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New Grant Looks To Bolster Local Food Safety Standards

Nicole Barylski

Aquaculture fisheries, beef, beverage ingredients, dairy, eggs, goat, maple products, pork, produce, poultry, sheep, and shellfish are all eligible commodities. (Photo: www.facebook.com)

The Peconic Land Trust will assist farmers meet the food safety standards required to take part in the New York State Grown & Certified certification program through a new cost-share grant program.

"There is a real excitement around the New York State Grown & Certified program and what it means for both our producers and for consumers," State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball relayed. "This funding will make it easier for our growers and producers to ensure safe food handling practices and join the Grown & Certified program."

To administer the grant, the Trust received a $500,000 block grant through the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative. The funding was awarded by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, which oversees the NYS Grown & Certified program.

"The Peconic Land Trust looks forward to working with our partners in agriculture on Long Island to provide opportunities to expand markets and provide access to capital to our local farmers," John v.H. Halsey, President, Peconic Land Trust, relayed. "Long Island farmers face some of the highest cost for land and business expenses in the country."

The Trust will offer up to $50,000 per producer for capital improvements to meet or uphold the Grown & Certified Program's food safety requirements. The grant will take care of 90 percent of project costs, while the producers must match 10 percent. Aquaculture fisheries, beef, beverage ingredients, dairy, eggs, goat, maple products, pork, produce, poultry, sheep, and shellfish are all eligible commodities.

"We thank our regional partners, like Peconic Land Trust, for their work in administering the program in their communities and supporting agriculture, which is one of New York's largest economic drivers," Ball shared.

Applications for the Long Island region (Nassau and Suffolk Counties) will be reviewed by the Peconic Land Trust and evaluated based on commodity-specific criteria and award funding.

"Grant programs like these provide an opportunity to off-set some of the other costs associated with maintaining and growing an agricultural business on Long Island - and helping to ensure that our rich, agricultural soils and waters produce food for our communities, now and in the future," Halsey added.

New York State Grown & Certified, a statewide, multi-faceted food certification program, was launched in 2016. It was established to "strengthen consumer confidence in New York products, address food product labeling, and assist New York farmers so they can take advantage of the growing market demand for foods locally grown and produced to a higher standard."

For more information, visit peconiclandtrust.org.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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