This is the statement that greets visitors to the Monroe County Farmland Protection Resource Center web page: “Agriculture is an important part of life here in Monroe County. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, we have 585 farms and over 133,000 acres of farmland in Monroe County. Farm products from Monroe County generate approximately $72 million in sales annually and support thousands of local jobs.”
Farm products from Monroe County generate approximately $72 million in sales annually and support thousands of local jobs.
It does not specify what these jobs are or if they are directly related to farming but we can perhaps take the claim at face value. This then raises an important question: Where are the agricultural initiatives to bring new ag business into the county?
Lately the news has been saturated with stories about the new yogurt plants being built in Genesee County. The area has even been called “The Silicon Valley of Yogurt!” The fact is, the creation of a western NY center for yogurt manufacturing is a huge boon to Genesee County and it begs the question, “Why not here?”
Greater Rochester is even more strategically located, on the Lake with the canal and an international airport, than Batavia.
The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council has only one agricultural project in its list of priority projects, Seneca BioEnergy in Geneva/Romulous NY. Nothing in Monroe County, nothing even mentioned. Why? Greater Rochester is even more strategically located, on the Lake with the canal and an international airport, than Batavia. We are still in the heart of Western NY agriculture. Where does the lack of new business initiatives lie? With the farmers, with industry, with politicians? It doesn’t matter. What must happen is that agriculture needs to elevate its profile and begin to compete in Monroe County. Only good can come of it.