Cornell ag school dean visits North Fork farms

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Joe Gergela, left, speaks with Lee Telega of Cornell's Office of Government Relations and Kathryn Boor at Phil Schmitt farm

Local farmers and researchers hope a visit by the dean of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Saturday will result in increased funding and research for the East End’s agricultural community.

Long Island Farm Bureau and Cornell Cooperative Extension arranged Dean Kathryn Boor to tour the Phil Schmitt & Son Farm in Riverhead, C.J. Van Bourgondien greenhouse in Peconic, Bedell Cellars winery in Cutchogue and Cornell’s research lab on Sound Avenue in Baiting Hollow.

And it sounds like they might have achieved their goal.

Ms. Boor said afterward that she’d never been this far east in New York, although her mother went to college in Farmingdale 70 years ago.

“The scale of agriculture here is above anything I might have expected,” Ms. Boor told a reporter.

She said she was impressed with the North Fork’s soil, demonstrated by Bedell winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich, and the “ability of plants to grow so lavishly here on Long Island.”

Joe Gergela, executive director of Long Island Farm Bureau, said the goal was to show Ms. Boor examples of the different types of local agriculture.

As dean of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Ms. Boor is a powerful person in the ag instrustry, and can be instrumental in helping Long Island farms get grant money and access to Cornell’s research, Mr. Gergela said.