Press Release

Gillibrand Announces Over $500,000 in Value-Added Producer Grants for Rochester-Finger Lakes Farms

Feb 3, 2012

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $506,291 in federal funding for local farms in the Rochester Finger-Lakes Region to help revamp their marketing strategies, conduct research and develop new products. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. 

“This is great news for these farms in the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. “We need our farmers to thrive if we’re going to have a strong and growing economy in New York. These federal grants will help ensure that our small farms and independent producers have the resources they need to bring their products to market and continue to drive economic growth in their region and across the state.” 

“The USDA Value-Added Producer Grant will benefit NYAG’s 144 apple growers in New York State, helping us to do research and planned development for marketing the 2 new apple varieties we purchased from Cornell,” said Jeff Crist, Vice-Chairman of the Board of New York Apple Growers, LLC (NYAG). “We’re excited because it will help us find the right variety names, the right variety market, and have the basis to build a strong marketing plan.” 

“We are excited to hear of our award of the value added grant,” said Mark Nicholson, Executive Vice President of Red Jacket Orchards. “These funds will greatly enhance our ability to introduce our farm fresh juices to college campuses across the state where students are desperately seeking local, healthy beverage choices.”

New York Apple Growers, LLC in Albion is set to receive $170,000; CELK Distilling, LLC in Williamson is set to receive $150,000; Red Jacket Orchards in Geneva is set to receive $49,500; Hosmer Inc. in Ovid is set to receive $49,990; Farmer Ground Flower, LLL in Trumansburg is set to receive $75,000; and Keuka Lake Vineyards, LTD in Hammondsport is set to receive $37,301. 

The VAPG program is designed to boost farms’ 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.