NEAFA at NYS Agriculture Society

NEAFA sponsored the Business of the Year Awards at the 2019 New York Agriculture Society Annual Meeting.  The two recipients were Brooklyn Grange, a series of roof top farms in Brooklyn and Countryside Vet Clinic, a successful veterinary clinic in Lowville, NY. 

Brooklyn Grange Farm Manager, Seth Johnson, receives the Business of the Year Award from NEAFA Executive Director Rick Zimmerman and NYS Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball.

Brooklyn Grange Farm Manager, Seth Johnson, receives the Business of the Year Award from NEAFA Executive Director Rick Zimmerman and NYS Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball.

Rick Zimmerman and Commissioner Richard Ball present the Business of the Year Award to Countryside Vet Clinic principals Dr. Craig Pauly, Dr. Stacy Kenyon, Dr. Peter Ostrum.

Rick Zimmerman and Commissioner Richard Ball present the Business of the Year Award to Countryside Vet Clinic principals Dr. Craig Pauly, Dr. Stacy Kenyon, Dr. Peter Ostrum.

Be Part of the 2019 NEAFA Lobby Day


Announcing: The 2019 NEAFA Lobby Day

Monday, February 11, 2019
10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Government is run by those who show up!  We need you to be part of the team in Albany on February 11, 2019 to advocate for:


  • FarmNet

  • IPM

  • Ag Nonpoint Source Funding

  • FFA

  • Farm Viability Institute

  • Farm Labor Specialist

There is new leadership in both the Assembly and Senate which makes our advocacy work even more important. 

  • The State Senate is controlled by the Democratic Caucus this year, yet only five members of this new majority represents Upstate NY.   

  • The Assembly Agriculture Committee has a new chair for the first time in over 15 years! 

  • The agriculture community must develop new relationships with the new leaders and you are invited to be part of this effort on February 11th.  

  • All the programs listed above are subject to a state budget appropriation.  Our voices must be heard to maintain support for these important programs.   

This event is free! All you need to do is register to be part of the February 11, 2019 Lobby Day is click here.  

The NEAFA Lobby Day is separate from our Annual Meeting this year because we will be in Florida, March 3-6 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort for the 2019 Annual Meeting and Forum.  Click here for more annual meeting information.

Questions? Contact Rick Zimmerman at (518) 426-0214 or

Farmer Panel a Highlight at NEAFA Annual Meeting

NEAFA is looking forward to the March 4th, 2019 farmer panel that promises to be an outstanding compliment to their great conference that runs from March 3rd-6th! The four-farmer panel, whose members are all prominent in their fields, will be moderated by Corwin Holtz, a NEAFA board member and president at Holtz Nelson Dairy Consultants, a group of nine independent dairy nutrition and management consultants working with dairy producers in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and the New England states. The farmer panel includes Blake Gendebein, Beth Kennett, Jonathan Lamb, and Neil Rejman.

“I'm very happy to be a moderator for what I see is a very diverse panel,” said Holtz. “The panel covers a wide spectrum of the northeast dairy industry in terms of herd size and management types. Each of them have common challenges, but because of the diversity of the panel members unique challenges in their own situations. I'm looking forward to how they see 2019 shaping up for them, and how they see the N.E. Dairy Industry progressing in the next 5-10 years.”

Blake Gendebein is one of 14 directors for AgriMark Cooperative, the makers of Cabot Cheese, as well as the owner of a 550 cow dairy. “Our farm brings diversity to the forefront,” said Gendebein. “We're able to support our dairy by adding over $2.00 per cwt with non milk income. This takes significant effort in developing value added relationships. I'm excited to share my experiences with the panel and to help connect dairy farm family views with NEAFA membership.”

Jonathan Lamb is a partner at his family's 8000 cow dairy. The farm operates with milking facilities at four sites in New York and Ohio. Lamb is active in the Holstein Association, where he served as Chairman of the Genetic Advancement Committee for 5 years. Lamb currently serves as a board member and Finance chair for Erie-Niagara Insurance Company, and as a delegate for Upstate-Niagara Milk Cooperative and Select Sire Power, Inc.

Neil Rejman is owner and dairy manager of Sunnyside farms, a 4,500 cow dairy, as well as the Chairman of the board for Cayuga Milk Ingredients. “I'll be sharing my concern about the lack of competitiveness in the northeast dairy industry, primarily due to our high feed cost (high basis) and decreasing milk premiums (lower basis),” said Rejman. “While this may not be a very positive message, I think it is very realistic, and it needs to be discussed in order for our industry to find solutions.”

