Questions about food, dairy products? Ask a farmer, we know!

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

I vividly remember spending time on my great aunt and uncle’s dairy farm in Lewis County.

They had 72 cows and a glass pipeline running through the barn. I loved going there! I loved watching the milk go from the cow into that glass pipeline and following it all the way to the milk tank.

I also loved knowing where milk came from and how it and other dairy items got to the store. I had that farm connection, but more and more people do not. Some kids — and even adults — believe their food just comes from the grocery store.

It is so much more than that.

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field” is a great quote from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, It was, and still is, very true. Farming is hard work, but it is work — and a lifestyle — that most farmers genuinely love.

One of the things I enjoy doing is helping people understand where their food comes from. It may be writing an article, planning Farm Fest, being a guest speaker, adopting a calf with elementary school classes, hosting a farm tour or volunteering at the Dairy Cow Birthing Center at the New York State Fair.

No matter where it is, I believe it’s very important for people who don’t farm to understand where their food comes from so that they can understand and trust the farming community. We are your farmers and primary food suppliers.

Social media is a blessing (and a curse sometimes). My latest project is on the DiNitto Farms Facebook page. June is National Dairy Month, and I will feature 30 days of milk mustaches. People from all walks of life in our community are sporting a milk mustache and letting us know what their favorite dairy products are.

I’m also sharing some dairy facts, recipes and great organizations that you can follow. It’s been a lot of fun, and I thank everyone who is participating.

There are many ways in addition to social media for people to learn more about farming.

The Boonville-Oneida County Fair and the New York State Fair are also both great opportunities to see agriculture up close. Both events are happening this year, and both prominently feature agriculture and dairy farming. If you have questions, you can easily get answers just by asking the farmers that are there with their animals or volunteering in different booths and displays.

They love their farm lives and enjoy sharing their knowledge and how to do their jobs with others.

No matter where you get your food, whether it’s a farm stand, a farmer’s market or the grocery store, be grateful for America’s farmers. Fresh, frozen or even “junk food,” starts at the farm. While once just about everybody farmed, today fewer than 2% of the population farms — and does it so efficiently that you don’t have to unless you want to.

We hope that you will join us in celebrating National Dairy Month this June by learning about what we farmers do and how we do it — and, of course, by enjoying all of the great foods and dairy products available.

— For comments on the Farming in CNY series, e-mail Sentinel photojournalist John Clifford at
jclifford@RNYmedia.com
.

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