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Agriculture / Conservation News
Be a part of the solution

By Dennis Rich, State Agriculture Committee

  JANUARY 2010 --

The old parlor game "Twenty Questions", which became a radio and then a television program, had as its only clue: is it animal, vegetable or mineral? It brings to my mind a way of thinking about self employment in an era of economic uncertainty.

On my job traveling highways in the tri-state area, I notice that one of the most common trucks on the road are those owned by concerns making deliveries to stores, bakeries and restaurants, products of agriculture and food processors. So from the farm to the end user there are people employed in production, processing, and marketing the yield of our fields and forests.

There are efforts underway to encourage people in rural areas to engage in making value-added products. In New York State, there is the Small Scale Food Processors Association with items included in its "showcase" of cheeses, jams and jellies, maple sugar, vinegars, flour, wine, and ice cream in addition to local harvest fruit and vegetables, honey, Christmas trees, and natural meats and eggs.

Another part of the solution is making available, for cottage industries, commercial kitchen space, most often required for that which is made for human consumption. This of great benefit for those who cannot afford regular rental property and have homes not suitable for required alterations.

Either space with "down time" or government owned property could be rented. Penn State offers a Food for Profit course and has established test kitchens in various parts of Pennsylvania. Here in our state this is a good challenge to focus for Ag Day in March!



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