By Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine
Driving through the district this past week I couldn’t help but notice a lot of corn being chopped and reflect on the season. I’ve seen a lot of nice crops out there, so I hope the season went well for most. I know it’s been an up and down year for many of us. The wet weather kept the pastures green and lush for grazing all summer long, but it made it difficult to dry hay.
Hail and rain also did a lot of damage this year to fruit and vegetable crops. In July, I visited onion farms that were damaged by hail in Oswego County. I brought state Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Pat Hooker up here to get a firsthand look as well. His office was able to make low interest loans available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture for farmers in the county who reported damage to their local farm service agency. This should help mitigate the loss for some.
Not unlike anyone else who cut hay this year, there was a lot of hay out there to cut. It’s been a good year for quantity, but not quality. Now with the remnants of the hurricanes moving north, we’re sure to get more rain and that will make chopping corn difficult. We’ll continue to work hard to get the job done, but we need to do it safely. We need to keep equipment maintained and get enough rest to help prevent farm accidents. In my experience, I’ve learned to be an eternal optimist. It’s the nature of farming. You’re always looking to next year.
I owned and worked my first farm while I was still in high school. I learned to farm from my dad, my grandfather and my great-grandfather. They were dairy farmers. I bought my first farm from a neighbor, which I used for corn, grain and hay to support the cows on my dad’s farm. Certainly, at that time I didn’t see myself getting into politics, but I got involved because I understand the issues on the street and the impact decisions made by government have on people every day.
I know what it’s like to pay property taxes and struggle to make ends meet. That’s why I’ve been working hard to address the issues that affect the people of Central and Northern New York. I feel the impact of high gas and diesel prices not only when I fill up my car, but also when I fill up a tractor. I’ve raised three children with my wife Margaret and I know how important it was for them to get a quality education and have opportunities right here in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.
As with my farm from year to year, I am optimistic for our future in the region and with hard work, we’re sure to see a lot of good things in the years to come.