Farm diversification in Mad. Co.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County and NY FarmNet hosted an informaitonal session Aug. 25 at the Canaseraga Farm in Chittenango. The focus of the local farm tour was to show community members the endless possibilites of farming and how a business plan can be indorporated to better achieve goals in the industry.

Extension Issue Leader Karen Baase began the session by giving attendants background on agriculutral statistics.

"A lot of people think 'dairy' in Madison County," Baase said. "But it's very agriculturally diverse."

NY FarmNet personal consultant Leonard Freeborn said that although "we're in though times," the consultance agency has been busy helping new farmers get started. As a consultant for 15-plus years, Freeborn said he works on helping families with the lesser-known stresses that might come with a new farm, such as communication.

Peter Henry of Canaseraga Farm said he and the family started farming more than 20 years ago and has mainly focussed on corn and dairy cows, but recently started to venture into the tomatoe scene after his son Griffin came up with the idea for a greenhouse. The farm location had been established about 70 years ago by members of the Henry family.

The roadside stand located on 2323 Route 5 in Chittenango has been bringing in great business for years, according to Michele Henry. Families can stop by and pick out ears of corn, squash, tomatoes and more, while children take a look at the young calves that take up quarters near the stand until they are big enough to be moved into the barn with the 70-plus dairy cows.

The econmoic slump isn't affecting all farmers equally, many are still reaping big profits while others are having a hard year, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article on the economy's effects on famring. The Canaseraga Farm's location and longtime presence has shown their viability in the market.

This farm is a prime example of diversification in Madison County, said Baase, their focus on various means of production show how well they have grown with the time.

"People can focus on eating local, and eating the food that farming families eat," Michele Henry said.

She said by eating the food that they produce, they show their customers they can make a product that is good to eat and feeds a family just like them.

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