Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752

March 29, 2018

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces Nearly $600,000 to Advance Agricultural Industry Across the State

Funding Approved by the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority for Ten Projects in the Finger Lakes

Supports Critical Research on Malting Barley and Promotion of New York Wines to Grow the State’s Farm-Based Craft Beverage Industry

Investment Complements "Finger Lakes Forward" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced nearly $600,000 for ten research, promotion, and development projects to strengthen New York State's diverse agricultural industry and spur economic growth across the state. The funding, approved by the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, supports critical research on malting barley and promotion of New York wines to grow the farm-based craft beverage industry, enhances farmers’ ability to promote their agritourism locations, and assists with the construction of a high school greenhouse to expand agricultural education, among other initiatives.  With agriculture identified as a key strategy of Finger Lakes Forward, the investments strengthen the region’s plan to revitalize communities and grow local economies.

Commissioner Ball said, “These investments in research, promotion, and business development are critical to sustaining and growing a wide range of projects that benefit the agricultural community.  I thank GVRMA for their  partnership, which has allowed for resources to be targeted to assisting the industry across the Genesee Valley and New York State.” 

The Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, in cooperation with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, solicits applications each year to assist in the development of agriculture and agriculture-related businesses in nine counties in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions: Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates. Agriculture supports thousands of jobs in the Genesee Valley, and is one of the key areas of investment in the Finger Lakes Forward regional economic development plan.  

Brendan Tydings, Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority Administrator, said, “The Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority is committed to supporting local agriculture. We have supported many great projects over the years and we are excited to see such a great group of recipients again this year. From education, to research and marketing, we are confident that these programs will help bring continued success to local agribusinesses for many years to come.” 

In alignment with GVRMA’s long-term strategic plan for growth in the region and beyond, the Board awarded $300,000 to the New York State Agricultural Experimental Station in Geneva.  The funding will support the continuation of malting barley research in New York State ($260,000) and enhance the location of the Institute for Food Safety ($40,000).   This is the fourth year GVRMA has supported the malting barley research and education project, which is helping to identify the best varieties of winter and spring malting barley and growing practices for farmers to produce high-quality grain for New York’s craft malt businesses who in turn supply malt for craft beverage producers in the state.   Cornell is also conducting research on spring malting barley breeding to produce a select variety that will grow well in New York’s climate, soils, and disease exposure; breeding efforts have now expanded to develop a New York adapted winter malting barley as well.  

Developing malting barley varietals that thrive in New York State’s climate and soils is critical to the continued success of the State’s farm-based craft beverage industry, which has grown by over 150 percent since the first Beer, Wine, Spirits and Cider Summit in 2012.  Since then, 433 new farm-based craft beverage licenses have been issued and the demand for New York agricultural products, such as malting barley and hops, continues to increase.

The Board also awarded $200,000 to the New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYWGF) to support its successful NY Drinks NY program, a promotional effort showcasing New York’s wine and grape industries.  This funding has helped Finger Lakes and New York wine producers to grow their business and connect to new markets in New York City through special events, such as the annual Grand Tasting, which has attracted over 1,000 trade and media participants.  In addition to the tasting, the NY Drinks NY program hosts three annual Finger Lakes winery familiarization tours in the summer, fall and winter.  Over 300 New York City trade and media have participated on these tours, which have resulted in expanding the number of retail and restaurant outlets carrying New York wines.

In addition, the GVRMA Board awarded the following projects that will boost the promotion and marketing of New York’s agricultural industry:

  • NYS Wine & Culinary Center - $15,000:  for the promotion of its annual craft beer festival, a public awareness campaign to promote beer production and hops growers.
  • Finger Lakes Wine Alliance - $15,000:  for the promotion of NYS Rieslings in the Buffalo, Rochester, and Albany markets.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County - $15,000:  to support Monroe County farmers in their efforts to create and promote agritourism on their farms.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orleans County - $4,535.75:  to purchase and install a multicolor LED sign on the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds that will allow for the promotion of agriculture education and events.
  • Irondequoit Farmers’ Market - $5,736.12:  to develop a “Nutritional Fact Book” and promotional materials that will promote the value of fresh fruits, vegetables and plants available at the market.
  • Bishop Kearney High School - $15,000:  to build a vegetable garden greenhouse where students will learn the importance of sustainable agriculture and develop a deeper understanding of the food that they consume.
  • City of Geneva - $11,842:  to purchase an open burners range and two dry storage cages, which will be used in the City of Geneva’s KitGen, a shared culinary incubator production space for tenants.
  • Homesteads for Hope - $15,000:  for a construction and cost feasibility study for an Agri-Enterprise Center, which would be used as a general store, farm café, community classroom and rentable event space on Homesteads for Hope’s 55-acre farm property for young adults with autism.

Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said, “New York State is making smart investments that will assist producers in opening new markets and point the way to a more profitable and sustainable future for the entire industry. Our malting barley research is a great example. The number of small-scale craft breweries has skyrocketed in the last several years through a coordinated effort that starts in the research lab but ends with excellent new business models. As the state’s land-grant university, we’re elated to see this work come to life.”

Sam Filler, New York Wine and Grape Foundation President, said, “Since its creation in 2010, the NY Drinks NY program has steadily increased consumers awareness of the breadth of New York State wines, particularly in New York City, where more restaurants and retail outlets are now carrying New York State products.  GVRMA’s sustained support of the NY Drinks NY program will enable the New York Wine and Grape Foundation to continue to evolve the program and expand its market impact.”

Bethany G. DiSanto, General Manager, The New York State Wine and Culinary Center, Inc., said, “The New York Wine & Culinary Center continues its commitment to immerse guests in New York State food, drink, and agriculture, and this year’s craft beer festival, supported by the GVRMA, allows us to promote NY brewers and hops growers to get them in front of craft beverage lovers.”

For more information on the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, please visit:

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 

Today's announcement complements "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The state has already invested more than $5.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million state investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here. 

2018 Press Releases