Ag Commissioner highlights $ for farms and food


New York State Agriculture commissioner Richard Ball has highlighted the more than $33 million in funding awarded through Governor Cuomo’s 2017 Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative that will support the growth of the New York’s farms and food and beverage industries across the State.
The REDC awards were announced by the Governor on December 13.
A total of 94 agriculture-related projects were identified as key to advancing the state’s 10 regional economies.
“Agriculture and related food and beverage businesses are major drivers of the New York State economy,” Commissioner Ball said. “I’m pleased that the Regional Councils, who are made up of leaders representing our State’s communities, businesses and universities, are supporting projects that will help these industries grow. From traditional on-farm expansion projects to marketing programs designed to promote our world-class food and beverage companies, these projects are critical to our regional economies.”
Since the Regional Councils were implemented in 2011, more than $347 million has been awarded to 463 agricultural projects. Awards were made this year to projects supporting farm operations and expansions, food manufacturing and distribution businesses, craft beverage production, food hub facilities, farmers’ markets, commercial kitchens and incubators, agricultural training programs and marketing opportunities.
As part of the REDC awards, $4 million has been provided to non-profit organizations in the Southeran Tier, Central New York, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Capital Region, Long Island and New York City regions to administer the New York State Grown & Certified Agricultural Producers’ Grant Program. The grant program, launched this year, will help New York State agricultural producers meet food safety standards and join the New York State Grown & Certified program.
A snapshot of the projects awarded in Round 7 of the REDC initiative include:
•Western New York - $1.5 million was awarded to Howlett Farms in Livingston County for the Howlett Soy & Barley Grain Center, which will be the first operation of its kind in Western New York. It will have two core components; soybean extruding to produce soymeal and oil, and a malting barley clearinghouse and storage facility.
•Finger Lakes - $180,000 was awarded to Genesee First Light Farm Creamery to expand its dairy and processing operations in East Bethany.
•Southern Tier - $2.1 million was awarded to Steuben Golden Age Cheese Co., Inc. in the Village of Painted Post to construct a new state-of-the-art cheese production facility. The project includes the construction of a new manufacturing facility to produce and develop new products. By increasing the company’s need for local milk and adding jobs in cheese production, the project will help fill a void in the market being created by the recent transfer of the Kraft facility in Campbell to Upstate Niagara.
•Central New York - $1.2 million was awarded to Morrisville State College for its Four Seasons College Farm Initiative. The project will assist the college in combining their Controlled Environment Agriculture, Aquaculture, Dairy, Ag Science and Livestock programs. It includes the expansion and renovation of existing facilities, a larger controlled environment agriculture greenhouse, processing and storage facilities, classroom structure and commercial space for entrepreneurial activities.
•North Country - $705,000 was awarded to War Canoe Spirits to establish a distillery manufacturing operation with tasting, dining, retail and event space in Crown Point. The company will manufacture craft spirits and hard cider on-site.
•Mohawk Valley - $1.5 million was awarded to Oneida Waterville Economic Development Corporation for the Empire State Cook/Chill (ESFCC). ESFCC is proposing the construction and fit-out of an expandable 30,000-40,000 square foot OSHA-compliant state-of-the-art building that will become a high-quality USDA-inspected Ready To Eat (RTE) meats and value-added protein production/processing and distribution facility.
•Capital Region - $2.9 million was awarded to Schenectady Re4orm Architecture to renovate a blighted building and create the Schenectady Innovation Project, a center for food and beverage development and production featuring labs and training facilities for culinary education, and commercial space.
•Mid-Hudson Region - $982,290 was awarded to the Dutchess Land Conservancy to buy a conservation easement on the Jordan Lane Farm in Pine Plains. Protecting this land is important because of its proximity to the Town’s well fields and other protected lands, and its location overlaying aquifer recharge areas.
•Long Island - $250,000 was awarded to Manna Fish Farms, located approximately 8 miles off shore in the Shinnecock Inlet, to farm finfish, shellfish and macro algae, while researching and developing integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) in the open ocean. Plans include the acquisition and development of an operating finfish hatchery and grow out facilities to support the growing aquaculture industry.
•New York City - $1.429 million was awarded to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation Food Manufacturing and Shared Kitchen Space project. The Brooklyn Navy Yard will upgrade an existing structure on its 300-acre property to meet general and food manufacturing standards. This upgrade will create much needed space for small businesses to make and package food products.