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July 23, 2021 - 10:19am

Press release:

Join the Genesee County Master Gardeners as we jump back into Garden Talk! On Aug. 5 at noon, we will get the lowdown on “Beneficial Insects.” Most of the insects that live in your garden or landscape do little or no harm to you or your plants.

Many of these good guys provide free pest control for you. Who are these six-legged allies? Join Master Gardener David R. to learn about the beneficial insects that could be in your garden!

Sept. 2 – “A Year in the Life of a Garden.” Gardens aren't static, they change as we progress through the seasons, and evolve over the years. Sometimes change comes from losing a major tree in the garden or a change in your lifestyle. Join Master Gardener Lynette S. as we explore the changes that have taken place in her small city garden.

Oct. 7 – “Winter Bird Feeding 101.” Do you enjoy watching the birds in your yard? Winter bird feeding can be entertaining for you and beneficial for the birds. Join us for tips on "setting the table" for your neighborhood feathered friends.

Nov. 4 – “Harvest of Squash.” Do you know what to do with that winter squash that found its way into your home? Master Food Preserver Catherine J. will explain the different types of squash, how to prepare them for use, store them for later, and share a few recipes for that bountiful harvest.

Dec. 2 – “Gifts from the Kitchen.” Join Master Food Preserver Catherine J. as she demonstrates some wonderful ideas that you can use this holiday season.

Currently all Garden Talk programs are being held online via Zoom, from noon to 12:45 p.m. This free series is open to all. Registration is required. A Zoom link will be sent to your email with your personal link to the event.

To register, please visit the events page at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County website.

July 22, 2021 - 9:50am

jocelyn_web.jpgJocelyn Sikorski has no problem admitting that her first six months on the job as executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County have been an eye-opening experience when it comes to appreciating the value of agriculture in the community.

Sikorski, who spent most of her career in county government, notably as the director of the Genesee County and City of Batavia youth bureaus, said she has transitioned nicely to the CCE, an agency dedicated to agriculture, gardening, nutrition and food systems initiatives.

And she has been able to get out of her office and into the field (no pun intended) as well.

“I went to Blummer Dairy in Alexander, which is owned by Dave Patten (a CCE of Genesee County director) and his wife, Val,” she said by telephone on Wednesday. “I toured his farm with two of our regional staff and I also went out to Baskin Livestock on Creek Road, Batavia. That was so interesting.”

Visiting local farm operations and getting to know agriculture, nutrition and 4-H specialists and leaders have given Sikorski a new perspective about the food supply.

“We need folks to understand the importance of ag in our community. It’s the No. 1 industry in Genesee County, and people need to understand where this food is coming from,” she said. “That’s a big thing. You go to the store, but where is it coming from? Who is actually supporting our local industry?”

Toward that end, Sikorski said she hopes – in spite of decreased funding – to restore the “Ag in the Classroom” coordinator/educator position that has been vacant since 2016.

“Some of the things that have gone away over the past five years are a result of less federal aid and others, such as an “Ag in the Classroom” leader, are funded with county money,” she said. “Not having that is a significant loss to our community because it really is teaching children and youth about our agricultural system -- and that message then goes home.

“So, through this evidence-based curriculum, people can learn about the industry and why it is so large in the community.”

Sikorski said she and staff are hoping to reinstate that program as they draft the CCE’s strategic plan – a three-year guiding document that would take effect on Jan. 1.

“That is something that we are interested in bringing back; hopefully we can do that with the resources available or as they become available.”

Earlier this week, Sikorski presented her agency program review to the Genesee County Legislature’s Human Services Committee.

Highlights of that report are as follows:

  • Agency is in a good place financially.

Sikorski credited then interim director Glenn Simon with setting up a safety and reopening plan to enable the CCE to open for business remotely on June 1, 2020 to “reach the population that we serve.” She noted that campus staff will be returning to the agency headquarters on East Main Street on Sept. 1.

Budget-wise, the Genesee County office is “looking good going forward,” she said, reporting that the county legislature contributes $338,548 annually to its approximately $1.2 million budget.

“There are different funding streams and also revenues from some of our programs and services. Basically, whatever comes in goes right back into that program and to their expense line. It supports what we’re providing here,” she said. “The county supports our association as well as us being able to utilize our regional ag team.”

That regional approach is a key cost-saving measure for CCE of Genesee County. Through its Shared Business Network, the agency receives the services of information technology, human resources and finance professionals – sharing the expenses with other cooperative extension locations.

Sikorski said she is seeking someone to fill an administrative assistant position, noting that it is full-time, Monday through Friday days, with health insurance and retirement benefits.

