Greater Brockport Agribusiness / Food Processing

Brockport is located in New York State's nine-county Finger Lakes region. The region offers food processors two critical competitive advantages: abundant fresh water (7% of the world's supply) and easy access to major North American markets. More than one-third of the combined population of the U.S. and Canada live within 500 miles of the region, reducing the cost and the time needed to get products to markets.

There are more than 100 food manufacturing companies in the Finger Lakes region. Constellation Brands, founded and based in the region, is the world’s largest premium wine producer. Other significant local food processors include Wegmans, LiDestri Foods, Seneca Foods and High Falls Brewing Company. Global firms Kraft Foods, Motts and Barilla also have major processing facilities in the region. The region's abundant resources and strategic location are among the reasons Bonduelle North America chose to invest in Brockport (see sidebar).

Another major advantage Brockport offers food processors is the abundance of cold storage that is available within the village. Allied Frozen Storage offers more than 15,000,000 cubic feet of modern, state-of-the-art temperature controlled (-20°F to 50°F) warehouse space. Allied's transportation services can handle products from point of production through delivery. It can also route, invoice, track and consolidate orders. Plus, inside rail service provided by CSX Corporation is also available in its Brockport facility.

Finger Lakes agriculture has long exported to the rest of the nation. Regional entrepreneurs, who long ago realized that they could add value to their produce by processing crops and animal products before shipping, created cheese factories, wineries, frozen food factories and many other food processing enterprises. Today the agricultural and food processing cluster represents a crucial part of the region’s economy, employing nearly 19,000 with a payroll of $700 million.

The Finger Lakes region leads New York State in sales of milk, fruit and nut, corn, and organic products. The region leads the state in sales of all crops, harvesting one-third of the state total by value, and in sales of all animal products, producing one-quarter. In 2007, half of the land in the region was dedicated farmland, the highest percentage of any region in the state.

The renowned Finger Lakes grape and wine industry produces 41,403 tons of grapes annually. The region’s 90 wineries and 9,124 acres of vineyards account for 85 percent of the state’s wine production. A strong framework supports the grape growing and wine industries, including Uncork NewYork, the New York Wine and Culinary Center, and the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Finger Lakes Grape Program. These programs help winemakers through research and connect them to merchants and tourists.

The Finger Lakes Region is an important producer of fruits and vegetables. In addition to grapes, the region is a leading grower of apples, helping to make New York State second in the nation in apple production. Other leading crops include soybeans, cabbage, sweet corn and onions, though the list of all crops grown in the region is much longer. As a leading producer of organic products, the region enjoys a booming network of farm markets and community-supported agriculture programs.

The Finger Lakes Region leads the state in dairy production, producing more than 3.1 billion pounds of milk each year and making New York State the fourth largest dairy state in the nation. Dairy products are exported to markets and used locally by cheese, yogurt, and other food and beverage manufacturers.

Farmers receive support from a variety of programs that offer education and training as well as agricultural research and advice. Each of the region’s counties has a local CCE association that supports programs such as the North Western New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team; the Lake Ontario Fruit Program; and the Cornell Vegetable Program.

Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station serves agricultural producers, food businesses and consumers throughout the state. The station works to prevent food-borne pathogens, fight invasive pests and diseases that threaten crops, develop new markets, and cultivate new fruit and vegetable varieties. Additional regional resources include the Agriculture & Food Tech Park, Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty, Finger Lakes Sustainable Farming Center, the New York Farm Bureau, and the Wine & Grape Foundation.