By Rick Miller

ELLICOTTVILLE — Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cattaraugus County has joined with three neighboring counties in a survey of local agriculture to determine its service needs.

Richard E. Rivers, the interim executive director at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cattaraugus County, said Cattaraugus joined Chautauqua, Allegany and Steuben counties in the survey.

It is available both online on the respective counties’ Extension websites and by requesting a printed copy be mailed, Rivers said.

The Agriculture Advisory Committee for the Cattaraugus County Cooperative Extension have long wanted to restart this county’s agriculture program, Rivers said. They are looking for local information on what products and crops farmers are growing and what their needs are as far as a local source of information.

Cattaraugus County started running its own Cooperative Extension three years ago after many years as a joint operation with Allegany County.

“None of us have the resources to offer a complete program in all the agriculture areas,” Rivers said, adding that if each county had one agriculture specialist that could be shared with the other three counties it would be a big improvement.

“We hope we can put things together and get the financial backing we need,” Rivers said. “It’s the next step in building up our agriculture program.”

“Then we are going to have to get back with our Agriculture Committee and see what we would like to recommend to our board,” Rivers said.

The board would like to start the program up next year, but will need additional resources.

Rivers urged members of the county’s agriculture community take a few minutes “to take part in the survey so we can get a more accurate read on what’s out there and what the needs are.”

The survey is available online at Click on the agriculture tab and go to Southern Tier Regional Agriculture and Natural Resources Survey.

“Call us and we’ll mail it out,” Rivers said. “We’ve sent out 150 so far and more have taken it online. We wanted to get the word out that the survey is due June 1.”

The phone number is 699-2377.