A late afternoon rural scene in Western New York, featuring a field of corn and a beautiful sky.
January 2, 2020
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Albany, NY

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces Nearly $30 Million Awarded to Agricultural Projects Through the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces Nearly $30 Million Awarded to Agricultural Projects Through the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative
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58 Agricultural Projects Identified as Key to Growing the Agricultural and Food and Beverage Industries and Advancing Local Economies Across 10 Regions
More Than $420 Million Awarded to Agricultural Projects Since 2011

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that nearly $30 million has been awarded to support the growth of the New York’s farms and food and beverage industries through Governor Cuomo’s 2019 Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative.  The REDC awards were announced by the Governor on December 19, with 58 agriculture-related projects identified as key to advancing the State’s ten regional economies.  The list of the agricultural projects supported by REDCs across the State is available at the bottom of this page.

Commissioner Ball said, “I thank Governor Cuomo, Empire State Development and our REDCs for ensuring agriculture remains a priority in New York State. It is heartening to see that after nearly a decade, critical funding continues to support our dairy industry, help our food processors using New York State farm products to expand, invest in our packing and processing facilities, provide educational opportunities, and so much more.  New York is home to the best farms and best food and beverage businesses in the world and they are growing local economies, creating jobs, and improving quality of life.”

Since the Regional Councils were implemented in 2011, more than $420 million has been awarded to 602 agricultural projects.  Awards were made this year to projects supporting farm operations and expansions, packing, manufacturing and processing facilities, promotion of the State’s agri-tourism destinations, craft beverage production, farmers’ markets, commercial kitchens and incubators, agricultural educational programs and workforce development, and marketing opportunities.

A snapshot of the projects awarded in Round IX of the REDC initiative includes:

  • Western New York – $2.94 million was awarded to Empire State Brands for the renovation of a vacant food processing facility in Dunkirk.  The facility will be used to launch a vertically-integrated growing, processing and packaging operation for quality hops, malted barley, wheat, rye and other grains products. The new processing facility will enable further agricultural growth, support the craft beverage industry, and create jobs in the region.
  • Finger Lakes – $60,000 was awarded to Deer Run Winery to increase wine production capacity and introduce new and trending products to the marketplace.
  • Southern Tier – $599,000 was awarded to Saputo Dairy Foods USA to purchase and install new equipment enabling the company to create jobs, increase production efficiency, and support the launch of new milk products while increasing demand for New York State produced milk and milk products.
  • Central New York – $5 million was awarded to Cayuga Milk Ingredients for the installation of an evaporator and feed system and a UHT/Aseptic bottling line in order to increase production.
  • Mohawk Valley – $200,000 was awarded to OTSEGO NOW for the Oneonta Halal Meat Processing Facility.  The 7,200 square foot processing facility will be built in the Oneonta Business Park and provide specialized custom meat processing for local farmers and growers. It will serve the relatively untapped market for USDA-inspected Halal beef, lamb and goat, and value-added meat products in the NYC metropolitan area.
  • North Country – $250,000 was awarded to Ward Lumber Worker Cooperative, Inc. to purchase the assets of Ward Lumber, Inc., including real estate, machinery, equipment, furniture and fixtures, to preserve operations in Jay and Malone. This investment will establish a worker-owned cooperative business, avoiding liquidation and closure of a longtime community establishment.
  • Capital Region – $475,000 was awarded to King Brothers Dairy to expand its processing capacity and add a production line that will produce premium yogurt. The expansion will include additional processing space, a cold storage unit, and a renovation of part of the barns that house dairy cattle to accommodate the processing expansion.
  • Mid- Hudson Region – $800,000 was awarded to New York Juice Company, a subsidiary of Direct Refreshments, to design and construct a 50,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Dutchess County. The facility will produce Concord grape juice sourced from New York farmers. These products will be sold to schools through the NYS Farm-to-School Program as well as to hospitals, casinos and other locations.
  • Long Island – $180,000 was awarded Harbor Lights Oyster Co. North Fork to build the North Fork Aquaculture Center, a collaborative aquaculture center to house an oyster hatchery and a shellfish processing center that will offer accessible shore-based services to the local seafood industry.
  • New York City – $600,000 was awarded to The Randall’s Island Park Alliance to repurpose an existing vacant building into an accessible Nature Center at Randall’s Island Park. The Center will offer nature-based programs in urban farming, waterfront stewardship and urban ecology, and volunteer stewardship events.

In November 2019, Governor Cuomo also announced the winners of the Grow-NY competition.  Grow-NY is an unprecedented business competition focused on growing an enduring food and agriculture innovation cluster in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier regions of New York State. The competition, which will run for three rounds, offers a total of $3 million in funding to innovative, high-growth startups from across the globe focused on the food and agricultural industry. Funding for the Grow-NY competition is being provided through the Upstate Revitalization Initiatives connected with the three regions— CNY Rising, Finger Lakes Forward, and Southern Tier Soaring.

About the Regional Economic Development Councils 
The Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative is a key component of Governor Cuomo's approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources.

After nine rounds of the REDC process, more than $6.9 billion has been awarded to more than 8,300 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans, projecting to create and retain more than 240,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.