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Second parcel considered for food hub; Regional farmers said to benefit

There were battling charts at the government center on April 3, as lawmakers discussed an allocation of up to $110,000 for the creation of a food hub.
TRR photos by Fritz Mayer

By Fritz Mayer
April 9, 2014

MONTICELLO, NY — Sullivan County legislators heard a presentation on April 3 about a proposed food hub for which the county is being asked to allocate funds.

The food hub is a project of the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), and is a public/private partnership with a company called Ginsburg Food. Walter Garigliano, the attorney for the IDA, said the company is a family business that has been in the food distribution business for 100 years.

Some of the legislators had questioned the proposed location of the operation, which was to have been built on a seven-acre parcel in the industrial park in Glen Wild, but most of the farms in Sullivan County are located in the western part of the county.

Garigliano explained that the operator chose the Glen Wild location because it provides good access to the Route 209 corridor in Ulster County, which is the location of the farms in the Rondout Valley Growers Association, which has some 40 members, and is expected to provide significant product to be distributed through the hub. Further, the location provides closer access to an existing, underutilized wash-and-pack facility in Kingston.

He said other locations such as the industrial park at the Sullivan County Airport were considered and rejected by the operator. He said the operator also decided not to choose a location in Bloomingburg because “there’s enough going on down there already.”

Garigliano said there are two grants coming from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help pay for the facility: a $213,400 grant that may be used for equipment, supplies, training software and utility upgrades; and another grant for $89,353 that may be used for market research, a feasibility study and farmer training,

The IDA is granting $250,000 for this project. The IDA requested an Empire State Grant of $310,000 through the state Consolidated Funding Application, but was awarded only $200,000, leaving them $110,000 short of the expected cost of the project. The cost of the land on which the project was to be built was $125,000.

Garigliano said that four or five jobs would be tied directly to the new facility, but probably more significant would be the number of new producers who would be incentivized to grow crops that could be distributed through the facility.

Todd Erling, executive director of the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation, said that the project is part of a larger inter-regional effort, which will include another hub project, which he said could more accurately be called a node, in Columbia County.