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The Face of NY Agriculture

Lonny Schaefer
Catskill Cattle Company
Delaware, NY
Catskill Cattle Company is a family operated beef cattle, produce and hay operation, owned by Lonny Schaefer.
Lonny Schaefer

Can you describe your operation?

Catskill Cattle Company is a family operated beef cattle, produce and hay operation, owned by Lonny Schaefer.


What is your role on your farm?

I schedule and manage breeding, planting, harvesting and managethe big jobs and tasks.


How do you incorporate technology into your operation?

We use social media, smartphones, GPS, barn cameras and plan to begin using drones. We keep our equipment up to date so we can be more efficient, productive, safe and comfortable in our day to day work.


What is the biggest challenge facing agriculture in New York State?

Burdensome regulation and unfunded mandates.


What is the biggest opportunity?

Local foods movement, and its positive linking of consumer to producer relationships.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

The flexibility and reward of being able to spend time with my children, extended family and friends while enjoying my land, while adding to the vision of the generations that came before me and handed down this opportunity.

My commitment to this legacy project has been life-long and the opportunity to pass it on and teach the important lessons to my children and others is precisely impacting the future of our land, community, county and beyond.


How do you see your operation changing in five years?

We will continue to grow, even if we don’t want to. we will embrace technology even if we feel we don’t have to and we will improve our facilities and chase diversity. 


What advice do you have for other young people interested in getting involved in agriculture?

Be tough, don’t give up, pay attention to the history of agriculture and its trends while being observant to the changes happening around you and your farm enterprise. Be competitive and never complacent. When you stop learning you stop being innovative, you will become a laggard and your business will become stagnant and stop growing. Remember the basics of marketing; product, price, place and promotion and go make money!


Why is Farm Bureau important to you?

Farm Bureau is a true grass roots organization where membership truly has a voice and where all agricultural commodity groups are represented. It stands by its purpose and protects our rights as farmers.