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

April 10, 2008

Commissioner Announces $1 Million in Agri-Tourism Projects

51 Projects to Help Enhance Farm Operations & Attract Visitors to Rural NY

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced $1.15 million for 51 agri-tourism projects throughout New York State that develop, implement or expand activities which promote New York food and agriculture by attracting visitors to New York State food and agricultural destinations.

"Tourism has become a popular and important component of the agricultural industry," the Commissioner said. "Not only does it allow our farmers to attract more customers and add value to existing commodities and services, it provides an essential educational component for the public. Many consumers today have never visited a farm, nor understand where their food comes from. These grants will support agri-tourism opportunities that will enhance the awareness of agriculture and help connect farmers and consumers in an educational, yet entertaining setting."

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. Eligible projects could include direct marketing efforts, educational venues, fairs and festivals, as well as lodging and dining venues. The awarded projects include a variety of community events, promotional materials, organized tours, new tourism destinations, festivals, media campaigns and more. Listed below are the funded projects and a brief description. The following is a breakdown of funding by region:

· Downstate New York – 8 projects totaling $169,885

· Hudson Valley – 5 projects totaling $183,468

· Capital District – 11 projects totaling $174,221

· Mohawk Valley – 6 projects totaling $54,237

· North Country – 5 projects totaling $100,791

· Central New York – 7 projects totaling $225,436

· Western New York – 9 projects totaling $207,873

"Tourism and agriculture go hand-in-hand in Upstate New York," said Upstate Empire State Development Chairman Daniel C. Gundersen. "These projects will help attract more visitors and serve as an economic stimulus for many of our rural communities. I am pleased the Department of Agriculture and Markets is recognizing the creative efforts of these recipients and look forward to working with all as we strive to create a better New York."

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.

2008 Press Releases