The New York State Agricultural Society will host its 189th Annual Meeting and Agricultural Forum on Jan. 7. The forum, which is traditionally the oldest and largest meeting of its kind in the state, will take place virtually.
Bringing together representatives from all sectors of the agricultural industry to discuss topics that are crucial to the future of New York agriculture, the forum will focus on building a resilient food system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The forum also will recognize and honor the contributions of industry stakeholders in eight award categories.
Richard Ball, state agriculture commissioner, will deliver the 2021 State of Agriculture Address.
Kicking off the forum at 9 a.m., the morning keynote session will feature Tom Facer of Farm Fresh First LLC and Martha Hilton of Wegmans Food Markets to discuss important lessons learned in 2020, including the pivoting or retooling necessary to strengthen core businesses and enhance customer confidence.
At 11:30 a.m., the midday break will focus on emerging research sponsored by Cornell’s Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture and Center for Regional Economic Advancement, which are investigating big-picture challenges facing New York agriculture and food production, and the potential impact of innovative technology and entrepreneurialism.
The afternoon session at 2 p.m. will welcome Benjamin Houlton, the new College of Agriculture and Life Sciences dean, who will address building resiliency in a changing time and finding new pathways to New York state collaborations.
After Houlton’s remarks, Ball will provide his annual State of Agriculture Address. He will report on the state’s ongoing efforts to help the state’s farmers and agricultural businesses overcome today’s marketplace challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2021 award winners
The New York State Agricultural Society will honor individuals and businesses who have lifted the state’s agricultural and food industry to new heights in terms of environmental stewardship, consumer outreach, farm safety, and the production of quality, safe food.
The ag society honors will be presented in eight categories, including farm safety, agricultural promotion, FFA chapter, journalism, next-generation farmers, business of the year, distinguished service, and century and bicentennial farms.
The presentation will include award videos featuring the unique stories of the winners. The Distinguished Service Citation honoree, who will be recognized as an individual who has dedicated a lifetime of service resulting in outstanding contributions to New York agriculture, will be interviewed on FaceTime Live beginning at noon.