Press-Republican

Columns

June 12, 2011

June is National Dairy Month

Each year, we celebrate Dairy Month to honor America's dairy-farm families and the wholesome, nutritious milk they produce.

The North Country has a long and proud dairy-farming heritage. Dairy farming is the number-one agricultural business in Northern New York primarily because the fertile Champlain and St. Lawrence valleys and temperate climate are ideal for growing forages like grasses, alfalfa and corn silage.

In Clinton County alone, the dairy industry generates more than $65,000,000 in milk sales as well as additional sales of livestock and crops. Dairy Month helps to remind our city cousins that their food comes from somewhere beyond the local grocery store.

Dairy farmers work hard every day to bring you fresh, great tasting, wholesome milk products. The dairy industry recognizes the importance of its customers and consumers not just in June but every month of the year. Almost all dairies in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties are family-owned, and as active members of their communities, farm families take pride in feeding our neighbors and maintaining natural resources. Our local farmers recognize the importance of preserving the land where they live and work, protecting the air and water they share with neighbors and providing the best care for their cows — the lifeblood of their business.

This spring has not made their job any easier. Excess rain made it impossible for most farmers to plant their corn and harvest their hay crops as soon as they would have liked.

Spreading of fertilizer and manure had to be delayed to avoid ruts and runoff and for those farmers who graze their heifers or cows on grass, pastures were too soggy to let them outside.

Saturated soils have just recently begun to dry out, and farmers have been making up for lost time. During my recent travels around the county, it appears that harvesting of hay crops are being accomplished and corn is sprouting up in many fields.

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