MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Legislature Wednesday night approved a resolution to spend $20,000 on feasibility study that would look into developing a regional hops/barley co-op to benefit local farmers.
The Grow Chautauqua Hops and Grains economic development project is something that County Executive George Borrello called for during his 2019 State of the County address in order to help local farmers who aren’t making enough money through traditional agriculture products.
“This initiative will create new opportunities for our farmers along with other new businesses involved in processing, distribution and marketing for these in-demand agricultural products,” Borrello noted in February. “It will allow our farmers to be part of creating a premium ‘Chautauqua Grown’ brand of high-quality products made right here with their crops. This is a big idea that has potential to be a game-changer for the future of agriculture and our economy.”
The effort would involve spending a total of $120,000 for a consultant, Chris LaCorata, to develop a feasibility study and plan to launch the coop – which Borrello said would be the first of its kind in the state.
LaCorata would personally cover $60,000 of the cost, with that the County and other local stakeholders covering the other $60,000. County development officials have already requested funding to come from local foundations, while the county itself would pitch in $20,000.
Once completed, the results of the study will be jointly owned by the Developer and the funding parties, along with the conditions and use of the study being agreed upon by the funding parties.
The vote to apply county tax payer money toward the project wasn’t unanimous with four legislators voting against it. They were Republicans John Hemmer (Westfield), John Davis (Frewsburg), Jay Gould (Ashville), and Daniel Pavlock (Sinclairville).