The HVADC Cultivator
The Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) has been working hard to increase its impact in Albany County. Engaging with partners such as the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), HVADC has increased its visibility and has begun providing the diverse farms of the Capital District with the same business development assistance and access to funding opportunities as it has for the rest of the Hudson Valley.
Last year Gade Farm in Altamont New York, was looking to build a new structure for processing and storage on their successful multi-generational produce farm. In the summer of last year Co-owner Jim Gade ran into CCE Albany County veteran Agricultural Specialist Tom Gallagher. They struck up a conversation and Gade asked Gallagher if he knew of any grants that could help fund the significant construction project. Gallagher suggested Gade reach out to HVADC.
Very quickly HVADC staff was able to assist Gade Farm in procuring a $32,000 New York State Grown & Certified grant. The additional financing allowed the Gades to move forward quickly and they expect to have the facility fully operational for the start of this year’s growing season.
“The first step in increasing our visibility in Albany County is simply letting folks know we are here to help. We are building name recognition in many conventional professional ways but there’s no better marketing than word of mouth, especially with farmers!” said Mary Ann Johnson, HVADC Deputy Director. “We were so happy to be able to assist the Gade family in securing a Grown & Certified grant for their expansion project, and happier still that we were connected to the farm through Tom Gallagher and our friends at CCE.”
Gallagher, who’s worked at CCE for 44 years, said he has been interacting with Gade Farm for over three decades and said he was pleased to be able to connect them with a new option for financial assistance. “It was kind of a fluke,” Gallagher said, “One of our rolls at the Extension is to make the right connections. Jim had almost all the plans together, Mary Ann sent out the paperwork and in a few weeks it was approved. It never happens that fast!”
Gade Farm cultivates 60 acres of produce as well as greenhouse products year round. They were already Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certified but wanted to move their handling and packing process out of a multiuse building that included their store and storage. The new structure, which is now nearly complete is 52 by 40 feet and will include a 20 by 20 foot cooler.
“Food safety is a big issue,” said Gade. “We were a little ahead of the curve because we sell to grocers but a lot of farmers have not been shipping to grocery stores because they’re not GAP certified. Grants will be important for ensuring they can meet the state’s new mandates. I’d recommend HVADC to anyone I know that’s interested.”
Gallagher has seen Gade Farm grow over three generations. He says they are community minded and incredibly industrious, building their structures themselves and constantly upgrading. They kept their onsite farm market open through the winter for the first time this year. The Gades’ ambition and organization made them a perfect candidate for the grant funding.
“I think HVADC does different things than the other organizations we work with,” said Gallagher. “The things they do to help startups and their work on improving food systems is new for us. They add a lot to the options for our farmers.”
To learn more about the agribusinesses that HVADC can assist, visit https://www.hvadc.org/who-we-can-help