Jan 4, 2019
To assist farmers achieve NYS Grown & Certified (G&C) status, the Hudson Mohawk Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. (HMRC&D) and the HVADC are partnering to administer a grant program in the Capital District Region...
HUDSON, NY – JANUARY 4, 2019— To assist farmers achieve NYS Grown & Certified (G&C) status, the Hudson Mohawk Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. (HMRC&D) and the Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) are partnering to administer a grant program in the Capital District Region. In 2018 The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets awarded HMRC&D $500,000 as one of the state’s Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) through which food producers may apply to access funding to achieve certification. HMRC&D’s REDC coverage includes Columbia, Albany, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties.
The grant awards will assist producers become G&C certified or maintain eligibility in the G&C program. Launched in In August 2016, G&C is the first statewide, multi-faceted food certification program designed to strengthen consumer confidence in New York products, address food product labeling, and assist New York farmers so they can take advantage of the growing market demand for foods which are locally grown and produced to a higher standard. HVADC Executive Director Todd Erling serves on the Branding and Marketing Workgroup of the Governor’s Safe and Healthy Foods Advisory Committee, which provides input and guidance to the G&C program.
The G&C producer grants will be awarded for capital projects that will enable qualified agricultural producers meet food safety standards necessary for participation in the program. Eligible agricultural producers can apply for up to 90% of their total project cost, not to exceed $50,000. They must also provide at least 10% of the total project cost as matching support, and commit to being enrolled in the G&C program. The food producer match can include cash, loans or grants. The program is open to agricultural producers of dairy, eggs, beef, poultry, pork, sheep, goat, produce, shellfish, Christmas trees, maple, cut flowers, craft beverage ingredients, wine, spirits, beer and cider.
G&C identifies and promotes New York food growers and producers adhering to New York’s food safety and environmental sustainability programs—Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) plans-- and assures consumers that the food they are buying is local and produced at that higher-standard established by these certifications. Participants are identified through the use of a G&C product label seal, and are included in the program’s marketing outreach.
“Becoming G&C can be a valuable marketing tool for growers in our region, as the state begins to ramp up its comprehensive marketing plan aimed at restaurants, institutional buyers and consumers,” said Erling. A television commercial promoting the G&C brand was produced in July and additional marketing materials are being created.
Founded in 1996, HMRC&D is an all-volunteer, 501(c) 3, non-profit organization that works in partnership with local communities to create healthy, profitable landscapes, and serves Albany, Columbia, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, and Schenectady counties. It is based on collaboration between individuals and organizations that have an interest in helping improve economic development and conservation throughout the six county area. The supervisors of each county, as well as a representative from each county’s New York State Soil & Water Conservation Committee are also members of HMRC&D. HMRC&D is a long-time HVADC partner, and HVADC’s Erling serves as Vice Chairperson of The Council, and also represents Columbia County.
In addition to administrating the grant program, HVADC and HMRC&D will help farmers apply for state funds for capital improvements related to food safety, identify sources of financing and HVADC will provide access to technical assistance, including guidance on GAP. Soil and Water Conservation offices in the six counties will assist grant recipients with AEM. Producers are encouraged to visit https://www.hvadc.org/nys-grown-and-certified to learn about the certification process and details on the grant program.
Grant applications are now being accepted, with a deadline of February 8. Food producers interested in learning more about the G&C program in the Capital District are encouraged to contact HVADC staff at 518-432-5360 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.hvadc.org/nys-grown-and-certified to learn more about the program. Those located in the in the Mid-Hudson region (Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester) should contact Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County, which is the designated REDC for that area, at http://ccedutchess.org/contact.