When you think food, think local

GREENE – Local food can build healthy relationships, farmers and agriculture officials say, between the people who consume it and the people who produce it.

It can also build a healthy economy, they say.

Buying and marketing locally grown products was the theme of Chenango County Farm Bureau’s National Agriculture Day celebration Thursday at The Silo Restaurant in Greene. Around 35 area farmers, officials and community members attended the luncheon. They were there to honor the county’s number one industry.

“We’re here to show our gratitude to the men and women who make agriculture possible,” said Farm Bureau President Bradd Vickers. “They characterize what made America great: Hard work.”

Times are not easy, however, some local producers say.

When asked what he saw being the biggest challenge farmers face in Chenango County, semi-retired dairy farmer Ken Swift replied, “Probably the biggest thing is they’re being driven out.”

Swift, who owns a farm in Amblerville, thinks tax levies rely too heavily on property value, which he says hurts farmers most since they often have the most land.

“I hate to see the small farm go,” he said. “How do you solve it? I don’t know.”

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