‘Farmers for the Future’ Program Complete

Roman Roth at Wolffer Vineyard in Sagaponack. Photo courtesy of the Peconic Land Trust

The Peconic Land trust has announced it has successfully completed its Farmers for the Future capital program, also known as the Long Island Agricultural Capital Equipment Grant Program, funded through a $1 million grant from the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council through Empire State Development.

Launched in 2015 and administered by the Trust with support from the Long Island Community Foundation, this three-year program awarded $1 million in funding to 57 new and established farmers across Nassau and Suffolk Counties for capital improvements and equipment necessary to begin production, diversify crops, and meet safety and regulatory standards, according to a press release issued by the nonprofit late last week.

According to the Land Trust, the ESD incentivized farmers to invest over $5 million in the agricultural industry on Long Island, reimbursing farmers for 20-percent of their expenditures, up to $50,000 towards the purchase of new and used capital equipment and infrastructure.

The grants ranged from a few hundred dollars to $50,000 and included 16 new farm operations, 22 operations in transition, and 18 expanding operations. Investments included tractors, deer fencing, refrigerated containers, irrigation equipment, green-energy upgrades, generators, motors, high tunnels, oyster cages, seeders and spreaders, road upgrades, wash facilities, and more.

“We are honored to have been given the opportunity to provide working farms with access to capital to support their businesses. The program has been a tremendous success, underwriting $1 million of the total $5 million investment by farmers in our Long Island agricultural economy,” said John v.H. Halsey, President, Peconic Land Trust.

“Receiving this grant has been vital to our growing business. After working for years to increase our output and expand our ability to distribute, we found ourselves at a standstill without the capital to take the next step,” said Matt Schmitt, of Schmitt Farms in Riverhead. “Since receiving the grant we have been able to purchase the equipment necessary to facilitate more efficient production and make upgrades to our facility which allow for greater distribution.”