HUDSON, N.Y. — Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation’s (HVADC) Farm and Food Funding Accelerator (FFFA) has been awarded a $100,000 grant through the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) to fund its next training sessions for food entrepreneurs.
The award was announced by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook) in separate notices on December 7 and 8.
“New York is home to some of the finest farmers and growers in the nation, and sustaining our vital agricultural sector is one of my top priorities,” said Senator Schumer in the announcement. “This important federal investment will help plant the seeds for a long, prosperous future for the state’s agricultural industry by increasing access to locally-sourced food and products. Increased access to locally-sourced food benefits both our local farmers and our residents– making it a win-win for New York’s agricultural industry and the community as a whole.”
As a six to eight month intensive training program, the FFFA is designed to help farmers and food entrepreneurs develop the necessary skills and materials to scale their business, build sales, and access financial sources. With the curriculum begun in October 2016 as the Farm and Food Business Accelerator (FFBA), nine FFBA Peers representing a varied group of food and agricultural businesses, including producers of value-added agricultural products benefited from classroom and on-on-one technical and business training to prepare them to scale their businesses, develop new products and market opportunities and access capital. The inaugural FFBA program concluded spring of 2017, and now established as a biennial HVADC initiative as the FFFA.
“The initial HVADC FFBA program was developed to address the funding challenges facing farms and food producers who are seeking to scale their businesses and provide them with the skill set and access points to capital. As these agribusiness entrepreneurs grow, so does the regional food economy, through sales, processing, distribution, and job creation. Having been awarded the EDA funding will allow us to expand the program in terms of supporting the creation and growth of robust regional supply chains by providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to be successful,” commented Todd Erling, HVADC Executive Director.
In a press release issued by Senator Schumer’s office, Senator Gillibrand was attributed as saying that, “one of the best ways to support economic development in New York is by helping local farmers and agricultural companies take advantage of market opportunities to sell their products and grow their businesses. We all benefit from having more locally-sourced food readily available and I will continue to support programs that foster the development of the Hudson Valley’s agricultural sector.” Gillibrand is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“There is a high demand for locally grown food and this investment will help accelerate growth in the local food supply chain,” said Congressman Faso, who sits on the House Committee on Agriculture. “It’s a pleasure to congratulate the Hudson Valley Agri-Business Development Corporation on the investment they earned.”
The 2016-2017 FFBA Peers included Argyle Cheese Factory, LLC (Washington County), Balet Flowers and Design (Saratoga County), Fishkill Farms (Dutchess County), The Green Onion (Orange County), Lavenlair Farm, LLC (Washington County), les collines (Columbia County), Minkus Family Farms. Inc. (Orange County), Raspberry Fields Farm, LLC (Ulster County), and Soukup Farms (Dutchess County).
Application process and dates will be announced in spring 2018 for the second FFFA program to begin in the fall. Accepted participants will engage in customized technical assistance, including individual assessment of sales, marketing, operation and financials, expert instruction on identified needs, one-on-one mentoring sessions, group interaction and industry networking events to learn how to talk to investors, discover new market opportunities, and pitch to potential funders. Participants will have the opportunity to connect with the growing network of New York City and Hudson Valley-based funders that are seeking to invest in ventures that support the local food system.
—Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation
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