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New York celebrates first ever agricultural month, hopeful for future farmers
ELBRIDGE

New York celebrates first ever agricultural month, hopeful for future farmers

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ELBRIDGE — The New York Farm Bureau kicked off its first National Agriculture Month promotion with industry leaders from across New York state Thursday in Elbridge.

New York has celebrated National Agriculture Day on March 20 since 1973, but the bureau is excited about expanding the celebration into an entire month as March was declared New York Agriculture Month by a state of New York Legislative Resolution adopted in Senate Jan. 30 and Assembly on Feb. 27.

"We think we deserve a whole month to celebrate the agriculture industry in our state," said Sandra Propkop, the bureau's promotion and education specialist. “It's something we should have done a long time ago.”

“It's important for all of us to come together like this and celebrate,” said Farm Bureau President David Fisher. “As most of us know, (agriculture) is the main economic engine that keeps rural New York prosperous.”

He celebrated good news for farmers, like new practices emerging every day as well as New York having “some of the greatest soils in the country, and an abundant water supply.

“At the same time, we are facing challenges,” Fisher said, mentioning food costs being at an all time low across the United States. “We need to be sensitive to those in need ... to stick together and be aware so we can help farm families transition and survive.”

Fisher said there are a lot of great young farmers who are creative, energetic, and innovative in finding new ways to do business and make profit.

“I think we need to be optimistic about the future for agriculture just for that reason,” Fisher said.

“I'm looking at the next generation,” said Richard Ball, commissioner of New York state Department of Agriculture and Markets. “I think we're in good shape. There are a lot of leaders in this room.”

“More than ever we need to share our story,” Fisher said, adding that if the community continues to work together, “I think we will all be very successful and agriculture will prosper.”

State Assembly Agriculture Committee Chairman Bill Magee read a resolution proclaiming March as Agriculture Month in New York. Magee jointly sponsored the resolution with state Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Patty Ritchie.

“Commemorating New York Agriculture Month provides the opportunity for all New Yorkers to better appreciate agriculture's breadth and beauty,” the resolution reads.

The community was also recognized for its involvement in agriculture.

Laura Littrell, of Montgomery County, was presented with the first place New York Farm Bureau Agricultural Youth Scholarship for $1,500 during the brunch for her involvement with her school, community and agriculture.

“The number of young people qualified and excited about agriculture is amazing,” Ball said.

“We encourage consumers, whether they be in New York or anywhere, to celebrate agriculture each and everyday,” Ball said.

Farmers being able to tell their stories and educate the public is important, Steve Ammerman, Manager of Public Affairs, said after the brunch.

“For people to appreciate farming, they need to understand farming,” Ammerman said.

Staff writer Megan Ehrhart can be reached at (315) 282-2244 or megan.ehrhart@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @MeganEhrhart.

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