March 16, 2016

Ag celebration honors farm family, couple

agJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Truxton dairy farmer Kathie Arnold feeds an injured dairy cow in this file photo. The Cortland County Business Development Corp. named Arnold and her family Farm Family of the Year. She founded Twin Oaks Farm in 1980 with her husband, Rick, and brother-in-law, Bob.

Staff Reporter

SOLON — A Truxton organic farm family and a pair of officers for the Cortland County Fair were honored Tuesday at the fourth annual Cortland County Agriculture Celebration.
Kathie Arnold and her family were named Farm Family of the year by the Cortland County Business Development Corp. Arnold founded Twin Oaks Farm in 1980 with her husband, Rick, and brother-in-law, Bob. The farm continues today with Kathie Arnold and her partnership with her son, Kirk.
“I was very surprised. I had no idea but I’m very honored,” Arnold said at the banquet at Tinelli’s Hathaway House in Solon.
The Arnold family began its dairy operation in 1980, adopted management-intensive rotational grazing in 1993 and certification as an organic dairy in 1998.
The Arnold’s farm was recognized as the Conservation Farm of theYear in 1998. In 2006, it received the New York State Agricultural Environmental Management Award. And inJanuary, Kathie Arnold was named Farmer of the Year for 2016 by the Northeast Organic Farmers Association of New York.
The Arnolds have shared their experiences and knowledge with others. Their farm is often used for tours and workshops. Their roles in the community have included community soccer coach, town grievance board member, treasurer of the Truxton Cemetery Association, town justice, and treasurer for the Organic Dairy Farmers Cooperative.
The Geraldine Young Friend ofAgriculture Award was presented Tuesday to Dick and Martha Bush, of Homer. They have dedicated decades to promoting agriculture. The Bushes are lifelong residents of Cortland County.
“Very surprised, very; we never really expected to receive this award, but we’re still surprised,” Martha Bush said.
Martha Bush is a member of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cortland County board of directors and serves on the 4-H Advisory Committee.
Dick Bush has been superintendent of the Cortland County fairgrounds for more than 30 years. Both are also officers of the county junior fair.
Mike McMahon, chairman of the Business Development Corp., said farmers are adapting to a 42 percent drop in the price of milk in the past 18 months, below the cost of production on many farms. They also need to prepare for an anticipated increase in the minimum wage, to $15 an hour from $9.
Darrel Aubertine, commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, spoke at the banquet, as did Paul Fouts, director with the state Farm Bureau.

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