Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and CCE Director Chris Watkins at the Friend of Extension Award Ceremony in Riverhead, Long Island on June 13.

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Lupardo honored as CCE’s Friend of Extension

Known as a tireless advocate for New York’s agriculture and farm communities, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo is a friendly and familiar face at Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) events and programs across the state. CCE recognized Lupardo’s contributions to the organization’s efforts to advance New York agriculture by honoring her as the 2022 Friend of Extension, which was awarded Tuesday, June 13 at a reception in Riverhead, Long Island.

“Assemblywoman Lupardo has consistently supported our programs and initiatives,” said CCE Director Chris Watkins during his remarks. “She knows that Extension is a trusted source of information and education for farmers, families, and businesses. She also knows that Extension is a valuable partner in economic development and community resilience.”

First elected in 2005, Lupardo represents the 123rd Assembly District of New York, which includes the City of Binghamton and the Towns of Vestal and Union. Despite not having many farms in her district, Lupardo was appointed chair of the Agriculture Committee in 2019. She also serves on the Economic Development, Higher Education, Rules, Steering and Transportation Committees. She is a co-chair of the NY Legislative Aviation Caucus and leads the Legislative Squadron of the NY Wing-Civil Air Patrol.

Lupardo’s advocacy was instrumental in the recent budget increases to state law 224, which CCE county associations rely on for funding – helping to bring an additional half-million dollars to the system in 2021 and $1.2 million in 2022 and 2023.

In addition to her statewide impact on agriculture, Lupardo has been an invaluable resource for her local CCE county association. “Donna Lupardo has increased awareness and recognition of the vital role played by CCE Broome County in fostering a strong, local food system,” said Beth Roberts, Executive Director of CCE Broome County. “Donna is a true ally and CCE Broome County is grateful for her partnership. Her advocacy and contributions have changed the landscape of how CCE Broome County has been able to serve our agricultural community.”

“Assemblywoman Lupardo embodies the Land-Grant mission and is so deserving of this award,” said Benjamin Houlton, Ronald P. Lynch Dean, Cornell CALS. “Throughout her career, she has demonstrated unyielding leadership and understanding of the strong connection between campus, county extension and community engagement—in the county she serves and throughout the state. Her efforts have helped bring critical solutions from our labs and research farms directly to New York’s farmers and communities, where it can help the most. And her focus on our state’s county-based system has ensured that extension reaches beyond agriculture, growing nutrition and youth-oriented programs to help our future generations thrive.”

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher wrote: “Donna is truly a friend to all of agriculture. This is demonstrated by her commitment in securing record state funding for agriculture, including for Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, jump-starting the hemp industry, and overall support for finding solutions to the challenges facing our food system. We appreciate all of the work she has done and will continue to do for New York's farms.”

In his concluding remarks at the award ceremony, Watkins praised Lupardo as a champion for farmers across the state. “As Donna often says, 'Everyone eats—without farms, we are without food.' We are grateful for Assemblywoman Lupardo’s consistent support of our programs and initiatives, and for advocating for programming that she knows matters.”

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