December 22, 2017
Albany, NY

State Agriculture Commissioner Highlights More Than $33 Million Awarded to Agricultural Projects Through the Regional Economic Development Councils

State Agriculture Commissioner Highlights More Than $33 Million Awarded to Agricultural Projects Through the Regional Economic Development Councils
94 Agricultural Projects Identified as Key to Growing the Agricultural and Food and Beverage Industries and Advancing Local Economies Across 10 Regions
More Than $347 Million Awarded to 463 Projects Since 2011

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today 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 ten regional economies.  The full list of projects supported by REDCs across the State is available here.

Commissioner Ball said, “Agriculture and related food and beverage businesses are major drivers of the New York State economy.  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 Southern 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.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Through the Regional Economic Development Councils, each region developed a blueprint for economic growth and job creation tailored to its strengths. Agriculture remains a cornerstone industry across the state and the funding awarded will support industry growth and help sustain the State’s farming economy.”

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 seven rounds of the REDC process, more than $5.4 billion has been awarded to more than 6,300 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans, projecting to create and retain more than 220,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit