MADISON CO., N.Y. — When people say the word ‘farmer’, what images come to mind? Maybe you think of someone who works the land or someone who has animals or maybe someone who grows their own food but will also sell their products, someone who runs a dairy and in general, someone who isn’t afraid to get dirt under their nails. Which one of these is right? All of the above, and more, of course!
Farmers come from all walks of life. In our formerly agrarian society, just about everyone was a farmer. It was as normal to grow food for your own family as it was to take a breath of air. These days, not everyone is a farmer or wants to be one, but in Madison County, more and more people are getting interested in what it takes to work the land, to feed themselves and others and to rely on their own two hands to support themselves and their families.
If farming is anything, it’s hard work. It’s rolling with the punches, making a plan and then adjusting it, adjusting it again, and again, until some days you wonder if you’re really running this show. The answer to that is: of course you aren’t. The weather runs the show. The animals, sometimes run the show. The pests and diseases sometimes run the show. The crops also run the show. Your job is to take what time you’ve been given in each day and work around the many challenges that shape every day, every week, month, and year. And that takes quite a lot of gumption.
If it’s such hard work, if there are so many challenges, why become a farmer? Because everyone who has set out to become a farmer to shape the land, sooner or later realizes that actually, the land ends up shaping you. You know the time of year for the most beautiful sunrises, you know the point of ripeness at which that Fall raspberry will melt in your mouth, you know how to smell when rain is coming, and you know the relief that comes when those first raindrops fall after a long dry spell.
There’s a lot to learn when you become a farmer. You will learn it one challenging thing at a time. But that doesn’t mean you have to go in blind. CCE Madison has a lot of great resources, including staff people, who are here to help you get started.
Starting September 1st, for 5 consecutive Thursdays, CCE Madison will be hosting a Becoming a Small Farm series which includes: Reading the Land, Soils; the backbone of your farm, Purchasing Your Land, Are You Ready for Animals? and Leaving Your Land in Good Hands. Full class descriptions with links to register can be found here: https://mailchi.mp/cornell/becomingasmallfarmseries
For more information on Cornell Cooperative Extension Madison County, please visit our website at madisoncountycce.org to sign up for emails and ‘like’ our Facebook page @CCEMadison. You can also contact us at 315-684-3001.
Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.
CCE Madison County