Cornell Cooperative Extension to Celebrate 'John Barron Day' March 21st


Cornell Cooperative Extension and New York Farm Bureau will be hosting “The John Barron Day Celebration” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the employment of the first county agent.
One Hundred Years ago, in what could be described as the original Agricultural Economic Development Project, John Barron, the first county agent in New York, was employed by the Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, with backing from the Railroad and the United States Department of Agriculture.
What was started in Binghamton grew into a movement that has significantly enriched the lives of New Yorkers for the past one hundred years, and has spread to become a nationwide movement.
A stone marker exists on the edge of the field of farmer James Quinn where Mr. Barron held his first field meetings. (Now adjacent to the HSBC bank on upper Front Street).
The marker, at 1314 Upper Front Street in Binghamton, near HSBC and the Lowes Parking lot, will be rededicated in a brief ceremony at 11AM on March 21st.
The dedication will be followed by an 11:45AM luncheon for invited guests at the CCE-BC, 840 Upper Front Street with presentations by the NYS Director of Agriculture and other prominent officials relating to Cornell University and the USDA and NIFA.
Invited guests will include local officials, representatives of state government, leaders from Cornell University, State Farm Bureau leadership, and leaders from local Cooperative Extension and Farm Bureau.
In 1910 the secretary of the Binghamton Chamber of Commerce proposed a farm department or “bureau” of the Chamber to “extend to farmers the same opportunities for cooperation enjoyed by the businessmen of the city”.
The formation of the first “Farm Bureau” began a partnership between local residents and New York’s college of Agriculture that is world renown.
The partnership was replicated in many parts of the state and within a few years extension associations had been formed in nearly every county of the state.
Prior to 1955 a congressional order separated Farm Bureau and Cooperative Extension, a move which allowed each organization to pursue special areas of activity. Farm Bureau could actively lobby on issues that directly impacted its members. Cooperative Extension, as a publicly funded organization, continued in its educational role.
One hundred years later, Cornell Cooperative Extension is known for its active programming in agriculture, and also for its work in energy and the environment, nutrition and health, and family and community development. Supported by approximately 200 faculty members on the Cornell Campus, local staff and volunteers work with the residents of the state applying scientific knowledge to real world problems.
Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, volunteer organization financed and controlled by member families for the purpose of solving economic and public policy issues challenging the agricultural industry. With a membership numbering almost 30,000 member families, Farm Bureau serves as the voice of New York agriculture. The organization works tirelessly to meet the needs of those who make farming their livelihood and rural New York their home.
Each organization will be commemorating their centennial year with a variety of activities throughout 2011.

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