December 16, 2016
Albany, NY

State Agriculture Commissioner Highlights Nearly $27 Million Awarded Through the Regional Economic Development Councils to Grow the Agricultural and Food and Beverage Industries

State Agriculture Commissioner Highlights Nearly $27 Million Awarded Through the Regional Economic Development Councils to Grow the Agricultural and Food and Beverage Industries
68 Agricultural Projects Identified as Key to Advancing Local Economies Across 10 Regions
Nearly $314 Million Awarded to 369 Projects Since 2011

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today highlighted the nearly $27 million in funding awarded through Governor Cuomo’s 2016 Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative that will support the growth of the agricultural, food and beverage industries in New York State.  The REDC awards were announced by the Governor on December 8.  A total of 68 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, “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 the agricultural industry grow. From farm operation expansion projects to training programs to feed the pipeline in the agriculture and food and beverage industries, these projects are proving important to our regional economies.”

ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Under Governor Cuomo, New York has shown unprecedented support for agribusiness and the State’s growing craft beverage industry, resulting in more jobs and a boost for local communities. These awards continue his commitment to the sustainability of these industries, which are vital to New York’s economy.”

Since the Regional Councils were implemented in 2011, nearly $314 million has been awarded to 369 agricultural and food and beverage 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.

A snapshot of the projects awarded include:

Western New York – $2.1 million for seven projects, including $1 million for the state-of-the-art expansion of Edelweiss Dairy Farm and $220,000 for a farmers’ market in the City of Olean.

Finger Lakes – $3.5 million for seven projects, including $2.3 million for the Livonia Agribusiness Park and $213,500 for a commercial kitchen incubator in downtown Rochester.

Southern Tier – $811,500 for four projects, including $250,000 for Fagan Engineers Land Surveyors P.C. to create a wine production, warehousing and distribution facility.

Central New York – $1.9 million for nine projects, including $200,000 to JD Farms to help build and equip an industrial biomass processing plant in Georgetown, which will be used to process commodity crops such as hay, wheat straw and industrial hemp.

North Country – $1.85 million for seven projects, including $1.2 million for CEI Greenhouses to establish greenhouses in Ogdensburg to grow leafy green vegetables using a hydroponic system.

Mohawk Valley – $3.9 million for six projects, including $100,000 for the Vets2Farm training program.

Capital Region – nearly $8.5 million for 11 projects, including $600,000 to support the expansion of Hawthorne Valley Farm in Columbia County and $325,000 to expand the Adirondack Pub Brewery and to establish a Craft Beverage Campus in Warren County.

Mid- Hudson Region – $1.9 million for eight projects, including $750,000 for the Star Estate Distillery, which will establish a craft distillery relocating its brand, Star Vodka, from Oregon, expand spirit production into whiskey, bourbon and gin along with private label products for new brands, and create a 25 room boutique hotel, event space and small organic farm in the Town of Esopus.

Long Island – $825,000 for six projects, including $300,000 for Montauk Inlet Seafood, which will expand their ice making capacity by creating a production, storage and distribution system to support local Montauk fishing vessels.

New York City – $1.47 million for three projects, including $375,000 for Urban Farmers, a Swiss-based rooftop aquaponics developer and operator, which will build an aquaponics and hydroponics greenhouse on rooftop space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.

David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President said, “Agriculture plays a valuable role in the rural economy all across upstate New York and Long Island. It is important for the state to continue to invest in processing, distribution and economic development projects that will increase the demand for farm products and support the future growth of farm based businesses.”

A centerpiece of the Governor's strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils were established in 2011 to replace the state's old top-down approach to economic development, with one that is community-based and performance-driven. The initiative empowers community, business, and academic leaders, as well as members of the public in each region of the state, to develop strategic plans specifically tailored to their region's unique strengths and resources in order to create jobs, improve quality of life and grow the economy.

Since 2011, the first year of the initiative, over $4.6 billion has been awarded to more than 5,200 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 210,000 jobs statewide.