Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon announced 16 farms will receive grants of up to $15,000 to implement projects that aim to improve agritourism.  

“I think overall, when it comes to agritourism, we are close to $750,000 and it’s a leveraging,” McMahon said during a press conference on Tuesday. “For example, there’s one project, we’re investing $15,000, but they’re investing $150,00.”  

County Executive Ryan McMahon announces agritourism grant funding. (Emily Kenny/Spectrum News 1)

Many farmers look for ways to diversify their income and add new revenue streams to support their farms.  

“Many different farms in other communities across the country looked at diversifying their income via things like solar farms, and for us, that’s not necessarily best practice. Farmland is valuable,” McMahon said.  

By providing producers with funding, he hopes it can offset the costs of various projects that can help farms bring in more capital. Additionally, he hopes they can create an agritourism trail for visitors.

Kienan Gridley counts the number of cattle on his farm. (Emily Kenny/Spectrum News 1)

A sixth-generation family farm in Fayetteville, Gridley’s Cold Spring Beef, received one of the grants.  

“Freezer space is very expensive, and right now, we have four residential freezers and our goal with this grant is to get a walk-in chest freezer,” said Nick Corbishley, who helps out on the farm.  

The farm, owned by Kienan Gridley, sells grass-fed beef from their farm store and they sell in bulk by the quarters, halves, three-quarters and whole.  

“We are seeing increased business every year and having this space will be huge for us. We hope that business continues to grow, and that now we can get this walk-in freezer, which will allow us to keep up with demand,” Corbishley said.  

Cattle on Gridley's farm. (Emily Kenny/Spectrum News 1)

Other recipients of the grants include Albanese Longhorns in Lafayette, Dutch Hill Maple in Tully, Smith’s Quality Eggs in Lafayette, Rocking Horse Farms in Jamesville and Hiwire Honey in Lafayette.  

Raymond Lowe, owner of Hiwire Honey, said the grant will allow him to build a farm store on his property for customers to pick up honey.  

“I’m out working with the bees for most of the day so a lot of times I leave a jar sitting on the front of the tractor and they leave money in the bucket,” Lowe said. “We wanted a place where people could stop in."

Raymond Lowe uses a smoker on his bee hives. (Emily Kenny/Spectrum News 1)

The building will sit off the road and be staffed, unlike a traditional farmstand that operates with the honor system.  

Lowe helps area beekeepers find the parts they need for their hives and honey production as well.  

“A lot of times the only way they can buy that stuff it to buy it on Amazon and this will be a place in the area where when they realize they need one more box for their hives, they can call me, stop over and pick it up and they have it instantly,” Lowe said.