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ESD board awards funding to projects in the North Country, Chenango County

By Eric Reinhardt


A railroad line in the North Country and a family farm in Chenango County will benefit from funding that New York’s leading economic-development agency approved recently.

The board of directors of Empire State Development (ESD) approved a total of $64 million in investments across New York state during its meeting in New York City.

The board signed off on a $1.3 million grant that the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency will use to follow up a project to rehabilitate 46 miles of tracks on the Newton Falls railroad line.

The work was part of the project’s first phase in which crews cleared the railroad line of overgrowth, debris, and obstructions.

After inspection and evaluation for reopening, designers have prepared engineering plans and specifications for phase two of the rail-line rehabilitation, ESD said.

The rehabilitation and reopening of the entire Newton Falls railroad line is “fundamental” to the ongoing employment and commercial transportation needs and the overall economic growth in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis counties, ESD added.

The board also approved a Regional Council grant of $275,000 for Sunrise Family Farms of Norwich, a company that makes dairy products including frozen yogurt and a Greek-style yogurt.

Sunrise Family Farms will use a grant of up to $275,000 to help pay for machinery and equipment in a project that includes facility renovations and the development of a new dairy-processing plant, according to ESD.

The company completed the project in September. Sunrise acquired, renovated, and equipped a vacant, 25,000-square-foot manufacturing building in Greene that it is using to increase production.

Sunrise outgrew its existing facility following a “rapid increase” in sales and product demand, according to ESD. The company asked for help to establish a second manufacturing location and to purchase machinery and equipment.

The new facility will support growing customer demand for yogurt products and enable Sunrise to manufacture additional private-label products, something it had previously been unable to do, the state agency said.

With the additional facility, Sunrise expects to double its manufacturing capability as sales and demand increase.

Sunrise will retain 35 existing jobs and has already created 17 new jobs, exceeding its job-creation goal, according to ESD.

In addition, the board also approved a grant of $130,000 that North Country Pastured, LLC of DeKalb Junction in St. Lawrence County will use to help pay for the cost of mobile equipment to process local poultry and construction of an equipment-storage building.

North Country Pastured is a startup company that provides a service that enables poultry producers to sell U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-processed poultry to markets.

North Country Pastured requested ESD assistance to help finance its new startup business that provides a mobile poultry-processing service.

North Country Pastured purchased a mobile poultry-processing unit and a truck to tow the unit, and has constructed a vehicle-storage building.

The firm completed the project and has obtained the required USDA certification to provide the service. It’s available to local poultry producers at their farm locations in the North Country.

North Country Pastured has created three of the four new jobs to which it has committed, ESD said.


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