Press Release – May 2014

NYS Agricultural Society Foundation Awards $10,000 in Grants

At 182 years old, the New York State Agricultural Society is one of the oldest associations of its kind in the United States. It was organized in 1832 to Foster, Promote and Improve the New York State Food & Agriculture Industry through Education, Leadership Development & Recognition Programs. Credited with initiating the NYS Fair and the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Cornell University, the Society formed the NYS Agricultural Foundation in 2011 to help promote its mission in local communities. The Foundation recently awarded six grants – ranging from $500 to $2,500 – to promote agricultural science topics.

“The men, women and businesses that are Foundation donors want to be a positive voice for the agriculture industry in NYS,” said Ann Noble Shephard, Foundation chair. “Working alone and in partnership with other like-minded groups, the Foundation can be that vehicle. Our goal is to tell the story of agriculture and food production to American consumers – young and old – so they can make informed decisions to enhance the quality of their own lives and for families of local producers. Speaking on behalf of our board of directors, it was exciting to see the energy and creativity that local groups are expending on behalf of agriculture education. Since this is our first year extending cash awards, we didn’t know what to expect. We’re glad so many organizations stepped up to the plate with such good programs.”

In total, 12 applications were received by the Foundation, and 6 projects were funded. Recipients include:

  1. The NY Animal Agriculture Coalition for the Dairy Cow Birthing Center at the NYS Fair, which anticipates 160,000 visitors over the course of the Fair.
  2. “Agricultural Education on the Move,” a student driven program (Pioneer Central FFA) to promote agricultural literacy to elementary students (Pre-K through 4th grade) in 4 counties in Western NY.
  3. 6th Grade Farm Field Day in coordination with Wyoming County Agri-Palooza conducted at Breezy Hill Dairy in Sheldon, NY. Eight ag topics will be covered, plus a farm tour. Approximately 600 students from 3 school districts will participate.
  4. Madison County Farm Day partnership between Stockbridge Valley Central School and Hamilton Central School District. This one-day farm event includes a broad variety of numbered stations and activities for students, staff, families and community members to explore the many facets of farm life. Students in the agriculture programs and FFA will serve as tour guides.
  5. Awesome Equine & Dairy 101 4-H Program, designed to educate and inform youth about the science of equine and dairy. Youth are exposed to hands-on sessions that allow them to learn about nutrition, anatomy, physiology and reproduction via working in the lab, working with the animals and farm visits. Forty to 60 youth ages 12-19 are expected to attend overnight experience at SUNY Morrisville beginning June 7th. This is a collaborative effort of CCE Herkimer County, CCE Oneida County, CCE Madison County, SUNY Morrisville, Cornell University and Pro Dairy. Guest veterinarians from Leatherstocking Vet Services and Elite Equine Vet Services will also attend. The program will include a tour of SUNY Morrisville’s Equine Rehabilitation Center,
  6. The Summer Research Scholars Program at Cornell University’s NYS Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva provides 9-week internships in conducting research in a faculty program at the Experiment Station. Disciplines include: Entomology, Food Science, Horticulture, and Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology. Research can be laboratory or field-based. Students selected must have completed 2 and preferably 3 years of college level study in one of the life sciences to participate.

In 2015, the NYS Agricultural Society Foundation expects to award a similar amount to local agencies. For more information, visit www.nysagsociety.org.