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New York Farm Show survey gauges farmer sentiment in an uncertain year.

Chris Torres, Editor, American Agriculturist

March 8, 2024

3 Min Read
Visitors at a New York Farm show booth
BOOTH VISITORS: Hundreds of visitors to the American Agriculturist booth at New York Farm Show were asked their top priorities for 2024. In this year of uncertainty, the answers ran the gamut from just surviving to looking for ways to diversify farm income. Chris Torres

If you ask any farmer what their No. 1 goal is, improved profitability is always near the top of the list.

That was true for many people who participated in this year’s New York Farm Show Farmer Poll, sponsored by American Agriculturist. But there was also a sense of just surviving what has quickly become an uncertain time in farm country.

We asked hundreds of people to describe, in one sentence, their personal or farm goals.

Amy Covey of Hurleyville, N.Y., wrote that her goal was to “keep the doors open, start some glamping spots to bring in more income.”

Many growers can relate to Vicki Townsend’s goal for the year: “Survive the corn price,” she wrote. Townsend writes from Canastota, N.Y.

Eric Bate of Whitney Point, N.Y., wrote that he wants to “finally start my family farm.”

Donald Bramer of Canajoherie, N.Y., isn’t a big fan of solar. His goal is to “preserve my 5 acres from being ruined by surrounding solar ‘farms.’”

Meanwhile, Heaven Barnes of Masonville, N.Y., wants to diversify her farm. “We are researching opening a farm store,” she wrote.

Shawn Hurst of Little Falls, N.Y., wrote that he wants to “beat the system.”

Transitioning the farm to the next generation came up in several answers. Earl Moyer of Canajoharie, N.Y., wrote that he wants to “watch grandchildren take over.”

Same for Will Nerrill of Greene, N.Y., who wants to “transition to the younger generation while growing.”

And Brian Getty of Granville, N.Y., hopes to “complete the transition of our seventh-generation family farm.”

Ashley Youngers of North Java, N.Y., has several goals for this year. “A profitable farm; good, happy employees; and good people and animal health.”

Ken Miller of Richford, N.Y., needs a hand. He wrote that he wants to “try to find someone who isn’t afraid to work and put small square bales away.”

Roberta Wooldridge of Plainfield, Mass., has two goals: “Better pasture management and stop overgrazing.”

Many producers can relate to Geoff Westfall of Brooklyn, Conn. He wants the “ability to farm with smaller government, less interference.”

Meanwhile Wesley Wise of Waterloo, N.Y., wants to “maintain good work-life balance and to be profitable.”

Nathan Johnidas of Medina, N.Y., has lofty goals to “own multiple farms in multiple states.”

Some respondents had just one or two words to describe their goals.

James Lindsay of Binghamton, N.Y., and Shelby Lawton of Endwell, N.Y., wrote they were “moving” in 2024.

Mark Thompson of Scottsville, N.Y., wrote that he wants to “be happy.”

Sarah Hill of New Haven, Vt., wrote that she wants to “communicate effectively” this year.

Steven McDonald of Elbridge, N.Y., wrote that he just wants to “stay alive.”

Rick Craig of Caledon, Ontario, Canada; and Andrew Stack of Marcellus, N.Y., both wrote that they want their farms to “stay afloat” in 2024.

Gordon Fletcher of Walton, N.Y., has a one-word goal: “satisfaction.”

Jordan Bakley of Greene, N.Y., wants to “expand” in 2024.

Doug Barnes of Masonville, N.Y., and Abby Barnes of Sidney, N.Y., had a one-word goal for this year: “family.”

John Wetmore of Honesdale, Pa., wants to “expand.”

James Loomis of Fabius, N.Y.; Mark Schmidt of Sherburne, N.Y.; and David Peck of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., all wrote that they just want to “survive” this year.

And George Hazard of West Winfield, N.Y., has a lofty goal: “to retire.”

And the winners are …

Congratulations to Ann E. Wood of Himrod, N.Y., this year’s winner of the $350 gift card from Tractor Supply Co.

Ann’s top priority for herself and her family in 2024: “Safety on the farm, so no one gets hurt.”

Hundreds of people visited the American Agriculturist booth to enter our annual New York Farm Show Farmer Poll. This year’s prizes were the $350 Tractor Supply Co. gift card and five $100 Cabela’s gift cards.

Here are the five people who had their names drawn for a $100 Cabela’s gift card:

  • Donald McCulloch of Waterloo, N.Y.

  • Eddie Snyder Jr. of Stanley, N.Y.

  • Caitlyn Procko of Watertown, N.Y.

  • Lisa Dain of Chittenango, N.Y.

  • Caroline Pollard of Hamilton, N.Y.

About the Author(s)

Chris Torres

Editor, American Agriculturist

Chris Torres, editor of American Agriculturist, previously worked at Lancaster Farming, where he started in 2006 as a staff writer and later became regional editor. Torres is a seven-time winner of the Keystone Press Awards, handed out by the Pennsylvania Press Association, and he is a Pennsylvania State University graduate.

Torres says he wants American Agriculturist to be farmers' "go-to product, continuing the legacy and high standard (former American Agriculturist editor) John Vogel has set." Torres succeeds Vogel, who retired after 47 years with Farm Progress and its related publications.

"The news business is a challenging job," Torres says. "It makes you think outside your small box, and you have to formulate what the reader wants to see from the overall product. It's rewarding to see a nice product in the end."

Torres' family is based in Lebanon County, Pa. His wife grew up on a small farm in Berks County, Pa., where they raised corn, soybeans, feeder cattle and more. Torres and his wife are parents to three young boys.

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