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Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

APPENDIX C: SWOT

APPENDIX C: SWOT ANALYSIS Infrastructure: The physical infrastructure that supports Genesee County agriculture consists of the following: The County is well served by transportation infrastructure including access to CSX rail lines; I-90, the New York Thruway; and major arterials such as routes 63, 20, 5, 33, and 98. The County is also proximate to two international airports and port facilities. Access to these routes means that local agribusinesses and farmers receive competitive rates on numerous transportation options. Approximately 23 firms with 93 employees provide agricultural services. These firms specialize in a broad range of services from milk handling to IPM scouting. In addition, the region surrounding Genesee also supports a broad range of primary and supplemental services. Genesee is currently well served by marketing options including wholesale buyers of grains, milk, fruits, and vegetables. In addition, two aggressive, market oriented dairy cooperatives, Up State Milk and Niagara, are very active in the County. The county also has a strong processing sector made up of ten food-manufacturing firms employing 474 individuals. Demographic: Genesee remains a rural county with strong linkages between the agricultural and no-agricultural residents. Despite it rural nature, Genesee is well positioned to take advantage of the diverse demographics of the regions. This is especially true of the I-90 corridor between Cleveland and Syracuse that is rich in cultural diversity and within a short drive of two of the nations largest and wealthiest metropolitan areas. Economic Strength: Genesee County’s agricultural strength relies heavily on the diversity of its industry and the health of it key industry players. Currently, the production mix of vegetables and dairy has helped the County maintain a higher than average net return to the farm and keep agriculture and agriculturally related industries that predominate economic engine in the County (nearly 30% of all economic activity). In addition, a strong and expanding base of input and output industries, such as Agrilink and Up State Milk, supports local operations. Public Sector Support: Genesee County has a very supportive public sector both in county government and in the towns. Unlike other New York jurisdictions, this has translated into IDA involvement in agricultural development and finance, expanding the opportunities open to local farmers. Agricultural Region: Western New York maintains one of the strongest agricultural industries and support infrastructures in the Northeast. Unlike many other region’s, this base is highly diversified and generally scale efficient. Location: Genesee County is well served by a major transportation corridor and is within a one-day drive of major east coast and Midwest agricultural markets. Copyright©, 2000: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia MD 3

APPENDIX C: SWOT ANALYSIS Development Pressure: While regional land pressure is growing and impacting Genesee’s neighboring jurisdictions, the sprawling effects of Rochester and Buffalo’s growth have largely missed Genesee. In fact, Genesee has seen an erosion of real land values over the last decade in all but a few towns. This trend is not expected to continue and Genesee is a next logical step for regional development. Some of this effect can be seen in the residential development patterns radiating from key arterials into Rochester. Supportive Community: Despite isolated incidents, the community seems to remain supportive of agriculture and respects the role it plays in the local economy. Events such as Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Agstravaganza and policy tours help to maintain this level of commitment. Diversified Production Base: Genesee’s agricultural base is almost equally balanced between livestock and vegetable operations. This mix provides an economy wide risk diversification measure and adds to the overall stability of the market. However, sector distribution is changing with exemplary growth between 1992 and 1997 in vegetables acres (41%). Research & Development: Private research and education infrastructure is in place on individual farms. As well, a private-public partnership through Cornell and the Western New York Vegetable Growers Association runs a research facility in Batavia. Agricultural Education: Agricultural education in the County is supported at a variety of levels. Secondary education begins at both the BOCES centers to help train skilled labor and in the Regents’ program that prepares students for higher education opportunities. In addition, the Genesee County Community College, Northeast Dairy Producers Association, and Cornell Cooperative Extension assist with continuing education efforts. Stable Land Base: Genesee is experiencing modest decreases in agricultural land base, due in part to land going fallow, but absolute and relative growth in most harvested acres of agronomic crops. Market Access / Information: Genesee County farmers have direct and immediate access to some of the nation’s finest consumer food research through Cornell University. In addition, Genesee farmers themselves have developed excellent feedback loops into the food industry and have a solid access platform into the processing and distribution sectors and the market expertise within those industries. Finance: Genesee County farmers operate in a highly competitive market for bank debt. Unlike many parts of the Country, these farmers have multiple finance options and when needed access to limited equity partnerships. Cooperative Industry: Genesee County and regional farmers have a demonstrated pattern of cooperative behavior, such as land swapping between dairy and vegetable farms; cooperative management; and equipment sharing that bolster the local economy. Copyright©, 2000: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia MD 4

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    Methods The methods used to prepare

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    Summary (continued) As Genesee Coun

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    Genesee County Gross Farm Sales Reb

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    Dairy and Cattle Sales Fuel Growth

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    Farm Income Strength Keeps Farmers

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    Dairy Farm Numbers Plummet. Number

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    Dairy Farm Size Expands in Genesee

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    Traditional Crops - Harvested Acrea

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    Farm Output Multipliers for Genesee

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    Expenditures by the Vegetable Farm

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    Appendix: IMPLAN Analysis and Resul

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