CHENANGO COUNTY – The Chenango County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board held its ninth annual Chenango County Ag Tour last week, with local supervisors and state legislators attending to learn more about the importance of agriculture in their community.
The tour took place on July 26, and according to Chenango County Planning and Development Planner Corey Katusha, its purpose was to give area representatives a first-hand look at agriculture in Chenango County.
Katusha said the tour focuses on different farms each year. It allows local producers to connect and share their successes and struggles with federal, state, and local representatives who could offer help and support.
One of this year's attendees, New York Senator James L. Seward, said “The Chenango County Planning Department’s Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board did a great job organizing a tour of unique farms in the county."
"I have always supported our local farmers and advocated in favor of state programs and laws to help enhance our state’s number one industry – agriculture. Spending time talking to those who work the land and learning about the challenges they face is a vital part of my job.”
Katusha said the first stop on the tour was SOVA Organic Farms located in Norwich. He said SOVA, which stands for "Stewards of Vast Abundance," has certified organic soy-free eggs, pastured hens, pigs and goats.
"The property also has a 19th century home that was part of the Underground Railroad, which acts as a bed and breakfast," he added. "The group was able to see how SOVA Farms processes their chickens for sale and look at their cold storage system."
While touring SOVA Farms in Norwich, Senator Seward spent time meeting with farm owners Ed and Rose McNamara.
“Ed and Rose McNamara are combining traditional and new farming methods at SOVA Farms, blending organic farming with agri-tourism and a unique marketing strategy," said Seward. "I appreciated the chance to discuss with them what is working in New York State and what changes we can implement to better develop our farming economy.”