Cathy Young Speaks At Rural Urban Day

Rotarian Helen Baran thanks Senator Young

The Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club recently held its annual Rural Urban Day where local farmers, business owners, students and community members are invited to hear and discuss a topic relevant to the local, regional and global aspects of the agricultural industry.

The event has been held by the Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club for many years.

Catharine M. Young, former state senator and now executive director of the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech, was this year’s guest presenter. She was introduced by Helen Baran, club member.

Young covered every possible aspect of the agricultural world in New York state, including best farming practices, technological advancements, the use of drones, good science, entrepreneurship, the vast number of employment opportunities and the huge impact of agrifood on local economies.

Under her leadership, the Center of Excellence has worked with more than 300 companies to help them expand in New York state. The center has helped businesses realize more than $70 million in positive economic growth and create more than 300 jobs by providing them with business mentoring, and connections to Cornell research and technology, business-to-business partnerships, government economic incentives, and sources of capital.

Senator Young addresses the audience

Prior to her role at Cornell, Young served Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties in the state Senate and became the first woman to chair the Senate Standing Committee on Finance that leads the Senate’s role in crafting the state budget and initiating other major policy initiatives.

Young also served as chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and founded the Legislative Wine and Grape Caucus. She sponsored legislation that created the New York State Council on Food Policy and co-chaired the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources.

She grew up on a third generation dairy and grains farm in Livingston County, and her fondest childhood memories are of working alongside her father and grandfather. She currently lives in Olean with her family.


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