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Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee

Genesee County: Agricultural Development Plan Five-Year Action Plan Recommendation 1: Conduct Business Management Training High quality business and financial management skills are crucial to the long-term success of the region’s farms. Specifically, middle and senior management skills should be supported through aggressive use of structured, targeted seminars; roundtables; and distance learning protocols. The County may also wish to explore the possibility of making a satellite location available to a regional University for the purpose of periodically running an executive MBA program for agribusinesses. In an effort to support these training initiatives, the County, lead by Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Genesee Community College, should consider partnering with professional societies and regional universities to offer the following training: ‣ Labor management and recruitment, ‣ Communications, ‣ Capital markets and finance, ‣ Marketing & sales, ‣ Public policy & advocacy, ‣ Transition planning, ‣ Risk management, and ‣ Negotiations. Priority Level 1: Open an immediate dialogue between senior managers and responsible agencies to verify need. Begin programs in the first two program years. Cost Considerations: Services should be offered on a cost recovery basis. Responsibility: Cornell Cooperative Extension and Genesee Community College. Recommendation 2: Develop Industry Specific Short Courses Genesee County farmers indicated that properly designed and delivered educational opportunities are not readily available in the region. In fact, many indicated a readiness to pay appropriately higher training and education fees to access such courses. Therefore, it is recommended that a dialogue with industry leaders, agricultural educators, and other service providers be started to identify the training needs of the industry, such as the following: ‣ Hedging strategies, ‣ Labor management, ‣ NxLevel Agricultural Entrepreneurship Training (Cornell), ‣ Computer skills, ‣ Web development, ‣ HACCP in dairy and vegetable operations, ‣ Speaking and understanding foreign languages on the farm, ‣ Estate planning, and ‣ Conducting market research. Copyright©, 2001: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia, MD 17

Genesee County: Agricultural Development Plan Genesee Community College and Cornell Cooperative Extension should work together to fulfill the continuing education and training needs of the community. Together, these organizations must commit to an industry that undergoes constant change and take the necessary steps to participate in upgrading the potential for entrepreneurial success. Priority Level 1: Immediate action in early program years. Cost Considerations: Services should be offered on a cost recovery basis. Responsibility: Cornell Cooperative Extension and Genesee Community College (GCC). Recommendation 3: Identify and Access Product Development Resources A significant number of Genesee farms are engaged in or considering specific product development initiatives. Many of these initiatives are specific to value-added food products. The County should assist this process by identifying a network of food technologists, nutritional consultants, engineers, marketers, financiers, and others that can professionally support this trend. Speakers should be identified for quarterly brown bag lunches focusing on particular issues of products development, launch, distribution, etc. Priority Level 1: Immediate action in early program years. Cost Considerations: Program would use limited in-house resources to identify and establish a network. Responsibility: Cornell Cooperative Extension and IDA. Recommendation 4: Study and Improve Production Service Response The most common theme among Genesee farmers is the lack of responsiveness/relevance of Cornell University/Regional level production support. In fact, many farmers questioned the value of continued County funding of University support given the fact that most farmers have turned to private consultants to fill this need. This issue should be examined by the local association and a recommendation be made to the County legislature for improving the relationship or reprogramming funds to other agricultural programs. It is important to note that county staff is held in high regard by the agricultural community. Priority Level 1: Immediate action in early program years. Cost Considerations: The County should allocate $5,000 to conduct a blind survey of farmers using an outside polling organization such as the New York Agricultural Statistics Service. In-house staff and the association board should use existing resources to determine recommendations. Responsibility: Cornell Cooperative Extension. Recommendation 5: Engage a Grant Writer Encouraging innovation at all levels of government and industry is important to longterm success in the County. Innovation requires funding from non-traditional sources. These opportunities are available to local governments and individual farmers through foundation, federal, state, and local level funding programs. Success in obtaining these funds is generally enhanced by using the services of a professional grant writer. It is Copyright©, 2001: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia, MD 18

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