Adrian Kuzminski’s recent article on the benefits of local business ownership and how a simple regulation can effectively hold off big business consolidation gives us another opportunity to better understand the current state of rural economies like ours.
The consolidation and productivity increases in the dairy industry have nearly wiped out the small business farm economy in our region. That economy supported myriad small businesses such as mechanics, electricians, feeds stores, and so on that kept their profits and capital here. This capital was deposited in local banks like Wilber National and rein-vested here as this was their market.
In 2020, Otsego County lost our remaining, local, full-service bank — The Bank of Cooperstown —
when Wayne Bank, a mid-sized regional bank located in northeast Pennsylvania, purchased it. The name
has not changed yet due to the Bank of Cooperstown’s strong local brand.