Albany, NY - May 20, 2015 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the New Farmers Grant Fund will provide more than $610,000 in grants to help support new and early-stage agricultural businesses across New York state. The fund, enacted in the 2014-2015 budget, will be used to assist early-stage farmers and encourage them to consider farming as a career, adding to the continued growth of New York’s agricultural sector. This funding will allow these farmers to employ the use of innovative agricultural techniques on commercial farm operations throughout the state.
“Agriculture remains a vital part of this state’s economy and today we are taking yet another step in developing the next generation of New York’s farmers,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this investment, we are creating opportunities for early-stage farmers that will increase future productivity on all farms and create long-term agricultural growth across New York State.”
Empire State Development, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture and Markets, is administering the Fund and has received more than 100 applications for the program. Projects were scored competitively based on specific criteria, including demonstration of project readiness. Grant funds will be used for project costs associated with the expansion of production, construction of farm buildings, purchase of equipment and seed, or upgrades to increase efficiency and boost production.
The award recipients, separated by region, include:
Western New York
- H & H Meadows, Cattaraugus County: $43,219
- Providence Creek Farm, Erie County: $15,104
- Painted Goat Farm, Otsego County: $29,121
- Mauer's Mountain Farms, Delaware County: $50,000
- Silver Thread Vineyard, Seneca County: $20,123
Central New York
- Main Street Farms, Cortland County: $33,000
- New Moon Farms, Madison County: $50,000
- Common Thread CSA, Madison County: $23,969
- Arabeth Farm, Herkimer County: $50,000
- Falls Pride Dairy, Oneida County: $32,765
- Blue Pepper Farm, Essex County: $34,000
- Full and By Farm, Essex County: $18,576
- Fledging Crow Vegetables, Essex County: $37,248
- Alewife Farm, Dutchess County: $16,332
- Yellow Bell Farm, Dutchess County: $50,000
- Raven & Boar, Columbia County: $50,000
- Ironwood Farm, Columbia County: $17,748
- Condzella Hops, Suffolk County: $17,009
- Browder's Birds, Suffolk County: $22,045
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Collaborating with the Department of Agriculture & Markets has allowed us to invest in one of New York’s largest industries. We are proud of the diverse farms sprouting up across the State and are excited to see the industry’s economic vitality strengthen with the expansion of agribusiness.”
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “I couldn’t be happier with the number of applications that were submitted for the New Farmers Grant Fund, indicating there is truly an excitement around agriculture in New York State. The next generation of farmers are passionate and driven, and have the opportunity to use innovative solutions to expand their operations. With some assistance from New York State, these farmers will now be able to grow, benefiting the agriculture economy for years to come.”
Governor Cuomo and the legislature committed an additional $1 million in the 2015-2016 New York State Budget to support a second round of the New Farmers Grant Fund program in an effort to continue to expand New York State’s agriculture industry.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie said, “Building a stronger agriculture economy means helping the next generation of farmers and planting the seeds of success for future generations—that’s the idea behind the Beginning Farmer grant program. With these grants, New York is investing not only in the success of these farm families, but also in the future of agriculture in our state.”
Assemblyman William Magee said, “With an aging population of farmers, the future of New York agriculture depends on the development and support of our young farm entrepreneurs. The New York State New Farmer Grant Funds will open doors for new and beginning agriculturists by offering much-needed financial help. I applaud Governor Cuomo and the Department of Agriculture & Markets. This support will help ensure our farms continue to thrive.”
New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton said, “Having access to capital to either start or grow a farm is one of the greatest challenges facing new farmers today, and today's announcement will help the recipients clear that hurdle. Ultimately, these grants are an investment into New York agriculture. The farms support their local, rural economies upstate and on Long Island and will contribute to the state's rich agricultural history. We wish the farmers the best of luck with their operations and thank the Governor and his administration for addressing an important need.”
Agriculture is one of the most important economic drivers in New York State. According to a 2014 study published by Professor Todd Schmit of Cornell University, when agriculture is incorporated with agricultural production, support services, and manufacturing, it represents a $53.7 billion industry in New York and accounts for more than 200,000 jobs.