BRUNSWICK>> One local farm announced a major expansion into a vacant facility this week, a direct result of the recent Farm Bill.
Rock Maple Farms of Rensselaer County celebrated its move to Brunswick Monday morning at its new supply site, a former construction facility at 2112 Route 7.
A USDA loan of $860,000 is supporting the family-owned Rock Maple Farms of Rensselaer County in its raw material processing business. The money for the expansion was provided by Kinderhook Bank, and was awarded to Rock Maple Farms on May 12 to refinance debt and allow the farm to concentrate on growing their business.
The farm provides locally produced raw materials for Green Island company Ecovative’s innovative commercial packaging. The new venture allows for the processing of corn stover, a raw material used by Ecovative to make biodegradable alternatives to foams and plastics.
“It’s a great use of what’s normally considered a waste product,” said Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, adding that he’s thrilled to see the building come back to life as well.
The space will primarily serve as storage and warehousing. The property, owned by David Vanderzee of Vanderzee Financial since 2009, is a the former home of Madsen Construction and Xero-Fax, which both failed at the site. Rock Maple Farms will occupy 15 percent of the 18-acre facility. Three firms, including Blast Off Restoration and a CAT equipment rental store, hold tenancy right now, and Vanderzee hopes to add more in the future and create a business hub.
“The goal is obviously to bring start-up and other small farm type complementary businesses here,” he said.
Congressman Chris Gibson, political supporter of the Farm Bill, congratulated the locals on their new endeavor.
“I’m proud that we’re leading the way here and utilizing the program for the intended purpose, which is to see smart projects get funded and create new opportunities,” Gibson said.
County Executive Kathy Jimino thanked Gibson for his action in government that has helped the two local businesses.
Due to the new legislation, Bacon shared a message of optimism for the expansion of his business under the Farm Bill.
“It’s all going to be positive because we have to look forward,” he said. “We have to create new jobs, new ways to strive forward in our community and our region.”
Material supply director Justin Frisino of Ecovative, a customer of Rock Maple Farms, said the ultimate goal is for Rock Maple Farms’ new facility to help create a more consistent product.
“By having local materials, we’re able to keep our carbon emissions low, and we’re also able to help support the local economy by offering additional revenue to farmers for a product that is normally considered a waste,” he said.
Gibson commended the two businessmen on their green deal.
“One of the ways that our farmers flourish is they waste nothing,” he said, calling Mike Bacon of Rock Maple Farms “a classic example of an effective small business owner in New York.”