YORK — The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Livingston County Ag in the Classroom Program held their second annual Ag Career Fair in collaboration with York Central School and the Livingston County Farm Bureau. More than 300 students from the York and Mount Morris school districts attended the event.

While high school students participated in the inaugural career fair, organizers focused on younger students (Grades 6-9) for this year’s event because they are still exploring possible career opportunities. In contrast, high school students are more likely to have their career and/or education plans already established.

The program also serves as a nice complement to the Introduction to Agriculture course required for all 7th grade students.

“York has made a commitment to agricultural education,” said CCE Livingston County Ag in the Classroom Educator Bernadette Harwood.

Teacher Dave Dermody noted that the Ag Career Fair offers students an opportunity to learn about careers and “opportunities in agriculture that they don’t know about”.

Thirteen presenters from various agriculture-related businesses and organizations participated in this year’s program – including Meghan Rodwell, Tompkins Bank of Castile; Kim Torrey, Upstate Niagara Cooperative; Brian Paris, Craigs Station Creamery; Michael Howlett, Howlett Farms; Emma Long, CY Farms, LLC; Jodi Putman, NWNY Dairy, Livestock, & Field Crops Team; Brian Bliss, Lamb & Webster, Inc.; Brian Stekl, LandPro Equipment; Erich Estes, Cargill, Inc.; Kirsty Northrop, Lawnel Farms; Diana Migliaccio, Zoetis, Inc.; Thomas Matthews, Linwood Ag; and Becky Silvanic, Perry Veterinary Clinic.

Special thanks to the following businesses for allowing members of their staff to participate in our the Career Room - DeLaval Dairy Services, Wegmans, Tractor Supply Company, Linwood Ag, Caledonia Diesel, Crop Growers Insurance Company, and Farm Credit East.

Local leaders in the agriculture industry also volunteered as group leaders – helping to supervise students and facilitate dialogue.

York MS/HS Principal Lindsey Peet said, “We, at YCS, were honored to host the second annual York Agriculture Career Day. The opportunity enabled our students to learn about the wide range of career possibilities from the experts in the fields. It was a highly interactive day where students asked questions and received immediate feedback from the talented community members who engage in the work every day. Students thought about their personal interests and strengths and reflected on how their skills would contribute to the agricultural community.”

“Presenters provided a great overview of the extremely diverse ag career options in our area,” noted Harwood. “I think this event helped break many of the stereotypes students have when it comes to agriculture.”

The Agriculture in the Classroom program is interested in hosting similar events at other school districts.

“Through events like this, students can see the real world application of the information they’re learning in school and how they can make an impact in our local community,” said Harwood.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Livingston County Ag in the Classroom program thanks Farm Credit East, Craigs Station Creamery, Dairy Farmers of America, Livingston County Farm Bureau, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, New York Corn & Soybean Association, and American Dairy Association North East for their contributions and helping make this day possible.

For more information about the Ag in the Classroom Program, contact Bernadette Harwood at the CCE Livingston County office at 585-991-5420 | 585-335-1752 or beh53@cornell.edu.