44th annual Rural Urban Dinner on March 31

Melissa Madden operates Sweet Life Farm in Interlaken, an organic family-farm type business that produces vegetables for sale directly to the consumer through community-supported agriculture and at farmers markets. Bruce Austic operates Austic Farms in Interlaken, a large vegetable crop farm covering thousands of acres. He sells his grains directly to feed mills, ethanol producers and through international exports. They will talk about Seneca County farms large and small at the 44th annual Rural Urban Dinner.The event will be held on Monday, March 31, at the Waterloo Holiday Inn. Dinner will be at 7 p.m. A social hour featuring a taste of Seneca County organized by Ann Heizmann Meade will precede the dinner at 6 p.m. The public is invited. Tickets, at $25 per person, are available from committee members, at Nugent Hardware or by contacting chairman Jeff Cassim at 315-729-5283. There were 513 farms in Seneca County in 2008, the last year for which figures have been released. covering 126,600 acres. Seneca County ranks 41st in the state for number of farms. The county’s farms are diverse, ranging from grape/winery businesses -Seneca County has the highest number of wineries in the state – to dairy products, hogs, beef cows, grains, and fruit and vegetables and hay. More than half of the county’s farms had cash receipts of at least $50,000. The average farm operator was slightly over 53 years old.For more than four decades, the service organizations of Seneca County have brought farmers and consumers together to discuss common issues and concerns at the annual Rural-Urban Dinner. This year Waterloo Rotary and New York Farm Bureau will be joined by Seneca Falls/Waterloo Kiwanis, Seneca Falls Rotary, Waterloo Lions and Ovid/Willard Lions Club in presenting the event. Music will be provided by Caren and Perry Cleaveland. Program ads are available for $10 for a business card and may be purchased from any committee member. Door prizes also are being sought. Proceeds from the sale of ads and raffle tickets will benefit Foodlink, which supplies food for food pantries and backpack programs in Seneca County.Committee members include eff Cassim, Waterloo Rotary and NY Farm Bureau, chair; Bruce Maybury, Ann Meade and Skip Jensen, Seneca County Farm Bureau; Pat Goit, Seneca Falls/Waterloo Kiwanis; Lynne Tyler and Linda Knight, Seneca Falls Rotary; Doris Wolf, Coreen Lowry and Bill Sigrist, Waterloo Rotary; and Harold Bush, Ovid/Willard Lions Club.

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