Changes underway at Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva will help meet the needs of vegetable and fruit growers across the Northeast for decades to come.
As announced on Dec. 12 by Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the relocation of four Geneva-based faculty in the Department of Food Science to the Ithaca campus over the next two to three years paves the way for a new strategic plan that will strengthen programs in applied food production.
NYSAES houses nearly 300 professors, postdocs, students and staff in entomology, horticulture, and plant pathology and plant-microbe biology on its campus, which includes 870 acres of fields, orchards and vineyards. Boor has called upon a committee to review NYSAES’s strategic plan and map out the opportunities that will better position NYSAES to meet the emerging challenges in food production, from invasive pests and diseases to changing climate conditions.
Boor said she is committed to building a critical mass of faculty in areas the NYSAES strategic plan committee identifies as priority areas. Once the plan is complete and vetted, she will fund five new faculty positions in Geneva.
Despite the decision to relocate the research programs of food science faculty to Ithaca – finalized in a majority vote by all faculty in the department Dec. 11 – several food science extension programs will continue to operate from the Geneva campus while the committee undertakes its review, including the Food Venture Center and pilot plant; the New York State Wine Analytical Laboratory; the Vinification and Brewing Laboratory; and the National Good Agricultural Practices Program.
“Food science will continue to have a presence in Geneva, and that presence will match the core mission of the station and the emerging vision for its future,” Boor said.
She added that she also wants to ensure that successful collaborations drawing upon some of the station’s distinctive strengths – such as grape breeding and the Finger Lakes Community College Viticulture and Wine Technology Program – are maintained.
“The research and extension programs based at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva are held in the highest regard by stakeholders near and far,” Boor said. “That excellence is integral to the mission of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), and I, along with both college and university leadership, am committed to the continued presence and prominence of those initiatives. Assuring the strength of NYSAES through focused investments is a CALS priority.”
A forum to discuss the changes will be held at the experiment station in January.