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The Altamont enterprise. (Altamont, N.Y.) 1983-2006, August 18, 2005, Image 1

Image and text provided by Guilderland Public Library

Persistent link: http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn86011850/2005-08-18/ed-1/seq-1/


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This — ii. is defacing library property, and anyone found domg this will be held responsible for the cost of the items defaced. ********************************************** •H Albany County's Independent Newspaper For 121 Years Number4 •Thursday, August 18, 2005 The next generation a place at fair The Enterprise — Holly Grosch Jennifer Preska with two of her dairy cows on opening day at the Altamont Fair. More inside. By Holly Grosch ALTAMONT — A new generation of farmers has en- tered livestock and is running the show barns at the tri-county fair. A number of the stereotypical grandpa farmers in overalls have retired and the next gener- ation of 20-something female farmers have stepped into the ring. The belief that small farms are dying is challenged at this year's Altamont Fair. The fair, many participants say, continues each year to serve as a medium for fostering youth interest in agriculture, passing a trade on to the next generation. Udder satisfaction Jennifer Preska, 27, has run her own farm in Delmar since 2000 and now owns 140 dairy cows. She sat in the newly-built enormous cattle barn at the fair- grounds in a fold-out camping chair, with baby-blue sunglasses resting on her head, She wore jeans at her hip, a striped maroon polo shirt, pink nail polish and work boots. Preska wakes up on her Dun- creek Farm at 4 a.m. each morning to feed and milk her cows and then heads out to do field work in the sunlight. You get one cow to start, she said, \Then you don't want to sell the first one and it's a vicious cy- cle.\ Dairy farmers do tend to get more attached to their cows than beef farmers allow themselves to, she told The Enterprise. Preska is a fourth-generation farmer, but her parents had raised primarily hay and horses, she said. She got her first show calf at age 10, and now, she said of raising cattle, \It's all I do.\ It is a viable living, she said, especially since the prices for milk have gone up over the last couple of years. Preska is part of the co-op Dairy Farmers of America, and her milk goes to Crowley. In the \Agriculture Today\ ex- hibit, next to the fair's Circus Building, a three-sided poster display from the New York Agri- cultural Statistics Service shows the decrease of dairy cows in the state. In 1910, there were 1.5 million dairy cows in New York. In 1960, there were 1.4 million; in 1970, there were 954,000; in 2000, there were 700,000; and in 2004, there were 658,000. \It's a hard business to get into because of the equipment — it is expensive to start,\ Preska said. Over the last 20 years, she has had cows, but, when she took over the family farm in 2000, she built new facilities on the land, she said. Duncreek Farm doesn't have any employees, Preska said, but her parents do help out every once in a while. Both her parents (Continued on Page 22) V« i'A Old-timers honored, too By Nicole Fay Barr Orloff Bear vividly remembers his first trip to the Altamont Fair. It was 1923 and he was five years old. His grandfather, who showed cattle, put six of the family's best livestock on a train in Coxsackie. Bear and his father, who lived in Greenville, then rode to Alta- mont in his father's Model-T Ford. They met Bear's-grandfa- ther on the edge of the fair- grounds, where the cattle were unloaded from the train. Many other families came to the fair by horse and buggy. The fair serves three counties — Albany, Schenectady, and Greene. They'd park in the infield and spread out picnic lunches. After viewing the many farm animals on exhibit, children would ride a Ferris wheel or pitch baseballs at milk bottles for prizes. Bear, now 86, and his wife, Jeanne, laughed as they told The Enterprise of their memories of the Altamont Fair. Married for 60 years, they have attended the fair each year and their grandchil- dren now show cattle there. \It gets in your blood and you can't get it out,\ Bear said of,the fair. To honor their commitment to the yearly event, the fair's board of directors presented the Bears this week with a \gold pass.\ As the Bears had planned to camp on the fairgrounds for most of fair week, they can now attend the fair for free, for the rest of their lives. Cattle family • Orloff Bear has lived in Greenville his entire life. He was' born in Sunny Hill, the same place as his mother and grandfa- ther, about 30 miles south of Al- tamont. \This place was a lot different then,\ Bear said of pastoral Greenville. \It used to be a real rural community.\ Jeanne Bear was raised in Hartford, Conn. She came to this area to teach art and met her fu- ture husband. The couple has lived in the same white farmhouse for most of their marriage. The 47 acres that stretches behind it is still used by their grandchildren for cattle, horses, and other animals. This week, Bear recalled his years of showing cattle at the Al- tamont Fair. \The fair was more agricul- tural than today,\ Bear said. \And they showed cattle in dif- ferent respects. They showed bulls in those days...Each ex- hibitor would have a bull with his cows.\ Every bull had a ring through its nose and, by sticking a long stick sideways through the ring, the exhibitor would lead his bull around, Bear said. \At the time, we used to have a cattle parade. That was a big thing,\ Bear said. \Fellas would lead bulls all the way around the race track.\ (Continued on Page 18) ' \ — The Enterprise — Nicole Fay Barr Loyal fairgoer: Orloff Bear has been attending the Altamont Fair for over 80 years. He cherishes a toy cattle car, complete with plastic cow, given to him several years ago by fair representatives. »/• *M*» * < V-/MW w* f > -* \ M

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