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Cuomo Announces Grand Opening of Ag Development Center
New York Ag Connection - 12/06/2017

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Tuesday announced the opening of the Agriculture Development Center, operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, providing educational and training opportunities to farmers in the Southern Tier Region. In addition, the brand-new Taste NY Market located inside the Agriculture Development Center promotes the world-class food and beverage products found in the Southern Tier and around the State, driving local agri-tourism in the region.

"Our investments in the unique strengths and agricultural economy of the Southern Tier are moving the region forward, and these new projects will keep the momentum going," Governor Cuomo said. "A robust and competitive agriculture industry is key to the Southern Tier's success, and this initiative provides vital resources that promote future economic growth and job creation."

The Agriculture Development Center is a 3,200 square-foot addition to the original farm house that was built to serve as one-stop location, offering help to farmers with business planning and market development, as well as training on critical initiatives such as farmers' market nutrition programs and food safety. The Agriculture Development Center will also be used to provide workforce training to ensure a pipeline of skilled agricultural workers. The Ag Development Center has already been the site of half a dozen events, such as the State's Farm-to-School Summit and Regional Master Gardener training.

In addition, the project includes a Taste NY Market, which offers area visitors a variety of locally sourced food and beverage products from the region, sandwiches and other grab-and-go snacks, as well as an array of fresh products such as eggs, cheese, and produce. The Market also supports operations of the new Southern Tier Welcome Center, working together to bring local food and beverages to the greater region. Products available include food and gift items from New York State producers such as, Engelbert Farms, Finger Lakes Harvest, BobbySue's Nuts and many more. A full list is available here.

The Agriculture Development Center was provided $500,000 from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, through its Southern Tier Agricultural Industry Enhancement program, and $750,000 from the NYS Economic Development Program, secured by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo. The Agriculture Development Center is a critical component of a larger project being developed at the same site by CCE-BC that includes a regional farmers' market and a commercial production kitchen. Together, these projects will serve as a Food Innovation Cluster and small scale Food Hub for the Southern Tier that will work with local farmers to increase crop production, provide education for small-scale food manufacturing, and identify organizations/institutions that can purchase local products or sell at local farmers' markets, regional markets, local grocery stores, and Taste NY markets and stores.

The Agriculture Development Center and Taste NY Market complement "Southern Tier Soaring," the region's comprehensive blueprint created under the Governor's Upstate Revitalization Initiative to generate economic growth and community development. The Southern Tier's plan invests in agriculture as one of the four key pillars of the region's economy. The state has already invested more than $4.6 billion in the region, including $30 million in agriculture-related projects, since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan. The Governor's $30 million Southern Tier Agricultural Industry Enhancement program has doubled the state's commitment to growing the agricultural industry in the Southern Tier.

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "I'm excited to help celebrate the grand opening of this facility, which will help our producers connect with critical resources and training opportunities. It also includes a terrific Taste NY store that will support the Southern Tier Welcome Center and bring a taste of more local products to New Yorkers and visitors."

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