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Funds Available to Diversify Dairy Farms

Monticello, NY – Funding for dairy farm diversification is still available from the income generated from the Agri-Business Microenterprise Loan Program originating from New York State Office of Community Renewal.

The program recently granted up to $94,000 to Ma & Pa Creamery, LLC to fund the business planning, engineering studies, and equipment required to develop a producer-operated dairy processing facility. This project is a collaboration with local dairy farms and supporting partners including Hudson Valley Agri-Business Development Corporation, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County, Sullivan County Funding Corporation, Agricultural and Community Development Services, LLC, Sullivan County Government and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther’s office.

“Dairy farms are integral to agriculture in Sullivan County, directly contributing more than $7 million to the local economy,” said District 4 Legislator Catherine Owens, chair of the Legislature’s Parks, Agriculture and Sustainability Policy Committee. “Loss of any more dairies in the County will have a ripple effect throughout the economy, with the potential loss of millions of dollars of revenues. Therefore, Sullivan County is committed to supporting local dairy families through grants at the County level.”

Additional funding is available from the County for dairy farmers interested in creating niche and value-added products, a stated priority of the adopted Sullivan County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan. While job creation is not a requirement of funding, proposals that address employment are encouraged. However, grants cannot be made for daily operating expenses without diversification.

If you are a dairy farmer interested in applying for funding to support niche and value-added diversification on your farm, please submit a letter of interest with a project description and proposed budget to the Sullivan County Division of Planning, Community Development and Real Property at 100 North Street, Monticello, NY 12701. If you have questions or need more information, please contact the Division at 845-807-0527. Letters must be submitted by November 15, 2018 to be considered.