I have a few topics tucked away for times like these.  I also have a photo shoot scheduled for tomorrow for a blog you won't want to miss.  That one is full of "Spring" and trust me - you won't want to miss it.  Till then, come along to farm country, New York style.
This beautiful barn sits next door to the Beardslee Castle in Little Falls, NY
I am not a city girl......I'm more of a suburb kinda gal....at least when it comes to where I choose to live.  Yet, other than the ocean, no where makes my heart sing more than in farm country.  I don't know what it is, but I just love farms - from the sprawling countryside, to the farmhouses, to the livestock - I love farms!! When we go for drives, it is the country that I'm drawn to.  Maybe I watched too many episodes of Little House on the Prairie, but there's something about the idea of waking up to the sound of roosters and cows that seems so idyllic to me.  The fact that this natural alarm clock is permanently set for predawn reminds me that my fantasy lifestyle isn't all that appealing in real life..... not to mention that farmers are some mighty hard-working folk.

When I decided to do today's post, I did a little homework and here's what I learned about farming in New York State:
-There are about 36,000 farms in New York; 842 of them are certified organic.
-The average farm is about 193 acres, half the national average.  Farming is primarily (98%) done by small family owned farms.
-Less than 20% of the average family farm generates more than $100,000 per year.
-The average farmer in NYS is 55 years old.  Fewer young adults are joining the farming profession.
-Farms contribute $37.6 billion to NYS economy, that is a 22% increase from previous years.

-Milk is the leading agricultural product in NYS and accounts for 1/2 of the total agricultural receipts.
- New York is the 4th leading milk and dairy producer in the US. (Wyoming is #1.)
-23% of the state's land is used to produce a diverse array of food products.
The Palatine Church Farm - across from the Palatine Church erected in 1770
So those are some facts you may not have known.  I know they were news to me.  In our travels we see plenty of working farms, as well as equal amounts of farms that are well beyond their glory days.  It's sad to see some of these deserted and worn old barns and not wonder what stories might be told were the farmers still here to tell them.  While you take a tour of some of the farms I've felt compelled to photograph, most of which are no longer in operation, try to imagine what life might have been like on those farms. 


Now before ya'll other types of farmers start to think I've forgotten you.....I haven't.  In fact I've blogged about many of you in earlier blog posts.  If you're interested in reading about produce farms, you can check out my posts in September about Schoharie Valley Farms, as well as Shaul's Farm, both located in Schoharie County. I've also written about some of my llama and alpaca farm friends in posts in April, July, September and October.   I have a couple of visits planned for the spring featuring two more local farms and I can't wait!  I also plan on doing a post on horse farms in NYS, so if you're a horse lover, stay tuned for that.
Last April we participated in the 22nd Annual Washington County Fiber Tour.  That was a lot of fun and very educational for adults and kids.  This year's event, which is FREE will take place on April 25 and 26th from 10-4:00pm at 16 different farms all over Washington County.  I highly recommend this event and I've included a link below so you can map out your day ahead of time.   That way you can travel from farm to farm using the most efficient route. My friends at September Morning Farm are once again part of this event. You won't want to miss this one!

If you're interested in the history of farming, I recommend checking out the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY.   They have everything from farm vehicles, to farm tools, to live animals.  Links to my post on the museum and all the previous places I've mentioned are included below. 

Thanks for joining me on the farm!  If you know of any cool farms that welcome visitors and wouldn't mind being the subject of a future blog, please let me know!  If you are a farmer or know a farmer - give them a big, heartfelt Thanks.  Farmers are so needed and so under appreciated.  They work hard so you and I have produce, dairy products, meat, fiber for clothing and so much more, not to mention what beauty and green space preservation they provide.  As always, thanks for joining me in Life As I See It.

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