More farms, Gov. Cuomo, not bigger farms
Instead of pushing 200-cow farms to 300 cows, wouldn’t upstate New York’s overall economy benefit far more from the revitalization of 900 or 1,000 of the many decommissioned dairy farms that stretch the length and breadth of upstate New York? These new farming operations could easily be peopled with the ambitious, skilled and able offspring of New York’s sturdy dairy farm families. Smaller, family farms are noted for spending their milk checks close to home in their local communities, stimulating many other businesses necessary to the upstate economy. Likewise, they are noted for their effort and just pride in their outstanding tradition of environmental stewardship. Why not invest the $2 million per farm that the governor is willing to throw at large farms through NYSERDA and channel it instead into helping young farm families rebuild sustainable, family-size dairy farms that will benefit a far larger economic segment of upstate New York? This would be an economic stimulus that would last, not a year or two, but a lifetime.
[Nate Wilson, 65, lives in Sinclairville, NY and is retired from 40 years of dairying on a small grassland farm in Chautauqua County.]