Area farmers are a close knit community


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is another installment in a series of columns to run weekly highlighting the area’s agricultural community.

They may not see each other much and may not talk everyday, every week, or even every month, but when help is needed or a tragedy strikes, there’s no better support to have than farmers.

Recently the Tuthill family in Lee Center suffered a horrible loss. They lost their beautiful barns and approximately 60 cows to fire. Even writing that sentence gives me chills. Fire is a farmer’s worst nightmare.

To watch your barns burning knowing you can’t save them — or even worse, get your animals out, is beyond devastating.

They spent every day with those cows. They had their favorites. They knew each personality. They were a part of the family.

Dairy farming is more than a livelihood, it is a way of life. It’s all changed for them in one terrible instant.

When the farming community gets word that a fire is happening on another farm, the first instincts are to spring into action to help.

What can we do? How can we help? Are cattle trailers needed to move animals? It’s a helpless feeling to not be able to do anything. Unless you’ve experienced it yourself, you can’t imagine the exact feelings the family has.

But other farmers do understand a little bit: Shock, sadness, devastation, heartbreak. Your heart just aches for the family and for
such a tragic loss.

People have driven past the Tuthill farm for many, many years and admired it.

It was a beautiful farm and had such great agriculture history — all gone in a heartbeat.

I don’t know what future plans the Tuthills have, but I do know that our hearts are broken for them and that the farming community will support them however they can. Please keep the family in your thoughts as they work to recover from this fire.

— For comments or suggestions on the Farming in Central New York series of articles, e-mail Daily Sentinel photojournalist John Clifford at


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