Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Over $690,000 In Federal Funding for Hawthorne Valley Association Beginning Farmer Initiative

Nov 3, 2015

Ghent, N.Y. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced $693,918 in federal funding for Hawthorne Valley Association. This funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) and administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Hawthorne Valley Association will use this funding to create a training pipeline for farmers with 0-7 years of experience as a means to either start their own farms or scale up existing operations. The project, Filling in the Gaps, will provide training opportunities for farmers based on experience and will include aspiring and current farmers from socially disadvantaged and veteran communities.

“Beginning farmers face a unique set of challenges, and with this federal funding the Hawthorne Valley Association can provide them the training needed to succeed. It will also help bring innovative ideas to the industry and grow the Capital Region and Hudson Valley regional economies,” said Senator Schumer.

“This funding through the USDA will help farmers get the skills and knowledge they need to start and grow successful farms,” said Senator Gillibrand, the first New York Senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “The training pipeline through Hawthorne Valley Association allows learning opportunities for aspiring and current farmers to build on or start their operations. This investment for the Capital Region and Hudson Valley helps build on the critical role New York agriculture continues to play in the development and growth of the state’s economy.”

“We are thrilled to have the USDA’s support to enable us to offer our farmer training to underserved populations in the Hudson Valley while strengthening our collaborations towards delivering these programs in the most impactful way” said Martin Ping, HVA Executive Director and member of Senator Gillbrand’s Agricultural Advisory Committee. “For forty years, Hawthorne Valley has offered quality training to all who wish to pursue farming as a time-honored vocation, and provide them with the education and resources needed to be successful farmers. Food justice is a critical need in our day, and we believe that providing veteran, incarcerated, and minority populations with this real-life training that reconnects them to the land that sustains us is one important way this need will be addressed in.”

In collaboration with Hawthorne Valley Association, researchers from Grow NYC, the Bard Prison Initiative Re-Entry Program, Soul Fire Farm, and the Black Urban Growers will join the project.

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program was first established by the 2008 Farm Bill and continued in 2014. The program provides support to those who have farmed or ranched for less than 10 years.