Taking a SUNY Cobleskill Degree Back to the Family Farm

Nathan Kreher discovered his passion for plants when he was 14 years old, working on the crops crew on his family’s expansive farm.

“I started out in poultry care then moved to the crops team,” said the SUNY Cobleskill Plant Science major. “I knew that someday I’d like to manage our crops team and oversee crops production.”

That was no small ambition. The family farm, founded in 1924 in Clarence, New York, now covers 5,500 acres (3,500 of them organic-certified) in Clarence, Wolcott, Indian Falls and Brockport. They have 1.7 million laying hens, 300,000 of them organic-certified and cage-free.

They also grow corn, soybeans, and wheat to feed the chickens, as well as fresh-cut green beans, beats and salad greens. That was the operation Nathan wanted to lead.

He came to SUNY Cobleskill and completed his Associate of Applied Science in Sustainable Crop Production degree, then continued on to earn a Bachelor of Technology in Plant Science. He’ll graduate at the end of this semester.

“I made the decision [to stay] after working hand-in-hand with the great professors at SUNY Cobleskill, and learning that they have so much to offer,” he said. “I just knew I had to take advantage of their knowledge as much as possible.”

The Kreher family farm mainly produces eggs, selling to customers like Wegmans and Tops Friendly Markets. Recently, they’ve explored growing Asian Greens for Wegmans. Nathan completed an internship at Wegman’s organic vegetable farm in Canandaigua this past summer, where he put the lessons from his classes in vegetable production, soil science, weed identification, integrated pest management and plant pathology to the test.

Nathan is a fourth-generation farmer. He’s planning to work outside of the family farm for a few years to diversify his experience before joining a few other members of his generation who are already partners in the business.

Interested? Learn more about Sustainable Crop Production >>