By LOHR McKINSTRY Press-Republican
---- — TICONDEROGA — Owners of the Adirondack Meat Company plant under construction in Ticonderoga say they expect it to open before the end of the year to serve northern New York.
The meat-processing facility is being built at the north end of Ticonderoga Commerce Park, off Route 74, and will create 17 new jobs, said owners Peter and Denise Ward.
“We, at Adirondack Meat Company, look forward to partnering with local livestock producers to create a variety of locally grown, value-added products,” Mr. Ward said at recent ceremony held the site.
“We will process quality farm-fresh meat from around the Adirondack and North Country region, to be distributed throughout New York and the Northeast.”
The slaughterhouse was desperately needed by beef producers in the region, officials said, and the 7,500-square-foot meat-processing plant will slaughter, process, and return packaged products to livestock suppliers.
The Ticonderoga facility will include a retail shop for the sale of processed and packaged meat and will brand finished products with the Adirondack Meat Company label.
The plant was funded, in part, with a $465,000 grant from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development initiative.
Adirondack Meat Company was also aided by the North Country Regional Economic Development Council’s allocation of $300,000 from Empire State Development and $165,000 from the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, through the Essex County Industrial Development Agency.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is guaranteeing a loan for the plant.
FIRST IN PARK
State and local leaders gathered at the Commerce Park construction site to discuss its merits.
“This is an excellent example of how the Regional Council is advancing projects that address multiple opportunities,” North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said at the event.
“In this case, Ticonderoga will enjoy a number of new jobs, our farmers have an opportunity to gain more value from their livestock, and the North Country will have expanded access to locally produced food.”
Once completed, it will be the first USDA-certified processing facility in the Adirondack Park.
It will significantly reduce distances traveled for livestock farmers and help reduce the wait time of 90 to 365 days that currently exists for area beef producers, Empire State Development President Kenneth Adams said.
“The project will have a tremendous impact on local livestock farmers in the way of cost savings and efficiency.”
TEAM EFFORT CITED
State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine was also at the celebration.
“It will create jobs in my home region of the North Country, help support local agriculture and stimulate the region’s economy,” he said. “This was a true team effort, and the results are outstanding.”
State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) and Assemblyman Dan Stec (R-Queensbury) worked to get funding for the meat plant, and Little said it paid off.
“A local initiative is now taking off with the help of some state financial assistance, and there are many benefits, including investment and job creation in Essex County, helping our farmers grow their businesses, promoting a sustainable food source and providing consumers a product that will be appreciated for its high quality,” she said in a statement.
Essex County Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) noted that a USDA inspector will be on duty in the plant full time once the plant opens.
The Essex County IDA helped the plant qualify for its loans and grants.
“This new meat-processing facility will improve the safety, reliability and sustainability of the North Country’s independent food supply,” Essex County IDA Co-Director Carol Calabrese said.
Ticonderoga Town Supervisor Debra Malaney said they’re fortunate the Wards decided to locate the plant in Ticonderoga.
“The Adirondack Meat Company will have a great economic impact ... that will also create a good number of full- and part-time jobs. The Regional Economic Development Council clearly made an astute call when they identified this as a priority project and provided incentives that helped the concept become reality.”
Before the event, Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) talked about what the new plant will mean to area farmers.
“This is another great indicator of people coming up with a good idea, coming up with local support, getting a facility, putting people to work. One of the issues that some small farms, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), have is finding a facility like this,. This could be very helpful.”
Owens said there’s a mobile processing plant in St. Lawrence County that does beef now and is expanding to pork.
“Small farms are moving forward. I think it’s great for people to have the ability, if they want, to have local food.”
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