ALBANY — State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that eligible applicants can now apply for the $5 million New York State Grown & Certified Agricultural Producers’ Grant Program. Funded through the 2017-18 New York State Budget, the program is part of the Regional Economic Development Councils process. It was created to assist New York State agricultural producers meet food safety standards and join the New York State Grown & Certified program. More information on the Agricultural Producers’ Grant Program is available here and the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) is available here.
“When our farms follow safe food handling practices, we all win. It helps protect consumers and allows more agricultural producers to take advantage of the benefits of the New York State Grown & Certified program,” Commissioner Ball said. “Through a robust marketing campaign, New York State Grown & Certified promotes farmers going the extra mile when it comes to food safety and environmental stewardship, and a strong agricultural industry is key to driving regional economic growth across the State.”
The program will be administered through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Block grants of $500,000 will be awarded to a single entity in each of the 10 New York State Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) regions. Eligible applicants include municipalities, regional and local economic development corporations, not-for-profits, public benefit corporations and industrial development agencies. The awarded entities will distribute the grant funding to New York State agricultural producers in their region.
Funding will be used to help offset capital costs that farmers may incur in meeting food safety standards to receive a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, which is a requirement of the New York State Grown & Certified program. Costs may include the purchase of machinery or equipment and acquisition or construction of new buildings. Agricultural producers receiving funding through the program will participate in New York State Grown & Certified upon completion of the project.
Today’s announcement builds on the Department’s award of more than $1 million to 29 farms across the State to help them participate in an Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) plan, which is also a requirement of the New York State Grown & Certified program.
For growers, participation in the AEM program and GAP certification allows for greater access to programs such as New York State Grown & Certified. New York State Grown & Certified’s marketing campaign includes on-product labels and promotional materials, such as a website, video and sales materials, to encourage program participation among producers and to educate retail, wholesale and institutional buyers on the value of the program.
Launched in August 2016, the New York State Grown & Certified program assures consumers that the food they are buying is local and produced to a higher standard by requiring participating producers to adopt good agricultural practices and enroll in the AEM program. In December 2016, the Department launched New York State Grown & Certified products in Tops Friendly Markets across Western New York and the Finger Lakes regions.
Applications for the New York State Grown & Certified Agricultural Producers’ Grant Program will be scored by both the Department and by the REDC. The Department will evaluate projects based on criteria including the applicant’s ability to market and promote the program and its experience in administering regional grant or loan programs. The REDC will rate the project based on its alignment with the REDC’s Strategic Plan.
Workshops will be held around the State to help applicants submit a successful application. Department staff will participate in these workshops. A complete schedule can be found at https://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/genericcfa/2017-cfa-workshops.
Governor Cuomo launched Round VII of the REDC initiative last week, officially kicking off the annual competition for up to $800 million in state economic development resources. The CFA enables businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits and members of the public to apply, through a single application, for assistance from dozens of state programs for projects that create jobs and help to revitalize communities.
The 2017 REDC Guidebook and list of available resources can be found at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov. The application deadline is Friday, July 28, 2017 at 4 p.m. For applicants, the CFA is available at https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/.
Nearly $27 million in funding was awarded through Governor Cuomo’s 2016 REDC initiative to support the growth of the agricultural, food and beverage industries in New York State. A total of 68 agriculture-related projects were identified as key to advancing the State’s ten regional economies.
—NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
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