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Morrisville State College Pres. David E. Rogers joins state commissioners Reardon, Ball to launch first-ever Agriculture Career Day at NY State Fair

MORRISVILLE, NY—Morrisville State College president Dr. David E. Rogers joined Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball and State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon at the Great New York State Fair to launch its first-ever Agriculture Career Day on Friday morning. 

The aim is to interest young people excited about the many possibilities for future jobs in the industry. 

“Agriculture programs are the fastest growing at Morrisville State College,” Rogers said. “What was once old is new again. As we make new discoveries, we reach back to time-tested methods and practices to give them new application in a modern world. 

“We know that progress never stops, and only those who roll up their sleeves and dig deep will be those who lead us through change,” Rogers said. “We not only witness, but contribute to, technology’s disruption of many industries, and agriculture is no exception.” 

The commissioners remarked on the growth of the agriculture industry and the need to supply it with capable and innovative leaders. 

“Young people are the future of our industry and it is more important now than ever before to get them excited about all the incredible opportunities for successful, meaningful careers in this field,” Ball said. 

“The agricultural industry is an ever-growing, ever-changing one. It’s critical that young people across New York know what their options in this exciting field look like, and that’s what this event is all about,” Reardon said. “I invite all young women and men, even if they’ve never considered an agricultural career before, to join in on the fun and learn about what’s available to them.” 

Troy Waffner, acting fair director and Morrisville State College alumnus, was thrilled to add Agriculture Career Day to this year’s program lineup at the fair. 

“Every year we look for opportunities to bring new and exciting programming to the fair, and in this case, we have a chance to provide a valuable service to the future workforce at the same time,” said Waffner, ’93. “I encourage every young person at the fair to stop by the Agriculture Career Day tent and check out what it has to offer.” 

Morrisville’s presence at the fair has been not only long-term, but extensive. This year, the college has at least eight displays in five different locations throughout the fairgrounds, and faculty and students are competing and demonstrating in at least 15 different events over the course of the 13-day fair. 

“Morrisville State College has been at the Great New York State Fair for nearly 40 years as an active participant, both learning and teaching the public about the changes in agriculture and technology,” Rogers said. “Engaging young people is critical and I hope every participant in this event will gain valuable knowledge as they enjoy their day at the fair.” 

The variety of Morrisville programs and initiatives at the fair reflect priorities expressed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in this year’s State of the State address and legislative agenda, ranging from alternative crops and renewable energy to agritourism and craft beverages

At the fair’s Horticulture Building, there are displays on both industrial hemp and craft brewing, both industries enjoying a resurgence in New York State. 

“Thanks to our elected officials, we’ve resurrected a crop that hasn’t been legally grown in New York for 80 years by sending our faculty and students into the field to bring back industrial hemp,” Rogers said. 

Morrisville is leading research in the experimentation of growing hemp as a commercial commodity. This is the second year the college has planted the crop, dedicating more than 80 acres of farmland for the experimentation following Morrisville’s historic 2016 production of New York State’s first industrial hemp crop through a research partnership with JD Farms, in Eaton, NY.   

Morrisville has added a brewhouse to its near-campus restaurant, the Copper Turret, to complement a new craft brewing curriculum and four-year degree program that includes hands-on brewing experience and a line of Morrisville-branded beers available to the public this fall. 

“We lead this work through exciting new ventures including on-campus organic farming with both low- and high-tunnel production, and indoor farming or controlled-environment agriculture, involving both aquaponics and hydroponics,” Rogers said. 

The college established a high-tunnel greenhouse last year, when it also received certification for its organic farming. The operation joined the college’s 4,000-gallon aquaponics system in a controlled environment agriculture (CEA) greenhouse, which can produce up to 22,000 heads of lettuce and 1,700 pounds of tilapia per year. Both facilities share the advantage of extending growing seasons and protecting crops. 

Also at the fair are Morrisville displays on renewable energy, including alternative fuels, biodigesters, wind and solar power, and more. 

“As these dynamic shifts take place in the New York economy,” Rogers said, “Morrisville’s applied learning approach is poised to prepare the next generation of innovative leaders for these dynamic shifts.” 

Morrisville State College’s curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs. 

The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2017 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2017 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.