Albany, NY - July 31, 2018 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced several new initiatives to support New York State Grown & Certified participating farms and businesses, and drive consumer demand for New York's agricultural products. Nearly $500,000 in funding is available for producers and retailers to help offset the cost of new packaging and on-product labeling, as well as in-store signage to increase brand recognition of Grown & Certified products. The New York State Grown & Certified program, first launched by Governor Cuomo in August 2016, promotes New York agricultural producers and growers who adhere to food safety and environmental sustainability standards.
"New York's agricultural industry is second to none, and with these nation-leading safety and environmental standards, the New York State Grown & Certified program offers the very best to consumers across the state," Governor Cuomo said. "By promoting these goods and encouraging consumers to support local farmers and growers, we will continue to bolster our regional economies and foster growth in these industries statewide."
"The agricultural industry is critical to our economy, with farmers providing products that are some of the best in the nation," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This funding will continue to support producers and retailers to help them promote the great products that they have to offer. We are committed to growing the New York State Grown & Certified program, and boosting the agricultural economy across the State."
The NYS Grown & Certified Marketing Program has made $250,000 available to eligible, existing and new Grown & Certified food and beverage producers and processors. Applicants can apply for up $5,000 to facilitate the long-term use of the Grown & Certified seal on their product packaging and/or at a point-of-sale location.
An additional $225,000 in funding is available for retailers to develop a long term, in-store consumer marketing campaign that promotes Grown & Certified products. Retailers can apply for a maximum of $20,000 for point of purchase and promotional items, such as in-store signage, shelf slides, and cooler clings that assist in the promotion of New York's specialty crops, including produce, fruit, maple, wine and hard cider, nursery, Christmas trees and greenhouse crops, dairy, livestock, and shellfish products.
Funds are available on a first come, first serve basis until August 31, 2018. Application materials and additional information are available on the Department of Agriculture and Markets' website.
The Governor also announced today a new television and digital marketing campaign to spotlight New York's agricultural industry. The campaign includes a 30-second commercial that will air in the Capital Region, as well as a comprehensive digital media campaign that will launch in the Hudson Valley this week and run through October. Filmed at local Hudson Valley farms Ronnybrook Dairy Farm, Migliorelli Farm, Mead Orchards, and Davenport Farms, the commercial and marketing campaign were developed to increase producer and consumer engagement.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "There is a real excitement around the New York State Grown & Certified program and what it means for both our producers and for consumers. The marketing funding coupled with the new television and digital media campaign will increase brand recognition, providing a real boost to Grown & Certified farmers and helping consumers more easily identify the Grown & Certified products that are produced to a higher standard."
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Agriculture is a cornerstone of New York State's economy, and these new initiatives will work in tandem to support our farms and encourage greater recognition and sales of the world-class products marketed under the New York State Grown & Certified brand."
Mike Durant, President & CEO of the Food Industry Alliance of NY, said, "New York's retail food industry is a proud partner of the Grown & Certified Program. The available funds announced today will help our industry to continue promoting our state and local agricultural producers while driving awareness of our partnership in ensuring the highest quality of food and beverages for our consumers."
Cynthia Haskins, President and CEO of the NY Apple Association said, "Consumers want to support farmers and programs like this assist in promoting New York apples. Signage depicting New York Grown & Certified is a sure win—for the retailer, grower, and consumer. Marketing resources can be cost prohibitive and this program opens the door for many who otherwise may not have the opportunity to have access to promotional tools."
Dairy processors such as Stewart's, Hudson Valley Fresh, and Organic Valley are already using the seal, as are farms like Giroux's Poultry, Thomas Poultry, Piedmont Farms, Brightwaters Farms, Solata Foods and A. Gurda Produce, distinguishing their business as Grown & Certified. Retailers like Tops, Price Chopper, Hannaford, Stewart's and ShopRite have committed to promoting New York's Grown & Certified growers and dairy producers.
The Grown & Certified Marketing Program builds on the State's efforts to promote Grown & Certified producers and increase participation in the program. This year, several regions are launching the New York State Grown & Certified Agricultural Producers' Grant Program. In December 2017, one organization in each region was awarded a $500,000 block grant through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative to help farmers meet food safety standards and participate in the New York State Grown & Certified program.
The entities awarded will make the funding available directly to farmers in their area on behalf of the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets. Funding can be used to help offset capital costs that farmers may incur in meeting food safety standards to receive a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, which is a requirement of the New York State Grown & Certified program. Costs may include the purchase of machinery or equipment and acquisition or construction of new buildings. Agricultural producers receiving funding through the program will participate in New York State Grown & Certified upon completion of the project.
About NYS Grown & Certified
Governor Cuomo launched NYS Grown & Certified in 2016 to help meet the growing consumer demand for local foods grown or produced to a higher standard. The program certifies New York State producers who adhere to high food safety and environmental stewardship standards. It is supported by a marketing campaign including on-product labels, promotional materials, such as the NYS Grown & Certified website, and sales materials.
Currently, a total of 2,321 New York beef producers, fruit and vegetable growers, oyster growers, Christmas tree growers, pork, chicken, egg, maple and dairy producers are participating in the program, representing over 482,000 acres of NY farmland. There are also 12 dairy processors participating, and 11 grocery retailers, with a total of 680 locations where NYS Grown & Certified products can be purchased. For more information on NYS Grown & Certified, visit certified.ny.gov, or follow the program on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.