Tough Times For Farmers In Current ‘Down’ Cycle

March 28th, 2018 Comments off

Potter County farmers are facing stiff challenges to remain in business and there are no easy solutions. But conditions do change over time. That was the assessment from Nicole Santangelo Carutis, agronomy educator with Penn State Extension, in a presentation to the Potter County Commissioners on Tuesday. PSU Extension and other agencies continue to work with the farming community to help its members endure the current conditions, with the expectation that profitability will eventually improve.

Dairy farmers have been especially hard-hit, Carutis said. Three more dairy operators in Potter County have gone out of business over the past three years and a fourth will soon pull out. The amount of milk yield per cow has risen to record levels, which has created an oversupply in many areas. Potter County farmers are handicapped by the expense of getting milk to the larger consumer markets. Some have responded to the marginal dairy economy by expanding into livestock and crops, for which start-up costs are not as high as dairying.

The situation is brighter when it comes to crops, Carutis pointed out. Production per-acre has risen as a result of many factors. She added that, despite current challenges, commodity prices and agricultural trends tend to be cyclical. Potter County has some inherent advantages for agriculture, including adequate precipitation. Historically, local farmers have shown their resourcefulness in times of trouble. In the long run, agriculture in its broadest sense — which includes forest production — will continue to be Potter County’s biggest industry.

Potter County 4-H Programs Still Going Strong

March 28th, 2018 Comments off

Programs being provided by Penn State Extension, supporting farming, youth development, environmental protection and other aspects of rural living, were paraded in front of Potter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover this week at the Potter County Education Center. Here, Toby Neal, 4-H educator, details programs operated year-round to educate young people, help them explore areas of interest and possible careers, and develop social skills and leadership. There are 13 active clubs in Potter County with a total membership of roughly 180, Neal said. Nearly three dozen adults are involved as leaders. The commissioners also heard from Nicole Carutis, agriculture; Heather McKean, water resources; and Kathy Mitchell, master gardening and environmental/conservation education. Additionally, they learned details of activities that have been launched to control invasive species in the region.

Officials From Three Counties Attend ‘Boot Camp’

March 18th, 2018 Comments off

Times have changed in township and borough governing. New state laws have added responsibilities — but also opportunities — for public officials to improve services for their constituents. Last week, elected officials and administrators had an opportunity to receive training during a two-day “boot camp” at the Gunzburger Building in Coudersport. Potter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Susan Kefover and Paul Heimel approved a proposal by Planning Director Will Hunt to provide the class. It’s part of a broader effort to develop a stronger county/municipality partnership in Potter County, and to equip local leaders with knowledge and skills required to do their jobs effectively.  Officials from Potter, Tioga and Elk counties participated. Instructors were provided by the Pa. State Assn. of Boroughs. Among topics to covered were: Meeting Procedures, Sunshine Law, Managing Public Comment, Committees and Boards, Ordinances and Resolutions, Bidding Requirements, Fire and Police Management, Personnel Management, Municipal Budgeting, Taxation Requirements, Basic Planning and Zoning, Risk Management, Public Works and Code Administration.

Still Time To Apply For Property Tax/Rent Rebate

March 7th, 2018 Comments off

Applications are still being accepted the state’s 2017 Property Tax/Rent Rebate. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities. Annual income limits are $15,000 for renters and $35,000 for homeowners, excluding 50 percent of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits. Additional information is available here.

Help Available For Small Businesses At Education Center

February 19th, 2018 Comments off

Small business owners and people who would like to go into business can get some practical advice from an expert source in Coudersport. For more than two decades, the Clarion University Small Business Development Center has provided counsel. Now, a specialist has scheduled office hours to complement other SBDC services. Aleshia Marshall, business outreach consultant, shared details with the Potter County Commissioners last week. She is available from 9 am to 3 pm on the third Thursday of each month at the Potter County Education Center in Water Street in Coudersport. Other times are available by appointment. More information is available at 814-393-2060. Among the topics that will be covered in each appointment are financial analysis options, market research, business plan development, environmental compliance issues, marketing, management and others.

Latest Edition Of Potter County Veterans News Available

February 7th, 2018 Comments off

Latest edition of the quarterly newsletter, Potter County Veterans News, is now available. Among the more timely stories in the First Quarter 2018 edition is the announcement of a visit from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to Potter County Sept. 13-17 and a Vietnam Veterans Recognition Dinner and Memorial Service that weekend. Other stories focus on Potter County’s Vietnam War casualties; an explanation of the National Purple Heart Trail; a feature about Medal of Honor recipients Cpl. Thomas Cullen and Lt. James H. McDonald; a spotlight on a non-profit organization that support veterans’ employment and an update on the Veterans Designation/ID on Pennsylvania driver’s licenses. The First Quarter 2018 edition and all past issues of Potter County Veterans News are available on the county website, pottercountypa.net, or by contacting Dawn Wooster, executive secretary for the Potter County Commissioners, at 814-274- 8290, extension 207.