CANTON -- Kitty O’Neil has begun working with farmers in St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton and Essex counties as the new regional field crops and soils specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension.
O’Neil grew up on a dairy farm in Cayuga County. She holds an animal science degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree in forages and dairy nutrition from Michigan State.
In Michigan, she helped potato growers improve production systems and make them more sustainable. She recently earned a Ph.D. there after 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,” O’Neil said. “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.”
“Fall 2013 forage inventories may continue to be affected by the 2012 shortages, though I hope that impact is slight,” she said. “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.”
O’Neil can be reached through CCE St. Lawrence County at 379-9192.