Several notable facility improvements this past year have Cornell AgriTech poised to serve as a main ecosystem for food and agriculture development in New York state. Highlighted below, these recent renovations and building upgrades will provide a solid foundation for new and critical research and development in the state's food and agriculture sectors. 

Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture Co-location Space

Renovations were completed in May 2021 for a new space in Cornell AgriTech’s Food Science building that will house the Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture (COE). The objective of the new space is to support agriculture and food companies with laboratory and office space located in close proximity to the COE, Cornell Food Venter Center and other Cornell AgriTech expertise.

Key space details

  • Labs and offices will be available to companies of any size.
  • The space will serve to incubate, accelerate and develop companies depending on company needs and size.
  • Several companies have expressed interest in renting space. Licensing agreements are currently underway and the goal is to have the spaces occupied by Fall 2021.
  • The space will also include co-working space and a conference room that is available for short term business rental.

COE Research and Development Kitchen

Renovations are underway on an unused lab space near the Cornell Food Venture Center (CFVC) pilot plant, which will become the COE's Research and Development (R & D) Kitchen. In this space, food companies working with the CFVC or COE will have the opportunity to test their recipes before or after using the pilot plant. The kitchen will also allow companies to troubleshoot problems. The R & D Kitchen will launch in Fall 2021.

Organic research farm at Cornell AgriTech

A new, 20-acre organic research field at Cornell AgriTech will support New York's state organic farming industry, valued at $298 million annually. The farm will be be part of the Gates Road Farm in Geneva, New York. The objective of this new organic farming operation is to support the increasing number of farmers (primarily vegetable farmers) who use organic production methods through research that spans production practices to the prevention of pests and diseases.

Recently completed upgrades include new field tile, perimeter fencing, stone roadway improvements, tree removal, drainage and ditch cleaning, electric service installment and an irrigation waterline.

Grapes are the most economically important specialty crop in the U.S. contributing $162 billion annually to the U.S. economy. Therefore, vineyards are a critical component of the U.S. agroecosystem and rural economy.

Plans are underway for the construction of a National Grape Improvement center on the Cornell AgriTech campus that will house both United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Cornell scientists. The grape research facility will be the largest of its kind in the world with 43,000 square feet of laboratory and office space and 16,000 square feet of laboratory space.

Construction timeline

  • June 2021: Complete planning and 30% design.
  • February 2022: The final design will be completed.
  • April 2022: Advertisements for a construction contract will begin.
  • October 2022: A construction contract will be awarded.
  • 2023 - 2024: Site construction will occur.
  • October 2024: Project completion.

USDA/Cornell research will focus on:

  • The understanding of the genetics of the most important grape traits including:
    • Host plant resistance to disease, especially fungal diseases.
    • Abiotic stress tolerance including cold-hardiness and drought.
    • Fruit chemistry.
  • The connection between genetics and genomics research to the grape germplasm repository for characterization, evaluation and utilization of grape genetic resources.
  • Support and acceleration of grape breeding and establishment of a genomics-based breeding program including transgene-free gene editing and other technologies to understand and manipulate grape genomes and genes.