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November 02, 2011   Email to Friend 

Bama Beef Producers Tour New York's Finger Lakes Region
Debra Davis

From left, Federation members Dean Wysner, John Morris, Bill Lipscomb, Randy Moody, Rhonda Hughes, Jerry Mobley and Delle and Ray Bean talk with Lisa Compton of Compton Charolais in Ovid, N.Y. on the Federation Beef Tour.
Alabama Farmers Federation members who attended the annual Beef Tour in upstate New York said the most surprising thing about the trip was the amount of agriculture in that state and the amount they had in common with farmers who live so far away. Forty-four members attended the tour Sept. 11-17.

"Agriculture is our state's largest industry," Richard Brown, owner of Equity Angus of Montezuma, N.Y., told the Alabama group. "A lot of people think of just New York City or Manhattan when they think of our state, but there's a lot more to us than that."

Federation members toured Brown's ranch along with 15 other stops that included registered and commercial beef cattle farms, a dairy, wineries, an apple orchard, cattle feedlots and a feed processing business. The tours primarily were in and around New York's Finger Lakes area. The group also visited Niagara Falls on the final day of the trip.

The tours were educational, but it was the interaction with other farmers that Autauga County farmer Bill Lipscomb said he enjoyed most.

"It's just always interesting to see how other people run their farms," Lipscomb said. "I also enjoyed visiting with the other farmers from our state who were on the tour."

Bullock County Farmers Federation President Mike Dunn said he has been on a couple of the beef tours in the past, and each one was educational.

"I was surprised at just how much I could learn on one of these trips," he said. "I might see something different here that I can use on my farm. It's also good to know that farmers in New York face a lot of the same issues we do. These tours give us access to people and things that we would never have known otherwise."

Federation Beef Division Director Nate Jaeger said the farmers in New York were hospitable and were anxious to talk to Alabama farmers as well.

"Several of the farmers we visited were interested in talking to our members, too," Jaeger said. "They didn't just talk about beef cattle, either. They talked about politics, environmental issues, feed costs and genetics. It was a great learning experience for everyone."

Next year's beef tour will be in Louisiana, with details to be released at a later date.

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