FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2012
SCHUMER GOES TO BAT FOR NEW DAIRY FACILITY IN GENESEE COUNTY; PUSHES ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADMIN. TO PROVIDE INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT FOR ESSENTIAL WATER SYSTEM AT PEPSI’S WAVE HOLDINGS NEW YOGURT-PRODUCT PLANT
Today, United States Senator Charles E. Schumer announced a major effort to secure critical funding for the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) through the Economic Development Administration (EDA), to complete essential infrastructure improvements at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park (Ag-Park) in Batavia. GGLDC has applied for a $1 million investment from the EDA Public Works Program, which would fund infrastructure improvements that must be completed before Wave Holdings partners Theo Muller Gmbh and the Pepsico company can construct a $206 million yogurt manufacturing facility in the Ag-Park.
In a personal letter to EDA Acting Assistant Secretary Matthew Erskine, Schumer noted that this investment would allow the Ag-Park to construct an aquifer-direct water system, which is required for food processing and yogurt product manufacturing. The federal award will also help the project leverage millions in private sector investments and will create approximately 186 jobs at the plant, all while providing a critical boost as Genesee County and Upstate New York work to keep pace with the lucrative and fast-growing yogurt production industry.
"Wave Holdings has the potential to not only reshape Genesee County, but to solidify Upstate New York’s role as a leader in the fast-growing yogurt production industry, which will create jobs and drive demand for our hard-working family dairy farmers,” said Schumer. “This EDA investment will be critical in making that happen, as it would allow the Ag-Park in Batavia to construct a water system that is required for food processing and ensure that the site is ready when construction is scheduled to begin. This plan has enormous potential to redefine Genesee County and Upstate New York and establish it as the place to be for yogurt production, and would provide a critical boost to economic development across the region, bringing jobs, business and economic opportunity to the entire region. These dollars are needed to renovate and equip this state-of-the-art yogurt plant, and I will fight to ensure that the EDA approves this grant.”
The GGLDC will use the $1 million, plus a local match, to construct an aquifer-direct water system required by food processors as municipal water is not optimal for the manufacturing process of yogurt products. In addition to Pepsico’s Wave Holdings facility, the aquifer system will be utilized by another yogurt product producer Alpina Foods, the first tenant in the Ag-Park. Alpina is in the process of constructing a 40,000 square foot yogurt processing facility in the Ag-Park and anticipates beginning production this summer with the hiring of 50 new employees. Schumer highlighted the fact that multiple economic development projects would be set to utilize this aquifer system once constructed, and noted that the project fits squarely in line with the administration’s focus on developing regional clusters of growth in specialized high-tech manufacturing.
The EDA Public Works Program provides funding for distressed communities to revitalize and upgrade physical infrastructure to attract new industry, encourage business expansion, and diversify local economies. The Economic Adjustment Assistance Program helps address the needs of communities experiencing adverse economic changes that may occur suddenly or over time cause by international trade, long-term economic deterioration, loss of major community employer, or loss of manufacturing jobs. Funding can be used for infrastructure improvements like sewers.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter appears below:
Acting Assistant Secretary Matthew Erskine
Economic Development Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
Dear Acting Assistant Secretary Erskine,
I write in strong support of the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation’s (GGLDC) infrastructure grant application to the United States Economic Development Administration. This federal award would leverage millions in private sector development, solidify New York State’s emergence as the leader in the lucrative yogurt production sector, and bring the largest manufacturing operation in the past 50 years to Genesee County.
Specifically if awarded, this critically important funding will be used to complete infrastructure improvements at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park (Ag-Park) in the Town of Batavia, NY. This infrastructure is required to be completed before Wave Holdings partners Theo Muller Gmbh and the Pepsico company can construct a $206 million yogurt manufacturing facility in the AG-Park. Pepsico will bring significant economic impact to the region with the creation of approximately 186 jobs.
The GGLDC will use the $1 million, plus a local match, to construct an aquifer direct water system required by food processors as municipal water is not optimal for the manufacturing process of yogurt products. The aquifer system will not only benefit Pepsico and Wave Holdings but will also be utilized by another yogurt product producer Alpina Foods, the first tenant in the Ag-Park. Alpina continues construction of its new 40,000 square foot yogurt processing facility in the Ag-Park and anticipates beginning production this summer with the hiring of 50 new employees. This project, therefore, is squarely in line with the Administration’s focus on developing regional clusters of growth in specialized high-tech manufacturing.
The assistance of the Economic Development Administration would significantly enhance economic development and investment in Genesee County on these projects and others in the future. However, in addition to the new direct jobs, this manufacturing plant offers tremendous growth opportunities for New York’s local dairy industry. New York ranks as the nation’s 3rd largest dairy producer, with 40 percent of the state’s milk production coming from dairies in the 15-county western New York region. This exciting economic development initiative will benefit the agricultural community in surrounding counties by creating additional demand of milk for yogurt products in this 15-county region and beyond which is of particular importance to me as agriculture is one of the leading industries in upstate New York.
I am confident that working together with Genesee County Economic Development Corporation and the State of New York, this federal investment will lay the foundation for a major agricultural manufacturing cluster in western New York for years to come. As such I strongly support this application and ask the Economic Development Administration to give it full and fair consideration. Thank you for your consideration of this request.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer