CRG eyes agricultural loan fund

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth has been meeting with economic developers from two other counties to discuss establishment of an agriculture-related revolving loan fund for businesses.

CRG President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Reese reported on the idea to the Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee last week.

“We’re coming up with the process,” Reese said. “We want to look for applications.”

In his report to the committee at the County Office Building, Reese said agriculture is a large component of the regional economy. But he said current loan programs are not suited for farm projects.

He said the CRG is currently looking at potential funding sources with the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council.

Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan, himself a farmer, suggested Reese talk with officials from Jefferson County. He said that county has done agricultural initiatives as economic development.

Elsewhere in his report:

Reese said the CRG’s first blog article for 2014 was posted on its website www.fccrg.org. The article deals with location decisions made by Fage USA in Johnstown and Chobani in New Berlin, Chenango County.

The CRG continues to advertise its Microenterprise Grant Program to entrepreneurs in Fulton County to raise awareness that the county has resources available for small business start-ups and young companies, Reese said. The CRG most recently received an application from a Broadalbin business and has spoken to two potential applicants, he said.

Reese said his agency also continues to search for projects that can apply for state funding in a third round of funding in the Mohawk Valley. He said he has spoken to two existing companies with potential projects for that funding – one in Gloversville and one in Johnstown.

He reported the CRG responded to a “business location search” being handled by the Empire State Development Corp. Information on the Johnstown Industrial Park and the proposed regional business park were forwarded to the state for its review, he said.

Reese said he attended two meetings of a shared services committee formed in Montgomery County. He said the CRG is looking for projects that may qualify for state funding that will improve “efficiencies” in local government operations.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.