County Hosts Agricultural Forum with Local Farmers at the 170th Dutchess County Fair


County Hosts Agricultural Forum
with Local Farmers at the 170th Dutchess County Fair

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro was joined yesterday by local farmers, elected officials, agricultural and land conservancy organizations and others as he hosted the inaugural Agriculture Forum at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. The forum was an opportunity to discuss issues and policies regarding agriculture and agri-business. A new Agricultural Advisory Committee was also introduced.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Agriculture is a cornerstone of our local economy. Protecting and growing farming in Dutchess County is a key priority for us and significant part of our THINK DUTCHESS economic development strategy. Dutchess County has led New York State in farmland protection. Our local farms drive tourism dollars, fuel our economy with job growth, and many of our local agricultural products have gained national and worldwide recognition. Agriculture is a part of who we are, a part of heritage here in Dutchess and we will continue to cultivate its successful future.”

ag committeeDutchess County’s agricultural industry is growing with excellent prospects for a continuing and vital agricultural economy, based on new markets, growing interest in local agricultural products, and opportunities for continued land preservation for the next generation of farmers. Local farms contribute approximately $50 million in sales to the local economy and agriculture is the county’s third-largest employer according to Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County.

In March 2015, County Executive Molinaro signed the Dutchess County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan into law after it was unanimously adopted by the Dutchess County Legislature. The plan, an update from the original plan adopted in 1998, outlines activities, programs and strategies to promote the economic success of the agricultural industry, including supporting its land use by identifying land or area proposed to be protected. The plan can be viewed here.

Among the initiatives outlined in the plan is the formation of an Agricultural Advisory Committee to advise the County Executive about issues and policies regarding agriculture and agri-business and facilitate implementation of the programs outlined in the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan. The committee members include:

Mark Adams                    Mark Adams Greenhouses/New York Farm Bureau
Isaac Coon                      Coon Brothers Farm
Chris Crocco                    Mill House Brewing Company
Matthew Sabellico           Sabellico Greenhouses & Florist
Harry Baldwin                  Dutchess County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board
Todd Erling                      Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corp.
Jennifer Fimbel                Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County
Brian Kehoe                     Dutchess County Dept of Planning & Development
Gregg Pulver                    Dutchess County Legislator – representing the Towns of North East/Stanford/Pine Plains/Milan
Brian Scoralick                Dutchess County Soil & Water Conservation District
Rebecca Thornton           Dutchess Land Conservancy

County Legislator Gregg Pulver, who is a multi-generational farmer in the Town of Pine Plains, said, “This forum was an important opportunity to bring together the diverse group of people who are helping to drive the agriculture industry here in Dutchess County. Farming is a key part of economic development and we all have a stake in the future success of agriculture in our county.”

Among the topics discussed at today’s forum was the need for education about the value of farming, as well the need to preserve farmland to ensure the industry’s continued success. With the support of the County Legislature, County Executive Molinaro re-capitalized the Dutchess County Partnership for Manageable Growth Program for Open Space and Farmland Protection in the 2015 county budget for the first time in seven years with $1 million in funding for new applications. Applications are now being accepted for the program and are due no later than October 30, 2015. More information is available here.

To see more photos from today’s forum and a tour of the agricultural exhibits at the Dutchess County Fair, visitDutchess County Government’s Facebook page.

Author: Harlem Valley News