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Grants boost agritourism in Onondaga County

Grants boost agritourism in Onondaga County

By Blake Jackson

Onondaga County is investing in the future of its agricultural sector by awarding grants to 16 farms to support agritourism initiatives. These grants, totaling nearly $750,000, aim to help farms diversify their income streams and create new revenue sources, all while preserving valuable farmland.

County Executive Ryan McMahon sees agritourism as a key growth area for Onondaga County's farms. "Farmland is valuable," he emphasized, highlighting the difference in approach compared to other regions that might focus on ventures like solar farms.

The grants will provide crucial funding for various projects on these farms. This financial assistance can help with infrastructure improvements, product marketing, or establishing visitor experiences. Ultimately, the county hopes to create a network of agritourism destinations, attracting visitors and boosting the local economy.

One beneficiary, Gridley's Cold Spring Beef in Fayetteville, plans to use their grant to purchase a walk-in freezer. "Freezer space is very expensive," explained Nick Corbishley, who works on the farm. This upgrade will allow them to keep pace with their growing grass-fed beef business, which sells directly to consumers and in bulk.

Other grant recipients include producers of honey, maple syrup, eggs, and longhorn cattle. For example, Hiwire Honey in Lafayette will use the grant to build a dedicated farm store, providing a convenient and staffed location for customers to purchase their honey.

This new storefront represents a significant improvement over their current system, where customers leave money in exchange for jars left unattended. The owner, Raymond Lowe, also aims to use the store to cater to the needs of local beekeepers by offering beekeeping supplies.

By supporting these agritourism projects, Onondaga County is fostering a more vibrant and sustainable agricultural sector. The initiative empowers farmers to diversify their operations, connect directly with consumers, and contribute to a thriving local food scene.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-steve-baccon

Sustainable dairy farming - new techniques for future Sustainable dairy farming - new techniques for future
USDA grant funding for food system resilience USDA grant funding for food system resilience

Categories: New York, General

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