Reprinted from the
January 29, 2007
In September 2004 a Task Force comprised of close
to 30 community leaders representing a broad diversity of groups came
together to discuss the Future of Agriculture in Warren County. As the
scope of the project was set forth members of the Task Force were an
integral part of each decision made.
Commissioner John Eggleston met with Wes Ramsey, Phyllis Wright, and
George Wilcox. He expressed concern for the economic welfare of the
farming community. The task force was a direct result of this meeting.
The program was introduced to the public during the Penn
State Cooperative Extension annual meeting. Let's Talk sessions were held
in various locations throughout the county in November 2004.
In February 2005 a survey of seventy three farmers and
agri-business persons was done by forty four volunteers made up of
consumers and farmers. Questions for the survey were developed from the
Let's Talk sessions and Penn State Future of Agriculture program.
The Extension Northwest Dairy Team was formed. Five
Extension Farm educators combined their expertise to meet with individual
farm families to
improve animal health, dairy production, quality housing, profitability,
and estate planning.
By summer 2005 the campaign known as "Buy Fresh, Buy
Local" drove the Farmer's Market. Local products were offered weekly
The Farm Land Preservation Board was formed. This is an
area that is still being explored and developed.
The need for an agribusiness specialist came out of the
survey process and the Let's Talk sessions. The Future of Agriculture
committee has worked to refine the specifications and job description for
this position. As of 2007 it looks as if this position will soon be a
reality with support coming from the commissioners and Penn State
The year 2006 was a very productive year. A presentation
was made during an Eggs and Issues meeting. The Warren County Farm Bureau
was represented at career days for eighth graders and at one for eleventh
A web page with information for consumers, farmers,
teachers, and producers was set up. To access this go to
An Ag Awareness Day was held at the Warren Mall. Along
with producers there were "Meet the Professionals" sessions, higher
education representatives, and displays by agricultural and natural
resource groups. The first Warren County Producers pamphlets were
Two in-service sessions for educators were held with
personnel traveling to view a variety of operations. Time was also devoted
to developing educational materials to be shared. The committee worked
with the Warren County School District to offer Act 48 credits for this.
The first Farmer's Market at the Warren County Fair
became a reality. Six producers participated offering fresh vegetables,
baked goods, and meats to fair campers.
An expanded Farmer's Market for Sugar Grove became a
The annual Penn State Cooperative Extension annual
meeting featured local products to be sampled. The League of Women Voters
hosted a speaker on "Buy Fresh, Buy Local."
In December 2006 Ray Haines and Associates conducted
sessions for Quick Books training with ten farm families participating.
As the Future of Agriculture Committee looks forward to
2007 they want your help. In the past they took what they learned from
consumers and producers to formulate their action plan. Many ideas were
implemented with some still on the drawing board to receive more
Agriculture effects everyone. The health of the economy
depends on the health of all facets of business. Watch for the
announcement of Let's Talk sessions in your area during the month of
February. Lend your support. Let the committee know your needs and wishes.
They really do listen and act on the information they receive.