Plans to develop CNY equine industry

It's being touted as a major economic boom to Madison County and a way to bring major economic development to the area. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and State Senator Dave Valesky were on hand Tuesday to announce the expansion of Cazenovia College's Equine Education Program.

A major part of that includes the creation of the New York State Center for Equine Business Development. "To set up a center here at Cazenovia, which will train people to go into these businesses, is a great opportunity here," said Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY. Every year, Schumer says, equine-related businesses bring in more than $2.5 billion to the state. Growing Central New York's equine industry, he says, could bring even more.

In fact, the college claims it will have an economic impact statewide of $184 million dollars over five years. "Cazenovia is poised to do something big and be a leader in the equine industry, an industry that nationally produces as much economic activity every year as Hollywood," said Mark Tierno, Cazenovia College president.

The hope is to create new businesses and bring new jobs in horse training, riding facilities, even feed stores, which is music to the ears of folks like Heather Jaquay, an equine nutrition consultant. "The more equine businesses there are, then there will be more farms for me to visit and talk with people about the best way to feed their horses and take care of their horses, and then eventually we'll sell more horse feed," she said.

Two-time Olympic Gold Medal Winner Beezie Madden and her husband John are fixtures in the local equine industry. They're thrilled about the news. "We have a fantastic opportunity not only with race horses, but for breeding sport horses and for competing and developing sport horses, pleasure horses of all sorts," said John Madden, a Cazenovia horse trainer.

Asked by Action News specifically what the federal government will do to make this happen, Senator Schumer told us, "What the federal government will do is be providing some dollars, hopefully. That's what I'm going to try to get to set up this center and do the training and do all of that and then provide development grants for people who want to set up businesses here."

Bottom line, there's plenty of excitement sweeping across Madison County. They hope it will put this area on the map as a key player in the equine industry. Development of the center is already underway. We could see the first physical changes within the next year.