AOF students visit Sullivan County farms

llamasThe Academy Of Finance took a trip to see three different farms and learn about Sullivan County’s agricultural industry . The first farm we visited was the Buck Brook Alpaca Farm, which is located in Roscoe, NY. It was the first time many students encountered alpacas. After a brief period of excitement, we gathered around Kara McElroy and Kathy Meckle to gain an understanding of the ways they make income. Tourism is a major source of income for the Buck Brook Alpaca Farm. They have created a network with other local farms in which they promote each other. Tourists flow from one farm to another resulting in increased visits to all farms. Buck Brook’s income comes from the alpaca fleece, which they get from the alpaca just one time per year. Therefore, the tourism aspect of their business is important.

cowThe second farm we went to was the Diehl Dairy farm. Annette Diehl was there to greet us and tell us about the dairy industry. We learned that selling milk does not always make a profit and often is a loss so they have to supplement their milk sales with other things. The farm not only has cows, chickens, and bees, but they also have delicious homemade maple syrup, fresh milk, honey and other products to sell. A main revenue stream for their business is also tourism. We also learned about the government regulation of the industry and what happens when a sick cow’s milk gets into the tank.

horseThe last farm we went to was Huntington Meadow Horse Farm. Jackie Kearns met us and spoke to us about the Horse Farm. She told us that Huntington Meadows boards retired police horses. We also learned an important lesson about life which is to love what you are doing and to enjoy your job. She also spoke about the paperwork involved with running a business and the importance of personal relationships and connections. It was an eye opening experience for us. After that inspiring talk, we went to see the horses, some of the AOF students went to touch the horses, and many took pictures with them.

The trip was a wonderful experience. Dr. Joseph D’Abbraccio, a local veterinarian and graduate of Monticello’s Academy of Finance, organized and facilitated the trip . Michelle Lipari from the Cornell Cooperative Extension was also at each farms to answer questions the students had about the industry. Each farm gave precise details about their business which was very interesting. It will always be a trip to remember. The students had a wonderful time.

Article and photographs courtesy of Academy of Finance (AOF) students Kimberly Foster and Sarah Yousef