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Quantitative and Qualitative Measures of Fruit and Vegetable Production in Genesee Valley

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Agriculture is a vibrant part of New York state’s economy and is especially so in the Genesee Valley region in Western New York. This study covers a nine-county region called the Genesee Valley region comprised of Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties. Several economic factors are having an impact on agriculture in the region. Two large yogurt processing plants are opening in the region. In addition, Bonduelle, a large, international vegetable processor, has purchased two existing vegetable processing plants and one vegetable packaging plant from Allen’s, Inc., while Champlain Valley Specialty, a fresh-cut apple processor from eastern New York, has expanded its operations to include an additional fresh-cut plant in Oswego County, not far from the largest apple-growing county in the state, Wayne County. These separate infusions of agribusiness capital have created excitement in the production community and also some uncertainty. The new business partners have the potential to reshape production decisions. Will milk needed for yogurt production expand dairy needs and force out land formerly used for vegetable production? Will the new vegetable processor be successful in this, their first U. S. venture, and provide stable demand and contracts for processed vegetable growers? In addition, an explosion in the number of new farmers’ markets, has created a demand for farmer vendors, but sometimes finding farmers able and willing to staff these new farmers’ markets has not been easy. Cost accounting data from fruit and vegetable direct marketers using various direct marketing channels suggest that farmers’ markets may be less profitable than other direct marketing channels such as Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), farm stores, and farm stands (LeRoux, M. N., et al., 2009). This report will present information about production capacity and production flows in and out of the region. It will provide useful information for discussions with agricultural economic development in the region. Data were obtained from a producer survey as well as industry member interviews, U. S. Census, U. S. Department of Agriculture, and additional secondary resources.

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E.B. 2012-10

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2012-09

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