Binghamton Area Landowner
Andrew Cuomo now wants to call Southern Tier farmers his friend, after knifing them in the back to make Presidential political points. This farmer says Cuomo may be a heavy but “he ain’t no brother.”
Governor Cuomo gave a shout out to the farmers of the Southern Tier in his State of the State message. The Governor said “The Farmer in the Southern Tier who is struggling to make ends meet, that farmer is our brother”. The funny thing is that I think I am that farmer.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article for Natural Gas Now advocating that upstate citizens vote to split off from downstate and form our own state. My article was based on the frustration of many people in the upstate area who feel the government in Albany only listens to the voting majority in New York City. A couple of days after the article posted, Tom Shepstone forwarded an e-mail from Fred Dicker who hosts a morning News program in Albany “Live from the State Capital.” Fred asked me to come on his show and talk about my article.
I phoned in January 13th and represented the voice of the Southern Tier farmer. Well, I can’t imagine the governor was actually listening, but I guess someone in his office was and they decided they should bring us into the family. They say you don’t get to pick your relatives, but I have to say Southern Tier farmers haven’t been feeling any brotherly love from brother Andy lately.
Fred Dicker asked how bad it was down here in the Southern Tier and I told him it’s really the same as any other rust belt area. I guess for some reason other parts of the state equate conditions in the Southern Tier to living in Appalachia. Just for the record, I am not really struggling to make ends meet. The mortgage gets paid, the kids have shoes and we are not going hungry. The truth, however, is that most farmers all over New York do struggle to some extent.
The most common question that comes after you say you are a farmer is: “Really, what’s your other job?” The true and often painful answer to that question is this; usually someone in the family works off of the farm to make ends meet.
Compare this to farmers in gas drilling states, though. Last year I went to the equipment dealer in Montrose, PA to price a new machine. The dealer gave me the price and mentioned several times “We give a good discount for cash payments.”
“Sorry, I told him. I’m a New York farmer I would have to finance it.” He understood right away. If I had been a Pennsylvania farmer, I would have money from gas leasing and could pay my bills right away. Brother Andy is not likely to realize how much he has taken from the people of the Southern Tier by stopping any chance of developing our natural gas assets.
I imagine the Governor believes he is carrying the poor farmer because as the line from the song says “His welfare is my concern”. Governor, thanks for your thoughts, but we are capable of carrying ourselves if we are just given a chance. Giving us the opportunity to develop our mineral rights would make a real difference.
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