June 19, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces More Than $1 Million Awarded to Farmers Across New York

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces More Than $1 Million...

New Farmers Grant Fund Will Assist 27 Early-Stage Farms

Funding Continues Governor's Support for State's Growing Agriculture Industry


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $1 million has been awarded to 27 new and early-stage farms through the New York State New Farmers Grant Fund. Since its launch in 2014, the program has provided nearly $2.5 million to 66 farms across the state to expand operations and improve profitability.

"Agriculture remains a major New York industry, and with support from the New Farmers Grant Fund, we will be making investments that will pay dividends for future generations of farmers," Governor Cuomo said. "The Fund continues to provide access to capital to help new and early farms grow, while supporting the expansion of businesses statewide, and with this latest round of awards, New York will help increase production and support this critically important part of our economy for years to come."

The New Farmers Grant Fund award recipients by region are:

Capital Region

  • Blue Star Farm NY, LLC, Columbia County – $50,000
  • Letterbox Farm, LLC, Columbia County – $31,000
  • MX Morningstar Farm, Columbia County – $30,436

Finger Lakes

  • Buttonwood Grove Winery, Seneca County – $50,000
  • Camman Acres, LLC, Monroe County – $18,021
  • First Light Farm & Creamery, Genesee County – $50,000
  • Hartway Brothers, Orleans County – $42,500
  • Lyman and Chelsey Rudgers, Wyoming County – $50,000

Long Island

  • Sannino's Bella Vita Vineyard, Suffolk County – $19,154

Mid-Hudson Valley

  • Long Season Farm, Ulster County – $32,119
  • Westwind Orchard, LLC, Ulster County – $48,619

Mohawk Valley

  • Autumn Valley Farm, Otsego County – $39,900
  • Collins Farm, LLC, Oneida County – $50,000
  • Dygert Farms Creamery, Montgomery County – $37,500
  • Michael B’s Honey Co., Oneida County – $30,770

North Country

  • Black Rooster Maple, Essex County – $50,000
  • Echo Farm, Essex County – $23,401
  • Reber Rock Farm, Essex County – $35,065

Southern Tier

  • Bensvue Farms, LLC, Tompkins County – $46,118
  • Hemlock Ridge Farm, Steuben County – $50,000
  • Nanticoke Gardens, Broome County – $49,510
  • Shannon Brook Farm, Schuyler County – $44,000
  • Homestead Hog Farm, Steuben County – $38,741

Western New York

  • Black Bird Cider Works, Niagara County – $46,245
  • Bliss Dairy Company, Inc., Cattaraugus County – $50,000
  • Nathan & Sarah Nickerson, Chautauqua County – $16,660
  • Niefergold Dairy, LLC, Erie County – $50,000

The New Farmers Grant Fund is administered by Empire State Development, in consultation with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Nearly 60 applications were submitted for program funding this round, with applicants scored based on specific criteria, including demonstrating how the project expands or diversifies agricultural production. Grant funds will be used for project costs associated with the construction of farm buildings, and the purchase of equipment and supplies.

The Fund provides grants of up to $50,000 to assist with up to 50 percent of eligible project costs, with the remaining 50 percent being matched by the recipient. All eligible farm owners must be within the first ten years of ownership and the farm must have a minimum of $10,000 in income from sales of products grown or raised on the farm. This year, the program eliminated the 150 acres or less requirement and accepted farm applicants of all sizes.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Farms play an important role in the life of every New Yorkers – they produce a range of foods and beverages, support jobs, and contribute to local and regional economies. These grants will support the state’s early-stage farmers and enable them to increase production, helping to ensure sustainability in the state’s agriculture industry."

New York State Agriculture & Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "From dairy farms to farm-based craft beverage producers, the New Farmers Grant Fund allows the State to make meaningful investments that support a wide range of agricultural producers at a critical stage. By providing these beginning farmers with the boost they need to expand their operations now, they'll be able to grow their business and reinvest in their communities well into the future."

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Patty Ritchie said, "The future of New York's agriculture industry depends on attracting new people to careers in farming. I was proud to create this program, which is providing the next generation of New York farmers with the resources they need to be successful, boosts our economy and protects the future of family farming. I would like to thank the Governor and the Commissioner for recognizing the importance of this program, and wish this year's recipients the best of luck as they work to join the ranks of our state's hardworking farmers."

Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee said, "The New Farmer's Grant Fund gives a jump start to diverse farm operations incubating across the state. This investment in our local agriculture movement shows support for New York’s beginning farmers and encourages career choices in start-up farms and agribusiness."

Assembly Member Didi Barrett said, "In our beautiful Hudson Valley, farming is an integral part of our local economy. The New Farmers Grant Fund is vital to ensuring the future of agriculture in our region and across the state. I'm so pleased that the hardworking young farmers of Letterbox and MXMorningstar will benefit from this program so they may continue to ensure access to fresh, healthy local food for our communities."

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "We must continue to support those looking to be a part of the future of agriculture in this state. That includes meeting the challenges of accessing capital which can be a barrier for new farmers looking to start up or grow their farms. The goal of these investments is meant to jumpstart further growth and support the agricultural economy as a whole."

Contact the Governor's Press Office