Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce more than $157,000 in Federal USDA Value-Added Producer Grants for Agricultural Centers in Hudson Valley

Nov 16, 2015

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $157,785 in federal funding for Marc Jaffe, owner of Snowdance Farm in Sullivan County and Yiddish Farm Education Center Inc. in Orange County. The funding was allocated through 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, Snowdance Farm will receive $116,322 in federal funds for working capital expenses related to production and marketing of the grantee’s meat and poultry products. Yiddish Farm Education Center Inc. will receive $41,463 in federal funds to assist with working capital needs associated with their matzo expansion.

“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 farms in the Hudson Valley to generate increased economic revenue by bringing new products to market and expanding their operations. Helping our local companies grow their business will be a win-win for our agriculture industry, Hudson Valley 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 Hudson valley’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.”

“This grant award by the USDA will assist our family farm in expanding its offerings to include value-added products like sausages and pates as well as enhance our marketing efforts to bring high quality products from the Hudson Valley to the New York City Metropolitan area,” said Marc Jaffe, owner of Snowdance Farm, a pasture-raised livestock and poultry operation in Sullivan County. “We appreciate Senator Gillibrand’s recognition of the important role that agriculture plays in local economy and are thankful for the USDA’s support.” 

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.