  • Master Gardener training to begin.

The Master Gardener weekly in-person training program at the CCE office is set to resume on Sept. 7 and run through Nov. 23, she said.

“It will be the first time in three years. Last year, we would have held it (if not for COVID) because we do it on a two-year rotation,” she said. “So, having that training up and running again is great. We’re taking precautions where we will limit it to 24 people just in case any restrictions start coming back into play.”

  • CDL training is on the schedule.

Sikorski said CCE again will provide CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) training for the ag community. It is coordinated by Jan Beglinger in conjunction with Genesee Valley BOCES.

“We usually enroll somewhere around 20 to 25 people into the CDL program so that farms can have staff licensed property to operate their trucks and equipment,” she said.

She also mentioned that changing federal guidelines may negatively impact the program – a shutdown was supposed to take effect at the beginning of next year – but is hopeful of the continued partnership with BOCES “because this is a tool for our ag community.”

  • 4-H has strong presence at Genesee County Fair.

She said she anticipates strong 4-H participation at the Genesee County Fair (which opens Friday with the North American Six-horse Hitch Classic Series and runs through July 31).

“And we continue to recruit new adult volunteers to serve as 4-H Club Leaders to expand the program,” she said.

April 29, 2021 - 4:38pm

Press release:

Rain or shine, the Genesee County Master Gardeners will once again be hosting their annual Spring Garden Gala on Saturday, May 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County office, located at 420 E. Main St. in Batavia.

This annual plant sale features a variety of perennials, many of which are from the gardens of Master Gardeners. There will also be a selection of house plants.

Plant sale starts promptly at 10 a.m. on the front lawn of the CCE office. No early birds please.

Visit the Basket Auction for garden art, gift certificates and a variety of themed baskets. Gently used garden books will also be for sale.

Our Basket Auction will be held inside the CCE building so you might have to wait your turn to check it out. Basket Auction drawing starts at 12:30 p.m. We will not be able to accommodate people inside during the drawing. Winners will be called the following week.

Drop off a soil sample from your garden or lawn for a free pH test. A half-cup sample of your garden soil in a clean container is plenty. Master Gardener volunteers will be available to answer your gardening questions during the sale.

Don’t miss your chance to pick up some great plants at great prices, plus garden art and other interesting items. Arrive at 10 a.m. for the best plant selection. Proceeds from the sale benefit the educational outreach of the Genesee County Master Gardener Program.

In keeping with NYS Guidelines, occupancy limits will be observed. Please wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines. We will be collecting contact tracing information.

Thank you for your cooperation and support!

For more information contact Jan Beglinger at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, (585) 343-3040, ext. 132, or stop by the Extension office at 420 E. Main St. in Batavia. Visit our website for more information.

December 17, 2020 - 5:16pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County.

With the agency in the midst of a study to determine if there are any gaps between current conditions and desired conditions, Jocelyn Sikorski said she believes her professional experience will help move Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County to a most favorable destination.

“Currently, they are doing their needs assessment and that will be something that I will have the opportunity to look at, those results, and evaluate what it is that we may need to tweak or change or add to programming services based on the feedback,” Sikorski said. “That will give us a way to develop a strategic plan for the agency and the community.”

Sikorski, who will take over as CCE’s executive director on Jan. 25 following the announcement of her hiring on Wednesday, said she is familiar with the needs assessment process.

“I facilitated a needs assessment four years ago with both county (youth) bureaus, and it’s about time to do another one,” she said. “So, I know exactly … how that is implemented and how to work with the results and to review those results with the staff and the board (of directors) to determine what needs to stay in place or also what may be changed.”

The Alexander resident has worked in county government for more than 20 years, the last eight as executive director of Genesee/Orleans and City of Batavia Youth Bureaus. She said she “loves” her current job, but accepting the CCE position was something that she couldn’t pass up.

“This presented an opportunity for me to not only continue my career, but to advance my career, and provide me an opportunity to continue to learn and grow. One of the things I that feel that I am is a lifelong learner,” she said.

In her new role, she will learn about the programs that CCE offers, including several relating to agriculture and gardening, as well as 4-H, Leadership Genesee (she took that course in 2007), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps). She also will be responsible for community involvement, relationship building, networking and administration.

Sikorski said the connections she has made over the years will serve her well at CCE.

“It is fortunate that Cornell works closely with the county and there will be opportunities to continue some of the relationships that I have established – working with other community members and organizations,” she said. “That’s something that I’m particularly fond of. And it’s nice that I can stay in my community and continue to work with those individuals, but in other ways now, moving forward.”

She said she plans to work with Genesee County Manager Matt Landers to put a plan in place while her successor is found.

