Agriculture, Environment, Food, Health

Farmers Grow Crops and Major Concerns, Too

By Elissa Candiotti SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Mark and Judy Sartell of Susquehanna, Pennsylvania are just one of many couples bearing the brutality of today’s agricultural economy. For the married pair, farm life is all they have ever known, and Mark said, it’s something he is not willing to let go of anytime soon.

“I know the farming economy is bad right now,” Mark Sartell said. “But the only thing we can do is buy just what we need. We can’t spend money foolishly. We have to spend money wisely.”

Mark and Judy Sartell took their time walking around the Farm Show for new equipment to take home. (c) 2017 Elissa Candiotti

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released new information last month, highlighting the struggles farmers are facing today. The study found that the value of agricultural production went down from approximately $6.3 billion to $5.3 billion between 2014 and 2015. In 2016, the numbers are expected to be even worse.

“It is too soon to know what 2017 will bring,” Steve Ammerman, New York Farm Bureau Public Affairs Manager, said. “We are hoping to see a small uptick in prices, but big questions remain regarding the future of trade policy in this country that can impact prices farmers receive for their food.”

These are major concerns the Sartell family faces everyday. Their Pennsylvania farm is not only their way of life, but also their means of income. For the two, their biggest struggle is the low profit they receive.

The United States Department of Agriculture depicts the major decrease in the agricultural economy over the years. (c) USDA

“It’s tough owning a farm,” Judy Sartell explained. “But it’s all we’ve ever known and we’re not giving up on it now.”

The couple traveled to the New York State Farm Show this weekend to stop, shop, and scope out the scene of new innovations offered in the industry. The three-day long event opened on Thursday, February 23 at the New York State Fairgrounds. This marks the biggest farm technology showcase in the Northeast, one that has been running for over 30 years now.

The New York Farm Show hosted thousands of people on just the first day. (c) 2017 Elissa Candiotti

Although the Sartell couple spent Thursday with thousands of others checking out the new inventions, they also dedicated some time to reflect on all that their farming experience has brought them. Mark Sartell said it’s not the animals nor the tractor rides you remember most, but the family bonding that comes with the journey.

“I can tell you, there’s no better place to raise a family,” Mark Sartell said. “Seeing the kids grow up on the farm and have their own families has been the most rewarding part of owning a farm.”