Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The tentative 2013 Orleans County budget will be presented to legislators next month, but several agencies that receive county funding are making the case for further investment before the spending plan is finalized.
Representatives from both the Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District and the Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension told legislators Wednesday that the programs they provide a beneficial return on the county’s investment.
S&WCD Manager Dan Schuth updated legislators on the district’s 2012 projects, which he said added 54 miles of tile and 7.7 miles of ditches to improve soil quality on farmland and other properties.
“(The tile) pays for itself in two years and it’s all profit after that,” Schuth said.
Schuth also worked with the Canal Corporation to identify points where water is withdrawn from the canal for agricultural use, which helped manage water levels when a section of the canal had to be drained in August.
The county invested $57,500 into the district this year, which Schuth said returned more than $1.25 million in grant funds and project work this year. He’s requesting $60,250 this year.
“We return $21.68 for every dollar invested,” Schuth said. “I’d do that every day if I could.”
OCCCE Operating Manager Larry Riegel, Cornell Vegetable Team onion specialist Christy Hoepting and Guy Smith of Triple G Farms all spoke to legislators about the benefits of the county’s $219,000 investment in 2012.
In addition to providing 4-H experiences for more than 1,000 students; the representatives said the county’s 2012 funding went towards funding regional teams of dairy, fruit and vegetable specialists that greatly assist agricultural efforts.
“The advantage of Orleans County buying in (to the specialist teams) is that local farms get expertise and knowledge,” Hoepting said.
At one point, six counties funded 70 percent of the cost of three specialist teams. Now, ten counties fund less than half of the cost for five specialist teams; which Hoepting said has the programs “at their max”