“Having three entities that my current position reports to is a challenge, and you have to have a unique individual to handle that. Everybody’s different – all the managers of the three municipalities, the governing bodies are different and there’s a lot of balance that has to be in place,” she explained.

She said she supports the continuation of an executive director to “continue the work that we’ve already established and to be able to keep going with youth development the way it needs to be between both counties.”

Sikorski also said she is optimistic that things will pan out for the City of Batavia, which is acting on a request from City Council to explore contracting with an outside business to run its youth program.

“I think that is the best course of action for the city to take on when it comes to youth services,” she said. “I believe that there will be an organization that can provide what we need for the city youth in regards to afterschool programming and summer rec, and we will not be shortchanged in service or delivery. If we can maintain that and it’s a cost savings (by the city not having an executive director), it’s a win-win for everybody.”

She said she agreed to a two-year contract with CCE (the salary wasn’t disclosed).

Glenn Simon, who has been serving as the interim director at CCE since March, said he was involved with the interview process and was impressed with Sikorski.

“Jocelyn presented herself very well. She certainly knows the community and all the players involved (in government and civic organizations). I am sure she will do well,” he said.

Simon was summoned to lead the agency during the search for a permanent executive director -- three years after retiring as the director of Supply Chain Management at UMMC.

He said his time at CCE was a “positive experience” but he is looking forward to the warm weather and working on his golf game at Terry Hills Golf Course, which is in full view from the rear window of his Clinton Street Road residence.

December 16, 2020 - 4:41pm

jocelyn.jpgJocelyn Sikorski of Alexander is the new executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County.

Sikorski, who has served as executive director of the Genesee/Orleans County and City of Batavia Youth Bureaus since 2012, will begin her duties at the CCE office at 420 E. Main St. on Jan. 25.

“We are excited to bring Jocelyn on board,” CCE Board President Lucine Kauffman said in a media release. “She brings such a wealth of knowledge with deep roots in youth development and a true understanding of local community needs.

“She has a proven track record of management, advocacy and education, which translates well to the position of executive director.”

The agency’s search committee had interviewed two candidates – Sikorski and Julianna Frisch of Brockport – and both made virtual public presentations on Nov. 30 via Zoom.

Sikorski will take over the reins of the 100-year-old organization that provides programs in youth development, agriculture, nutrition, leadership, and community and economic development.

Recently, Sikorski played an integral role in the establishment of the Liberty Center for Youth afterschool program, which saw the relocation of the City Youth Bureau from MacArthur Drive to City Church’s St. Anthony’s campus on Liberty Street.

She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Brockport State College, and has worked for Genesee County’s youth bureau since 1999.

Her community and civic activities include serving on the Genesee County STOP-DWI Board, GLOW YMCA Corporate Board and Genesee United Way Board and Allocations Committee. She is a past president and board member of Batavia Kiwanis Club, and a member of the Leadership Genesee Class of 2007.

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers, speaking for county employees, said "while we are sad to see Jocelyn leave Genesee County government, we wish her all the best in her new position."

"Jocelyn has served the youth of this county well over her 21 years of service. I look forward to working with Jocelyn in her new role over at CCE and am confident she will serve that organization well for years to come," he said.

Landers advised that he and his staff will be reviewing the Youth Bureau in its entirety before determining the next step.

"Whenever a department head leaves, there is an opportunity to examine how service is delivered and an opportunity to reimagine county government," he said.  

An email to Sikorski for comment was not returned at the time of the posting of this story.

File photo by Howard Owens.

November 20, 2020 - 1:05pm

Press release:

Cornell Cooperative Extension – Executive Director Candidate Public Presentations

The public is invited to virtual public presentations of the candidates for the position of Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County.

They will take place on Monday afternoon, Nov. 30:

  • Jocelyn Sikorski -- 4 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Julianna Frisch -- 4:45 to 5:15 p.m.

Please visit genesee.cce.cornell.edu for Zoom links.

Any questions can be directed to Yvonne Peck at (585) 343-3040, ext. 123, or email: [email protected]

May 15, 2020 - 9:32pm

Press release:

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County is pleased to partner with New York State Agriculture and Markets, CY Farms LLC, and Genesee County Farm Bureau to provide New York State hand sanitizer at no cost to the ag community in Genesee County.

Please register by 4 p.m. on Monday, May 18.

Distribution will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19 at the local Cornell Extension office, 420 E. Main St., Batavia.

Genesee County production farms of any type are encouraged to participate, along with farm stands, CSAs, greenhouses and U-pick operations.

The goal is to support safe and healthy workplace practices to keep our agriculture workforce strong.

