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CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY AGRICULTURE FORUM TO FEATURE COUNTY’S LARGEST INDUSTRY

All Members of the Agriculture Community Invited to Attend on November 30th

-by Cassandra Skal, Agriculture Program Coordinator with CCE of Chautauqua County

 JAMESTOWN, NEW YORK (November 8, 2022) — Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s Agriculture Program is excited to announce a partnership with the Small Business Development Center at JCC and Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development with financial support from Chautauqua County Farm Bureau to present the 2022 Chautauqua County Agriculture Forum.  The Forum will be held on Wednesday, November 30th at the JCC Carnahan Center from 10am – 3pm. Everyone from the agricultural industry is encouraged to attend.  There will be a light lunch provided, and pre-registration is required by filling out the registration form  – found at https://chautauqua.cce.cornell.edu/events/2022/11/30/2022-chautauqua-county-agriculture-forum or calling Cornell Cooperative Extension at 716-664-9502 ext. 202.  This event will draw agricultural leaders from across Chautauqua County for an opportunity to network, learn more about climate change, hear industry success stories, and what agribusinesses are doing to grow through innovation. Participants will also have the opportunity to help shape the future of agriculture in Chautauqua County as the lead organizations gather feedback for future programming to better serve the agricultural community.  Cornell Cooperative Extension Executive Director, Emily Reynolds is looking forward to the opportunity, “It is always inspiring to spend the day with industry leaders and partners working together to help advance the industry. I look forward to hearing updates, best practices and innovative ideas from colleagues, partner organizations and industry professionals, while proving an in-person opportunity for our agricultural producers to connect with organizations and enhance the opportunities for their businesses.” The Ag Forum will feature a Keynote Address from Jenna Walczak, Ag Climate Resiliency Specialist from Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Harvest NY team. Jenna will discuss practices that Chautauqua County farmers can use to meet the challenges of a changing climate and increase business sustainability. She will outline projects producers can implement using various climate-related funding opportunities and considerations for deciding what grant program may be the best fit for an agricultural operation.  Jenna works with extension staff to assist New York State farmers in implementing practices to mitigate and adapt to climate change–while building agroecological resilience. Prior to joining Cornell Cooperative Extension, Jenna worked in agriculture and on environmental research projects across the United States. She has farmed and managed grant programs on a handful of vegetable and small-scale livestock farms. Jenna has a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Colgate University. She was born and raised in Western New York.

Following a light lunch, participants will choose what breakout sessions to attend. Six unique sessions are planned, most presenting twice for maximum opportunity for participants to get into the discussion they feel will be of most benefit to their personal situation. Sessions will cover stress on the farm, advocacy for farms, ag. innovation, legal resiliency, labor discussions, and farm diversification.

Sarah McCumiskey and Teresa McMahon, FarmNet Family Consultants, will discuss stress management on the farm.  Farmers and the farming community frequently experience unique situations and circumstances that can contribute to stress and stressful experiences. When stress builds, it may lead to feeling trapped by difficult thoughts and feelings. Stress management offers a range of strategies to help us better cope when these thoughts and feelings become overwhelming.

Timothy Bigham, Manager and Training Specialist, County Farm Bureau Relations and Development, will be discussing advocacy being the biggest part of your farm’s business plan today. Consumers used to be able to recall experiences of helping with harvest or handling livestock on an ancestor’s farm but for many today those experiences no longer exist. If the public is to be educated about agriculture, farmers will need to at least be involved in the education process even if organizations take the lead.  This is especially important when the consumer becomes lawmaker.  What steps can farmers take to educate?  How can this responsibility be added to an already full plate?  Let’s discuss ways we can move the needle in this area.

Catharine Young, Executive Director of the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech will be presenting Resources to Grow the Food and Ag Economy in New York. Entrepreneurs are driving innovation in food and agriculture in New York.  Learn about emerging trends and how the Center of Excellence and Cornell AgriTech are helping startups and existing companies grow and thrive.

Kevin Martin, Associate Extension Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension Lake Erie Regional Grape Program/Penn State University, will discuss businesses being legal entities, whether you organize your thoughts or let the state do it for you. He will help you organize your operating agreements and legal entities to reflect the goals and values of your organization. This gives your farm the resiliency to meet goals and create expectations for success by reminding and holding partners, heirs and even yourself accountable to a plan and an agreement.

Richard Stup, Agriculture Workforce Specialist from Cornell’s Agricultural Workforce Development will explore New York’s overtime rules for farm labor and the changing overtime threshold planned for the next 10 years. We will also consider possible exemptions from overtime and how the new New York State tax credit to cover overtime costs will likely apply. Finally, we will discuss strategies that farms can use to successfully adapt to a new overtime environment.

Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Farm Business Management Specialist and Team Leader from Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Program will be discussing ways for farm diversification. Have you ever tried Hipcamp? What about pick-your-own veggies? On-farm dairy processing? Goat yoga? What about all of those at the same time?! Farm production diversification can be an important way to manage risk, increase revenues, and increase profitability. However, it can also be an easy trap to spread limited resources even further! Join Katelyn, to learn more about enterprise analysis and determine how diversification can help you. This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2021-70027-34693.

There will be plenty of time before, between, and after each session to visit with the partner organizations that will be set up to talk with participants. Agri-partners that will be present include: Chautauqua County Department of Planning & Development, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County, New York Farm Bureau, Small Business Development Center at JCC, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, Chautauqua County Food Policy Council, Chautauqua County Rural Ministry, Inc., Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District, Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development, Cornell Cooperative Extension Cornell Vegetable Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension Harvest, Cornell Cooperative Extension Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Program, Farm Credit East, ACA, Lake Erie Regional Grape Program/Penn State University, NYFarmNet, New York State Center of Excellence, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, USDA- Farm Service Agency, and WNYCMA.

The Agriculture Forum is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua) in line with the County’s newly developed Agricultural Development and Enhancement Strategy.  CCE-Chautauqua is a community based educational organization, affiliated with Cornell University, Chautauqua County Government, the NYS SUNY system, and the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information, call 716-664-9502 or visit our website at www.cce.cornell.edu/chautauqua. Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.