The county’s natural assets and issues about marketing were uppermost on the minds of people attending a series of focus group meetings in St. Lawrence County aimed at identifying the county’s agricultural community’s strengths, weaknesses, and direction.
The St. Lawrence County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board (SLCAFPB) is updating the county’s 2001 Agricultural Development Plan and so held the meetings to get input on prioritizing ways to preserve and promote farming in the county.
Issues talked about most by participants included the county’s natural assets, such as affordable land, abundant water, and good soils, and on increasing market demand for the county’s agricultural products.
They also talked about a detrimental tax burden and government regulations.
Issues identified by participants in the meetings in January and February were based on weaknesses in the farming sector, (negative issues that are internal to the county’s farming), and opportunities and trends that can be taken advantage of, the AFPB.
The top priority was identified as marketing and marketing demand, followed by suggestions to generate alternative energy.
Reducing the tax burden and cutting spending were third on the priority list, followed by improving and maintaining public infrastructure. Strengthening the industry’s business environment rounded out the priorities at number five on the list.
More information on the meetings, including a synopsis of the SWOT meetings, can be found on the web at www.stlawco.org.