Liquid hand sanitizer is available by the case -- 4 gallons to a case (with a pump). This is a liquid, not a gel.

For ease of use, businesses may decide to purchase small spray bottles for daily use and refill them from the gallon jug.

Please note that this is a 75-percent alcohol-based liquid gel. It is highly flammable. Keep away from heat, hot surfaces, sparks, open flames and other ignition sources. No smoking. It is not drinkable.

Farms interested in picking up hand sanitizer should complete the online registration here.

Include farm contact information, requested quantity and time slot for pick up (to limit wait times and traffic). 

Quantities may be adjusted before pick up to ensure adequate supplies are available to as many farms as possible.

Details for picking up:

  • Stay in your vehicle and wait for a staff member to direct you to the pick-up area;
  • Whoever is picking up the sanitizer for your farm will need to wear their own face covering and load the cases of sanitizer into their vehicle;
  • If you are getting more than one case, consider bringing a handcart;
  • Please maintain social distancing when picking up;
  • Staff will need to collect some information from you before you can pick up the sanitizer.

Supplies are limited.

The suggested guidelines for each farm are:

  • 1-6 employees: 1 case
  • 7-15 employees: 2 cases
  • 15 plus: 3 – 4 cases
May 2, 2020 - 10:45am

Press release:

Garden Talk returns via Zoom on May 7 at noon (note the time change).

Join the Genesee County Master Gardeners for “Common Gardening Mistakes.”

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Even Master Gardeners make mistakes and kill plants! If you have questions about proper watering techniques, fertilizing or soil preparation this talk is for you. We’ll cover the basics.

Please register in advance for this free program online here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Then join us from the comfort of your own home at noon on May 7.

This free series is open to the public.

Future topics and other Master Gardener events will be posted on the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County website and also on our Facebook page.

April 30, 2020 - 7:17pm

Press release:

Are you wondering where you can get locally grown vegetables, maple syrup, honey, fruit, or cheese? How about goat milk soap, wine and flowers? Do you want to fill your freezer with locally raised meats?

Check out our updated “The Bounty of Genesee County” guide. Our brochure will give you a glimpse into the diversity of agriculture in Genesee county.

By supporting your farming neighbors and buying local, you keep your dollars circulating in our community. Buying from a local farm also cuts down on the distance your food travels.  Stock up at local farms, farm stands, farm markets and businesses that offer genuine local products.

In its 12th year, the Bounty guide can be found on the Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension website. Printed copies, courtesy of the Genesee County Master Gardeners, will be available at a future date.

If you are a Genesee County farm that sells directly to the public and you would like to add your business to our brochure, please contact Jan Beglinger at:   [email protected]

Visit our website for more information, upcoming events, gardening resources and other tips.

June 15, 2019 - 12:28pm

Above, Charles Malone, Cornell Extension senior resource educator, with 4-H ACES Club members and a 4-H Energy Bike.

Submitted photo and press release:

Would you like to take “healthy living” to the next level? 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) specialist Charles Malone, along with the Genesee County 4-H ACES Club, created delicious, healthy smoothies using pedal power.

The Energy Bike can help tackle obesity by promoting healthy eating and lifestyles among youth and families. Charles Malone estimated that 12 hours of pedaling would total just 12 cents on a family’s electricity bill.

We learned that using the 4-H Energy Bike connected to a blender and a little pedal-power, you can mix delicious smoothies as you pedal. You just fill the blender with fruit and juice, hop on the bike and pedal for a short amount of time, a minute later you have delicious fruit smoothies for everyone! 

We all know that the key to healthy living is doing regular exercise, eating healthy food full of fruit and veggies, and of course trying to reduce our personal carbon footprint on the planet and promote renewable energy.

Bringing pedal-powered activities to our 4-H Club, which focuses on science and robotics, promotes renewable energy, biking, healthy eating, and teamwork, and puts everyone in an open, happy, and receptive state, ready to interact and learn. It’s green energy in action!

Learning about the energy bike taught us how to use our own muscle power and instantly achieve a delicious, healthy fruit smoothie. We also learned how to reserve, pack, unpack and transport the 4-H Energy Bike.

New York State 4-H currently has several energy bikes to help promote a healthy living program. A smoothie challenge is a good way to promote fun, health, and teamwork altogether.

The energy bike helps promote healthy living and STEM. 4-H’ers can learn to talk to visitors both about the way energy moves from muscle to bike to blender as well as about fruit smoothies as a healthy snack alternative. 

New York State 4-H Foundation, New York State Cornell Cooperative Extension and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County are a partnered program promoting the Energy Bike to 4-H camps, local 4-H clubs, schools and community youth programs.

