Agri-food column: New programs and resources for agriculture | Top stories

For 20 years, the award-winning Home Grown Show has brought its listeners a variety of stories about farming and rural life in a fun and informal way over the AM radio waves of upstate New York. It was a great run for the show on two of our local AM radio stations. Over time, all good things come to an end, and so it was with The Home Grown Show. In December 2021, we decided that after over 1,000 broadcasts, it was time to end our radio show. Many of our fans weren’t happy with how the series ended, and we appreciate their concerns. There is good news! Over the years, we’ve heard from many people that our show needs to be accessible to a wider audience, and we listened.

Starting in February, we will be starting a podcast closely resembling the Home Grown Show. A podcast will allow us greater flexibility in scheduling guest interviews and will significantly increase our audience. Based on recommendations from members of the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council, we are calling the show “Jay Matteson’s Rural America, a Jefferson County Economic Development Production.” The format will be very similar to the Home Grown Show, but we will have greater flexibility to focus on a wider range of issues affecting rural areas across the United States. We already have two people lined up to serve as guest co-hosts when available. The podcast, once we start airing shows, will be available through our website,, social media and on various podcast hosting sites. We will post public notices once we launch the podcast.

Jefferson County Economic Development and the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Conference also plan our annual Agricultural Development Conference. The conference will take place on Friday, April 8 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Watertown. Our theme for 2022 is “Who Moved My Cheese, Adapting to the Future of Farming”. Our keynote speaker is Sarah Tveidt, Director of Executive Intelligence Network for Aimpoint Research. Sarah’s presentation will focus on “The Farmer of the Future”. Aimpoint conducted multidimensional predictive research on US farmers and included all agricultural commodity production. Their research revealed the psychology of the farmers most likely to succeed in 2040 and the internal and external factors that will contribute to their success.

Our conference will also look at the past 20 years of agricultural economic development in Jefferson County and where we will focus going forward. We have Dr. Todd Schmitt of Cornell University speaking at the conference to share the results of an agricultural economic impact analysis he is currently conducting for Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties in our request. We haven’t opened reservations yet, but check back regularly on our previously mentioned website for more information.

As always, the Jefferson County Dairy Parade will take place Friday, June 3 starting at 6:30 p.m. in Watertown. We are delighted to offer you this moment of pleasure to spend with family and friends. As we develop parade plans, check our website and social media pages for more information.

The Watertown Rapids Collegiate Baseball organization is planning what sounds like a phenomenal program featuring all things agriculture related! Fuel Up to Play 60 and Jefferson County Agriculture Day will take place on Saturday, June 18. The team started this celebration of agriculture last year and it was a great success. It looks like they are extending that success this year. They work with the Fuel Up To Play 60 program,, which is a partnership between the National Dairy Council and the National Football League. The American Dairy Association Northeast helps the Rapids draw the program into the game. It looks like there will be lots of fun physical activities for the kids to take part in before the baseball game starts and rumor has it that there might be an appearance by an NFL player for the kids to meet and take pictures ! Visit for more information.

These are just a few of the many things happening in agriculture in 2022. We encourage you to visit our agricultural events website and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County website ( for follow all the programs, events and excitement of agriculture in 2022.

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