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USDA awards Homer dairy farm more than $190K in grant funding

HOMER, N.Y. — Trinity Valley, LLC in Cortland County will use federal grant funding of more than $190,000 to expand the customer base for the line of fluid milk and milk products it produces and processes at the family dairy farm.

Trinity Valley, which also operates a bakery and retail store, is located at 2847 Route 13 in the town of Homer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) allocated the funding through its value-added producer grant program, U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced in a news release that Gillibrand’s office issued on Monday.


The USDA grant program seeks to “promote growth” for small, independent producers, allowing them to generate new products; create and expand marketing opportunities; and “increase” producer income, according to the lawmakers’ news release.

Trinity Valley will use the grant to help give the business a “boost in production,” Branden Brown, processing plant superintendent, said in the release.

“As with all small businesses buying supplies and material to make our products can be very taxing. To buy right and keep costs down, we need to buy in big quantities. Well $10,000 for a load of jugs is not that easy to come by. The money will also be spent on paying for workers to help take some of the work load off of our family’s shoulders. Seeing we are a fairly new business, marketing and advertising is not on the top of the list, so … the grant money it will help pay for some of that as well,” said Brown.

New York needs its farmers to “thrive” if the state is to have a “strong and growing” economy, Gillibrand said in the news release.

“These federal funds through the USDA are an investment in Central New York’s agricultural industry that will help producers earn more from their crops by expanding processing and marketing opportunities which will continue to drive economic growth in the region and across the state,” she added.

The USDA value-added producer grant program helps agricultural producers to process their crops into more “profitable” forms and market their goods to the general public, according to the news release.

The department awards grants through a national competition each fiscal year. They’re designed to “boost” income and productivity by increasing access to capital, providing technical assistance, and developing new marketing strategies for independent producers to “increase exposure and broaden their customer base.”

The USDA this year will allocate $30 million to farms and agricultural producers nationwide, the lawmakers said.


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