Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

August 30, 2007

Commissioner Announces Funding For Agri-Tourism Projects

Up to $50,000 in Matching Funds to Help Ag-Related Businesses Attract Visitors

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced the availability of up to $50,000 in matching funds for food and farm-related tourism projects across New York State. This grant program will allow food and agriculture-related businesses such as farm stands, cider mills, maple sugar houses, cheesemakers and wineries the opportunity to enhance their operations in effort to attract more visitors.

"Tourism not only takes place in our cities," the Commissioner said. "Tourism has become very popular for rural communities as well, and the center piece of rural New York is agriculture. As the general public becomes more removed from the family farm, opportunities to educate the public on the significance of agriculture become increasingly important. These grants will help our farms, food processors, agri-businesses and other agricultural destinations improve their operations in order to reach more consumers with a positive message about agriculture in New York State."

The agri-tourism grants provide up to $50,000 in matching funds for projects involving traditional agri-tourism activities, as well as new approaches in promoting New York food and agriculture. Individuals, public and private agencies and organizations, business and industry, educational institutions and local governments are eligible to submit proposals.

Eligible projects should involve the development, implementation or expansion of activities which promote New York food and agriculture by attracting visitors to New York State food and agricultural destinations. Projects and activities may be for-profit or not-for-profit; and may involve ongoing, seasonal, annual, or one-time events. Examples of eligible projects may include but are not limited to:

· Direct Marketing Efforts: Farm stands, farmers’ markets, cut your own Christmas trees, u-pick operations, and local breweries and wineries.

· Educational Venues: Farm, garden and food processing tours, museums, food and agricultural exhibits.

· Entertainment: Fairs and festivals, petting zoos, hay rides, corn mazes, children’s activities and outdoor recreation.

· Lodging & Dining: Bed and breakfasts, farm vacations, rural campgrounds, country inns, restaurants and food concessions.

Agri-tourism grant applications are available by contacting Meg McCabe at the Department at 1-800-554-4501 or by downloading the form from the Department’s website at All applications for funding are due into the Department no later than 4:30 p.m. on October 30, 2007.

In the first year of the program, last year, more than $970,000 was awarded to 44 different agri-tourism projects throughout the State.

New York’s agriculture and tourism industries are two of the leading sectors in the State’s economy. When combined, they offer significant opportunities for industry and community enrichment and growth in every region of the State.

Agri-tourism generates income, creates jobs, provides economic diversification and stabilization, and attracts tourists and the dollars they spend. It can also help preserve rural lifestyles, increase awareness and appreciation of agriculture, enhance community pride, and help protect farms and agri-businesses by adding value to existing operations.

2007 Press Releases