By Sarah LeBlanc-GagnonMay 24, 2018 | 7:20amAs soon as we heard the news that the federal government was planning to close schools in Canada, the mood on the farm was one of relief.
The farmers and workers at the Coon Rapids Farm in Coon Township, New Jersey, had been fighting for the last few months to stay open.
A few weeks ago, the Coons, along with their supporters, petitioned the government to reopen schools and pay the bills.
“We’re doing the best we can,” said Chris Czajkowski, a member of the Coony Rapids family.
“We’re hoping for an extension so we can finish the year.”
As the first day of school officially ended on May 15, the farm is still reeling from the news.
The Coon Reservoir and Coon River are closed, and some crops are being diverted.
“It’s hard to say how many crops we have left,” said Czahkowski.
“Our corn is probably about 70 percent gone.
There’s a lot of water in there, but we have enough corn to last until next year.”
Farmers say they are still expecting another harvest next year, and will likely use whatever corn is left to feed the rest of the family.
“The next harvest could be a lot more corn, and a lot less wheat,” said John Pomeranz, a farmer who has been with the family for the past 20 years.
“A lot of it is going to go into the next harvest.”
The Coons are the only farm in the county with a large dairy herd.
The herd is estimated to be over 100 cows, and the Coondas, who live on the Upper West Side of New York City, are hoping to have more cows on the property.
“I can’t imagine how difficult it would be for the dairy,” said Pomerantz.
“This will be the first time in 20 years that we’ve had dairy here, and we’ve been here for 40 years.
It will be hard to do that without any help.”
Farm families say they’re relieved they will be able to reopen the schools, but are hopeful that their neighbors will also be able open their gates.
“You know, I think we all know there’s going to be a couple of hundred people in the next few weeks, but I hope they don’t have to wait too long to come and visit us,” said Tom Muhly, a father of five.