If you want to learn more about the 4-H Energy Bike program, and perhaps host a fun event, and for more information contact Charles Malone, senior resource educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension, Genesee County at: [email protected].

Photo by Alexandria Tarbell, 4-H ACES Club photographer.

June 8, 2018 - 8:35pm

In a couple of weeks, Beverly L. Mancuso will visit her brother in Ohio and attend a couple of her nieces' recitals. Once the State of New York releases the retirement funds she long paid into the system, the former executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County will consider more elaborate travel plans.

"Bev" spent Thursday saying goodbyes at the extension's headquarters on East Main Street in Batavia, winding down the final hours of 16 and a half years of employment there, the longest of her career.

She is dressed in khaki and coral colors, with "bling," as she calls it, to match. Tanned, with an easy laugh and quick mind, her mien is forthright, she is plain spoken, and admittedly unkeen on "micromanaging" adult professionals.

She left on her birthday at the top of her game, with a solid track record of achievement, and an unclouded sky above her.

There are several reasons for that.

Having steeped herself in the machinations of county government for five years prior to Cornell helped, as did a deep dive into the finances of the extension for the two years she served as business manager and associate director prior to landing the executive directorship.

Before that, her expertise in systems administration helped her develop the skills that could bring greater simplicity and clarity to the administrative side of the cooperative extension. For example, she helped craft a shared business network and that took more than six years to build.

"We already had strong programs, so I focused on the administrative side," Mancuso said. "How could we work smarter and do things differently? I tried to make it easy for people to do their actual jobs, so they're not doing busy work."

And always she kept mindful of taxpayers' money, and how she could be more responsible with it.

The days of 25 employees at Cornell extension in Batavia are history, she said, noting that today there are 10 permanent employees.

One idea she has, this daughter of the nation's creator of the first business incubator, AKA the Batavia Industrial Center, is to have a "one-stop-shop for nonprofits, for human service agencies."

"So we can all maximize the limited funding...we've got to be smarter about how we're doing stuff," she said. "It's not going back to how it was, how it used to be."

Another reason for Mancuso's strength of tenure can be traced to a program she is really proud of perpetuating after others launched it: Leadership Genesee.

Developed at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Batavia, and also unique to it, Leadership Genesee took 10 years to get off the ground.

"It became a force in the community -- all the nooks and crannies -- and what makes it tick," she said. "Every day focuses on a different component of the community. We don't tell them what to think, we just show them how everything works and they make up their own mind."

To date, it has trained more than 500 graduates, including Mancuso, who graduated in its debut Class of 2001.

She says it taught her, among other things, the wisdom to "let go" and allow others to help when a seemingly insurmountable problem arose.

There were 35 people in the latest class and applications for the next one are being reviewed.

The merits of the yearlong program are not lost on area employers.

"A lot of different local employers, they get it, they see the value in it," Mancuso said. "It doesn't really focus on developing traditional leadership skills -- like decision making -- it's about people who really love where they live and gives them an opportunity to see a lot of the things that are going on."

Whether the day's focus is agriculture and farm tours, or economic development and government, or travel and tourism, or nonprofit resources, the range is so broad and the knowledge so finely tuned that the cumulative impact of Genesee-County-as-classroom on the learner is profound, as graduates readily attest.

After completing Leadership Genesee, graduates can apply their skills and knowledge to any area that speaks to them and hopefully be able to make a difference in the community for the better; that's the goal.

"It's the best way for people to learn," Mancuso said. "And really, the issue is, we have bigger needs than we can (adequately) address. Like the opioid crisis."

Her leadership in the leadership program is one reason she was honored as a New York State Woman of Distinction by Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer last month.

Overall, Mancuso says she has learned a great deal by listening to experts in agriculture, which is far and away the main economic engine in this county.

"These guys are so smart," Mancuso said. "(Farming) is so hard. If anybody undersells what they do, it's agriculture. But I've been learning, learning, learning. The people who do this here have such an amazing skill set and they are so brilliant."

She leaves the cooperative extension that helps them, secure in the knowledge that Robin Travis is temporarily in charge.

The interim executive director brings 40 years of experience with the extension and numerous associations in the Finger Lakes region.

The reason why she has come out of retirement for the third time after formally retiring seven years ago to serve in an interim executive capacity is that she has personally seen the positive difference CE makes in people's live -- 4'Hers, homemakers, farmers, business professionals. She also works as a coach to new executive directors, mentoring them.

She has turned down some gigs, but says even though Genesee County is her longest commute -- 92 miles -- it was an easy "yes."

