Use by November 26, 2008

Contacts: Cornell Cooperative Extension: Lewis County, Frans J. Vokey, 315-376-5270;
Clinton/Essex County: Anita L. Deming, 518-962-4810 x409; St. Lawrence County: Brent Buchanan, 315-379-9192; Jonathan C. Orr, Orrson Custom Farming Ltd, cell: 330-465-0002

Can Using Custom Farm Services Work for You?
Ohio Custom Operator to Speak at NNY Meetings in Chazy, Madrid & Carthage

Can contracting outside services to plant, fertilize and harvest crops help dairy farmers who now do their own fieldwork? Yes.

Jonathan C. Orr of Orrson Custom Farming LLC of Apple Creek, Ohio, will explain how his services have indeed helped Midwestern and Southeastern dairy farmers maximize their milk production when he speaks at meetings organized by the Cornell Cooperative Extension associations of the North Country for December 2 at Miner Institute, Chazy, NY; December 3 at the Madrid Community Center, Madrid, NY; and December 4 at the Carthage Elks Club, Carthage, NY.

The meetings will run from 10 am to 3 pm. The workshop fee is $20/person for lunch and materials with a phone reservation by November 26th; $25 after November 26th.

“We know that the quality of their feed directly affects our customers’ milk check, so we are committed to harvesting their crops at the correct time and moisture. We enjoy hearing back from a customer about the excellent quality of feed we helped produce,” says Jon Orr.

Jon Orr and his father, Jim, established a custom cropping, harvesting and heifer raising service in 1997 after selling off their dairy herd. The heifer barns at their historic family farm 60 miles south of Cleveland are empty now, but the harvesting business continues to grow and evolve.
The Orrson Custom Farming crew of 10-16 workers travels March through November from Michigan to Georgia to mow, rake, chop, harvest and bunk corn, hay, rye and other crops.

At the December meetings organized by Cornell Cooperative Extension on the use of custom services as a business strategy option for farmers in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, Jon Orr will talk about planning, scheduling harvests, true costs, liabilities and resolving the occasional disagreement involved with custom harvesting.

“Costs are always a critical topic for farmers interested in employing custom services and those operating them. My dad used to say that with the small equipment he and his partners ran in the 50s and 60s, they probably used as much fuel for one growing season as we use now in one day,” Jon says. “The farmers see the value of our services in their feed bunks and milk checks.”

Also scheduled as a guest speaker at the December meetings is Farm Business Management Specialist Jason Karszes with the PRO-DAIRY Program at Cornell University and local custom service operators and their farmer-customers.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County Executive Director Anita Deming says, “ Many farmers are saving on labor and equipment expenses by contracting with professionals to fit their fields, harvest crops, grow heifers, or manage payroll. These meetings offer the opportunity to learn how to maximize your relationships with contractors, and how to evaluate an arrangement to know if it is right for you.”

Sponsors of the Making Custom Services Work for You workshops for farmers and custom operators include Bourdeau Bros., Champlain, NY; Giroux Brothers, Plattsburgh and Malone, NY; Heuvelton Equipment Co., Heuvelton, NY; LeBerge & Curtis, Canton, NY; Monroe Tractor & Implement Co., Adams Center, NY; Walldroff Farm Equipment, Canton and Watertown, NY; Widrick Implements, Lowville, Sandy Creek and Watertown, NY; and the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program. FSA borrower credits are pending.

For reservations and more information for the workshop at Chazy, contact Anita Deming, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County, 518-962-4810, or Carl Tillinghast, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, 518-483-7403; for the Madrid workshop: Brent Buchanan, Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, 315-379-9192; and for the Carthage workshop: Mike Hunter, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, 315-788-8450.

Learn more about agriculture in Northern New York on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org.  # # #