How Fulton County’s Food Processing Industry Cluster Strategy Supports Economic Development

By Michael Reese, President and CEO, FCCRG

Regional economic development requires far-sighted vision. What one area has in abundance a neighboring region may lack. By working together we can create success for all.

Fulton County Center for Regional Growth is actively doing this in its effort to expand the county’s growing food processing industry cluster. We are courting manufacturers, packagers, and distributors of food and beverage products from all over the globe.

We have a lot to offer them:
•    Affordable land
•    Shovel-ready plants and offices
•    Plentiful water
•    An outstanding workforce
•    Excellent infrastructure
•    Proximity to major markets
•    Nearby university & commercial technology R&D centers

What’s more, we have already built the foundations of the cluster framework — the sewage, water, power, industrial centers, and business services needed for our existing base of food companies. We have created a business-ready environment for other companies looking to expand their operations. That was an important attraction for recent arrivals CG Roxanne and Pata Negra, and will be critical to our success moving forward.

What is a “Cluster?”
In economic development terms, a cluster is “a geographic concentration of interconnected companies along with their specialized suppliers and services providers.”  Companies in like industries share like needs and so clusters can increase the productivity with which companies can compete. Cluster development initiatives are an important new direction in economic policy across the U.S.  They create new markets, reduce the costs of doing business for the companies participating in them, and provide a proven approach for developing regional economic prosperity.

So, for example, at a time when many of New York’s 45 dairy counties – particularly those whose topography requires smaller farms – have suffered major declines in milk production, Fulton County’s yogurt manufacturer FAGE US and cheese manufacturer Euphrates have been creating accelerating demand in Fulton County and neighboring counties. As part of a regional planning effort, tax incentives are now in place to encourage the growth of larger dairy farms of 500 head or more across the Mohawk Valley.

Water resources are a major requirement for many food processors. Fulton County and its neighbors offer abundant, clean water at reasonable prices and can deliver it where it’s needed. These natural water resources convinced CG Roxanne to open its largest ever water-bottling facility here and are vital to other food-related companies in the area.

Likewise, sewage treatment is essential for many food companies. Fulton County has made enormous investment in supporting the unique sewage requirements critical to most food companies. As we move forward, we will continue to expand our advanced sewage treatment center to support further business growth. As other companies come to the area, Fulton County will be equally committed and creative to solving their unique sewage and waste requirements.

From Farm to Fork
Finally, food companies are attracted to Fulton County because of a growing agricultural industry across that is thriving in upstate New York, and the related demographic shift caused by younger families seeking ex-urban lifestyles where they can enjoy affordable, qualify lifestyles. Fulton County residents have affordable housing and decent schools, but they still get easy proximity to nearby cultural and sports recreations in Albany, Saratoga, and the Adirondack Mountains.

From farm to fork, Fulton County is committed to growing the cluster of related companies that make, package, and deliver food and beverage products to the world. We have the resources and the knowledge to help these companies be successful.

Specialty Sausage Plant to Open in Gloversville, NY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For information contact:  Michael Reese, President & CEO
518-762-8700, ext. 110, miker@fccrg.org

Johnstown, NY (March 12, 2013) – The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth announced today that a start-up company owned by Spanish food products entrepreneurs will soon open a production facility in Gloversville, NY for the curing and packaging of cured meat products.

Pata Negra, LLC will operate the 23,000 square-foot plant at 20 Industrial Parkway in Gloversville, the former home of Perrone Leather. Using technology developed in Spain, the company will manufacture cured meats using US and imported pork and all natural Spanish spices. With the aid of local engineer Stephen Smith, the building at 20 Industrial Parkway is being renovated to create the special drying rooms needed to provide strict controls for temperature and humidity. The firm expects to employ up to 12 people once it reaches its sales target, after the sales ramp up period.

Michael Reese, President and CEO of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth explained that the company is owned by Spanish entrepreneurs widely involved in all aspects of the gourmet food industry in Spain and Europe (livestock, Ibérico Ham and sausages making, retail gourmet stores, prepared foods, etc.) as well as in other sectors all around the world, including the real estate, robotics, and financial industries.

“We are very pleased to welcome Pata Negra to our growing cluster of food processing companies,” said Mr. Reese. “CRG worked closely with the company over the last year to identify a location for their production facility and arrange financing for the building’s purchase, renovation and equipment.”

Pata Negra LLC is owned by European firm Pata Negra Jan, S.L. The management team includes Mr. Ignacio Rodriguez Saez de Ibarra, General Manager; Mr. Pablo Allende Villanueva, Financial Controller; Mr. Antonio Libran, Technical Director and Operation Manager; and Mr. Alfonzo Blazquez, Production Manager. Mr. Blazquez was the spearhead of the Spanish Chorizo making in the US through his former company, Hispamer Industries, LLC in Fultonville, NY.

According to Mr. Saez de Ibarra, the location in Fulton County is strategic for Pata Negra, which plans to become a major provider of Spanish-style cured meats in the Northeast.

“This location provides us with right location and the water, sewer, warehousing, transportation access, and employment resources we need to be successful,” Mr. Saez de Ibarra said. “We are very pleased with the support we’ve received from the county and local business community and look forward to starting operations this spring.”

Pata Negra will focus initially on producing Spanish Chorizo with US pork meat. Chorizo (pronounced choritho) is a dry-cured pork sausage flavored with garlic, pimenton (paprika) and other spices. Demand for high-quality charcuterie products is growing in the U.S. Pata Negra will supply restaurants and retailers throughout the Northeast through a range of specialty food distributors.

Fulton County: Rich in Resources and Bold Ideas

Fulton County Center for Regional Growth (FCCRG – fccrg@fccrg.org), the economic development agency for Fulton County, NY, proactively aids companies from around the world in building and expanding in Fulton County. FCCRG assists with the many details of site selection, financing, and advocacy at the local, regional, and state levels. All FCCRG efforts are focused on promoting job growth and increasing the quality of life in Fulton County.