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Four HVADC Clients Awarded State New Farmers Grants

Jun 23, 2017

Four Hudson Valley Agri-Business Development Corporation (HVADC) clients have been awarded a total of $142,174 as part of the New York State New Farms Grant Fund

HUDSON, NY – June 23, 2017— Earlier this week, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that more than $1 million had been awarded to 27 new and early-stage farms from across the state through the program, to help them expand operations and improve profitability.

The four HVADC clients, Letterbox Farm LLC (Hudson), MX Morningstar Farm (Copake), Westwind Orchard LLC (Accord), and Long Season Farm (Kerhonkson) have all received assistance through HVADC’s Incubator Without Walls, a program providing business, project, financial and grant writing consulting services to help food entrepreneurs ensure sustainable success.

The New Farmers Grant Fund is administered by Empire State Development, in consultation with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Nearly 60 applications were submitted for program funding, with applicants scored based on specific criteria, including demonstrating how the project expands or diversifies agricultural production. Grant funds are to be used for project costs associated with the construction of farm buildings, and the purchase of equipment and supplies. The Fund provides grants of up to $50,000 to assist with up to 50 percent of eligible project costs, with the remaining 50 percent being matched by the recipient. All eligible farm owners must be within the first ten years of ownership and the farm must have a minimum of $10,000 in income from sales of products grown or raised on the farm.

Brian Zweig, HVADC Associate, acted as the lead consultant for Westwind Orchard, which was awarded $48,619, assisting with writing and submitting their grant application. “The investment by the founders and New York State in Westwind Orchard will further the growth in agri-tourism in the Hudson Valley, and help create a critical mass of craft beverage destinations that will attract more visitors to the region,” Zweig  noted.

Westwind Orchard is an historic apple orchard located in in the shadow of the Catskill Mountains and offers a certified organic U-Pick for apples, raspberries, and pumpkins, as well as produces maple syrup, jams, apple sauce, honey, hard cider, raises chickens for eggs and runs a Farm Store.

“It was an incredible and very positive experience to work with Brian Zweig and HVADC. We will be using the grant funds to purchase most of our new cidery equipment,” said Fabio Chizzola, owner of Westwind Orchard.

Long Season Farm in Kerhonkson, Ulster County, is a small farm focused on providing seasonal vegetables year round. The farm, which sells its produce in the summer at the Saugerties and Kingston farmers markets, in the winter at the Kingston Indoor Market and through a Winter CSA, received a $32,119 grant. By growing a large variety of storage crops, cold hardy greens, and greenhouse grown shoots, Long Season Farm is able to offer vegetables from October through March.

Letterbox Farm, LLC, in Columbia County received a $31,000 grant. The 64 acre farm raises special vegetables, herbs, flowers, pork, chicken, eggs, and rabbit using best practices in animal welfare and organic management.  Letterbox Farm goods are distributed through four farmers markets, a fleet of restaurants in the valley, and a full-diet CSA.

MX Morningstar Farm, Certified organic by NOFA- NY, received a $30,436 grant. The farm raises annual vegetable crops which are sold through farmers markets and at its farmstand as well as offering wholesale delivery to area restaurants and produce departments in eastern New York, western Connecticut, and the Berkshires.

“Through Incubator Without Walls, we advise upcoming food entrepreneurs on many aspects of developing their business models, and because we get to know their business so well, we are able to help farms such as MX Morningstar work through the grant process when there is an opportunity,” said MaryAnn Johnson, HVADC Projects Director.

Since the inception of the New York State New Farmers Grant Fund in 2014, eight HVADC Incubator Without Walls clients have been awarded $329,979 from the state.

Source: Hudson Valley News Network (HVNN)

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