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Cornell Cooperative Extension To Host Second Annual Oswego County Harvest Dinner

MEXICO, NY – Fall is just around the corner which means farms are busy harvesting the best of Oswego County’s fruits, vegetables and meats. It is also time for the Oswego County Harvest Dinner featuring locally grown and sourced food, hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, with the support of the local farmers and agriculture businesses.

This event showcases the diverse agricultural products from Oswego County and guests will enjoy a six-course dinner prepared by Oswego County’s top chefs Emil Nymander, The American Foundry; Raymond Jock, LaParrilla; Brian Girard, The Blue Plate.

The Oswego County Harvest Dinner will take place on Oct. 21 at The American Foundry, 246 W. Seneca St., Oswego, starting at 6:15 p.m. Pre registration is required and seating is limited and tickets are $30 per person or $55 per couple.

Reservations can be made by contacting Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County at 315-963-7286.

The event will start with a cocktail hour including sampling of Oswego County wine and other beverages from New York State agriculture businesses.

After the cocktail hour, there will be a six-course dinner showcasing the best of Oswego County’s agricultural products followed by our guest speaker for this year’s event, Rochelle Bilow. There will also be raffle baskets featuring Oswego County’s finest products.

Rochelle Bilow is a food writer and columnist for the Syracuse Post-Standard and is a classically trained chef receiving a grand diplome from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Rochelle has worked as a catering chef in the famed Time Warner Center, and a cook in the New York Times and Michelin-starred restaurant Aldea, owned by Top Chef Masters competitor George Mendes. She has cooked for the likes of Harold Dieterle, the winner of Top Chef’s Season One and Jeffrey Steingarten, Iron Chef’s most charming judge.

Oswego County is a rural county, with a prosperous agricultural community.  The diversity of land allows for the growth of a variety of agricultural products including onions, apples, honey, meat, cheese, wine, berries, plums, peaches, and a wide variety of vegetables just to name a few. Our county hosts seven local farmers markets, at least one is open every day of the week except Sunday. The agricultural community in this county generates $31.5 million in annual revenue from 639 farms.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County has a deep-rooted local presence that is responsive to the needs of our communities. Staff from Cooperative Extension have been educating the public about growing local, buying local, eating local since the creation of the victory gardens used during World War I and II and we continue that education today. In addition to the support we provide to our county’s agricultural community, we also offer many outreach programs on the importance of nutrition and food preparation.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County’s mission is to interpret, disseminate, and deliver research-based information and knowledge on issues relevant to Oswego County youth, individuals, families, farms, small businesses, and communities; and further, to contribute to improving the quality of life in Oswego County through education and empowering volunteers and staff to lead, guide, and teach.

Make A Living Wreath

MEXICO, NY – On May 16 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. there will be a workshop on ‘Making a Living Wreath.’

This workshop will teach participants about horticulture, and the uses of plants in topiary artistic design.

This workshop will also teach about plant requirements (soil, water, and air).

The different contrast between types of plants, and the cost effectiveness of making your own as opposed to purchasing one.

Prices of purchased wreaths can run from $150 to $250.

Wreaths have been a favorite form of decoration, and recently we’ve adopted the wreath as a traditional symbol of welcome during the holidays.

Today they are no longer just for the winter season, but can be a beautiful living wreath made up of hens and chickens and other succulents that will last throughout the year with a little care.

This is being held at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Oswego County Office 3288 Main St.

The cost is $25.

Pre-registration is required by May 12.

For more information, call 963-7286 Ext. 201.

Class size is limited to 20 people.

The instructor will be Master Gardener Jan Smith.

Cooperative Extension’s Leader Thanks County For Its Support

OSWEGO, NY – Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County is an extension of the county legislator, its executive director said.

Thanks to the support it receives from the county, the agency is able to help make life better for area residents, Paul A. Forestiere II told the legislators recently.

And, the support isn’t just financial, he added.

Paul A. Forestiere II, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, thanks the county legislature for its support over the years. He also updated legislators on some of the successes of the agency during the past year.

Paul A. Forestiere II, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, thanks the county legislature for its support over the years. He also updated legislators on some of the successes of the agency during the past year.

