HUDSON, N.Y. — The Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) along with many of its partner and affiliated organizations were among the 119 organizations that this week urged the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide $300 million in funding through the American Rescue Plan Act for Business Technical Assistance (BTA) to small and mid-sized farm and food businesses. Regional HVADC affiliates the Agricultural Viability Alliance (AVA), American Farmland Trust (AFT), The Carrot Project, and GrowNYC, were also among the letter petitioners.
Separately, 50 members of Congress and the Senate sent a similar request to the USDA, urging support for this assistance through recent stimulus funding. The legislators’ letter was spearheaded by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Antonio Delgado (D-NY 19th District). Other supporters included Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY 20th District) and Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY 18th District).
The letters urged the USDA to provide a dedicated source of funding for one-to-one, customized BTA support for small and mid-sized farmers, ranchers, and middle of the supply chain food businesses, such as processors, aggregators, and distributors. Non-profits such as HVADC, state agencies, and agricultural extension provide these services which include financial coaching, business planning, market development, succession planning, and help accessing land and capital.
“The administration has emphasized the need to ‘build back better.’” said Todd Erling, Executive Director of HVADC and a co-founding executive committee member for AVA as well as co-chair of the AVA policy group. “Business technical assistance will not only help these operations recover from the pandemic and capitalize on new opportunities, it will make them more resilient to all kinds of potential disruptions.”
Business technical assistance providers currently rely on piecemeal philanthropic and federal funding. Dedicated federal funding for BTA could make a sizeable impact on the viability of the farm economy.
“Joining forces with other like-minded organizations in the region such as Farm Credit East, Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming, NOFA-NY and the National Young Farmers Coalition and the initiatives that they represent only accentuates the real need for additional support for the underserved farms and food businesses that we service,” Erling noted.
The letter to the USDA stressed the importance of increasing funding for BTA programs as a means of enhancing small business in local and regional markets: “This type of investment into our future has a proven track record of improving regional supply chain resiliency. It will also translate into new wealth and opportunities, particularly for communities that the Biden administration has identified as underserved, including socially disadvantaged populations and low-income rural areas.”
HVADC provides BTA services through a variety of programming, most notably its Incubator Without Walls (IWW). Through IWW qualified businesses can tap into a wide range of services to accelerate their growth and increase their chances of long-term success, including comprehensive business planning, strategic planning, analysis, marketing and promotion, project planning, land access and grant writing.
Full text of the letter sent to the USDA may be found at:
The HVADC is the region’s sole economic development agency with a specific focus on the viability of the agricultural economy in the Hudson Valley. It assists both new and existing agri-businesses such as farms, food businesses and food distributors, by providing technical and business consultation and resources. The non-profit promotes balanced, market-based solutions that lead to enhanced agricultural entrepreneurship, rural economic growth and community enhancement. For more information, please visit: www.Hvadc.org. HVADC produces a monthly-newsletter The Cultivator featuring its initiatives, partnerships and the businesses of its clients. For more information, visit: www.Hvadc.org.
–Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC)