County ag specialist wants to hear from farmers


By Patsy Nicosia

Hoping to get a handle on Schoharie County farms—who and where they are and what their concerns are—Nick Kossmann, Schoharie County’s relatively-new Agriculture Development specialist, is putting together a survey he plans to launch in January.
It’s been more than 10 years since the county’s had a comprehensive list of farms and farmers and that’s Mr. Kossmann’s first goal:
Identifying them.
The survey, no more than 20 questions, will also ask about what agricultural products they’re producing, all so he can make better decisions about where to focus his efforts, Mr. Kossmann said Monday.
The survey will be online but Mr. Kossmann also plans to have paper copies available at places like post offices, libraries and agencies farmers frequent like Soil & Water and the Farm Service Agency.
So far, he has a list of about 150 farms gathered from a variety of places—like Google—but he’s asking farmers, including those who may already be on his list, to contact him with their email address if they want to participate in the survey at, (518) 295-8785.
Also in the works, Mr. Kossmann is planning to put together a list and eventual brochure of trades people who’ll work on farms—plumbers, electricians, excavating and construction firms to name a few.
Not everyone wants to work on farms, he said; some are uncomfortable working around large animals or in barns or outside in the weather.
“That’s a concern I’m already hearing from farmers,” he said. “That it’s hard to find people with these skills and experience who are willing to come out. I’m hoping this will help.”
Anyone who services the Schoharie County area can contact Mr. Kossmann to be put on the list.
Finally—for now—Mr. Kossmann has begun visiting local farms on what he’s calling Farm Friday.
“The best way to find out what farmers are thinking is to go out and talk to them,” he said.
“Most of them are too busy to go to meetings and just feel more comfortable talking on their farm,” he said.
“I’m trying to make sure they’re heard.”
Because Mr. Kossmann doesn’t want to just drop by, he’s asking any farmer open to a visit to contact him, again at the above email or phone number.