"I look at the strength of the board, their financial position and I look at their programming and how they're doing," Travis said. "And this one is going to be a delight because things are running so smoothly."

Travis planned to meet Thursday afternoon with a senior staff member to do a brief interview to find out what that employee thinks, likes, dreams and would like to see changed or implemented. These one-on-one sessions will continue next week with the rest of the staff.

Travis's part-time job through Sept. 30 is to keep things running as smoothly as Mancuso left them. The executive director position is being advertised and closes July 1. Qualified candidates will be screened through phone interviews and those making the final cut will travel to Batavia for interviews.

A committee, co-chaired by the Board of Directors President Colleen Flynn and the State Specialist and Cornell Representative Renee Smith, oversees the search process.

"I feel strongly that being able to understand our mission and then applying it to everyday life" is key in filling to position, Travis said. "It's a very grassroots organization, so we really try to address the issues that are particular to whatever county we're talking about.

"(The committee) is looking for somebody who knows the mission, who has vision and can see possibilities, and that is not stuck in the past or in what's current, but can really see the future."

Despite the enormous impact of technology on all of the work done at the cooperative extension, it is the relationships with people that are still at the core of everything, Travis said.

"The way you help people change behavior is to form a relationship with them," Travis said.

Those relationships help strengthen the organization's credibility, too, and its accountability.

"The buck stops here," Travis said. "We have the research base; we have the worldwide connection to that research."

Travis is also impressed that Genesee County has a whopping three staff specialists in residence in Batavia, an indication of the power of agriculture in Genesee County: "Expertise at your fingertips."

And Travis's expertise is greatly appreciated by Mancuso.

"She has such a strong background; she knows programs; she knows the system," Mancuso said. "The local piece is different but she already knows and respects that. I think her personality and demeanor are going to play really well here."

Speaking of playing...There were a couple of bottles of beer in a bag on the floor of Mancuso's nearly bare office, parting gifts from colleagues. Maybe she'll sip a cold one while watching "Cold Mountain," which she jotted down as a note to self, following a reporter's suggestion because Mancuso, who is not married, is fond of its star, Jude Law.

He could serve her a cocktail on vacation, say, at Camogli beach in Liguria in Northwestern Italy. She says she would not mind at all.

February 27, 2018 - 5:01pm


This is the first in a series of five stories about the honorees at this Saturday's annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony. The ceremony is being held at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

Quickly deflecting any kudos for herself, Bev Mancuso, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, said it’s the staff, volunteers, and community that should be applauded in conjunction with the agency’s selection as the Agricultural Business of the Year for 2017 by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

CCE, along with several other businesses, will be honored at the Chamber’s Annual Awards Dinner on March 3 at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

“It’s the specialists and experts on the CCE staff who deserve the recognition,” said Mancuso, who is retiring from her position in June after 15-plus years at the East Main Street facility. “They’re the ones who are out in the field, literally. I do what I can to get them what they need to do their jobs.”

Mancuso also had words of praise for those who give of their time to help the agency reach its goal of “growing minds” through nontraditional, experiential learning.

“All of our internal programs are heavily dependent upon volunteers -- 4-H, Leadership Genesee, Master Gardeners. Much fundraising is due to our volunteers. We would be lost without them.”

She also spoke highly of the board of directors, also volunteers, who have been instrumental in building and maintaining a strong organization of employees “very passionate about their jobs.”

“I continue to be amazed with their (staff) dedication and commitment,” she said. “No one is here to just get a paycheck. It really is their calling in life – they live to be here and do this job, despite the funding cuts we’ve experienced over the past few years.”

Mancuso said the agency (there is one CCE in every county in New York State) primarily reaches the farming community – operations big and small – through its involvement with three regional teams – Northwest NY Dairy, Livestock and Fields Crop, Vegetable and Harvest New York.

Currently, 23 specialists from Cornell University interact with all segments of agribusiness, enhancing capacity and infrastructure through on-site farm visits, hours on the muck land, corn and soybean symposiums and newsletter blasts.

Highlights of the work of the three teams include:

-- NWNY Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops: Several “Congresses” in the area of forage, calf/heifer, corn, soybean/small grains, as well as educational opportunities for growing malting barley, Ag workforce development and dairy calf managed housing and feeding systems.

-- Vegetable: A Batavia Field Day to capitalize on the increase in new farms in this area, soil health alliance summer field day, good ag practices farm food safety and research into wholesaling for small-scale vegetable growers, organic farming management and climate awareness.

