The NYS Agricultural Society released the following article. Thank you to the Ag Society for the award, which will help fund our Agricultural Career Day for local high school students!
Workforce Group Wins 2017 Ag Promotion Award by NYS Ag Society
(January 25, 2017) The NYS Agricultural Society celebrated its 185th birthday at its Annual Meeting and Forum on January 5, 2017 in Syracuse, NY. This is the largest and oldest statewide agricultural meeting that brings together all sectors of the food system to explore topics critical to the future of New York agriculture, and to recognize the unique contributions of its stakeholders. “This is the agricultural family reunion of the year,” said Richard Ball, NYS Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets, during his annual “State of the State” of Agriculture address. As part of the Society’s annual awards program, the Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board received the 2017 Ag Promotion Award for their efforts to improve the understanding of agriculture in NYS.
Informing youth in the Finger Lakes region about the extensive number of agricultural careers and job opportunities available was the vision of the first annual Ag and Food Career Day conducted in the greater Geneva area on April 25, 2016. Eighteen steering committee members representing the Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board, local schools, area farmers, vineyard owners, and other agribusiness coordinated the event, which featured hands-on-tours of three sites: Spring Hope Dairy Farm; the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Finger Lakes Community College Viticulture and Wine Center. Exposure to potential job opportunities went hand-in-hand with showing this critical target audience that AGRICULTURE NEEDS YOUTH for jobs and overall growth. In total, 200 students from 14 districts participated.
Almost $10,000 was secured from outside sources, including the NYS Agricultural Society Foundation. In early January, 26 school districts were contacted to participate to drive attendance. Participating schools transported students to one of three sites. Bussing between sites was provided by event organizers. Sixty volunteers served as site coordinators and tour guides. Seventy exhibitors participated and educational activities provided exposure to agronomy, hops and vineyard information, food safety, cider and pickle production, veterinary practices, heavy equipment operation, milking technology and more. Local media was helpful in multiplying the impact on the local audience.
The Individual Category Winner of the 2017 Ag Promotion Award was Mel Chesbro, agriculture manager of the NYS Fair. Chesbro organizes fair competitions for livestock, wine, vegetables, fruit, honey, maple syrup, flowers, forage and grain. This includes 38,000 total entries. The award is sponsored by Alpha Zeta Fraternity at Cornell University, American Farmland Trust, and the NYS FFA Foundation.