Agribusiness Takes Center Stage in Cobleskill, NY

National Grid, in partnership with the Institute for Rural Vitality at SUNY Cobleskill and NYSERDA, presented the Second Annual Agricultural Solutions Fair on Thursday, March 14 at SUNY Cobleskill showcasing its Economic Development and Energy Efficiency programs for farmers and agribusinesses across the state.

Economic Development Manager Katie Newcomb (Left) talks with participants at this year’s Agricultural Solutions Fair in upstate NY.

“At National Grid, we know that farmers are vital to New York State’s economy. Equipment costs to start or upgrade a farm can be prohibitive, so National Grid offers incentives to help farms increase their energy efficiency and productivity with more advanced, efficient equipment” said Laurie Poltynski, National Grid Regional Director. “We are pleased to be a part of the Second Annual Agricultural Solutions Fair and offer more information on both our energy efficiency incentives and our economic development programs which provide grants for utility infrastructure upgrades, renewable energy systems, and/or productivity improvements made by dairy farms, commercial farms, food processing businesses, and greenhouses.”

For farms and agribusinesses doing larger scale projects like a new or updated parlor, adding three-phase, or installing a renewable energy system, National Grid has grants available through its Economic Development program. The program maintains a strong focus on site development and facilitating customer growth through infrastructure assistance, energy efficiency, and productivity improvement. The program reflects an increasing emphasis on sustainable development, the efficient use of existing energy infrastructure, and the strategic deployment of renewable generation technologies.

Energy Efficiency grants are available to farms/agribusinesses that are upgrading to LED lighting, a pre-cooler (plate cooler), heat recovery water heater, VSD vacuum pump, VSD fans, chiller, scroll compressor or other efficient equipment. Farms and agribusiness industries are critical components of the upstate New York economy, both as direct employers and wealth generators and as key inputs to a large number of “downstream” manufacturing industries.

The Agribusiness Productivity program provides rebates to fund energy efficiency, renewable energy delivery and/or productivity improvements undertaken by commercial farms, food processers, and greenhouses. Dairy farms are one of the largest segments to utilize National Grid’s agricultural incentives. By connecting the state’s dairy farms with resources at a time when many farms are struggling, National Grid is working to help the industry not just survive, but also thrive. New York State is home to approximately 4,500 dairy farms with 620,000 cows, producing 14.9 billion pounds of milk. New York ranks third in the production of milk, and is first in the nation in the production of other dairy products such as yogurt and cottage cheese. (source: https://www.dairybusiness.com/nys-hosts-meeting-on-dairy-industry-issues/)

Agricultural customers are also eligible for the Residential Agricultural Discount program (RAD). This reduced rate (with annual application process) is a special discounted electric rate available to agricultural customers who meet eligibility requirements.

During the past 18 months, National Grid made more than 250 farms visits resulting in more than $3.6 million of grants and incentives to help Upstate NY farms increase productivity, enhance energy efficiency, upgrade infrastructure, and install renewable energy solutions.

Since 2004, National Grid has provided more than $14 million in economic development grant funding for more than 240 projects and EE stats.

For more information on National Grid opportunities, Agricultural Fair attendees are invited to speak with National Grid’s Economic Development and Ag Specialists at the event or to visit http://www.shovelready.com/programs.asp

The Agricultural Solutions Fair is a collaboration of public, private, and academic partners; this is not a typical tradeshow as the more than 20 exhibitors are there to offer help. The event focuses on connecting farmers and agribusinesses directly with grants and resources. Last year, more than 100 farms participated.

“The Agricultural Solutions Fair is an opportunity for comprehensive, proactive collaboration serving to benefit those who work in all facets of agriculture,” says SUNY Cobleskill President Marion A. Terenzio. “As always we embrace our ability to foster an environment that promotes agricultural and economic enrichment.”

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