Batavia, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York’s first member of the Senate Agriculture Committee in four decades, today brought a USDA official specializing in rural business development to Batavia to meet with local business leaders and staff members from Senator Gillibrand’s office to discuss new initiatives to help develop rural economies and to tour the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park to assess future opportunities for USDA investments. The roundtable, featuring USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Doug O’Brien, provides the opportunity for government leaders in Washington to hear directly from rural business leaders about their needs, concerns and ideas.
“From our manufacturers to our family farms, New York’s rural communities are home to our state’s hardest workers, and produce some of the best that New York has to offer,” Senator Gillibrand said. “But the tough economy hit our rural communities particularly hard. These roundtables give us a chance to hear straight from local business leaders, so we can take their ideas to Washington, and get to work to generate new growth for our rural communities.”
This week, the Genesee County Economic Development Corporation in Batavia was awarded a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program (RBEG) grant worth $105,500 to help complete infrastructure upgrades at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia, future home of Alpina Yogurt and Pepsi’s Project WAVE yogurt plant. In September 2011, Senator Gillibrand helped secure an additional $58,000 from USDA Rural Development for initial infrastructure upgrades at the Agri-Business Park, including expanding existing roads and utilities.
Also in September, Senator Gillibrand announced a comprehensive rural economic development agenda, including strategies to increase access to capital for rural small businesses, upgrade infrastructure, and expand rural broadband.