“I think the talk of the town right now is Cooperative Extension’s Harvest Dinner. It was a great, great event. Quite honestly, what makes that event so special was not just the fact that it was a time for people to come and enjoy themselves and be with friends, which it really was. When the festivities were over people didn’t leave. People were very happy to stay there and keep talking and renew old acquaintances. So, that was a great thing,” Forestiere said.

“What was important about that event was it was really the poster child for what we talk about in 4H, which is learn by doing. We didn’t just tell you about local foods. We gave you an opportunity to come in and we showed you about local foods. We showed you what you could do with the wonderful variety of local foods that are available in Oswego County,” he continued.

Cooperative Extension is about educating the public, he said.

“How do we show the public that there is a better way to do things? How do we show the public that there is a solution to the problem? How do we show the public that someone has the answer? Someone usually does have the answers, and it’s usually Cooperative Extension. And, if we don’t have the answer, we will find the answer for you,” he said.

Its mission is to “interpret, disseminate, and deliver research-based information and knowledge on issues relevant to Oswego County youth, individuals, families, farms, small business, and communities.”

Cooperative Extension also contributes to improving the quality of life through education and empowering volunteers and staff to lead, guide, and teach, Forestiere said.

Program areas of particular importance include Agriculture, Youth Development, Human Ecology, and Natural Resource Management.

The organization’s 4H numbers have once again increased, Forestiere told the legislature.

“We are extremely proud of the fact that our little county here in Oswego does the amount of work that it does with our youth that rivals the other larger counties in New York State,” he said. “It is absolutely amazing that we are able to accomplish the amount of things that we do.”

Since 1913, business, farmers, and families have been receiving the best information available on the issues that matter most to them, he added.

Because its office is in Oswego County, the agency can be responsive to this county’s immediate needs, while drawing on the expertise of world-class professors at Cornell University, he explained.

The agency appreciates the county’s support, he added.

“We appreciate not only the fact that we get funding from you – because that’s critical to what we do, we can’t do it without you – but what we really appreciate is when we hold a program, we see many of you there with us. By virtue of the fact that you’re there with us, you get first-hand experience of all the great things this organization does. We work on behalf of you for the betterment of the residents of Oswego County,” he said.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Of Oswego County To Host Local Meats Education, Tasting Fair

CENTRAL SQUARE, NY – A local meats education and tasting fair will take place on Nov. 20 at the Central Square Middle School cafeteria, on US Route 11 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Many different meat vendors from the area will be on hand to speak with consumers and answer their questions.

Janet Wells, of the Farm House Kitchen Catering Company will prepare the different meat dishes for sampling; including goat, beef, pork and poultry.

Cost to attend the event is $5.

During the fair there will be two educational sessions.

At 1 p.m., Matt LeRoux, Agriculture Marketing Specialist from Cooperative Extension in Tompkins County will lecture on “How to Buy Local Meats.”

This will include basics about the meats and he will answer any questions.

The second session begins at 2 p.m. and will be conducted by Cindy Walsh, Human Ecology Team Coordinator of Oswego County Cooperative Extension and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School, on “How to Cut up a Chicken.”

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Valerie Walthert at vsw2@cornell.edu or at (315) 963-7286 ext. 203.

You may also visit www.thatscooperativeextension.org

Please let us know if you have special needs.

County Farms Have All The Ingredients For A Huge Feast

By Samuel Weisman, Contributing Writer
OSWEGO, NY- A full house Friday night enjoyed a meal made from ingredients provided by Oswego County farmers.

The guests quickly filled The American Foundry as the Harvest Dinner, a celebration of Oswego County produce and farmers, gets under way.

The guests quickly filled The American Foundry as the Harvest Dinner, a celebration of Oswego County produce and farmers, gets under way.

A trio of some of Oswego’s finest chefs prepared the feast at The American Foundry Friday as part of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County’s first ever Harvest Dinner.

Although Oswego County is typically known for apples and onions, a bountiful array of produce was made available including different cheeses, leeks, squash and even elk.

Valerie Walthert, agriculture economic developer for CCE said, “It is in essence, a celebration of the great things Oswego farmers do here. It shows folks you can really eat a balanced diet in Oswego County.”

