Cooperative Extension presents to legislature in ‘Year of the Pivot’

John Christensen
The Chronicle-Express

Legislature applauds Cornell Cooperative Extension as a vital part of agricultural economy

PENN YAN — Yates County’s Cornell Cooperative Extension’s staff hosted their annual luncheon for Yates County Legislators in an alternative manner this year, serving box lunches, provided by Oak Hill Bulk Foods, in the legislative chamber itself.

The Yates County Cornell Cooperative Extention team at last week’s Legislative Lunch: Brittany Griffin, IT, Grape Program Assistant and Office Support; Maggie Mahr, Promotions & Marketing Coordinator; Caroline Boutard-Hunt, Agricultural Educator ; Arlene Wilson, Executive Director; Vallie Castner, Community Educator; Sam Wheeler, 4-H Educator; Jen Clancey, 4-H & Human Ecology Team Leader; Terrie Sautter, Accounts Rep; Laura Bailey, Natural Resource Educator; and Judson Reid, Vegetable Specialist, Cornell Vegetable Program, Harvest NY Team Leader.

In her presentation, CCE Executive Director Arlene Wilson called 2020 “the year of the pivot,” describing how so many of the duties of the CCE staff changed in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. From Accounts Representative Terrie Sautter delivering a shipment of hand sanitizer and masks to the county using her own pickup truck to 4-H and Human Ecology Team Leader Jen Clancey leading the effort to “redesign” the Yates County Fair and create safe summer programming for 4-H’ers, each member of the local CCE office turned their hands to do whatever was needed.

Vegetable Specialist, Cornell Vegetable Program, and Harvest N.Y. Team Leader Judson Reid made his own Powerpoint presentation on the growth and economic impact of the Cornell Vegetable Program. Last year, they provided 2,673 crop consultations, had 104 educational meetings, won 38 grant-funded projects, and increased the knowledge of 3,936 people.

Some of the sample impacts of the program were a 77% reduction in the use of insecticides, and a $4,000/acre reduction in cost for nitrogen fertilizer.

Following the presentations and a few questions, the legislators applauded the efforts of the CCE team.