Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that nearly 30 farms across New York have been awarded funding through the New Farmers Grant Fund, which assists new and early-stage farmers.

Two local farms are on the list.

Windy Hill Goat Dairy in Cherry Valley will receive $21,355 to buy equipment to produce higher-quality livestock forage.

Berry Brook Farm LLC. in DeLancey will get $16,500 to build a greenhouse and increase cold storage to expand production.

Since its launch in 2014, the New Farmers Grant Fund has now awarded $4.2 million to 114 farms across the state, according to a media release.

"Farms are vital to our economy and quality of life by preserving open space and producing fresh, wholesome products," Cuomo said in the release. "New York farmers are recognized nationally for their great land stewardship, while producing world-class foods, beverages and specialty products. These awards will help new farmers further our state's longstanding agricultural traditions."

The New Farmers Grant Fund is administered by Empire State Development, in consultation with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Applications are scored based on specific criteria, including demonstrating how the project expands or diversifies agricultural production. The funds provide 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 recipients.

"Our agricultural economy is an important part of the New York identity, delivering local products to kitchen tables across our state and around the world," Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul said. "We know supporting start-up businesses is a great way to ensure long-term success. This new grant program will invest in job creation and the future of farming across New York."

State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball, a Schoharie County native, said: "Supporting our new and beginning farmers is critical to the future growth of agriculture in New York state. These grants will help these farms expand their operations and better compete in the marketplace."

"A third of New York farmers are 65 and older," said state Sen. Jen Metzger, D-Rosendale, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. "It's important that we support the future of farming and our rural communities by investing in the success of the next generation of farmers. This modest financial assistance can make a tremendous difference for newer farmers, like ... Patrick and Eleanor at Berry Brook, who came to upstate New York to farm and raise a family, and have created a growing market of local consumers and restaurants for their diverse selection of organic produce."


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