Brian Leary, owner of Lakeshore Hardwoods, helps out family friends and local business Ashley Lynn Winery by handing out samples of fruit wines.

Brian Leary, owner of Lakeshore Hardwoods, helps out family friends and local business Ashley Lynn Winery by handing out samples of fruit wines.

More than a dinner, the event was meant to educate the guests on what is available from local farmers.

Paul Forestiere II, executive director of CCE said, “We are extremely proud of this event. The fact is that there is a lot of great agricultural produce and fresh meat products available right here in their back door. We want people to walk away knowing we have a lot of great farmers and an agricultural community here producing great foods. We are one of the only counties in the state where people can eat complete meals from things produced locally. Not many counties can say that.”

Chef Raymond Jock, owner of La Parrilla in Oswego, puts out a farm salad for the guests to enjoy.

Chef Raymond Jock, owner of La Parrilla in Oswego, puts out a farm salad for the guests to enjoy.

Chef Raymond Jock, owner of La Parrilla in Oswego, was one of the chefs who donated his time to participate in the event.

His station provided an elk chili with chimichurri, focaccia bread, whole wheat pasta with roasted eggplant, stewed tomatoes and ricotta, and a farm salad with raw beets, apples, cucumbers, goat cheese, lemon and olive oil.

“This is fun for me. Right from the get go, we have always used local ingredients from day one. We don’t buy anything from out of town. Everything is bought here or as close as possible. There was a lot of press about the restaurant when it got up and going. Valerie approached me and that is how we got on board,” Chef Jock said.

An intern working with Jock, Jessica Harman, added, “Ray loves to give back to the community and this is just one of the many things he has done.”

Rebecca Vrooman enjoys a piece of roast elk with butternut squash and cranberry barbecue sauce. "It's all good, I can't pick a favorite," she exclaimed.

Rebecca Vrooman enjoys a piece of roast elk with butternut squash and cranberry barbecue sauce. "It's all good, I can't pick a favorite," she exclaimed.

Emil Nymander, head chef at The American Foundry, agreed saying that the event was fun.

He said that being a chef is a very stressful job, but not this night.

“This is easy,” Chef Nymander said. “It is like driving a go-cart.”

His station offered potato leek stew with smoked ham, onion tart with goat cheese, stuffed lady apples with amarena cheese, and a fantastic roast elk with butternut squash and cranberry barbecue sauce.

For dessert, Chef Nymander prepared apple turnovers, which were flaky, light and delicious.

Valerie Walthert, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County’s agriculture economic developer, introduces keynote speaker Julie Powell to the stage.

Valerie Walthert, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County’s agriculture economic developer, introduces keynote speaker Julie Powell to the stage.

Shawna Gallton, head chef at Kristi’s Restaurant, also satisfied the sold-out crowd with her delicious bee sting cake, apple cider roasted chicken and maple glazed carrots.

She said that her favorite thing to cook was the bee sting cake because of her love of sweets.

The three chefs prepared recipes that received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the crowd.

Among the many guests at the event was Oswego County Legislator Amy Tresidder.

Keynote speaker and author Julie Powell takes the stage at the Harvest Dinner. Her book Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously was a 2005 New York Times Best-Seller and later turned into a movie.

Keynote speaker and author Julie Powell takes the stage at the Harvest Dinner. Her book Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously was a 2005 New York Times Best-Seller and later turned into a movie.

“What I plan on learning, and what I hope the everybody else learns, is that we can have a whole meal based on foods from Oswego County, and we can feed everybody in the county, and you can buy anything you need right here in the county,” she said. “The main thing about buying locally is that not only are you benefiting the that particular farm or restaurant, but you have a ripple effect on our economy and you are contributing to the whole picture.”

She added that she was most looking forward to trying the vegetables such as rutabagas and squash.

State Senator Darrel Aubertine was there to enjoy the feast as well.

“I want to try it all. When I think of Oswego County of course I think apple and onions, so anything with apples or onions I am interested in,” the senator said. “It always amazes me the connections that can be made in a setting like this, especially events as well attended as this. It’s good to come to this and recognize the connection that is made between the farmers, the county and the towns. Clearly this is an opportunity to showcase and accent the agriculture and education that is offered here in Oswego County. This is a great event.”

