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EDA Joins with State, Local, and Private Groups to Expand Food Industry Cluster in New York State

Aerial view of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia, New York.

Aerial view of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia, New York.

For nearly a decade, officials in western New York’s Genesee County have been nurturing a food processing cluster, with a special focus on dairy products, at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park (GVAP) in Batavia, New York. The announcement last year of an EDA investment of $1 million for infrastructure upgrades is a perfect example of how a locally-led, cluster-focused development project can be catalyzed by EDA financial assistance at a crucial point in its expansion.

The business park is a one-of-a-kind, 200-acre site that is focused on the agribusiness and food processing industries. It is run by a public-private partnership, the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC). Amenities include access to a ready water supply via the local aquifer, a pretreatment facility, and excellent transportation links—qualities that have already attracted major international food processors, such as Alpina, as well as smaller producers.

The focus on food and dairy processing makes sense, because the city of Batavia is located in the midst of upstate New York’s agricultural belt. The industrial synergies that mark a successful industrial cluster—proximity to suppliers, transportation links, and a worker training program at nearby Genesee Community College—are all in place. And local officials have been quick to take advantage of other strategies, such as the recent designation of the business park as a Foreign Trade Zone, that will allow the region to expand its reach into growing markets.

The recent EDA grant funds infrastructure that will permit the business park to accommodate additional corporate tenants in the food-processing industry. The infrastructure includes connections to a municipal wellhead, 3,400 feet of water lines, and 1,800 feet of roadway. The EDA investment was matched by $1 million from GGLDC, which estimates that the expansion of the business park will create 186 new jobs and attract capital investment of $206 million.