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Cornell Cooperative Extension looks at its future here


Cornell Cooperative Extension systems in the north country may start to take a more regional approach to utilizing resources, but the Extension director in Jefferson County said that doesn’t mean there will be a complete consolidation process.

Kevin J. Jordan said that in the past, most Extension offices were considered county-based, but now they are putting together shared resources to draw more expertise to agriculture, nutrition and locally grown food, among other topics.

“Especially in the agriculture industry, as farming becomes more specialized and you have a limited number of specialized resources, the way we’re addressing that is regional positions would be created, deployable between multiple counties,” he said. “It’s highly efficient to do that that way.”

Mr. Jordan said this topic, tied in with a snapshot of the future of the Extension system, is what keynote speaker Ezra Cornell will talk about during Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County’s annual meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Watertown Elks Lodge, 728 Bradley St.

Mr. Cornell is a life trustee on the board of trustees at Cornell University, Ithaca, and the “eldest lineal descendant of the founder of the university,” according to the university’s website.

Mr. Jordan said the evolution of the Extension system has simultaneously occurred with evolution of the community.

“Our community has changed significantly in the past 100 years, and that’s what’s driven the program,” he said. “Clearly, our roots started out and are still tied to agriculture. Agriculture now is more diversified.”

From the agency’s roots has grown a multilayer approach of food growth to consumption at the dinner table, he said.

“Through time, more and more we’ll try to break down those silos and make people understand between agriculture, nutrition and parenting that they’re all interrelated,” Mr. Jordan said.

The annual meeting, which will conclude the agency’s centennial celebration, will feature a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings for $20 per person. Preregistration is required by Oct. 19 by visiting the agency’s website,

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