The dishes varied so much and were so delectable that is was hard for guests to pick favorites.

Guests wait in line to try some elk chili with chimichurri and some whole wheat pasta with roasted eggplant, stewed tomatoes and ricotta.

Guests wait in line to try some elk chili with chimichurri and some whole wheat pasta with roasted eggplant, stewed tomatoes and ricotta.

Judy Coniski said, “I wouldn’t believe how good elk could be. It is extremely tender.”

One guest even went as far to say that the whole wheat pasta was the best thing he had ever eaten in his life.

Rebecca Vroom said, “Everything is so good. It is a wonderful, wonderful thing, and the elk is delicious.”

Another Oswego County Legislator, Terry Wilbur, enjoyed some pasta and the crowd-pleasing elk.

“This is a great opportunity to help farms in tough economic times,” he said.

For a special treat, New York Times Best-Selling author Julie Powell was the keynote speaker.

Her book Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously was adapted into a popular movie.

Walthert introduced the author and said, “If anyone can convey the importance of having local foods readily available it is Julie from her cooking experience.”

 A sign of the season, a pumpkins greeted guests as they made their way inside The American Foundry.

A sign of the season, a pumpkins greeted guests as they made their way inside The American Foundry.

Powell said, “I didn’t realize what a vibrant agricultural community was up here in Oswego and I’m honored.”

Conlee Shannon, owner of The American Foundry, said she was excited to try everything.

“I get satisfaction seeing the organization, CCE, do well,” she added. “I am glad to see so many people turning out for them.”

Forestiere said that after seeing how this event turned out, CCE hopes to make it bigger and more delicious in the future.

Rockford’s Abuser Pleads Guilty

SYRACUSE, NY – The man who abused a pit bull puppy so badly this summer that its jaw was nearly completely severed will be sentenced in November.

The man who abused Rockford, seen here after his rescue, pleaded guilty this week.

The man who abused Rockford, seen here after his rescue, pleaded guilty this week.

Reginald Stepp, 35, of Milton Avenue, Syracuse, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to felony aggravated cruelty to animals.

Stepp faces six months in jail when he returns to in Onondaga County Court next month.

The puppy, Rockford, was rescued early this summer after Stepp came to Absolute Auto and Audio in Fulton to have his vehicle worked on.

Employees discovered the injured and emaciated dog in the vehicle and rescued him. Stepp voluntarily surrendered the animal.

Rockford’s jaw was hanging by just some skin and tissue, his rescuers said.

He was treated at Fruit Valley Veterinarian Clinic and then taken to Cornell for a special surgery to repair his jaw.

The puppy was adopted by Rachel Dean, one of his rescuers and is continuing his recovery.

In July, Rockford went through five and a half hours of surgery.

Cornell surgeons installed plates and screws into both sides of his jaw; six on either side.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Of Oswego County Welcomes New Agricultural Team Coordinator

Submitted Article

MEXICO, NY – Farming is more than a career, it’s a lifestyle.

Farmers often live at their place of business and are not only taking care of their business, but are caregivers to the crops and animals that are the keys to their success.

Caring for those plants and animals knows no vacation schedule, no eight-hour day and certainly is vulnerable to changing weather.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County Agriculture Team Coordinator Jonathan Schell discusses potential problems and solutions regarding the tomatoes in the high tunnel with Pete Ferlito of Ferlito's Berry Patch and Roadside Market.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County Agriculture Team Coordinator Jonathan Schell discusses potential problems and solutions regarding the tomatoes in the high tunnel with Pete Ferlito of Ferlito

Assistance on how best to be successful in this field comes from many sources.

One of them, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, has been a solid partner of farmers throughout the county for many years.

“Farmers are very busy in the day-to-day operations of their business,” said CCE of Oswego County Agricultural Team Coordinator Jonathan Schell. “Our job is to assist them find ways to make their businesses viable and sustainable in constantly changing global economy.”

Schell understands the needs of farmers, having grown up in the business while his father worked at a local dairy farm in Watertown and he worked on various farms since high school.

