Wyoming County Farmland Protection Plan – Characterizing Agriculture in Wyoming County

Worksite Location
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County
Project Dates
May 26, 2020 – August 17, 2020
Faculty Sponsor
Jennifer Ifft, Department of Applied Economics and Management
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Joan Petzen
Stipend
$5,000
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

Wyoming County New York is updating their Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan, originally created in 2005. The plan is used by the County’s Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board and the Board of Supervisors as they consider policy to support agriculture’s contribution to the local economy and landscape. As part of that process, data will be gathered from farmers, agricultural landowners, and support businesses to identify the threats to and opportunities for a vibrant agriculture in the community. This data will be summarized along with historical information about agriculture’s contribution to Wyoming County. Focus groups will be conducted with agricultural stakeholders to review the data gathered and identify actions to stabilize and strengthen agricultural businesses in the county. Lastly, the Farmland Protection Steering Committee will identify priority actions to support farmland protection and the agricultural community in Wyoming County.

Roles and Responsibilities

The student intern’s contribution to the project will be to personally interview farmers, landowners and supporting businesses in New York’s leading agricultural county. Data will be gathered using a survey instrument designed by the field supervisor and the Farmland Protection Planning Steering Committee. They will also enter the data into Qualtrics and assist with summarizing and interpreting the data. A presentation will be prepared to share survey results and agricultural indicators from a variety of statistical sources with focus groups, the steering committee, the County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board and community leaders. The intern will also be engaged in presenting the data to some of the groups.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

• Excellent communication skills including interpersonal, written and oral

• Self-motivated individual, who is able to take initiative to connect with subjects

• Someone who is comfortable meeting and talking with new people for the first time

• Ability to summarize data and develop presentations to highlight key findings

• Understanding of farming practices and farmland protection strategies will be helpful

• Skills using Microsoft Office including Word, Excel, and Power Point

• Familiarity with Qualtrics survey tool is a plus

Benefits and Skills

• Confidence to communicate effectively with farmers, business owners and landowners

• Familiarity with agricultural data sources including the USDA Census of Agriculture, New York Agricultural Statistics Service, and Real Property Data

• Ability to summarize data and effectively communicate findings to diverse audiences

• Understanding of local agricultural policy formation process

• Familiarity with farmland protection strategies

• Understanding of the competitive pressures on farmland availability in a rural agricultural community

• Appreciation for the value of highly productive soils to farm businesses