Poughkeepsie … Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro today announced the appointments of Stissing Mountain High School senior Cailin Halladay and John Jay High School junior Jenna Franco to the Dutchess County Agricultural Advisory Committee and its Education Subcommittee, marking the first two such Youth Leadership Members have been appointed to the committee. Ms. Halladay and Ms. Franco were appointed to a one- and two-year term, respectively. The County Executive announced the appointments at the 2022 Agriculture Breakfast at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck.
The Education Subcommittee, which reports to and advises the County Executive on issues and policies regarding agriculture and agri-business, provides organization and leadership in carrying out the vision of the agricultural plan, and facilitates the implementation of programs outlined in the agricultural plan. Both appointees are active in their local Future Farmers of American chapters (FFA) and participate in agricultural education program through their schools.
County Executive Molinaro said, “Dating back to Dutchess County’s founding, agriculture has been integral in our community’s identity and success, and farming remains a fundamental part of our county’s heritage and future. Today, we celebrate not only Dutchess County’s agricultural legacy and current prosperity, but with the appointment of Cailin and Jenna, the future of farming in our community. Our Agricultural Advisory Committee will benefit from these young women’s experience, expertise and perspective.”
The County Executive also announced that a 2022 solicitation for farmland, open space and pocket park projects through the County’s Partnership for Manageable Growth (PMG) program will open on Monday, May 2nd. The PMG program has enabled the preservation of more than 5,000 acres of farmland and open space in Dutchess County through the completion of 36 projects; an additional 1,000 acres will be preserved through eight pending projects. In January 2022, County Executive Molinaro announced PMG awards for four farmland projects: Hahn Farm in Pleasant Valley, Heritage Acres in East Fishkill, Obercreek Farm in Wappinger and Primrose Hill Farm in Clinton.
Dutchess County agricultural organizations, including the Dutchess County Dairy Committee Inc., Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District, Dutchess-Putnam-Westchester Farm Bureau, Dutchess County Ag and Farmland Protection Board, Dutchess County Agricultural Society, and Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County, hosted today’s event.
Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver, a former FFA member and multi-generational farmer in the Town of Pine Plains, said, “Dutchess County remains steadfast in its commitment to farming, and we thank the Agricultural Advisory Committee for its guidance in efforts to both promote farming throughout our community and its insight to County leaders, which helps us make informed decisions to ensure agriculture not only survives but thrives in our community.”
Organizers of today’s event presented the annual Tractor Award to those involved in various aspects of agriculture for the work they do not only on the farm, but throughout their community to Jen DeForest of Hudson Valley Fresh, Patrick Hancock of John Jay High School, Matt Sabellico of Sabellico Greenhouses & Florist and Dr. Mark Condon of Dutchess Community College.
The Agricultural Advisory Committee, created out of a recommendation of the 2015 Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan, continues to, as part of its mission, to implement the actions and initiatives outlined in the agricultural plan. As part of this effort, the committee will once again host a Farming in Dutchess Virtual Series to convene agricultural stakeholders and members of the public to discuss opportunities and challenges facing local agriculture; session topics for the 2022 series will be announced in August at the annual Agricultural Forum at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds.
Agricultural land comprises more than 100,000 acres in Dutchess County, which is almost one-fifth of the County’s total acres. Accounting for nearly $44 million in market value products, local agriculture is one of the County’s primary industries.