“The personalized attention local farmers get through Cornell Cooperative Extension is second to none in business development,” Schell said. “We work step-by-step with local agricultural businesses to help them make the most of their resources. We help them plan and show them the most current practices and research that can help them be more productive and successful in their business.”

Mark Greco recently entered the farming business in Oswego County with the purchase of the former Wadsworth Orchard in Oswego.

“Coming into this field new, there is information and resources from Cornell Cooperative Extension that have been invaluable in starting out,” Greco said.

Jack Torrice has been a fruit grower in the region for 23 years and also sees the value in CCE of Oswego County.

“Can you imagine somebody who just bought a farm trying to learn their trade and keep up-to-date on the business at the same time,” Torrice said. “Extension is a great resource for new farmers. Even though I have been doing this for many years, I still place a lot of importance on it. I don’t care how long you have been farming, things change and Extension helps keep you up on those changes.”

Sometimes unforeseen events leave growers searching for information. CCE of Oswego County can often assist in these situations.

“We had a lot of hail damage this year,” Torrice cites as an example. “With the help of Extension I was able to find out more about how to determine what to do with damaged fruit. I got information on what could be sold, what could be used for juice and other ideas.”

Even though many services provided by CCE of Oswego County have been limited due to budget constraints, Torrice and others have made extra efforts to keep expertise through CCE in the region.

Torrice is a member of the Lake Ontario Fruit Team that provides a team of expert “Fruit Agents” who are hired out by organizations like CCE of Oswego County to continue providing expert services despite not being able to have a full-time fruit agent on staff.

“The service is important and we need to find ways to keep that service available to assist farmers and growers in Oswego County,” he said.

Sometimes the flow of information goes the other way to benefit CCE and other farmers.

Dick DeGraff has been an organic farmer in the Pulaski area since 1988.

Although CCE of Oswego County did not have an organic farming expert, CCE was able to learn from DeGraff in order to help more farmers grow organically.

“Even though Extension did not have a wealth of material on organic farming early on, there was still enough material regarding other issues to make it an invaluable resource for me,” DeGraff said. “Extension is extremely important. Farmers don’t always have the time to be researching and finding new technologies and new practices. Cornell Cooperative Extension provides much of that information.”

In addition to assisting with the mechanics of farming, CCE of Oswego County also provides assistance on how to expand the market for local farmers through their Agricultural Economics initiative.

“The agriculture producers in Oswego County have much to offer,” said Schell. “Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County helps interested local farmers with branding, image, expansion into niche markets, and partnering opportunities in larger markets as well as assisting them in new growing techniques and other operational issues.”

CCE Executive Director Paul A. Forestiere II is proud of the work his agency does in Oswego County and the contribution CCE makes to a strong segment of local, small business people in the community.

“Agriculture is a key component of the economic well-being of our county,” Forestiere said. “Being able to support that industry with important information and services is a responsibility we take very seriously. We are here to serve local growers so that their success can strengthen their own business and the overall economic health of our community. Many people drive by the mucks and other local farms, purchase goods from local farmers’ markets and think that is agriculture, but this is far from the truth. Agriculture, or agribusiness, is a major economic player in this county. Our role here is multi-faceted as an advisor, a consultant and educator.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension is a key outreach system of Cornell University with a mission to grow and educate the regions it serves and to provide an extensive local presence that is responsive to needs of New York communities.

The CCE educational system aims to enable people to improve their lives and communities through partnerships that put experience and research knowledge to work in practical and business situations.

For more information, contact CCE of Oswego County at (315) 963-7286 or visit counties.cce.cornell.edu/oswego/

Cornell Cooperative Extension Assists Farmers In Finding New Ways To Attract Customers

Submitted Article

MEXICO, NY – As the fall approaches, many farmers are starting to sell apples, pears, pumpkins and other produce.

Mark Greco, owner of Greco Family Farm and Orchard, is shown at the entrance of his five-acre corn maze. Greco, who purchased the former Wadsworth Farm last year, has partnered with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego to not only assist with growing fresh produce, but to also develop new attractions at the farm to appeal to potential customers.

Mark Greco, owner of Greco Family Farm and Orchard, is shown at the entrance of his five-acre corn maze. Greco, who purchased the former Wadsworth Farm last year, has partnered with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego to not only assist with growing fresh produce, but to also develop new attractions at the farm to appeal to potential customers.

