HUDSON — The Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation has been awarded a $2.6 million grant to support farm and food businesses.

HVADC announced Monday the $2.6 million grant awarded last week will assist Columbia, Greene, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties and allow the corporation to capitalize and administer a revolving loan fund to help provide gap financing for agribusinesses in the region.

“Funding of the Hudson Valley Agribusiness RLF will support capital access needs, address the increasing demand for local food supply, and enable businesses to adapt operations to protect our local farms and regional food system,” Corporation Executive Director Todd Erling said in a statement. “These federal funds, coupled with state and regional resources, will build on our over 10 years of experience providing business technical assistance.”

The assistance can include business planning, marketing, legal counsel and financial advice for farmers to meet the increased demand for local products, Erling said.

The grant money came as a part of the CARES Act, according to the corporation announcement, which provided the Economic Development Administration with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs.

The grant money will create 67 jobs, save 220 others and leverage $2 million in private investment in the agribusiness sector in the Hudson Valley, according to the announcement.

U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19, voted to pass the CARES Act.

“Under the leadership of Todd Erling, the Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation has helped countless upstate farmers and producers,” Delgado said in a statement. “This grant is a sound investment that will create and save hundreds of critical jobs. I was proud to pass the CARES Act, which provided this funding, and will keep working to deliver economic development assistance to New York’s 19th Congressional District.”

The revolving loan fund will assist small businesses with their capital and equipment needs, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement. This will help communities in and around Hudson build back stronger.

The Empire State Development Agriculture website reports about 20% of the state’s land area is used for farming and the state has a total of about 100,000 food manufacturing jobs.

The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges for farms and food businesses New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said.

“The EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund, which is being provided to the Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation, is critical to helping our agricultural community to recover,” Ball said in a statement. “Our farms and food businesses faced unprecedented challenges this past year, including major market disruptions. This funding will ensure our farmers and producers have access to bridge funding to offset the financial difficulties incurred, allowing them to begin the process of building back better.”

Small businesses became strained during the pandemic, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, said.

“Now more than ever, we need to support our small businesses as we rebuild New York’s local economies. The COVID-19 pandemic strained businesses across New York State as costs surged and revenues dwindled,” Gillibrand said. “I am proud to have secured this CARES Act funding that will bring $2.6 million in federal relief to help our local business leaders stay afloat, grow small businesses and build economic resilience in our communities.”

The funding will create hundreds of jobs and opportunities in Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster counties, Gillibrand said.

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