LaValle Secured Funds: Agricultural Consumer Science Center Breaks Ground, Equals Jobs and Economic Growth

October 24, 2011 – Nearly one year after announcing the open bidding process for the construction of a new Agriculture Consumer Science Center (ACSC) at the Stony Brook University Calverton Business Incubator, Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., was joined by Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and other local dignitaries  to celebrate the groundbreaking and construction advancement of the planned Center. The project expected completion date is summer 2012.

 The ACSC is being developed to help regional wine and agricultural producers and local entrepreneurs develop new, marketable consumer items and enhance their product lines through access to state-of-the-art shared processing areas and collaborations with researchers, scientists, and professionals at Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the NYS Small Business Development Center.

In March 2010, Stony Brook announced that through the efforts of New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, the University will receive a $3.5 million grant from the New York State Economic Development Assistance Program (NYS EDAP) for the construction of the ACSC at the Calverton Business Incubator, which was established by SBU in 2005 with a focus on the development of aquaculture, agriculture and environmental technologies. Funding is being administered by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY). 

“I am pleased to have secured the state funding needed to kick-start this important economic development project. The investment we make now will boost our local economy,” said Senator Ken LaValle.  “This is a unique opportunity for our agricultural community to develop new, marketable consumer items and enhance existing product lines and, importantly,  create new jobs and improve our region’s ability to remain competitive in the global marketplace,” Senator LaValle said.

In his remarks, Dr. Stanley expressed appreciation to Senator LaValle for his efforts in securing the $3.5 million grant for the expansion project and to the Town of Riverhead for donating the 50 acres of land on which the Center is now being built.

“This project is designed to be an economic engine, enhancing Eastern Long Island’s agriculture, aquaculture and environmental industries and promoting their endeavors to create new jobs in the industries,” said Dr. Stanley. “Here, regional wine and agricultural producers will have state-of-the-art processing areas in which to develop their products; they will be able to collaborate with scientists and researchers to develop their ideas, and they can use it as a resource in developing their products from concept to commercialization. It is a terrific project and Stony Brook is thrilled to help make it happen.”

The ACSC project budget will permit the construction of an additional 8,300 square feet of space to the already existing 15,680 square foot facility.

“I have no doubt that the creation of the Agricultural Consumer Science Center will prove to be a tremendous asset to Long Island’s East End agricultural businesses and entrepreneurs,” Dr. Stanley said.  “It is a strategic initiative to building business opportunities in a challenged economy.”

The Center will house fully functional resources for agricultural producers and small scale food processors in both hot process and dry process functions. Dry storage, cold storage, and freezer storage units will be available on site, as well as a product development area with a viewing section for demonstration purposes.  Producers will also be afforded laboratory space with ductless fume hoods and a microbiology lab for research and development. A loading dock will serve both the new addition and the existing building. 

About the Stony Brook University Calverton Business Incubator

The Calverton Incubator was conceived as an economic engine to enhance Eastern Long Island’s agricultural, aquaculture and environmental industries.  As one of Stony Brook’s three business incubators, Calverton is helping create and sustain a new base of industry and  jobs by promoting the growth of tenant companies and supporting regional businesses here on Eastern Long Island.  The Calverton Business Incubator is owned and operated by Stony Brook University. The Calverton facility includes offices, conference rooms, and laboratories with both fresh and salt-water access. The Incubator supports entrepreneurial companies by providing access to resources and strategies for a period of 3-5 years in an effort to foster the research and development of products and/or services for introduction into the marketplace.

About the Long Island Agricultural Industry

The agricultural industry represents 5% of the Long Island economy, provides 6-8,000 jobs to the local economy, boasts an annual gross income of $250 million, and produces 500,000 cases of wine annually. In Suffolk County, 33,000 acres are currently utilized for agricultural production of which 15,000 acres have been preserved for farming through the commitment of public funds by the governments of the towns, Suffolk County and State of New York - evidencing the strong commitment to sustain agricultural production as an industry on Long Island.  However, the ever-increasing cost of farming and regulatory constraints necessitates farmers to come up with strategies to remain economically viable.  The development of value added products to their agricultural commodities is one such strategy.  Unfortunately, the cost of the execution of the many food science details in the development of a value added product line and the processing of the products in a sanitary, licensed environment is prohibitive for any single agricultural entrepreneur.