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By Jacob Pucci
  • Center of Excellence in Food and Agriculture
  • Cornell AgriTech
The award recognizes Cornell AgriTech's significant contributions to the growth, prosperity and betterment of the community and New York state.

New York State Senator Pamela A. Helming presented Cornell AgriTech with a New York State Senate Empire Award in recognition of the station's significant contributions and dedication to the growth, prosperity and betterment of the community and New York state.

Helming presented the award to Olga Padilla-Zakour, interim director of Cornell AgriTech, and Cathy Young, executive director of the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture, while speaking to the attendees of the New York Concord Grape Innovation Award summit, held in Jordan Hall at Cornell AgriTech on Dec. 9. 

"This recognition speaks highly of the important work we do every day, both individually, and as a collaborative group of committed professionals," Padilla-Zakour said. 

Helming, a member of Cornell AgriTech's advisory council, also highlighted Cornell AgriTech's leadership and its commitment to innovation, economic growth and job production. 

“When it comes to agriculture, food and beverage, there is so much that puts the Finger Lakes and New York State on the map—and that’s largely thanks to the work of Cornell AgriTech," Helming said in a statement. "Cornell AgriTech is part of the innovation ecosystem that drives the development of new products and markets for farmers, food processors, and beverage manufacturers—and supports the entrepreneurs and start-up companies essential to our economic future." 

State senators are given a limited number of prestigious Empire Awards to bestow each year.

"From the Center of Excellence to the Food Venture Center to the Tech Farm, by all measures, Cornell AgriTech is a world-class resource we are fortunate to have in our backyard," Helming added. "Its work trickles down to our local communities and families—in terms of business and job growth and healthy food on the family dinner table. In its 140th anniversary year, and for its extensive contributions to the agriculture, food and beverage industries in our region and state, it is my honor to present Cornell AgriTech with the New York State Senate Empire Award.” 

Young, who served alongside Helming in the New York State Senate before becoming executive director of the COE, said the award recognizes Cornell AgriTech's worldwide impact on food and agriculture and its role in turning innovation into economic growth and job creation across New York. 

"For over 140 years, Cornell AgriTech has been a force of innovation that has been instrumental in developing New York’s food and agricultural industries," Young said. "We believe the work being done here at Cornell AgriTech is imperative to the future of agriculture and food production and the continued growth of the state's economy, so we're proud to see our state officials share that belief."

Jacob Pucci is the marketing and communications coordinator for the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech.

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