Did you know our Cornell Cooperative Extension in Broome County was the very first Cooperative Extension in the country? It's true. 110 years ago the Farm Bureau worked with the Chamber of Commerce to form the first organization of its type to promote agriculture and prepare the future generation of farmers.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Laura Biasillo, Agricultural Economic Development Specialist is the guest on the weekly, local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up and revealed that fun fact along with talking about many programs that are being offered now for people who are already farmers or considering the agricultural business or just dabbling in gardening.

Biasillo says this past year, since the start of the pandemic, the agency has been busier than usual with ZOOM classes dealing with everything from the economics and mechanics of full-time farming to answering questions about canning and keeping back-yard chickens.

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Biasillo adds CCE also works with local governments as a source of information on the advantages of encouraging small agricultural operations economically and socially for residents.

Some of the most recent classes offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension Broome County have involved indoor seed starting, women in farming, raising pigs and business planning.

Another lesser-known program of CCE involves going to local schools to educate young people about agriculture, a program that has had to "pivot" during the pandemic with many children learning outside of the classroom. As Biasillo puts it: Cornell Cooperative Extension is "not just cows and kids anymore."

Hear more about our historic Cooperative Extension this week on Southern Tier Close Up Sunday at 6 a.m. on 99.1 The Whale.

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