Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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April 10th, 2014

Hullabaloo Over Food Hub

There is increased controversy over a proposed Food Hub planned for Sullivan County farmers and food purveyors.

The Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) recently came to the legislature asking for $110,000 for the Food Hub because they did not get their full request from the New York State Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) award in December 2013.

In an executive session on March 20,2014, legislator Ira Steingart who is chairman of the IDA submitted a resolution requesting the $110,000 be paid for by the County for the Food Hub.

Several legislators began asking questions wanting to know what the money was specifically for. They also requested a budget sheet of income and expenses, and wanted a presentation of the project. Ultimately the resolution was tabled so that legislators could get answers to their questions.

On April 3, 2014, IDA attorney Walter Garigliano and Tod Erling of the Hudson Valley Agri-Buisiness Corporation made a presentation to the full legislature explaining the Food Hub. This is something that should have been done months ago.

Some legislators were not happy as to the site selected by the food distributor to house the Food Hub. Legislators claimed a location closer to the farming communities made more sense, while other legislators questioned the need to purchase private land when County property is located close to the selected location.

Depending whom one talks with there are varied explanations and even accusations as to why the site for the Food Hub was selected. It should not matter if the Resnick Group owns the land or not. This is where food distributor Ginsburg wants to go.

Some believe the distribution center should be on government land, but there are some questions as to whether the County would actually be saving money if the Food Hub were located on property we owned.

Nonetheless, it is the fiduciary responsibility of our legislators to get answers to their questions if they are going to be asked to shell out $110,000. They must ultimately decide what they feel would be beneficial for taxpayers.

There is a big misconception as to what this Food Hub is all about. It is not a place for Sullivan County farmers and food purveyors to sell their goods to the public – It is a location for a food distributor, in this case Ginsburg, to distribute Sullivan County products to vendors in their network. 

The IDA is continually in the hot seat and is often lambasted for granting tax abatements to businesses critics deem unworthy of such financial assistance. Even though there may be occasions when these assessments are just, most of the time such criticism is unwarranted.

The ground breaking of the Red Meat Plant was held a few months back in Liberty after unforeseen delays, and now comes this Food Hub for Sullivan County.

The IDA must be applauded for the work, grants received, and financial contributions they have made to bring this new and exciting Food Distribution Hub Network to Sullivan County.

This facility once operational will serve businesses throughout the Hudson Valley, Capital Region, and New York City.

The partners in the project are Ginsberg’s Foods, the Sullivan County IDA, American Farmland Trust Farm to Institution Program, and the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

We often hear that farmers and food purveyors lack an efficient system in distributing their goods – this Food Hub can change that.

Local businesses such as Catskill Mountain Sugarhouse, Hudson Valley Bounty, Murray’s Chicken, Brey’s Egg Farm, Bethel Creamery, Java Love, Thunder View Farm, Hill Acres Farm, and Northern Farmhouse Pasta to name a few, will have a great avenue to distribute their products and grow their business while stimulating our economy.

This project leverages significant commitments that have been secured in advance of New York State funding. Both a $220,000 USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant and a $90,000 USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grant have been awarded for this project.

The Sullivan County IDA indentified the shovel-ready site in Glen Wild and committed over $250,000 in matching funds for the project.

Ginsberg Foods, one of New York State’s leading food distributors is investing $11.3 million in the expansion of its existing distribution facilities, which will allow them to provide 10,000 square feet of space at a Hudson, New York location.

Ginsberg’s is also willing to fund staffing and operating expenses at the Hudson and Sullivan locations.

Without a doubt this project will address many regional Hudson Valley goals including improving the efficiency of the regional food distribution network, investing in infrastructure to increase the value of local food transactions, and taking advantage of opportunities to sell locally grown food downstate to customers.

Equally important is that New York consumers will now have greater access to healthy, nutritious foods grown by Sullivan County farmers and food purveyors.

Perhaps – If all our legislators were initially informed and provided information in detail pertaining to the Food Hub – There would be no concerns or apprehensions. This is something Steingart should note for future proposals.

This entire Hullabaloo is uncalled for and unnecessary.


Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.



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