In partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension and county Soil and Water Conservation offices, the Development Authority of the North Country has launched the regional New York State Grown & Certified Agriculture Producer’s Grant program to help North Country producers meet the food safety standards necessary for participation in the certification program.
The Development Authority received a $500,000 grant through North Country Regional Economic Development Council to implement the program in Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Clinton, Franklin, Essex and Hamilton counties. The funding comes from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, which oversees the NYS Grown & Certified program.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “This grant program will go a long way in helping our producers make the upgrades they need on the farm to implement safe food handling practices. This not only protects consumers but it also allows more growers to participate in the GAP program and take advantage of the benefits of the NYS Grown & Certified program. Our producers are among some of the best in the nation, and we look forward to helping them meet the highest of standards in food safety.”
“The Development Authority looks forward to working with our partners in the seven counties to expand opportunities for agricultural producers,” said James W. Wright, Executive Director of the Development Authority. “Agriculture is an important part of the North Country economy and we are always seeking ways to help broaden markets for our local producers.”
The program is open to agricultural producers in the seven North Country counties who want to become certified in the NYS Grown & Certified Program. Eligible commodities are produce, dairy, shellfish, eggs, beef, poultry, pork, maple products, alcoholic beverages, and beverage ingredients. Applicants are required to contribute 10 percent of the total project cost in the form of cash equity. Eligible producers can apply for grant funding of up to $50,000 at https://evogov.s3.amazonaws.com/media/83/media/131795.pdf.
The NYS Grown & Certified Program was designed to strengthen consumer confidence in New York products and assist farmers so they can take advantage of the growing market demand for locally grown foods that are produced to a higher standard. Certified producers are able to use a special New York State seal that indicates the producer adheres to higher standards of food safety and environmental stewardship.
Cornell Cooperative Extension offices throughout the seven-county North Country will provide technical assistance to producers, including assistance with Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs). Soil and Water Conservation offices in the seven counties will assist grant recipients with Agriculture Environmental Management (AEM).
For more information or application materials, contact Michelle Capone, Director of Regional Development at the Development Authority, at 315-661-3200, or firstname.lastname@example.org.