The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) today announced that HVADC has awarded $4.25 million to 26 projects in 19 counties across the state through the Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program. HVADC is administering this state program, which helps processors to expand existing or establish new meat processing facilities. The projects awarded today will help the businesses expand their new processing capacity by over 4.8 million pounds annually. The Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program was sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey to increase capacity of New York’s processing facilities and support agribusinesses.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program is a key component of the Department’s work to ensure that New York has a resilient, local food supply chain, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to a great partnership with HVADC, and with the support of Senator Hinchey, we are proud to see this program move forward and award some exciting projects. This funding will help to grow businesses across the state, support our farmers and producers, and ultimately increase New Yorkers’ access to high quality, locally sourced meat.”
HVADC Executive Director Todd Erling said, “This grant program is so important to all the efforts that are being made to create a resilient food system across the state. It is filling a need that has been growing over the past few years to have more processors available in critical locations from south to north, and HVADC is pleased to be able to extend our impact throughout New York by administering it for Agriculture and Markets. It is a testament of the need that we received 39 applications, requesting over $7 million from throughout the state.”
Senator Michelle Hinchey said, "In my conversations with meat farmers from across New York State, it became clear that the shortage and limited capacity of processing facilities have led to significant supply chain challenges, and in response, I pledged to help. We fought for and secured the first-ever funding to create the Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program, which will lead to new business growth for farmers while lowering costs and providing greater access to fresh, locally sourced food for New York families. I’d like to congratulate all of our meat farmers and processors who took advantage of this opportunity and thank both Ag & Markets and the Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation for their continued partnership in making this segment of our food supply chain more resilient."
Assemblymember Donna Lupardo said, “For years, we have heard about the lack of adequate meat processing capacity in NYS, causing some farmers to process out of state. This grant program is a commitment to the farmers and processors who are behind NY’s meat industry and to the consumers who want to buy and support local food. I’d like to thank Senator Hinchey for her leadership and partnership on this issue, and to the Governor and Ag & Markets for their support for NY’s meat supply chain.”
The program awarded 26 projects in total, prioritizing grants for 19 businesses that currently operate with USDA inspection status and that presented plans to expand their operations. Additionally, three processors with existing facilities seeking to move to USDA-inspected status were funded. Four start-up processors, which are planning USDA-inspected status at the conclusion of the project, were also included in this round of funding. The $4.25 million in total grants contribute to total cumulative project costs of almost $9.5 million statewide. The projects awarded today will help the businesses expand their new processing capacity by over 4.8 million pounds annually, of which over 3.6 million pounds will be from New York farms.
The Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program helps to fund projects that support the expansion of existing USDA-inspected meat processing facilities and the establishment of new USDA inspected meat processing facilities in the state. By expanding meat processing capacity in New York, this program addresses the nationwide shortage of affordable meat available to consumers, including the availability of protein sources for schools and institutional facilities in the state. The grant program makes it easier for beef, pork, lamb, goat, poultry, and seafood farmers to process their products and get affordable, local meat into a variety of markets, strengthening New York’s food supply chain and rural economies.
“For those who did not have the opportunity to apply, or were not awarded, there are other resources available for meat processors, such as the USDA Rural Development’s Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program, which is still open. We are available to help guide anyone who is interested in learning more about those sources to the appropriate organizations,” said Erling.
The HVADC is the Hudson Valley’s sole economic development agency with a specific focus on the viability of the agricultural economy in the region. It assists both new and existing agri-businesses such as farms, food businesses, and food distributors, by providing technical and business consultation, access to capital, and resources. As a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), the non-profit promotes balanced, market-based solutions that lead to enhanced agricultural entrepreneurship, rural economic growth, diversity inclusion, and community enhancement. For more information, please visit: www.hvadc.org.