Task force tackles the future of ag

YOUNGSVILLE, Pa. — The Future of Ag Task Force met at the Penn State Cooperative Extension office to review the activities of Ag Week.

Committee members felt Ag Day at the Warren Mall was successful. The radio spots worked well and people commented about hearing them broadcast.

Vendors reported a steady flow of traffic through their area in spite of bad weather. The group discussed the tractor pull for children. It was thought that maybe some ribbons and/or prizes should be procured for another year.

The outdoor events were not well attended, so it was felt they might be dispensed with for another year.

Success

Ag Week’s 37 instructional hours reached roughly 200 people. That statistic, it was felt, was good enough to call the week a success. The types of material were appropriate and current.

“You should have been there!” was the comment heard following the Saturday Sustainable Ag Day. “It made sense,” said another.

Comments were positive about the whole day. The group commented it was too bad that no local restauranteurs were in attendance.

The task force is now looking to move forward. There is much that has been accomplished, but there is much left to be done.

The task force went on record as requesting that a full-time person be added to the Cooperative Extension staff to take the place of Phyllis Wright, who retired more than one year ago. The position filled by Dana Ekey does not address this need. He was hired as an ag-business developer and consultant.

George Wilcox was appointed as in interim director years ago. With his other duties in the surrounding area, he cannot assume all of the functions that Wright’s retirement created.

Committees

Three committees have been created to move the task force forward. One committee will work on education of students, adults and ag recruitment. The alternative ag and marketing committee is looking for ways to extend farmers’ markets and look to new methods that will help producers and consumers connect.

The ag economics and finance committee will focus on the financial implications and possibilities that are available in the field of agriculture. Meetings have been set for each of these subcommittees.

The dates of July 29, 30 and 31 have been set aside for teacher education with programs developed for natural resources, animal sciences and horticulture. The committee continues to work and refine these plans.

The full task force will meet again at 7 p.m. May 14 at the Cooperative Extension office.

About the Author

Freelance writer Ann Swanson writes from her farm home in Warren County, Pa. More Stories by Ann Swanson

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