CCEDC works to extend the educational resources of Cornell University and the New York State Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Human Ecology and Veterinary Medicine, the Land Grant university system and other educational institutions, to the people of Dutchess County to foster economic, social and environmental improvement of its individuals, families and communities.

CCEDC is a subordinate governmental agency consisting of an unincorporated organization of residents of Dutchess County in cooperation with Cornell University and the United States Department of Agriculture; and in accordance with subdivision 8(b) of section 224 of the County Law as amended. CCEDC is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of members of the community, and each program area has its own advisory committee.

CCEDC works through four main program areas: Agriculture & Horticulture, Environment and Energy, Family & Consumer Education and 4-H Youth Development.