More and more people are looking for fresh produce so competition is growing and farmers need an extra edge to bring in customers.

For new orchard owner Mark Greco, of Greco Family Farm and Orchard, that meant not only growing and selling, but adding attractions to make it fun for customers to stop in.

This year, his family has added a five-acre corn maze to the mix with some assistance from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Agricultural Team Coordinator Jonathan J.J. Schell said, “Farmers don’t make money growing their produce, they make money selling it. Bringing customers in is an important part of making a farm viable.”

With support from Oswego County, Cornell Cooperative Extension is establishing a new Agricultural Economic department designed to work closely with local farmers and help them understand the economic and business trends that can make their farms successful.

For Greco, that meant someone from Cornell Cooperative Extension to consult with and discuss several options to consider that could help bring more customers to his West Fifth Street Road farm.

Farming is a second career for Greco.

Still young in his early 40s, he left his first career, a New York City Police captain, to move to the former Wadsworth farm last year with his family to raise horses and grow several different fruits and vegetables.

“This has been a lot of hard work, but it allows me to stay close to my family,” he said. “You’re working hard, but everyone’s together.”

He worked with Cornell Cooperative Extension soon after his arrival and understood the importance of marketing his farm in order to sell produce directly to his customers.

“We have a pumpkin patch, a u-pick apple and pear orchard, petting zoo and more,” he said. “Cornell Cooperative Extension has been a great resource to help find new ways to attract customers to the farm.”

An overhead view of the corn maze at Greco Family Farm and Orchard on West Fifth Street Road in Oswego. The top of corn maze spells out Greco.

An overhead view of the corn maze at Greco Family Farm and Orchard on West Fifth Street Road in Oswego. The top of corn maze spells out Greco.

This year, the Greco’s added a corn maze with the help of Cornell Cooperative Extension and some of their own research.

“We have worked with another local grower who planted the corn,” Greco said. “It took us about two weeks to cut the maze. When we are done with maze the grower will come in and harvest the corn. It is a good deal for everyone involved.”

Greco’s 21 year-old son designed the maze that spells out “Greco” from above and features five hidden pirate treasurers along the way.

“We thought it would be something fun to add to the maze if people could search for something as well,” he said. “It’s early yet, but I think it makes a great addition to the farm along with the petting zoo and the hay rides.”

Schell said the Greco Farm is one of the first farms that Cornell Cooperative Extension has worked with utilizing their new agricultural economic development initiative and is encouraged by the results so far.

“This is a great way for us to work with farmers by assisting them with increasing revenue and help them expand ways to get customers to their farms,” Schell said. “The agriculture producers in Oswego County have much to offer. We help interested local farmers with branding, image, expansion into niche markets, adding value to agriculture products, and partnering opportunities in larger markets as well.”

Schell said another goal of the new program is to create a brand identity for Oswego County produce so consumers know when they are purchasing local products.

He also plans to develop a farm market map for the county so consumers can find the produce they are looking for.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Executive Director Paul A. Forestiere II has been a strong advocate of farming as a prime economic driver in Oswego County for many years.

“The agriculture program here stresses that farming is business, especially in Oswego County,” Forestiere said.  “Agriculture, or agribusiness, is a major economic player in New York State, and especially throughout Oswego County. Our role here is multi-faceted as an advisor, a consultant and educator. Our work in economic development is a way to educate farmers and help them grow not only their crops, but their business as well.”

Greco has taken the resources available at Cornell Cooperative Extension and put them into practice creating an experience for the whole family at his farm.

For more information about Greco Family Farm and Orchard, call (315) 216-4180 or visit www.grecofamilyorchards.com

Cornell Cooperative Extension is a key outreach system of Cornell University with a strong public mission and an extensive local presence that is responsive to needs in New York communities.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension educational system enables people to improve their lives and communities through partnerships that put experience and research knowledge to work.

For more information, contact Oswego County Cornell Cooperative Extension at (315) 963-7286 or visit http://counties.cce.cornell.edu/oswego

Cornell Cooperative Extension Of Oswego County Welcomes New Agricultural Team Coordinator

Submitted Article

MEXICO, NY – Jonathan “J.J.” Schell grew up around farming.

