Thursday, June 13, 2013

Former Cayuga County Resident Named Field Crop and Soil Specialist

This comes from Kara Lynn Dunn of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program:

Kitty O'Neil
Kitty O’Neil has been named the Northern New York as Regional Field Crops and Soils Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension. She will be working with farmers in St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton and Essex counties.

O'Neil, who grew up on a dairy farm in Cayuga County, has a bachelor's degree in animal science from Cornell University, a master’s degree in forages and dairy nutrition from Michigan State and recently earned her doctorate also at Michigan State.

In Michigan, O'Neil helped potato growers improve their production systems and make them more sustainable. She conducted several years of research with those potato growers, examining impacts of tillage, cover crops, manure amendments and crop rotations on soil health and productivity.

“I'm eager to apply my efforts to helping Northern New York growers and farmers adopt practices which will reduce risk and production costs while increasing efficiency and livelihoods. From conversations with farmers and other Extension personnel, I can already see opportunities to work on hayfield and pasture quality, forage planning and inventory estimations and alternative forage production to reduce risks,” O’Neil says.

“Fall 2013 forage inventories may continue to be affected by the 2012 shortages, though I hope that impact is slight. Only time and weather patterns will determine what is in the barn, silo and bunk at the conclusion of 2013, but I'd like to work with producers now to optimize that potential,” she adds.

O'Neil can be reached through your local Cornell Extension office or CCE St. Lawrence County at 379-9192.

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