A Perfect Summer Day to Break Ground for COSA
The excitement was palpable as faculty, staff, administrators, friends, and special guests gathered recently on a perfect summer day to break ground for Alfred State College’s Center for Organic and Sustainable Agriculture (COSA). The project, which was made possible, in part, thanks to a $4.9 million state grant obtained by NYS Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean, will house not only ASC’s conventional dairy herd, but also an organic dairy herd so students can learn both conventional and organic protocols. The Center will include a 60-stall dairy barn, new heifer and dry cow housing (again, both conventional and organic), a new calf-raising barn, and upgrades to existing farm structures. Although dairy farming is one of COSA’s prominent program, it is not the only one. Thanks to some Genesee Valley farmland in Groveland, faculty and students will have access to some of the region’s most productive cropland for hands-on learning about sustainable production of grain crops, vegetable crops, and forage crops. Alfred State also plans to take a leadership role in the integration of alternative energy technology, not only on the farm, but throughout campus. Dr. Terry Tucker, dean, School of Arts and Sciences at the college who served as emcee for the event, noted that “We are preparing our students for a very different future. The need for good stewardship of land, water, and soil, as well as savvy consumers who will want to know how and where their food products are produced will require agriculturists to be familiar and comfortable with the new technologies.” Additionally, Tucker noted, “The projected growth in population [9 billion people by 2050] will increase the demand for food by nearly 70%. It will be imperative for farmers to know how to use the same amount of land, probably less water, and possibly a less favorable climate for food production to meet the increased demand. And that’s what COSA is all about: we’re creating a new generation of problem solvers and innovative entrepreneurs whose influence will reach beyond Western New York.” Principals involved in the project include AES Agricultural Engineering Services, LLS, Auburn, NY; Baker Construction, Alfred; and Spoleto Construction, Rochester. Pictured here, l-r: Dave Spoleto, president, Spoleto Construction; Patricia K. Fogarty, chair, Alfred State College Council; Tucker; Dr. John M. Anderson, president, Alfred State College; Sen. Young; Eunice A. Lewin, trustee, State University of New York (SUNY); and Matthew A. Morgan, deputy commissioner, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets.