Governor’s Press Release
December 23, 2016
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $2 million in state funding to support the construction of a new 30,000-square-foot WNY Cheese Enterprise, LLC facility in Livingston County. The $49.7 million production facility will be part of an innovative collaboration between Craig’s Station Ventures, Denmark-based Arla Foods, and Dairy Farmers of America, a national, farmer-owned, dairy cooperative in the United States with headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri and Syracuse, New York. The facility will create 30 new jobs and is projected to produce approximately 15 million pounds of cheese annually, which will then be transported and packaged for retail sale.
“This new production facility and agricultural collaboration will support upstate dairy farmers, create jobs, and help bring more New York products to the national stage,” Governor Cuomo said. “This great collaboration to help spur further growth in these industries for years to come.”
Empire State Development will provide more than $2 million in funding to support the $49.7 million project, including a $1.3 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative Capital Grant. Additionally, up to $700,000 will be awarded in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits in return for 30 new jobs. The project is also made possible by a $506,000 Community Development Block Grant from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, which was awarded to Livingston County.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Agribusiness is a crucial part of the Upstate New York economy and this new manufacturing facility and the innovative collaboration it will house, will be a big boost to area dairy farmers looking to grow their businesses and create jobs.”
The new agriculture collaboration taking place at the cheese production facility will include DFA managing operations and holding a controlling stake in the venture. Additionally, Arla will have a 20 percent stake in the facility and will market cheese produced in Livingston County. Craig’s Station Creamery, a collaboration between DFA and Craig’s Station Ventures – a partnership of eight Livingston and Wyoming county dairy farms – will hold the remaining stake in the enterprise. In total, these local farms are expected to supply over 16 million gallons of raw milk each year. Construction of the new facility is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
James S. Rubin, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, “HCR’s commitment of Community Development Block Grant funds will be used for machinery and equipment, and will create jobs for working families. This investment is another example of Governor Cuomo’s upstate revitalization plan at work. Cheddar really does make everything better.”
Craig’s Station Creamery General Manager, Brian Paris said, “As a lifelong resident of this area and 30-year veteran of the dairy business, it’s a real honor to be a part of developing this new production facility. We have a tremendous opportunity to not only positively impact the dairy farmers in this area, but also the local community.”
Donald Stohrer, Jr., CEO, Arla U.S. said, “We are extremely excited and proud to partner with DFA in this venture, as it aligns perfectly with what today’s consumer is looking for: great-tasting, clean label products from a trusted, sustainable and traceable source. Today’s mom has a lot to worry about in her daily life. By providing her with the cheddar cheese produced through our partnership with DFA, we give her one less thing to fret about, thus making her life just a little bit easier.”
Chris Noble, Vice President of Noblehurst Farms and partner in Craig’s Station Ventures said, “The main drivers for this project are even stronger today than they were over two years ago when we opened the Creamery. Consumers want to know who produces their food, and they want to know that it was produced in a sustainable way. We thought the timing was right to bring that same message into a high-quality Cheddar cheese.”
State Senator Patrick Gallivan said, “This public-private partnership is an investment in the future of upstate New York and will help grow the region’s agriculture business, which is vital to our state’s overall economy. The new production facility will support local dairy farmers, create dozens of new jobs and have a positive impact on families and communities throughout the Finger Lakes region.”
Livingston County Board of Supervisors Chairman Eric Gott said, “It is these types of joint efforts that make large scale projects viable for our County and Region. We are thankful for good partnerships.”
Livingston County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Bill Bacon said, “We are thrilled to add WNY Cheese Enterprise to the growing lineup of food production businesses in Livingston County. The project builds on our strengths in agriculture through milk quality, workforce in food production and central proximity to major markets in the Northeast.”
FLREDC Co-Chairs, Monroe Community College President Anne Kress and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman said, “The FLREDC is committed to supporting partnerships like this one in an effort to grow jobs. Agriculture is an important industry and a key driver of our regional economy. Efforts such as this create solid opportunities for farmers, shaping the future of the region’s agricultural industry, helping to ensure its vitality for years to come.”
Agriculture is one of the strategic industry sectors championed by the Finger Lakes Economic Development Council (FLREDC) through the Finger Lakes Forward initiative. It was last December that the region’s plan was chosen as one of the winners in the Governor’s $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative competition.
For more information on Craig’s Station Creamery click here.
Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.
Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.