For the first time in its almost 80 year history, the Yates County Soil & Water Conservation District Office (YCSW) played host to the New York State Soil & Water Conservation Committee for two days, Oct. 28-29, organizing their meeting here in Penn Yan, arranging food and accommodation at local restaurants and the Hampton Inn, and taking some 38 members, including New York State Commissioner of Ag. & Markets Richard Ball, on a tour of projects in Yates and Seneca Counties.
With the ecological and economic disaster known as the “Dust Bowl” in the 1930s, Congress declared soil and water conservation a national priority for agriculture and the environment, giving rise to the creation of local Soil & Water Conservation Districts. Yates County’s SWCD was created Sept. 30, 1940 as just the second in the state. And over that long history, Yates County has developed in ways that today make it unique in the state. This two-day conference was an opportunity to meet with state policy makers to ensure they are aware of the both the unique qualities of Yates’ agricultural economy, and the vitality those qualities foster.