Beth Kennett has operated Liberty Hill Farm (LHF) with her husband Bob since 1979. LHF is a farm vacation business, providing lodging and meals for guests from around the world since 1984. “Agricultural tourism creates a significant impact with our communities by allowing for personal relationships between farmer and consumer,” said Kennett. “It is not just local food, farm to table, or even putting the face on the farmer, it's creating meaningful dialogue that goes both ways to improve understanding between farmers and their community. I am truly honored to participate at the NEAFA conference with those who provide for the needs of our cows, our farms, and our families by helping them create opportunities to spread the positive message of agriculture.”

The NEAFA annual meeting promises to be a full, educational and fun event for all attendees. In addition to NEAFA's programming, there is a risk management program available from International FC Stone (IFCS, IFCS is a global company offering comprehensive risk management tools and services, will be hosting their annual Global Markets Outlook Conference at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort during our NEAFA conference. They're graciously offering deep discounts to our members to participate in 3 sessions on Sunday March 3, 2019. The risk management refresher is free, and the other two seminars (OTC price-risk management and a fertilizer summit) are $250 each for NEAFA members. The risk management refresher is from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. It's a brief, interactive two hour presentation on the foundation of the futures and options markets including material on hedging mechanics and strategy.

The OTC price-risk management session is from 1:00 – 5:45 pm. This valuable session is for becoming more familiar with the OTC-Swap market. A variety of commodity markets will be used to illustrate the different uses of OTC tools. This is a good opportunity to get an understanding of what tools are available, how they function, and their impact on markets. Available to NEAFA members at a $100 discount for $250.

At the same time as the OTC management session is a fertilizer summit from 1:00 – 5:15 pm. The IFCS team will be combining market outlook with information on how to use the available tools to manage risk, as well as enhance grain origination. Available to NEAFA members at a $100 discount for $250.

To register for one or all of these seminars, please click here.When registering, choose “NEAFA” from the drop down menu to activate the discount.

Advocacy: It's Time to Show Up

January is when state legislatures regroup and, in some cases, reorganize according to election results last fall. Such is the case in state capitals throughout the northeast and these new legislative leaders are getting themselves acclimated to their new roles and responsibilities.  Our democracy is dependent upon elected officials, who are willing to devote their time to serving the people, and special interest groups such as NEAFA, to arrive at the best policy decisions for our industry and our society.  Therefore, we plan to show up in Albany, Montpelier and the other state capitols throughout the northeast. 

Albany Lobby Day: February 11, 2019:  You are invited to be part of the team of industry advocates that will be in the halls of the New York State Capitol on February 11th to advocate for our agriculture industry.  (See registration details below) We know that the agribusiness community is dependent on a successful farm sector and therefore we will be meeting with new Senate and Assembly legislative leaders to deliver a message of support and urgency for keeping core agricultural programs, such as PRO-DAIRY and NY FarmNet, up and running.  The new chairs of the Assembly and Senate Agriculture Committees, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Jen Metzger, need to know us for who we are, what we do and why we play such an important role in the agriculture economy.  Please plan to join us on February 11th.  Details are post in this newsletter.

Montpelier: New Professional Representation:  I am pleased to announce the Meg Nelson will be representing NEAFA in Montpelier this year.  Meg hales from a Swanton, VT based dairy farm, Nelson Boys Dairy, and will be working with veteran lobbyist Margaret Laggis in the agriculture policy space.  Meg will be in the VT Statehouse on a regular basis and will also coordinate our grassroots advocacy efforts.  Meg’s passion for agriculture makes her a perfect fit for collaborating with the greater agriculture industry and conveying the agribusiness perspective to legislative leaders in Montpelier.  Stay tuned for more details on a Montpelier lobby day later this spring. 

ME, NH, MA, CT, RI: On our radar screen:  As we have done in previous years, NEAFA will continue to monitor legislative and regulatory activity in all the New England states.  Our network with the agriculture lobby, including AFIA, NGFA, state Farm Bureaus and professional ag lobbyists, keeps us informed and engaged.  Nevertheless, I encourage you to keep your eyes and ears open for any potential policy or budget threat and notify me right away. 

Together, we will show up!