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Adventures in the North Country: Calf Pools, Grants and Agritourism

Greetings everyone! What a hectic two weeks it has been. Leek moth scouting has continued almost daily, as well as looking for cutworms and armyworms. I’ve been attempting to make a deeper connection to the region, and in this process came across a great documentary called Small Farm Rising. It profiles how three first-generation farms in the area work towards defending small-scale, sustainable agriculture. After watching this film and then meeting one of the featured farmers, it’s evident how much these farms have come to represent the agriculture industry in the North.

Aside from all the leek moth scouting I’ve been doing, I’ve also had the opportunity over the past two weeks to attend three different meetings that I’m excited to discuss here. The first was a presentation given to local beef producers entitled ‘Feeder Cattle Marketing’. I was especially excited by this talk for two reasons: my family raised beef until I was about twelve years old, and the professor who delivered the presentation, Dr. Phil Osborne, was from WVU, my home state. The presentation was unique in that it was given via Adobe Connect and the farmers in New York were able to ask Dr. Osborne questions via a microphone. He spoke about how calf pools benefit small-time producers by assuring quality and value. The idea is being thrown around here currently, though there may be issues with a central infrastructure, how calves would be graded and how to assess willingness to participate.

I also attended two other workshops last week. The first was an introduction to grant writing for extension staff given by Carol Hegeman of Hegeman Consulting. Though I personally take a greater interest in the actual execution of research, I cannot deny how crucial it is to be able to write a grant in order to fund research. Hegeman was able to make this process engaging and interactive, and she introduced possible ethical dilemmas that we might deal with throughout the process. For instance, is it better to collaborate with another office when applying for a grant or is it dangerous to alert them to the opportunity? The second workshop I attended was an Agritourism meeting hosted at Rulf’s Orchard. Members of the council discussed different ways of showing people how much there is to do right in their own backyard. Rulf’s is hosting a Strawberry Festival.

Strawberries from Rulf's Orchard

The Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau is recruiting booths for the Clinton County Fair. There are also wine tours, U-picks, etc. One idea thrown out that I found particularly interesting was a “Bucket List” to give to people with things to check off by the end of the summer. It reminded me of the 161 List that so many students strive to complete before their senior year. I even know of an app that tracks your progress! If your town had a “Bucket List”, would you attempt to complete it?

Until next time!

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