Farm community throws a party before busy spring season

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 March 2016 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Dennis Kirby, manager of the Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District, addresses about 160 people on Saturday at the 18th annual Farmer to Neighbor Night at Tillman’s Village Inn.

Kirby urged farmers to sign up for soil health programs. Soil & Water sponsors the annual Farmer to Neighbor Night along with Farm Bureau, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Albion FFA Alumni.

Proceeds from the event are used to send FFA students to state convention, camps and help with other costs in the ag program.

Albion student Alexis Bentley recites the FFA Creed before the crowd at The Village Inn.

Jennifer Wagester, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County, said it will be a busy 2016 for the agency as it celebrates its 70th year. The annual fair, scheduled for July 25 through July 30, will be the highlight of a busy year at the fairgrounds in Knowlesville.

Barry Flansburg served as emcee of Saturday’s event. Albion FFA students, from left, include Clara Stilwell, Katie Mann, Allyson Graham and Garrett Derisley.

The FFA students praise the support from the farm community, especially with donations in an annual food drive that topped 30,000 pound sof produce in December.

Orleans County Farm Bureau board member Anna Smith urges the group to go online ( to lobby state legislators to oppose raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. A report by Farm Credit East says the higher wage will increase costs to the farm community by $622 million a year.

The annual Farmer to Neighbor Night is light on speeches and focused more on sharing conversation and good meal together before the busy planting season starts.