I’d like to address something that has been brought to my attention over the last week. Several residents raised concerns about “shots” they are hearing down in the black dirt area. I hear the noise from my house, as do many other residents; I know we have many newer residents to the area that might not be familiar with many of the aspects of farm life, and I want to confirm that this noise is from a machine farmers use that is designed to replicate gunshots.
This is a non-lethal tool the local farmers use to scare away several species of animals that would otherwise eat or damage growing crops. I worked on a local farm when I was young and saw redwing black birds and brown-headed cowbirds come in massive flocks during the day; these flocks can destroy over 50% of the crop yield per field. Also, during the evenings, bear, white-tailed deer and raccoons can wreak havoc as well.
My hope is that, as a community, we can show understanding and compassion to our local farmers as they utilize this, and other tactics, to ward off pests, so they can continue the agricultural traditions we all love in our community. Once the crops are harvested for the year, the noise will go away.
The above column, written by Village of Florida Mayor Daniel Harter, Jr., has been published in the Aug. 14 issue of the Warwick Valley Dispatch.