NY Equine Business Leaders Saddle Up for a Summit
Barbara Lindberg has been teaching Cazenovia College students about horses and the equine industry for more than a decade. A few miles down Route 20, Mike Bednarek, a professor at Morrisville State College and another visionary in the equine industry, has also been teaching students about the horse business.They, along with several other entrepreneurs, will be laying out a vision for the growth of horse-related business at the Equine Business Summit to be held at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse on September 18th.
The CNY region has already seen a great deal of expansion in the equine business sector. In 2010 US Senator Charles Schumer secured federal funds for a business district—Equine Alley—focused on building up horse-related businesses and research infrastructure in Madison and Onondaga counties.
Part of that buildup was the establishment of the New York State Center for Equine Business Development, a research center devoted to finding ways to help equine businesses grow across the State. As director of the Center, Lindberg is at the center of the effort to grow the equine economy. Her challenge is to spread the word—well beyond the 46-mile stretch of Equine Alley—that CNY is home to both the knowledge and the resources to help horses and buisnesses thrive.
NY State Senator Dave Valesky helped establish the initial Equine Alley business district, and he remains enthusiastic about the opportunities for growth. “Central New York has long been home to a vibrant equine industry. That industry has an even brighter future thanks to our region’s affordable land, deep roots in agribusiness and strong equine educational programs.”
The State equine economy is significant. According to a 2005 study, equine-related businesses accounted for $2.4 Billion of the state’s annual economic activity, creating jobs for more than 12,000 people, injecting almost $170 million in wages into county economies.
These businesses are spread all across New York. Some, like the Saratoga and Belmont Park raceways are famous for the glamour of racing. Others, like the Morrisville State College Equine Rehabilitation Center, or the Cornell University Equine Hospital are renowned for their devotion to equine medical research and rehabilitation.
The Summit leaders want to connect these pockets of activity and help the industry grow its revenues and influence statewide. On September 18th, they’ll map out their plan for helping entrepreneurs throughout the state grow their equine businesses and connect with each other to create an integrated business community.
Mike Bednarek envisions a cooperative network that helps equine entrepreneurs, but his first love is definitely the horses. He sees a future where animal care is central to a humane and thriving business. “Our long term vision is to get more connections. For example, if a veterinarian wanted to join with us and have a surgery center, we could attach it to the rehab center. Then a horse could come in and say, have bones chips removed from his knee, and then do rehab in the same place. That’s a dream that many people could connect livelihoods to.”
Summit attendance is by invitation. For more information contact Sara Way, Executive Director of the Morrisville College Foundation, or Matt Clark, Executive Director for External Relations at Cazenovia College. For more information, go to the Equine Summit page on Facebook.