Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced plans to help boost the agricultural economy in the Southern Tier—one of the most diverse agricultural regions of the state with a large potential for growth. The Governor’s budget would make available $30 million dollars for projects that help farms and agribusinesses grow throughout the area, with additional funding to assist targeted agricultural economic development projects.
“New York’s agricultural industry is one of our most important drivers of economic activity – especially in upstate communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “By including this funding in the budget, we can make a profound investment in the future of farmers and local vendors throughout the Southern Tier, and I am proud to be moving this vital industry forward again this year.”
Under this initiative, $25 million would help farmers increase agricultural production on farms and improve profitability. Funding would also support farmers in better managing environmental resources. Projects that are awarded state funding may receive up to $100,000, which will go toward funding up to 75 percent of an eligible project. Applicants are responsible for the other 25 percent, and all projects should be completed within one year of the contract.
Those eligible to apply for this program would include: people, partnerships, associations, cooperatives, corporations, or LLCs that manage a “farm operation” as defined in section 301 of Agriculture and Markets. Costs could include construction, renovation, irrigation, drainage, environmental enhancements, fencing, trellis systems and greenhouses.
Eligible applications for the environmental management aspect of this program will be required to have, within the past three years, participated in an agricultural environmental stewardship program, such as the NYS Agricultural Environmental Management Program and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Program.
$5 million of this funding would be allocated for targeted agricultural economic development projects, such as farmers’ market expansions and forest productivity projects, as well as investments to spur agribusiness job creation in locations such as food processing plants in the Southern Tier.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “This funding included in the Governor’s Budget will make an already strong agricultural region here in New York even stronger. As a frequent traveler to the Southern Tier, I know this region is ripe with opportunity for agricultural economic growth. I look forward to working with the Governor and leaders across the Southern Tier in making this vision a reality in the near future.”
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, “Agriculture is a very important economic driver in New York State, and a focus of the Southern Tier’s long-term regional strategy for growth. We have been working with our local community partners to expand and increase the region’s agricultural economy through several channels, including business development. The proposed funding for agribusiness projects fits perfectly with the ongoing work of the Regional Council and I'd like to thank the Governor for his continued commitment to the Southern Tier.”
Assemblyman Clifford Crouch said, "Agriculture is growing here in New York State, with record sales, renewed interest and untapped potential here in the Southern Tier. The Southern Tier's footprint when it comes to agriculture is substantial and we do a lot of things well. This funding included in the Governor's budget will help our world-class farmers and producers do their jobs even better, while making targeted investments in industries that create jobs."
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