3/2/2013 7:00 AM
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant New York Correspondent
Visitors Seek Ways to Save Money, Boost Farm Efficiency
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — From alternative energy to robotic milking equipment, last week’s New York Farm Show featured a bevy of vendors and presentations for anyone in agriculture or who's interested in farming and wants to stay up to date.
"We want to educate the people in ag about what goes on in the industry, from the services available for large and small operators and to create a business buying show for manufacturers," said Scott Grigor, the show's manager.
For 28 years, the show has drawn ag operators and rural landowners from neighboring northeastern states and Canada. Mostly farmers, but also some landowners toured five heated buildings on the New York State Fairgrounds jam-packed for the event.
Snowy weather Thursday, the opening day, hampered attendance, and rainy weather did the same Saturday. The numbers spiked Friday, the clearest of the three days.
"It went very, very good," Grigor said. "Everyone was content. The economy is a little better in the ag sector than everyone thought. The vendors and manufacturers were quite pleased."
Visitors could kick tires, rub shoulders with ag producers and vendors and check out new ag technology. Manufacturers represented included AGCO, John Deere, Case IH, CLAAS, Kubota, Kuhns, New Holland, Alfa-Laval, Boumatic, GEA Westfalia-Surge and Lely.
Visitors also had the opportunity to attend a variety of seminars by industry experts and fellow farmers at no additional charge. More people signed up for alternative energy and methane digester workshops than anything else, according to Grigor, perhaps reflecting a desire to seek more ways of saving money.
The large number of people exploring dairy robotics display areas and attending "Dairy Robotonomics" reflected visitors' interest in increasing dairy farm efficiency through technology.
DeLaval's John Baker, the company's expert on voluntary milking systems, updated visitors with the company's VMS system, as did George Haier, representing Haier Dairy in Eden, N.Y. Haier said replacing his pipeline system with his automated system has increased milk yield to 70 pounds per cow daily.
Alfred Kamps, Lely regional manager, discussed updates in the Astronaut system. Dairyman John Wolf of Maple Lawn Farms in Lyons, N.Y., spoke about their three Lely A3 systems, which spared him the cost of new buildings and increased his efficiency and yield.
USDA Farm Service Agency's two programs on the Value-Added Producer Grant program and the new microloan program were also well attended, Grigor said. The microloan program offers loans of up to $35,000 for niche farms needing help with covering the cost of livestock, equipment, building upkeep and general operating cost.
The show also featured eight beef workshops from the New York Beef Council, 15 sessions from the New York Forest Owners Association, free health screenings from the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, and the Robert Watson Memorial Toy Auction benefiting the New York Future Farmers of America.
Many attendees dug into the beef industry's signature hot beef "sundae," a layered concoction of slow-roasted beef on a bed of mashed potatoes, topped with beef gravy, cheddar cheese and a cherry tomato. The bowl of steaming food resembled an ice cream sundae.
New York Farm Show is annually co-sponsored by the Northeast Equipment Dealers Association and American Agriculturist magazine. Next year's show is slated for Feb. 20-22.