His dad worked on a dairy farm outside Watertown when JJ was a toddler and remained in the farming and agricultural field for many years.

Jonathan “J.J.” SchellHe gained his own farming experience through high school by working on two local farms, one which focused on vegetables and ostrich, the second which focused on dairy cows.

But, he remained interested in returning to dairy farming because of his family’s history in the industry.

“After six months of battling these enormous birds, I decided I missed milking cows and went to work for a beautiful one hundred-cow dairy farm,” he said. “There I was introduced to the challenges of long-term manure storage and bottom silo unloaders.”

Thus began Schell’s career assisting farmers solve everyday problems to make their businesses successful.

He has recently joined Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County as its new agricultural team coordinator.

Schell has an extensive history applying his farming experience to helping others through CCE.

His journey to his new position may have started early on with his involvement in Cornell Cooperative Extension as 4-H volunteer.

“I thought my passion for agriculture and the sense of accomplishment I had when I volunteered my time with 4-H would assist me in the agricultural teaching field,” he said.

After receiving his Masters of Arts degree in Agricultural Education from Cornell University in 2001, he decided his experience and background would be a good match with CCE’s goals and has worked in the agriculture departments at several CCE locations including Washington and Schoharie counties.

“In Schoharie County I worked as an agricultural generalist and program leader,” he said. “When the team coordinator position became available here in Oswego County, I could not pass up the exceptional opportunity to move closer to where I grew up and to work with the agricultural producers here.”

He has been on the job for a little over a month but has come in full force working with potential livestock and vegetable farmers to educate them about the advantages of setting up their businesses in Oswego County.

“The ‘Come Farm With Us’ program is in place to recruit potential farmers to use the farmland resources we have here in Oswego County so these farms can continue as farmland, and not be developed for other, non-agricultural uses,” Schell said.

Schell believes many farmers in New York State are aware of CCE, but are sometimes surprised at the level of attention and expertise they can access through the organization.

“The personalized attention you get through Cornell Cooperative Extension is second to none in business development,” Schell said. “We work step-by-step with local agricultural businesses to help them make the most of their resources. We help them plan and show them the most current practices and research that can help them be more productive and successful in their business.”

In addition to the science of agriculture, CCE of Oswego County is also investing in economic development with its recently appointed agricultural economic development specialist, who works under Schell’s direction.

“The agriculture producers in Oswego County have much to offer,” said Schell. “It is extensions responsibility to help interested local farmers with branding, image, expansion into niche markets, and partnering opportunities in larger markets.”

Schell views positions and resources like this as an example of CCE of Oswego County’s commitment to agricultural viability in the region.

“I’m very passionate about what I do and about farming,” Schell said. “Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County is as well. It’s a good match and I look forward to working with the Extension staff and the agricultural businesses in the area.”

CCE Executive Director Paul A. Forestiere II is excited about his new agricultural team.

“The agriculture program at CCE stresses that farming is business, especially in Oswego County,” Forestiere said. “Many people drive by the mucks and other local farms, purchase goods from local farmer’s markets and think that is agriculture, but this is far from the truth. Agriculture, or agribusiness, is a major economic player in this country, and especially throughout Oswego County. Our role here is multi-faceted as an advisor, a consultant and educator. J.J.’s experience in farming and knowledge in today’s agribusiness environment will be a great asset to our local farmers.”

Schell is committed to helping local farmers and creating a stable and inviting environment for new farms, and possibly even his own farm in the future.

“I have plans to get back into farming some day,” he said. “But for now, I want to see the existing farms in Oswego County prosper and grow.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension is a key outreach system of Cornell University with a strong public mission and an extensive local presence that is responsive to needs in New York communities.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension educational system enables people to improve their lives and communities through partnerships that put experience and research knowledge to work.

If you would to learn more about Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, call (315) 963-7286 or visit counties.cce.cornell.edu/oswego/

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Cop Logs: Sheriff’s Office 10/21/2014

From the files of OCSD

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Cop Logs: Oswego PD 10/17/2014

From the files of OPD

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