About “Farm to Lens”

I am a New York City native, however I graduated from SUNY Cobleskill with a bachelor in Animal Sciences. Although college was not my first exposure to large animals, it was my first experience with true agriculture advocates. Dr. Shelley was my mentor in discovering what agriculture (both animal and crops) truly means; the care for the well being of livestock to ultimately help feed a local community.
Being from the city, I have found that rural and urban/sub-urban life have been so extremely detached from one another. The mission of this project is one of education. My ultimate goal is to shine light on the positive proponents of agriculture. Showing those from city areas how knowing where your food comes, and buying locally helps the economy, your health and the animals themselves by helping the livelihood of farmers. However, this is not exclusive to food animals. I’m also including farms that specialize in other animal wares such as fibers, animal products (such as honey), and crops as well. I hope that the additional positivity from this project encourages people to investigate other local sources of food.
Starting this project was influenced mostly by my mother, who in the past five years has begun to embrace where her food comes from, and the benefit of knowing that versus just buying “organic.” Her love of animals has grown with her, in knowing these animals were properly cared for, something that’s incredibly hard for some to hear let alone accept.
This is a project where I would love to hear feedback. I know this topic has conflicting thoughts and feelings, and in knowing that, I attempted to be as thorough as possible in providing information. This is all based on local, family owned farms. I’m not including “factory farms” in this. My personal definition of factory farming is a farm that cannot give personalized care to each and every animal due to the sheer size of the operation. Knowing this, I know of large dairy farms that still manage to ensure proper individualized care. If you have a question, or would like to discuss information, feel free to contact me.
Around the farm

Around the farm Around the farm Around the farm



SUNY Cobleskill Farm

SUNY Cobleskill is where my in depth journey with agriculture really began. While passing through on this trip, we got to see the birth of a lamb, and watch some of the agriculture classes handle the animals with absolute care.
The students here have such a passion for their animals and even in the midst of their studies manage to put their care first. The dairy barn here is has a free stall concept, with the mature cows sectioned off from the heifers and those from the calves to ensure individualized care throughout the age groups.
The goats here are meat goats, and between them and the sheep, had incredibly relaxed body language, with the exception of the new mama looking over her baby. There were kids and lambs alike running around their moms and playing with each other. The school has multiple agriculture professionals, who all strive to help their students grasp the knowledge that will ultimately feed our country.
Heifer Calf Couple of Kids

Shelley Farm

Dr. Cindi Shelley is another one of my inspirations for this project. She opened her home to me, so I could begin my project where I started my journey.

Her farm is home to milk goats, chicken, sheep, beef cattle, turkey, guinea hens, and a couple of farm dogs. Helping with morning chores, giving of daily care, and helping when the vet came are just a few of the experiences while staying at the farm.

Thoren Sunset

Goat Kid Dimes

Apiary Visit


Hop House Farm

Catherine Roberstson and Andrew Rowles are the caretakers at Hop House Farm, and are one of the few apiaries in the area. Bees are something I have little to no experience with let alone being stung a few times, so the experience at Hop House was incredibly new.
I learned about the habits of bees and how they are considered a form of livestock (rightfully so).  They have so much love for their little bees, and you can tell with how gingerly they treat their hives and the bees themselves. I never knew how complex beehives were until this trip. In addition to bees, they also had chickens and ducks roaming the property and the pond on the far end of the farm.
Chicks First Day Out Chloe the Farm Pug

Locust-Springs Farm

Taylor Clifford and Eric Bogardus are two people who I can trust to explain the dairy industry the best to someone who isn’t entirely familiar with the ins-and-outs. Taylor channelled her inner Ag teacher and was super patient with my never-ending questions about their newly acquired farm.
Walking into the barn, you see lots of light coming in through windows and an impressive amount of ventilation to keep the girls happy. Unlike the free-stalls at the college, their barn was much older and consisted of tie-stalls. However, the names of these types of stalls are unbelievably deceiving. Tie-stalls are not restricting to the animal in the sense that they cannot move around.
In reality the cows can stand, lay down, and stretch out to their liking, and are on padded mats and fluffy bedding. Taylor explained that they come in to milk, feed and over night but do get time out on grass to just “be cows.” Since this is a new barn to the couple, they are brimming with ideas to expand and improve to consistently give quality care for their animals.

Locust-Springs Dairy

Locust-Springs Dairy Taylor with the Calves



Black Willow Pond Farm

Carrie Edsall is the owner of this farm, which is home to Katahdin hair sheep, a variety of chickens, two cows and a handful of rabbits. It was a quiet day when I arrived, only two sets of lamb twins had been born so far, but the rest of the girls looked ready to pop.

Although the day was a bit dreary and gray, the sheep rushed to greet Carrie when we came into the pasture. I learned a lot about how they transition their chicks from the heated barn over to the grass pasture and enclosure where their adult hens resided.

It was quite an experience to see the organization skills it took to not only keep the farm in working order and productive, but to keep her family organized as well. It definitely takes a special woman to be able to do all of the above and be a professor at SUNY Cobleskill as well.

Great Pyrenees Chicks


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