As many of you know, I have been an agriculture instructor for over 32 years. For over a quarter of a century, I have had the professional opportunity to work at Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls. The Penn Yan Chapter of FFA has been in charge of information dissemination for quite few of those years. As many of you know, I have personally never served a beef sandwich, or have spent any time helping the NYBPA during the show, because I am usually riding in a golf cart with at least one walkie-talkie, and several of my FFA members as we strive to keep the show running as smoothly as possible. This has been my job and my life for many years, and the observed changes have been phenomenal.
25 years ago, if a visitor attended EFD it was probably because they were engaged in the dairy industry. Since the dairy industry is the largest segment of animal agriculture in New York, it only makes sense that the largest farm show in the Northeast would feature products and services which supported dairy. In fact, 25 years ago, it was almost a challenge to find anything which was directly related to the production of beef.
One of the greatest happenings many of you witnessed was the incredibly strong presence of beef-related activities, seminars, and displays at Empire Farm Days in August. This year’s show enabled the NYBPA to showcase the talents of members, the passions of producers, and allowed the beef industry to build partnerships which never occurred before. This increased presence is a result of people taking notice of our industry, and simply wanting to be involved.
This past March, a “Team Beef Think Tank” was called to order by Melanie Wickham, who is the show manager of EFD. She called upon the NYBPA and the NYBC because she had observed that the unified collaboration of our two groups had an incredible level of momentum. As an involved leader in the agriculture industry, Melanie revealed that she had personally grown to enjoy the enthusiasm, the teamwork, and the sense of forward vision which the leaders of the New York Beef industry exhibits, and granted us the opportunity to showcase the beef industry at a level never seen before. “Team Beef” was a term created at the kitchen table of Melanie Wickham, and I personally believe that this is just the beginning of many more great things to come.
I would like to thank the dozens of volunteers which stepped up and made EFD the success that it was. The demonstrations and the hands-on activities sponsored by the NYBPA and the NYBC are the beginnings of a paradigm shift for connecting with future and current producers of beef cattle in New York State. Your involvement has been instrumental in helping to move this industry forward.
The NCBA New York Issues Workshop facilitated by Jean O’Toole was absolutely marvelous. As a result of this training, our State and our Beef industry is now better to prepared to handle almost any issue which may arise. The skills we now possess and the guidelines we will be using will allow us to take the “madness” out of issue, and will allow us to help people to understand what the facts of the matter are.
I would also like this opportunity to publicly thank Phil and Dawn Keppler for another great year of unselfish and dedicated leadership to our organization as you prepared and served beef at Empire Farm Days. The NYBPA truly has appreciated your dedication at this annual event, and we want you to know that your leadership will be missed. Thank you, in advance for continuing to work with us as we transition the new leadership team responsible for cooking and serving the high- quality protein we are all very proud to be producing.
Thank you to all who have been part of the summer madness of the NYBPA and the NYBC. But wait….it is not over yet! Mark your calendar by writing “Bovine Madness Day” on the square of Tuesday, August 29th, for this is Beef Day at the New York State Fair. As president of this dynamic organization, I guarantee that the madness has only just begun.