By Tami Watt, Editor
OHI:YO’- Gakwi:yo:h Farms has recently welcomed twenty-five Red Angus cattle to their growing livestock operation. The Seneca Nation has revamped an old dairy farm located on Sullivan Hollow in Great Valley, NY, formerly ran by late Phil Attea.
Project Manager, Gordon Brown, and staff have been busy preparing the site for livestock once again, clearing the land and installing fencing around the perimeter was a must before arrival of the herd. One look at the layout and the former owners knew it would make a good fit for the livestock to roam and graze.
Of the twenty-five cows in the herd, sixteen are females, nine are males. They have also acquired eight calves and seven piglets. According to Brown, the small herd is for sustainability and to provide quality meat to the community from certified organic animals. Cattle mature quicker than bison. Beef can be prepped and processed when the are cows mature, usually within one to two years.
Red Angus cows are known to be docile, good mothers, and good at converting their feed into high quality meat.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gakwi:yo:h Farms planned to sell and supply quality organic meat to both the community and local restaurants and supermarkets. Now, Brown and Seneca Nation Executives are rethinking how the meat will be distributed in uncertain times. Brown is hoping to be able to provide meat to Seneca elder and members in need if the pandemic worsens.
In addition to the Red Angus cows, the farm also raises and breeds a herd of fifty-six bison. Currently, the bison are located at a farm in Machias, NY but will soon find their permanent home in the Sunfish area in Steamburg, NY along Old Rt.17 at the old John farmstead pre- Kinzua era by the end of the year.
Brown has faced unexpected challenges farming during a pandemic. Materials to build fencing have come in short supply and demand has raised prices. Each season, the farm relies on volunteers to aid in planting, growing, and harvesting, however, this year volunteers have been asked to stay home or make an appointment to aid only when needed due to the
Volunteers and community members whom wish to aid at harvest time will be asked to follow social distance protocols. Groups and families will be allowed to be come together to harvest.
Gakwi:yo:h Farms has also planted more corn this year in an effort to provide a nutritious traditional staple to the community in the midst of uncertainty. They have successfully planted over twenty-five acres of corn between Allegany and Cattaraugus. Please be on the look out for a social distance husking bee at the end of the season.