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Community shows support for FFA, agriculture

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 March 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers
LYNDONVILLE – FFA students hold raffle items that were auctioned off to raise money for the Albion FFA program. The money will be used to send students for leadership training. Andrea Muoio is at left and Mackenzie Luft, third from left, wait to see which bidder won the items.

About 160 people attended the 17th annual Farmer to Neighbor Night at the White Birch Golf Course.

Abigail Maines, a junior at Medina, delivers a prepared speech that was nearly 10 minutes. Abigail recently finished in 4th place at the district competition for the speech.

Abigail advocates for the benefit of therapy animals. She and the Medina FFA would like to train llamas and alpacas as therapy animals that could visit elementary students, and residents at nursing homes and Hospice.

FFA advisor Todd Eick said the stduents plan to work with Pet Partners to train the animals.

Todd Eick, advisor of the Medina FFA, thanked the community and school districts for supporting the FFA and agriculture programs at Medina and Albion.

Both Albion and Medina have hosted the FFA State Convention (Medina in 2014 and Albion in 2013), a testament of the districts’ ag programs and the draw of the area around the state for students to see local progressive farms.

Adam Krenning, the Albion FFA advisor, is pictured with Medina and Albion FFA members. He praised the students for their hard work in FFA and their many community service projects. The Albion chapter coordinated a food drive last December that resulted in 27,000 pounds of food donated by farms to Community Action.

Sate Sen. Robert Ortt said agriculture is a big business in New York, a fact he said he will share with his colleagues in the State Legislature from New York City.

“We all know you can’t grow food on Wall Street,” Ortt said.

A recent report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli counted agriuculture as a $40 billion business annually in the state.

Barry Flansburg, a member of the Albion FFA Alumni, served as emcee for the event. He is pictured behind Ortt.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley is a past president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau. He also serves on the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee.

He praised the farmers and FFA for their work ethic and commitment to the community.

“This is the lifeblood of the community and our No. 1 industry,” Hawley said.

Hawley said he expects legislation for overtime for farmworkers and the right to collective bargaining to again be pushed in Albany. Hawley dubbed that legislation “The Farm Death Bill.” He said he and Ortt will work to prevent its passage.

Jayne Bannister is the Orleans-NIagara dairy princess. She also is a member of the Albion FFA and the district president. She touted the nutritional benefits of milk.

Albion FFA members Allyson Graham, left, and Alexis Bentley recite the creed.

Allyson Graham recites part of the creed, alternating with Alexis Bentley.

The FFA students are pictured with Rob Ortt and Steve Hawley.

The Albion FFA Alumni, Medina FFA, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Soil & Water Conservation District and Chamber of Commerce all work together planning and promoting the dinner.