Farmers in New York state recently received more than $1 million through the Veterans and New Farmers grant funds. This includes more than $50,000 in combined investments in two Wayne County farms.
Pacello Orchards in Lyons received $34,474, and $17,404 went to B.C. Ameele Fruit Farms LLC in Williamson.
“Our local farmers are the economic drivers of our communities,” said State Sen. Pam Helming, R-54th District. “They provide job opportunities for hundreds of people, and provide our families with fresh, nutritious foods and dairy products. It is important that, as a state, we continue to support our agricultural community. The New Farmers Grant program is just one way we can encourage and support the next generation of farm owners. I was especially happy to support this particular program, because it assists our veterans who are transitioning from military duty to civilian life.”
Pacello Orchards will purchase field equipment to increase efficiencies at the orchard. B.C. Ameele Fruit Farms will plant trees and trellis systems to expand its apple orchard.
The New Farmers Grant Fund is in its fifth round; the Veterans Grant Fund is in its first year.
The New Farmers Grant Fund intends to help applicants improve the profitability of their farm and encourage farming as a career path. To be eligible, farmers must be within the first 10 years of having any ownership interest in the farm, and must have a minimum of $10,000 in sales of farm products.
To qualify for the Veterans Grant Fund, at least 50 percent of the farm business must be owned, operated and controlled by a veteran as defined in the program guidelines. The farm must have a minimum of $10,000 in farm income, though this program is not limited to beginning farmers.
“The new farmer and military veteran grant programs are worthy investments into the future of agriculture in New York,” said David Fisher, president of New York Farm Bureau. “They can serve as seed money to help farms get off the ground. At the same time, this is a way to give back to the brave men and women who have honorably served the people of our state and country. Their technical skills and work ethic can easily be put to good use on the farm.”