SUNY Cobleskill was awarded a $749,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to build agricultural capacity in Schoharie County and beyond through long-term economic development and education initiatives.
With the USDA funding, SUNY Cobleskill will work with regional partners to increase access to agriculture-related higher education, improve college completion rates, expand applied learning opportunities, support agricultural businesses, and pursue economic and community development opportunities. The grant will help SUNY Cobleskill expand pathways for students to enter a broad spectrum of rewarding careers in agriculture.
“I have witnessed firsthand the important work being done at SUNY Cobleskill to advance agricultural research, new learning opportunities, and regional economic development,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the first New York Senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “This federal funding will accelerate Cobleskill’s innovative initiatives and create opportunities for future farmers, growers, and entrepreneurs throughout the region.”
“The time is right for SUNY Cobleskill to lead this transformative effort,” said SUNY Cobleskill President Marion A. Terenzio. “These initiatives will bring new energy and critical support to our rural communities while providing SUNY Cobleskill students with immersive real-world learning opportunities. This is an exciting time for the College and our many community partners.”
Some of the work is already under way, such as SUNY Cobleskill becoming a New York State certified Farm and Food Business Incubator and the recently launched BOCES AgPTECH partnership in Johnstown. With the grant funding, SUNY Cobleskill will work to expand the teaching of college-level agriculture courses in regional high schools, improve agricultural outreach in urban areas, and assist county and town stakeholders with economic development plans, among other activities. A new partnership with Albany Law School will provide legal assistance for agricultural entrepreneurs and business owners.
These initiatives will provide partnership opportunities for local communities and organizations to combine their resources and expertise with the College in revitalizing the economies of rural New York. At the same time, the alignment of academic programs with community development initiatives will create boundless opportunities for applied learning and research for SUNY Cobleskill students and faculty.