Celebrating Agriculture in Chautauqua County

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Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Program consists of four specialists who provide support to agricultural producers in Chautauqua County. From Left to Right, Katelyn Walley-Stoll (Farm Business Management and Team Leader), Amy Barkley (Livestock, and Beginning Farms), Katelyn Miller (Field Crops and Forage) and Camila Lage (Dairy Management).
Article Contributed by
Katelyn Walley-Stoll

Cornell Cooperative Extension Farm Business Management Specialist

Chautauqua County is home to over 1,200 farms that produce high quality, safe, and nutritious foods for us all to enjoy! Agriculture is one of the largest economic drivers of our region, and the productive, rural landscape we rely on for tourism and well-being. Plus – farmers are some of the kindest and compassionate people there are!

According to the latest Census of Agriculture, Chautauqua County has 223,634 acres in farm production, accounting for 23% of the total land base. The county has diverse agricultural production dominated by grape and dairy farms, but also nourishes farm businesses that produce livestock, fruits and vegetables, timber, maple, agritourism, and more. Over $160 million dollars’ worth of agricultural products are sold, amounting to a $317 million economic impact.

As mentioned, Chautauqua County is known for its dairy and grape farms. There are over 200 dairy farms in the county that produce enough milk every day to feed over 700,000 people. Dairy farmers take excellent care of their cows by using the latest technology and research to prioritize cow comfort and reduce environmental impact. Over 20,000 acres of grapes are grown in the county by 800 growers. These grapes are used to produce juices, jellies, wine, and several other products. Our grape producers are on the cutting edge of the industry and utilize precision agriculture to efficiently produce a high quality product.

There is growing interested in supporting local food systems and purchasing agricultural products directly from farms. “Chautauqua Grown” is a program facilitated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County that provides an interactive directory and guide to all things local foods. This includes farms that sell products direct to consumers, farmers markets, and restaurants that purchase locally produced foods. You can visit www.cce.cornell.edu/chautauqua to find local food near you.

Dairy farming is a big deal in Chautauqua County. Dairy producers here make enough milk to feed 700,000 people every day!

Cornell Cooperative Extension is a key resource for farmers, agribusinesses, and community members in Chautauqua County. The local CCE office is located at JCC’s Carnahan Building in Jamestown and is led by Emily Reynolds, Executive Director (716-664-9502). They feature programs like the popular LEAF (Learn. Empower. Achieve. Farm) Series, Visit the Farm Day, Master Gardener outreach, 4-H Youth Development, and Nutrition Education. Another resource available to the agricultural community in Chautauqua County is CCE’s regional teams, such as the Cornell Vegetable Program, the Lake Erie Regional Grape Team, and the Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Team. SWNYDLFC consists of four specialists who cover Farm Business Management, Dairy Management, Livestock Production, and Field Crops and Forage. Their team provides educational opportunities for farm businesses through free consultations, trainings, newsletters, research, and more.

If you’re interested in supporting local farms and the Chautauqua County agricultural community, there are several things that you can do. Buy local when possible! Visit farmers markets, purchase meat in bulk from local producers, buy maple syrup at various farm stands, look for the “36” code on milk jugs, and ask your local retail establishments to carry Chautauqua County products. Another key way to support farms is by voicing your support for the industry to local, state, and federal lawmakers. Policies, taxes, and regulations can affect farms and their ability to sustainably produce high-quality products. Reaching out to your local farmer to thank them for their work and asking them how you can help as a consumer is a great way to build community around our farms. Lastly, as the sun starts shining and farmers hit the fields, just go slow on the roads. Enjoy the extra time in the countryside when you’re “stuck” behind a slow-moving vehicle, watch for tractors leaving field driveways, and pause for animal crossings.

Purchasing eggs from a local farm is a great way to support the agricultural community!

Agriculture is a pillar in Chautauqua County. Farmers work incredibly hard every day to provide high-quality products for us all to enjoy! Take a moment to thank your local farmer for all that they do.

SWNYDLFC is a partnership between Cornell University and the CCE Associations of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Steuben counties. Their team includes Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Farm Business Management (716-640-0522); Camila Lage, Dairy Management (607-422-6788); Katelyn Miller, Field Crops and Forage (716-640-2047) and Amy Barkley, Livestock Management (716-640-0844). CCE is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.

For more information about Cornell Cooperative Extension, contact your county’s Association Executive Director. Allegany County – Laura Hunsberger, lkh47@cornell.edu or 585-268-7644. Cattaraugus County – Dick Rivers, rer263@cornell.edu or 716-699-2377. Chautauqua County – Emily Reynolds, eck47@cornell.edu or 716-664-9502. Erie County – Diane Held, dbh24@cornell.edu or 716-652-5400. Steuben County – Tess McKinley, tsm223@cornell.edu, or 607-664-2301.