Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Nearly $2.3 Million In U.S. Department of Agriculture Value-Added Producer Funding For New York State

Nov 3, 2016

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $2,279,655 in federal funding for the State of New York. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program and will be used to create new products and improve their marketing strategy to raise brand awareness and increase sales.

“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 these businesses in New York State 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, New York consumers, and the entire regional economies.”

“We need our farmers and local producers 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. “This investment will help our producers receive the resources needed to bring their products to market and continue to help drive economic growth across the state.”

“Fishkill Farms is thrilled to have our Heritage Cidery project recognized by the USDA for its significance with the 2016 VAPG grant award. We’re excited to embark on the research, planning and product development that will lay the foundation for a world-class cidery and tasting room on the farm, producing a distinctive craft cider with our own organic and sustainably-grown fruit,” said Josh Morgenthau, Owner of Fishkill Farms.

“We are very excited to be one of the recipients of the 2016 USDA Value Added Producers grant,” said Scott Donovan, owner of BlackBird Cider Works and Donovan Orchards. “This program will enable Donovan Orchard’s, BlackBird Cider Works operation to access the working capital required to further expand our company’s sales of hard Apple cider and create new employment opportunities with our company. We would like to thank the USDA for making this program available as it enables continued growth of our country’s agricultural businesses.”

“These awards build capacity and resiliency for our farms. We appreciate the support of this and other USDA programs in the development of a robust local food system, reinforcing our rural-urban community relationships by working to make the connections up and down the value chain with market based opportunities,” said Todd M. Erling, Executive Director of the Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corp.

The VAPG program is designed to help 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.

In July 2016, Senator Gillibrand hosted several statewide agricultural roundtable discussions including one at Fishkill Farms in Hopewell Junction on specific concerns raised by farmers and producers in preparation for the next Farm Bill and input on strengthening the long-term viability of farmers and producers.

Breakdown of USDA funds by region included below:


Eden Works Inc.

Kings County



King Brothers Dairy, LLC

Saratoga County




Devine Gardens LLC

Madison County




Partyka & Sons Farms, LLC

Orleans County


Celk Distilling LLC

Wayne County


Donovan Orchards LLC

Monroe County



Hathaway Farms, LLC

Chautauqua County


Millitello Farms, LLC

Chautauqua County


Niagara Landing Wine Cellars, Inc.

Niagara County


Vizcarra Family Vineyards LLC

Niagara County



Organic Indoor Gardens Of Poughkeepsie

Dutchess County


Fishkill Farms, LLC

Dutchess County




Thousand Islands Winery LLC

Jefferson County


Juniper Hill Farm

Essex County