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

December 28, 2007

Commissioner Awards over $300,000 to Advance Agriculture in NY

Access to New York Food is Common Theme Among Grant Recipients

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced $312,500 in State funding to seven grant recipients under the Food and Agriculture Industry Development (FAID) Program. The FAID grants support innovative approaches to the research, development, production, processing, marketing and distribution of agricultural products in New York State. This round of funding features projects that address access and distribution issues associated with New York products.

"Those involved in the agricultural industry have never been short on ideas and these grants exemplify their creativity," the Commissioner said. "When it comes to adding value to traditional farm products, seeking new markets, or helping others in need, one can’t look past the innovative spirit of New York’s farm community. The Governor and I both recognize the need to support new ideas in order to help this industry prosper and are pleased to help with this round of FAID grants."

The FAID Program provides up to $60,000 in matching funds to public and private agencies, organizations, businesses, educational institutions, local governments and individuals submitting proposals that capitalize on the State's unique resources and strategic location to maximize the economic vitality of New York agriculture.

Eligible projects involve new product development; alternative production, processing, distribution and marketing methods or technologies; the introduction of new technologies; or organizational methods that further the development of New York's food and agricultural industry. All projects should have a time frame for completion of approximately one year or less, and should generate benefits for large numbers of producers and consumers.

Senator David J. Valesky said, "In Upstate New York, we are growing wholesome and healthy agricultural products. In cities upstate and down, we have consumers and institutions, like schools, ready for our products. The challenge is getting our products from the farms to the consumers. By supporting innovations and ideas in processing, marketing and distribution, these FAID grants will help create that critical link between what we grow and what we eat."

Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee said, "Our farmers do a tremendous job producing our food but in many cases their access to new markets and distribution has proven to be quite a challenge. With this funding from the FAID program, hopefully, we will be able to address some of those issues and ultimately ensure that are our farmers are able to continue to do what they do best, produce a safe, healthy and nutritious food supply."

Dave Evans, Director of Nelson Farms and a recipient of a FAID grant, said, "It has always been a challenge for specialty food entrepreneurs to introduce and distribute their products to new markets. Nelson Farms has been able to help by offering manufacturing services as well as a country store that features Pride of New York products exclusively. This grant will now allow Nelson Farms to assume the role as the "distribution hub" for Pride of New York specialty food products, helping all New York specialty food producers expand their markets in a cost effective manner throughout New York State."

Since the program’s inception in 2000, more than $3.8 million in FAID grants have been distributed to support 117 agricultural projects across the State.

Agriculture is one of New York’s largest and most vital industries, encompassing 25 percent of the State’s landscape and generating more than $3.6 billion for our economy each year. New York State has 7.6 million acres of farmland with 35,000 farms. The State is also a leader in a variety of farm products, ranking first in cottage cheese, second in apples and cabbage, and third in milk, maple syrup, grapes, sweet corn, snap beans, and cauliflower.

A complete list of grant recipients is attached.



City Harvest, Inc. (New York County) $60,000

Strengthen and diversify food systems in neighborhoods underserved by New York farmers and that have limited access to healthy food outlets, poor dietary habits and low incomes. City Harvest’s project, Farm Linkages, will also help transform four neighborhoods into "local food zones," helping to create new direct farm outlets and expand consumer use of existing channels for local farm products.

Farmers’ Market Federation of New York (Onondaga County) $60,000

Develop a pilot project to add debit and/or credit cards to food stamp capability in farmers’ markets participating in the NYS Farmers Market Wireless EBT program, which provides authorized farmers’ markets with a wireless terminal to accept electronic benefit transactions, along with services to support the terminal and food stamp transactions.

Karp Resources (Suffolk County) $58,240

Build on the current efforts to increase the amount of New York farm products served in New York City school meals, and will build capacity for ongoing, institutionalized, and self-sustaining local food procurement for New York City public schools.

Martin Sidor Farms (Suffolk County) $38,400

Continue to test locally-inspired flavors for their locally grown and produced potato chips in addition to the five flavors they currently have. In addition, Martin Sidor Farms plans to process used sunflower oil into biofuel for their tractors, as well as possibly for other local farmers.

Nelson Farms Marketing Group (Madison County) $59,309

Enhance the distribution capabilities of a specialty small scale food processor by creating and maintaining a specialty food distributorship. Nelson Farms plans to hire a salesperson, establish distribution routes within New York State, and work with the Pride of New York program to help market and backhaul products, reducing the shipping costs for small scale processors.

Ontario County Cooperative Extension (Ontario County) $7,250

Develop a "Marketing School for Agriculture," which will provide profitable insights about emerging markets in New York State. The program is directed at farmers who are looking to expand sales of retail, wholesale, and direct marketed products like produce, meats, dairy products, horticulture crops, maple syrup, and value-added farm products.

SUNY Alfred (Allegany County) $29,320

Create a system whereby local farmers can supply Alfred State College’s dining services with fresh produce. The Center for Organic and Sustainable Agriculture will provide support and training services for local farmers including assistance and training in increasing and improving production, as well as development of new and value-added products.


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