Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
February 12, 2015
Attending (18): Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Terry Brewer, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, A.J. Amato, Jim Butterworth, Dick Drumm, Doris Calamaras, Dean Calamaras, Debbie Rodriguez, Ray Hannan, Charlie Foote, Stewart Wagner, Roberto Martinez.
Guests (1): Beth Chittenden.
PROGRAM: ‘Life On a Dairy Farm’
Beth Chittenden describes her Dutch Hollow Farm.
Dick Drumm introduced Beth Chittenden of Dutch Hollow Farm, a large dairy operation that straddles the Rensselaer-Columbia border near Schodack Landing.
Beth, a graduate of Cornell University who earned a master’s degree from the College of Saint Rose, has been a teacher as well as a farmer, and is active in many local organizations, including the Hudson Valley Fresh group of farms that produce high-quality milk. She said the creation of the Discovery Center on the farm allowed her to combine two passions — farming and teaching.
Dutch Hollow Farm is family-owned and -operated, with 700 milking cows and 2,000 acres of land. A few facts Beth shared:
• New York State ranks behind only California and Wisconsin in milk production.
• Only 2% of the population are farmers
• 98% of farms are family owned.
• Research shows that teens may not be getting enough calcium. Milk provides calcium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, magnesium, B-12, potassium riboflavin, niacin and phosphorus.
Beth stressed the health and safety procedures required of dairy farmers. Farms are inspected four times a year, sometimes with no advance notice. They can be inspected by agents from the state or federal governments or their dairy co-operative.
She displayed photos of the milking process and then tanks where milk is rapidly cooled from 98 to 38 degrees. The herds are milked three times a day and the trucks pick up regularly. Each tank truck load is tested for the presence of antibiotics, bacteria, foreign objects and water. Finding any problems would mean that the entire load must be rejected and probably destroyed.
Beth spoke about treating cows for medical problems, about pasteurization and ultra-pasteurization and noted that regulations are very strict. Dutch Hollow participates in the Hudson Valley Fresh and Cabot Dairy co-operatives.
The farm also serves as an educational facility, with school children hosted their regularly to view the entire process, camp on the grounds, and even visit with other members of the public on the annual “Day at the Dairy,” which this year is scheduled for Saturday, August 1.
ANNIVERSARY DINNER DETAILS – Tomorrow, February 13, is the deadline for turning in all program advertising materials for our “55th Charter Anniversary Dinner,” scheduled for Thursday, March 5. And, the deadline for reservations is February 23.
HOSPITAL-STAY PAMPHLET – President Bill reported that he had contacted District Governor Dave Hennel, seeking District endorsement of the hospital-stay pamphlet that already has been endorsed by the club. He said he would let the club know when a decision is made.
RENSSELAER SCHOOLS GRANT – Bill reported that he called Sally Shields, the Rensselaer city school superintendent, concerning the $3,000 grant the club wants to give the schools to underwrite the I-Ready after school program. He was told she was in a meeting, so he left a message requesting a return call, To date, she has never called. He also sent a letter approved by the club Board. And, to date, he has received no response. He suggested that anyone who is in contact with Peter Rehonis or any other school official ask them to nudge Superintendent Shields.
GOLF FUNDRAISER – A reminder that our final indoor simulator golf tournament of the winter is scheduled for Saturday, March 7, two days after our Charter Anniversary Dinner. Murray said reservations are flowing in at a good rate.
RYLA EVENT – The RYLA program has scheduled a “RYLA Celebration Dinner” for Saturday, March 7, at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs. The deadline for reservations is February 20. Check our website for details.
PETS TRAINING – Terry Brewer said he has attended President-Elect Training Sessions (PETS), and there are some changes in the works for next year. He said during his presidency he would like the club to work on a project grant. To be eligible, as in past years, at least two club members must attend the grants training seminar For 2014-15, Bill and Murray attended on behalf of the club. Bill noted that the District encourages smaller clubs to partner with similar clubs for grant projects.
NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, February 19, at Quigley’s. Debbie Rodriguez has arranged for a program from the Blue Star Mothers organization.