November 17, 2015

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce More Than $225,000 in Federal USDA Value-Added Producer Grants for Agricultural Centers in Jefferson County

USDA Value-Added Funds Will be Used to Promote Growth & New Products for Small, Independent Producers; Boost Marketing Capabilities; Increase Brand Awareness

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $225,723 in federal funding for Deluke Lawnscapes, Inc. and Thousand Island Meats, LLC in Jefferson County. The funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program. This funding was created to promote growth for small, independent producers, by allowing them to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income overall. Specifically, Deluke Lawnscapes, Inc. will receive $175,723 in federal funds to assist the grantee with working capital needs associated with their new startup winery, Northern Flow Vineyards. Thousand Island Meats, LLC will receive $50,000 in federal funds to examine the feasibility of building a livestock processing facility in Jefferson County, New York.

 “Ensuring that agriculture is able to flourish – and the unique needs of New York agriculture are considered in federal programs – has always been a top priority of mine,” said Senator Schumer. “This direct USDA assistance will allow two Jefferson County small businesses to generate increased economic revenue by developing their products and expanding their facilities. Helping to grow our local businesses will be a win-win for our agriculture industry, North Country consumers, and the entire regional economy.”

“We need our farmers to thrive if we’re going to have a strong and growing economy in New York,” said Senator Gillibrand, first New York Senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “These federal funds from USDA are an investment in the North Country’s agricultural industry that will help producers earn more from their crops by expanding processing and marketing opportunities which will continue to drive economic growth in the region and across the state.”

“I am truly excited about how much this grant will help in the startup of my new winery! After three years of planning, research and getting an education in winery management at Jefferson Community College this project is finally getting off the ground,” said Philip DeLuke, President of Northern Flow Vineyards. “This grant will not only help me it will help our community, new and existing employees and our entire local craft beverage industry.”

“On behalf of our partnership, Thousand Islands Meats, LLC, we are excited to learn of this grant award from the USDA Rural Development Value Added Producer grant program,” said Stephen Winkler, Thousand Island Meats, LLC. “The $50,000 grant will be matched with $50,000 of private investment from Michael E. Lundy, developer for NY Meat Company LLC to conduct feasibility studies to complete our evaluation of a major USDA meat processing plant in Jefferson County. We believe this plant is critical to growing our agricultural industry in New York State, especially in northern New York. It is important that we complete an in-depth feasibility study of the plant, including business structure, market opportunities, plant design, and physical location. We look forward to working with Jefferson County Economic Development, who will help us administer the grant.”

The USDA Value Added Producer Grants program helps agricultural producers to process their crops into more profitable forms and market their goods to the general public. Grants are awarded through a national competition each fiscal year; designed to boost income and productivity by increasing access to capital, providing technical assistance and developing new marketing strategies for independent producers to increase exposure and broaden their customer base. This year, the USDA will allocate $30 million to farms and agricultural producers nationwide. In turn, these companies will hire additional workers and sell their products, which will help generate local economic growth and bring new jobs to their respective regions.