It’s that time of year again when farmers and ag businesses from around the upper Northeast brave the cold to gather under the heated roofs at the fairgrounds for the New York Farm Show in Syracuse, New York.

In its 32nd year, the event is expected to host more than 400 exhibitors in six different buildings showcasing various agricultural equipment, services and products. As always, beef will be one of the major areas of focus at the show.

According to the Executive Director of the New York Beef Council (NYBC), Jean O’Toole, the beef industry is experiencing the same trends that are happening throughout other agriculture sectors.

“Consumers are more interested in where their food comes from and how it is being produced,” he said. “They have questions about production practices, safety and different choices available. In addition to this, their definition of quality is changing as well. We in the industry define quality as ‘prime, choice and select.’ The consumer is defining quality based on taste, production practices as well as price.”

O’Toole says that the NYBC, a non-profit organization working for the cattle producers of New York, will be playing a more active role at this year’s show.

 “The New York Beef Council has had a long standing presence at the farm show, however this year our involvement is shifting,” O’Toole said. “The NYBC staff is excited for the opportunity to take a more active role in connecting with more beef and dairy producers during the farm show and highlight the resources we have to offer and the work we do throughout the year to promote the beef they produce.”

Farm show visitors will be able to stop by the NYBC booth to learn more about programs that promote the production of safe and healthy beef. Visitors will also have the opportunity to sit in on multiple presentations delivered by NYBC staff. These presentations will discuss tips and resources useful for the advocacy and marketing of the high quality beef produced here in New York as well as throughout the United States.

Beef Sundaes at New York State Farm Show

Tasty hot beef sundaes are a popular part of the New York State Farm Show. Photo: New York Beef Council

Something for the young ones

The final day of presentations will shift to the youth demonstrating their experiences and knowledge of the beef industry. According to O’Toole, these special clinics will provide them with the unique opportunity to practice being advocates for agriculture.

“Youth play an important role in the beef industry because they will serve as the next generation that moves our industry forward,” said O’Toole. “Telling the agriculture and the beef industry’s story is growing increasingly more important and our youth will be faced with the task of serving as even stronger ‘Agvocates’ in the future.”

A new concept offered in the beef area this year, “Face of Farming,” provides an innovative way for beef producers to share their stories on social media. Those interested can fill out a short questionnaire and have their picture taken by an NYBC staff member. The images are posted on the NYBC Facebook and Instagram pages to engage with other beef producers who are using the sites.

In addition, a special scavenger hunt will take place that requires participants to the use information found in “Face of Farming” posters in order to find answers and win the prize. Also there will be a live beef cattle display with information on different breeds as well as numerous beef recipes that visitors can take home with them.

Of course a visit to the beef area would not be complete without tasting the ever popular Hot Beef sundaes made up of mashed potatoes, beef, gravy, shredded cheese and topped with a cherry tomato. Sundaes will be served up daily starting at 11 a.m during each day of the show.

The New York Farm Show is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 23-25. Admission is $5 at the door and free for children under 18.