By Mary Fox
More than 70 members of the Cattaraugus County Farm Bureau gathered Wednesday, Oct. 23, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church for the 100th annual dinner meeting of the Farm Bureau.
“Agriculture has expanded and exploded,” said guest speaker Crystal Abers, director of the Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism.
Farmers milking cows, planting wheat and corn and baling hay is only one definition of agriculture. The term broadly includes any product produced on the land. Some of these niche agricultural businesses may be orchards or vineyards. They may be businesses that raise alpacas, horses, goats or other animals. Or they may be food-related industries, such as food banks, farmers markets or agricultural education programs.
Abers also noted some interesting facts about the history of agriculture in our area. “The assets of soil, timber and water, which we have today,” said Abers, “are the same resources that brought settlers here in the 1800s,” she said. Efforts to bring windmills to the region date back to the early 1900s. And, in the early 1900s, she said, the main crop in Cattaraugus County was hops, which disappeared with Prohibition.
As Farm Bureau President Chuck Couture said, “the Cattaraugus County Farm Bureau gives farmers and non-farmers alike the opportunity to be a part of an organization dedicated to supporting and enriching agriculture. It provides an opportunity for individuals interested in the food system, land issues and rural living to join together and make their voices heard. We are active within the political system on a broad range of issues that concern every New Yorker, from conservation and taxation to local food availability.”
During the meeting, eleven resolutions supported by the Farm Bureau were voted on and passed by members. They included resolutions to:
• support the COOL (Country of Origin Label) designation for foods produced AND processed in the U.S.
• encourage each town in Cattaraugus County to support their local agriculture by adopting a right to farm law.
• encourage a continued emphasis on hunter safety training courses and other gun handling education.
• support the adoption of farmland protection techniques by towns in Cattaraugus County to protect our existing agricultural way of life.
More information about the Farm Bureau can be found on the Cattaraugus County Agricultural Development Board website at www.ccAgHelp.com and on the Cattaraugus County Farm Bureau’s Facebook page.