As a result of the Oneida County Dairy Farmers Forum conducted in the spring, County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. introduced a Dairy Farmer Sustainability Action Plan that will help combat the crippling industry crisis at a local level.
Picente first made the pledge to help Oneida County dairy farmers during his 2018 State of the County Address in March, and then in May, gathered more than 30 local dairy farmers for a forum at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Whitestown to discuss their concerns.
Based on the session, Picente devised an action plan that he introduced on Thursday along with other county officials and CCE representatives who will have a role in its execution.
“Our dairy farmers are struggling badly, and I refuse to sit idly by while this never-ending plight continues to drain them financially, physically and mentally,” Picente said.
“After listening to their concerns first-hand, we devised this plan with the goals of easing their burden through long-term planning; economic development and marketing; infrastructure, environment and safety improvements; education and training; and the creation of tax policy and a legislative agenda.”
“The county executive and his team have presented a practical and feasible plan that addresses concerns expressed by farmers and dairy industry experts at the dairy forum that was held in May 2018,” said Mary Beth McEwen, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County.
“The plan identifies goals and action items that will be implemented by Oneida County, Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County and other community partners to help alleviate some of these overarching concerns,” McEwen added. “County leaders have pledged their support for the agriculture industry in Oneida County,” she said. “CCE is committed to working with them to ensure that the future of the dairy industry in Oneida County remains promising.”
Terri DiNitto, whose family owns DiNitto Farms in Marcy, said she and local farmers appreciate the county executive’s work to derive a sustainability plan.
“The objectives in this plan will help dairy farmers in Oneida County do their jobs a little easier and gives us confidence that our government officials are aware of our current struggle and are trying to help where they can,” DiNitto said.