Grange Day at the New York State Fair highlights the accomplishments of farmers across the state. However, one project in particular is aimed at saving the environment. Local students have developed a new way to fuel a maple syrup compressor. YNN's Candace Hopkins reports.
NEW YORK STATE FAIR -- Young students and farmers take the opportunity to highlight their hardwork on Grange Day at the New York State Fair.
In 2009, the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill chapter of Future Farmers of America began an ambition project. They decided to plant willow shrubs to harvest, turn into wood chips, and eventually use it to power a special maple syrup evaporator.
"With our new evaporator that was designed specially for us, we're able to not use any oil at all, all we use are our willow chips," explained Sarah Peavey, a junior.
The special evaporator is the only one of its kind in the United States, and one of only two in the entire world. The students said they recognize the need for fuel alternatives, and want to be part of the solution going forward.
"I think it's very important because it's become a very large industry and I think we need to explore it more so we can fine tune it, we can help prepare the future for whatever may come," said Peavey.
As part of the FFA, the students are learning about farming,and also preparing themselves to be the leaders of the future.
"These students having the experiences that they've had prepares them for their future careers, these students are learning to work with the public through their maple syrup business, and they're learning to work with each other on teams, which is a huge life skill, and is something that a lot of students learn about in the classroom, but these FFA students get to go out and experience it hands-on," noted Ashley Willits, New York State FFA President.
The students have planted eight different varieties of willow, and say the goal is to harvest half of the crop every other year.