-- Harvest New York: With a goal of spurring agricultural economic development, the focus is on dairy food processing and marketing, local food distribution and marketing, and farm strategic planning. Projects have been developed to promote the craft beverage industry, and to link Ag businesses with the WNY Tech Academy and GVEP BOCES culinary program.

The Master Gardeners program, coordinated by Jan Beglinger, has had a profound impact upon Genesee County residents, Mancuso said.

“On many occasions, someone will come in and want to start a farm, but don’t know what to do,” Mancuso said. “That’s when Jan gets involved. When you see those businesses start, that’s really cool.”

Last year alone, according to a CCE budget report, 71 Master Gardener volunteers donated 4,842 hours, worth $135,867 at current NYS value of $28.06 per hour to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County.

The CCE of Genesee County was nominated for the award by Christian Yunker, managing partner of CY Farms and a member of the Genesee County Agricultural Committee, said it’s easy to overlook the agency’s numerous benefits to the area.

“We in the industry many times take it for granted – the work that they do and their teams that provide such high value,” he said. “As producers, without that third-party expertise, we’d be left with only our vendors.”

Yunker said it was apropos that Chamber honor is being bestowed during the CCE of Genesee County’s centennial year.

“We believe that it is well-suited that during their 100th anniversary that they receive this award.”

August 1, 2017 - 1:42pm


Today at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, 420 E. Main St. in Batavia, Master Gardener Maud Charpin (pictured above) presented a class on a “Do it yourself Terrarium.”

She spoke about what is needed to create your own, including supply lists, step-by-step instructions, and pamphlets for websites with video tutorials.

There are many types of creative ways to design your own terrarium including using glass to see through, small stones, dirt, different plants including moss, plus coffee filters, potting soil and decorations non-porous, non-organic. She said plants with different changing colors are a plus, too.

The half hour free monthly demonstrations are every first Tuesday of each month called “Garden Talk” presented by the Genesee County Master Gardeners. The open-to-the-public event is from 12:15-12:45 p.m. and registration is not required

Any questions call the office at 585-343-3040, ext. 101. Information can be found on genesee.cce.cornell.edu and their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/CCEofGenesee



August 14, 2014 - 3:00pm

 Beginning September 10, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County will begin training a new class of Master Gardeners through our “Principles of Gardening” program.  Classes will be held at the CCE office at 420 East Main Street, Batavia on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 pm through November 19.  (There will also be a full day session on Saturday, November 8.)  Pre-registration by August 25 is required as the class size is limited.

Participants will enjoy learning about a variety of horticulture topics including: botany, plant pathology, entomology, soils & fertilizers, lawn care, vegetable gardening, weed identification, woody ornamentals, fruit, perennials and annuals.  Each class will focus on a different topic throughout the training.

Anyone interested in learning more about gardening may attend the course.  The fee for training is $225 per person.

This training is the first requirement to becoming a Genesee County Master Gardener.  Genesee county residents who complete the course are then eligible to apply to the Genesee County Master Gardener program.  (Other county residents should contact their local Master Gardener program.)  A Master Gardener volunteer should have a willingness to give back to the community and help put into practice what they learned at training.  Enthusiasm for sharing their skills and knowledge is a must.

For an application or to register contact Brandie Schultz at 585-343-3040, ext. 101 or stop by the Extension office at 420 East Main Street in Batavia.

April 8, 2014 - 4:58pm

Genesee County Master Gardeners will be offering their popular Coffee and Dessert Series this spring.  Participants enjoy a variety of gardening topics taught by Master Gardeners along with coffee, tea and dessert.


April 9 – “Herbs & Edibles”.  Growing a kitchen garden with herbs and other plant edibles is a great way of combining two of our favorite pastimes, gardening and eating!  After a long winter and checking the food prices on the grocery shelves, there is so much reward in starting your own garden of herbs and plant edibles.  With little space and $$, you can start this spring project with the kids, family and friends!  Call to register.  Space still available.


April 16 – “Square Foot & Container Gardening”.  Would you like to grow nutritious, great tasting vegetables but always come up with the same excuses?  Too much work – too many weeds – takes too much space – bad soil…  Square Foot Gardening solves all these problems in a simple, easy and logical manner.  Let us show you how it is done.  Still not sure?  Try growing your veggies in a container.  We will share with you the basics of container gardening.  Registration deadline is April 11.


April 23 – “Groundcovers - the Rodney Dangerfield of the Plant World”. -  Ground covers are more than the plants of last resort for difficult to grow areas.  Find out when and where to use these versatile plants to both benefit and enhance your gardens and landscapes.  Registration deadline is April 18.


April 30 – “Nobody Eats Nightshade, Everyone Eats Potatoes”.   Even within the same plant family, parts of one plant can be eaten while another plant should be avoided.  Learn to know the difference to keep your pets and family safe.  Registration deadline is April 25.


