Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that farmers in Western New York can apply for grants to make farm equipment purchases and construct or renovate agricultural structures. The grants, generally not to exceed $50,000 per application and available to agricultural producers with commercial farms in Allegany, Erie, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Niagara counties, allows for funding of these capital expenditures. The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) awarded Farm Credit East $1 million to establish this agriculture development program.
More and more people are enjoying the incredible products grown by New Yorks farmers and we want to capitalize on that success by helping them continue to expand, Governor Cuomo said. Through programs like Taste NY, Pride of NY and the FreshConnect farmers market program, we are getting the word out that the fresh farm products in this state are among the very best. I encourage eligible farmers to apply for this funding so they can continue to grow and prosper.
Eligible applicants should be able to retain and expand agricultural activity, increase access to locally grown products, create jobs, and strengthen economic development in rural communities. Generally up to $50,000 may be awarded per application, which is expected to leverage matching loan funding through Farm Credit East or other financing sources. Examples of eligible projects include a small cheese production on a dairy farm or a new vegetable cooler on a vegetable farm.
Farm Credit East Executive Vice President James Putnam said, Farm Credit East is already very active in financing value-added projects in Western New York and this grant opportunity will allow us to extend the service by providing the additional needed equity that makes these projects possible. We thank the WNYREDC and Empire State Development for making this grant available and look forward to administering the program.
Satish K. Tripathi, WNYREDC Co-Chair and University at Buffalo President, said, Agriculture is a vital industry in Western New York and as a WNYREDC targeted sector we are working to ensure that the industry has the ability to access and expand their products into new markets. The Agriculture Development Fund will help the industry become more competitive through, in part, more effective processes. As our Western New York agricultural industry becomes more competitive, a growth in jobs and income for our local farms will be the result.
Howard Zemsky, WNYREDC Co-Chair and Larkin Development Group Managing Partner, said, One of the tremendous advantages of farming in Western New York is the proximity to consumers and those consumers have an increased interest in where their food comes from, resulting in an greater demand for locally produced food products. This is where the Agriculture Development Fund comes in. It addresses the needs of our farmers and helps them develop strong market strategies that will increase agricultural output.
The rolling grants, with no specific deadline as of now, are based on eligibility and awarded competitively. Multiple farms may apply on one application with their aggregate application generally not to exceed $50,000 per farm. For an application, contact Nathan Rudgers, Farm Credit Easts director of business development, at 800-929-1350 (office), 585-993-0395 (mobile) orNathan.Rudgers@FarmCreditEast.com.
Farm Credit East is a financial service cooperative for the northeast agriculture industry and the largest lender to agriculture in New York State providing loans to capitalize agriculture business. Its current client base is more than 13,000. It is also a leader in farm legislation and land preservation activities.
About the Regional Economic Development Councils
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's transformative 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 three rounds of the REDC process, more than $2 billion has been awarded to job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans, supporting the creation or retention of more than 100,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visitwww.regionalcouncils.ny.gov