CANTON -- A proposed North Country Food Hub will receive $350,000 in state aid.
The announcement came today from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said more than $3.6 million has been allocated for food hubs across the state.
The $350,000 will go towards a $2.6 million, 9,000-square-foot regional facility that would distribute locally-grown and raised products to regional wholesalers, restaurants, grocery stores, food co-operatives, schools, hospitals and other institutions.
The food hub would be established by United Helpers Management Company and was one of many projects proposed by the North Country Regional Economic Development Council for funding in 2012.
The hub is expected to create 15 new jobs in the first year in addition to providing expansion opportunities to a variety of small ag-businesses. The hub would use $1.6 million in public funds as well as $1 million in private financing, the proposal says.
Cuomo said state funding awarded through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process will be used to create food distribution hubs across the state.
Four new facilities will be funded in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, and the North Country, in addition to an earlier food hub project on Long Island, creating more than 150 jobs and increasing access to healthy, local products for New York consumers, he said.
“These four new food distribution hubs are an important investment in our state’s agricultural sector and economy,” Governor Cuomo said.
“Not only will more than 150 jobs be created through these new projects, the hubs will also be essential resources for local farmers by providing services like branding, processing and storage. Above all, they will help distribute products, expanding consumer markets for New York farmers while improving access to healthy, fresh and locally-produced food for our families – a real win-win for the state.”
State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said, “When New Yorkers buy local products, they stimulate local economies and help provide jobs for their neighbors. Food hubs provide a valuable service in helping to bring local products to market and I thank Governor Cuomo for making this important funding available.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, “Today’s announcement is welcome news. Food hubs help bring local goods to market, spur growth and strengthen communities.”
New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) Commissioner/CEO Darryl C. Towns said, “Regional food plants like Growing Upstate Food Hub are empowering New York State's farming community. HCR’s Rural Area Revitalization Program (RARP) is proud to assist farmers in their long tradition of producing high-quality homegrown food. Here in Central New York, these centralized hubs will help smaller and mid-size farms compete by lowering the processing and distribution costs of getting their product to market. The Governor’s Regional Economic Development Councils continue to recognize how critical farming is to growing regional economies and to New York’s overall economic recovery.”
These investments mark yet another step of the Governor’s “Farm New York” program, a comprehensive strategy to maximize investment in the agricultural sector of New York’s economy. It includes programs to develop New York’s regional farm-food system, increase access to credit for farm businesses, expand food processing capabilities, and capitalize on emerging technologies to lower energy costs.
Four new facilities will be funded in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Hudson Valley and the North Country regions. These facilities complement an earlier food hub project on Long Island. More than 150 jobs will be created in the various regions.
Growing Upstate Food Hub, Central New York
More than $1.5 million in CFA funding will go toward Growing Upstate Food Hub located in Canastota, Madison County. Comprised of six farmer owned agribusinesses, the facility will be centrally-located on space with Thruway access. It will facilitate the aggregation, storage, and distribution of value-added agricultural products and directly create at least 30 full-time jobs once open in November 2013. In total, including both existing farms and projected additional farms, about 196 Central New York farms will provide farm products to be processed at the hub. Products include hops, broccoli, beef, milk, pork and beans.
North Country Food Hub
$350,000 in CFA funding will go toward the North Country Food Hub. United Helpers Management Company will establish a regional food hub and network in Canton.
Finger Lakes Food Hub
$450,000 in CFA funding will go toward the Finger Lakes Food Hub, which will be a 25,200 square foot facility built in the Village of Groton. By contracting with multiple small and mid-sized farmers, the Finger Lakes Food Hub will source a wide variety of locally field grown food products including root crops, herbs, and other fresh produce. The business will add value to these local products through packaging, branding, and processing such as quick-freezing before selling through established sales channels. It will collaborate with local farmers and producers to provide services and expanded markets for their products. This expansion will enhance distribution to markets such as Wegmans, Tops, Price Chopper, SYSCO, Regional Access, and Cortland Produce. The project will create 15 new jobs in the packing center and 65 seasonal jobs on local farms. It will put over 300 additional acres of farmland into agricultural production and generate over $2.3 million in annual sales by year three. The facility expects to be fully equipped and operational by December 31, 2013.
Hudson Valley Food Hub
More than $826,000 in CFA funding will go toward the Hudson Valley Food Hub, which will be located in Kingston. This project will expand the infrastructure of two successful food processing and distribution firms that serve New York State farms: Farm to Table Co-Packers and Hudson Valley Harvest. With additional processing equipment, cold/freezer storage, trucks and distribution depots, these two businesses will have expanded capacity to meet the growing demand for local food from customers in New York City and throughout the Northeast. This funding will stimulate a total investment of over $1.8 million, resulting in 15 new jobs, as well as 12 construction jobs in Kingston and six jobs located outside of Kingston. The Hudson Valley Food Hub works with over 60 NYS Farms from 19 counties, farming over 7,500 acres. Products coming through the food hub include vegetables, berries, fruits, beef, pork, chicken, lamb, goat, honey, maple syrup, grains, beans, cider and eggs.
Agriculture Enterprise Park Capital, Long Island
$500,000 in CFA funding is going toward this project. Agriculture Enterprise Park operates a processing plant in Riverhead, Suffolk County. The new facility is a public/private arrangement with multiple partners who received a $500,000 grant from the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council in 2012. The building has been purchased and is in the process of an extensive renovation. The infrastructure is being put in place to begin processing crops and allow farmers to reach markets outside of Suffolk County through the distribution of a wide range of Long Island products.
New York ranks second in the nation in the production of cabbage, apples and maple syrup; third in the production of wine and grape juice, and corn silage; fourth in the production of milk; and fifth in fresh market vegetable production. Governor Cuomo is focused on developing New York’s agricultural industry, including improving opportunities for marketing, food manufacturing, wineries, breweries, distilleries, dairy farm growth and dairy processing growth.