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Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park welcomes first tenants as facility is dedicated

Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park
Joe Ogrodnick
A federal agency and four start-up businesses are the first tenants at the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park, located in Geneva, N.Y.

GENEVA, N.Y. -- A federal research agency and four new businesses will be among the first enterprises to call the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park home.

Cornell University officials were joined Wednesday, Nov. 16, by government and business leaders to dedicate the new, 72-acre research park, being marketed as the Technology Farm and located next door to Cornell's Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. The park, a nonprofit organization that has been permitted to use the Cornell name, is designed to foster the creation of innovative technologies related to agriculture, bio-based industries and food.

"Cornell University is committed to technology transfer as a potential engine for economic development, both on and off campus," said Susan Henry, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "Increasingly, we will partner with new enterprises involved in cutting-edge technologies in food, agriculture and the new life sciences, as well as with other universities and high-tech industries."

"The seeds of innovation are taking root at the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park," stated New York state Sen. Michael F. Nozzolio (R-Fayette), a member of the park's board of directors. "This new economic engine is just beginning to deliver on its promise of bringing new businesses and jobs to the region."

The first Technology Farm tenants will include the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Berrigen Biotechnology, Cherrypharm, Terramend and Vitis Biosciences.

The Agricultural Research Service, the USDA's chief scientific research agency, will establish a new Center for Grape Genetics Research at the park, expanding on the agency's current research unit at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. The agency is planning to begin construction in 2007 of a 59,000-square-foot research facility that will employ approximately 20 people.

All four of the new start-ups directly involve Cornell faculty members and will utilize the park's new 20,000-square-foot flexible-technology building as a place to grow new business ventures. Berrigen is a start-up business focused on the production of bio-fortified plants to improve quality and human health. Cherrypharm has been working with Cornell scientists to develop an all-natural cherry juice nutritional supplement. The company recently completed its first production run, and its founder will be creating an on-site food and beverage innovation center. Terramend is developing products that will utilize agricultural waste products for environmental remediation. Vitis Biosciences, a company with investment from Chile, is working with Cornell to develop and sell virus-resistant grapevine rootstocks to nurseries servicing the worldwide wine industry.

"We are pleased to welcome these new partners to the Technology Farm. We look forward to working with each of them and helping them capitalize on the world-class research taking place at Cornell," said Daniel J. Fessenden, the park's executive director. "We invite other businesses, entrepreneurs and agencies to contact us to find out more about the strategic opportunities that exist at the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park."

The park is the result of nearly 10 years of planning by Cornell, the city of Geneva and Ontario County. Since 1985, more than $8 million in local, state and federal funding has been raised to complete phase-one construction of the park. The park has received considerable support from New York State Electric and Gas Corp., plus state and federal legislators.

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