2009-11-26 / Local & State

Cooperative Extension Association To Hold Annual Meeting

The Fulton County Cooperative Extension Association will hold its annual meeting on December 8, 2009, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Fulton Theatre in Mc- Connellsburg. The 2009 annual report will be presented and dinner will follow, with special guest speaker Brian Kelly of Bedford County Cooperative Extension sharing his knowledge and experience in value-added business to conclude the program.

Kelly is a dairy and agriculture educator with Penn State Cooperative Extension in Blair County. From April 2004 to February 2005, he served Penn State Extension as a member of the Keystone Ag Innovation Center (KAIC.) KAIC was a partnership with Penn State Cooperative Extension and PA Department of Agriculture. It received grant funding from USDA. Its purpose was to help farmers develop and market value-added products. Kelly also worked with the Farm to School Initiative, which provided many positive benefits. It created new markets for Pennsylvania’s farmers, exposed students to healthy snacks, and created the opportunity to teach all students about agriculture, food and nutrition.

Today, Pennsylvania’s farmers are faced with which direction they should go to operate a profitable business. One way is to expand and gain operational efficiencies to be a low-cost commodity producer. The other way is to follow the value-added approach and take over the role of the processor and/or direct marketer to gain a greater share of the retail dollar. Value-added business seeks to help farmers and growers expand their profitability by taking a raw product and manufacturing it into another product. For example, a berry grower could start processing their own brand of jams and then market the jams, or a dairy farmer keeps some milk onfarm to create their own line of specialty cheeses.

Penn State Cooperative Extension has been part of the Fulton County community since 1948. Through an agreement with local county governments, Penn State Cooperative Extension assigns educators to the county, and the county is asked to supply adequate office space and operating funds. These operating funds cover expenses such as office supplies, equipment, publications that are available free to the public, marketing costs, as well as travel expenses for the educators when they use their personal vehicles for business purposes. The Fulton Cooperative Extension Association is the volunteer board that advises and provides local oversight for the extension office.

For more information about the annual meeting or Penn State Cooperative Extension, please contact the extension office at 717-485-4111. Copies of the 2009 Annual Report will be available to the public at the extension office after the annual meeting. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce.

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