All programs are from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension at 420 East Main Street, Batavia.  Cost is $10 per person per class.  Pre-registration is required as class size is limited.  Contact Brandie at 585-343-3040, ext. 101 or stop by our office at 420 East Main Street in Batavia to register.  For more information visit our website at: www.genesee.shutterfly.com.

August 8, 2012 - 4:48pm
Company Name: 
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County
Job Type: 
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County is hiring a part-time Nutrition Educator. The successful candidate will will provide education to low-income and other County residents, including food stamp applicants and recipients, to improve their nutrition, food safety, food resource management and food preparation skills through Genesee County CCE Nutrition Education Program (comprised of two separate but similar grant-funded programs: EFNEP (the Expanded Foods and Nutrition Education Program); and ESNY (the Eat Smart New York Program).
August 1, 2012 - 4:57pm
If you would like to help improve your community and enjoy gardening, landscaping and related activities, please consider becoming a Master Gardener volunteer. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County will be offering the popular Master Gardener Training series on Wednesday evenings, September 5 through November 14 from 5:45 to 9:00 p.m. Participants will be required to attend an additional training on Saturday, November 3 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sessions will be held at the Extension office at 420 East Main Street, Batavia. Master Gardener Training covers a wide variety of horticulture topics including: botany, growing fruit at home, herbs, insects, perennials, organic gardening, pruning, soils & fertilizers, turf grass, vegetable gardening, weed identification, woody plant materials, and how to diagnose plant diseases/problems. Anyone interested in learning more about gardening may attend the course. Graduates of the program are then eligible to become Certified Master Gardeners by volunteering time on horticultural projects with their local Extension Office. A Master Gardener volunteer should have a willingness to give back to the community and help put into practice what they learned at training. Enthusiasm for sharing their skills and knowledge is a must. Pre-registration by August 22 is required. No walk-ins will be allowed. The fee for the series is $225 per person. Class size is limited. For an application or to register contact Brandie Schultz at 585-343-3040, ext. 101 or stop by the Extension office located at 420 East Main Street in Batavia. More information can be found on the Genesee County Extension website at http://genesee.shutterfly.com/gardening.
March 29, 2011 - 3:46pm

Barbara Sturm, 4-H Youth Development and Agriculture in the Classroom Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, has received the “Achievement in Service Award,” by the New York State Association of Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Educators (NYSACCE4-HE) and the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA).

This prestigious award recognizes 4-H Educators who have been creative and innovative in programming efforts with demonstrated results. Ms. Sturm was nominated for the recognition by 4-H Youth Development Educators Paul Webster and Charles “Chip” Malone with letters of support for her dynamic and creative educational efforts coming from multiple local and regional 4-H staff, 4-H volunteers and Cornell University-based staff.

“Barb consistently produces significant, positive impacts while being committed to personal and program excellence. The high quality of her work is seen in her dedication and leadership with 4-H and Ag in the Classroom Initiatives” one supporter wrote.

State and National recognition will be extended to Barbara at the NYSACCE4-HE and NAE4-HA annual conferences in October 2011.

March 29, 2011 - 3:46pm

Barbara Sturm, 4-H Youth Development and Agriculture in the Classroom Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, has received the “Achievement in Service Award,” by the New York State Association of Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Educators (NYSACCE4-HE) and the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA).

This prestigious award recognizes 4-H Educators who have been creative and innovative in programming efforts with demonstrated results. Ms. Sturm was nominated for the recognition by 4-H Youth Development Educators Paul Webster and Charles “Chip” Malone with letters of support for her dynamic and creative educational efforts coming from multiple local and regional 4-H staff, 4-H volunteers and Cornell University-based staff.

“Barb consistently produces significant, positive impacts while being committed to personal and program excellence. The high quality of her work is seen in her dedication and leadership with 4-H and Ag in the Classroom Initiatives” one supporter wrote.

State and National recognition will be extended to Barbara at the NYSACCE4-HE and NAE4-HA annual conferences in October 2011.

July 8, 2010 - 11:01pm


Nicole from Cornell Cooperative Extension joined in with Care-A-Van Ministries on their weekly cookout at Central Avenue Thursday evening.

She had a very interesting presentation on how much sugar is in common items we drink. If you were there, you would think twice about drinking that mountain dew!

Cornell Cooperative has become a regular partner with Care-A-Van. In the winter  time, the girls from the office make delcious soups to take out and feed the neighborhoods. They educate the people of the free services they have to offer. Several people attending this evening signed up for nutrition  classes.

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