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Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee

Genesee County: Agricultural Development Plan b. Entrepreneurial training. c. Network development to enhance business access to middle market finance. d. Professional service provider/advisor network. e. Investment pool management (Optional). 2. Advocate for changes in New York State legislation to establish: a. Targeted investment tax credits or incentives for agricultural and agriculturally related purposes. b. AGGIE bond authority to support new and beginning farmers’ programs. c. New York Agricultural Capital Fund modeled after the Iowa’s agricultural finance and support programs including tecTERRA Food Capital Partners. 3. Support regional finance innovations through research, training, and partial guarantees such as: a. Venture banking/Angel banking (Appendix E). b. Blended factoring/Purchase order financing (Appendix E). Priority Level 1: Begin program design and advocacy in the first two program years. Implement new regional program in year 3. Cost Considerations: Start-up will require extensive staffing resources and may necessitate hiring additional staff resources familiar with entrepreneurial development, regional funders, professional service providers, and equity finance. Set-up costs should be shared regionally and may be supported by a matching grant from the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Responsibility: Primary coordinating responsibility should reside with the Industrial Development Authority (IDA). Recommendation 2: Retain, Expand, and Recruit Agribusiness Retaining existing businesses is widely considered the best and cheapest form of economic development. A stable or growing local industry is one of the most powerful business recruitment tools available. The retention, expansion, and recruitment plan should be updated to specifically address value-added food production; food consolidation and distribution; and farm support industries, such as equipment and seed dealers, and milling. This plan should be based on a targeted marketing study that highlights the County’s comparative advantages in distribution, production, processing, and support services. Efforts should focus on the County’s two most prominent agricultural sectors; dairy and vegetable. Priority Level 1: Immediate action in early program years. Cost Considerations: This recommendation would require moderate to high levels of inhouse staffing depending on the level of outside consulting used. Outside consulting should be budgeted at approximately $20,000 - $30,000. Responsibility: Primary responsibility should reside with the IDA with support from Empire State Development. Copyright©, 2001: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia, MD 13

Genesee County: Agricultural Development Plan Recommendation 3: Create a Research and Development Grant Program Genesee’s innovative agribusinesses are a hotbed of entrepreneurial development. However, funding to support early stage product development, technical services, and commercialization is limited. By creating a competitive grant program that enhances existing programs, the County can further benefit from this economic engine. Specifically, this program should support areas of weakness in feasibility research, market studies, engineering support, patent filing, and prototype development. Demonstrated areas of interest, as defined by existing businesses, include alternative energy, process design, waste management, product improvement, and crop research. Priority Level 1: Immediate action in early program years. Cost Considerations: This recommendation would require sponsoring a technical review committee and moderate levels of in-house staffing. A pilot budget of $50,000 should be administered in the first several years to evaluate the utility of the proposed program. Responsibility: Primary responsibility should reside with Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) with support from the IDA. Recommendation 4: Integrate Business Support Services Federal, state, and local incentive programs and support systems exist to assist new, expanding, and relocating firms. Genesee County should help farmers to identify and access these programs by providing updated program information through periodic resource mailings, individual counseling, and website. Priority Level 1: Immediate action in early program years. Cost Considerations: This recommendation would require moderate levels of in-house staffing to research and disseminate information. A publications budget of $3,000 should be allocated. Responsibility: Primary responsibility should reside with Cornell Cooperative Extension with support from the IDA and Genesee Chamber of Commerce. Recommendation 5: Explore Regional Labor Recruitment Options Farmers throughout the region express concern over the apparent shortage of qualified farm labor. This issue is not isolated to Genesee County and the solution will not come directly from Genesee County. However, given Genesee County’s prominence in the industry, the County should lead a regional, private-public partnership to study labor recruitment efforts. Three options should initially be considered. ‣ Labor aggregation and transportation from regional low employment centers. ‣ Labor recruitment from low employment areas such as Puerto Rico and other U.S. Territories. ‣ Development of INS screening stations to certify employment status. Priority Level 1: Immediate action in early program years. Cost Considerations: This recommendation would require moderate levels of in-house staffing and should be within the current budget. Copyright©, 2001: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia, MD 14

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