MAYVILLE – Officials and a private investor in Chautauqua County are exploring the feasibility of entering the hops and grains industry.
Executive George Borrello says investing in that field is expected to bring a big boom to local agriculture.
On Wednesday, the results from a study investigating the feasibility of using the county as a centralized hub for growing and processing hops and grains was revealed to lawmakers.
Borrello said the study found that not only is it possible to develop a vertically integrated agri-business in the county, but it also appears to be a lucrative and success financial investment for the region.
“We’re creating a model here that is going to be a better business model with no middleman, which means you can be competitive price wise but also have more profit to share with the growers,” said Borrello.
The executive said Chris LaCorata, a private businessman and entrepreneur, is leading the effort to invest in the industry. Borrello said LaCorata is currently seeking investors to bring the business to the area.
“Chautauqua County’s number one industry is agriculture,” said Borrello. “I am excited that we are now at the point where this idea could potentially turn into a game changing agri-business right here in our county.”
Officials participated in a hops and grains summit at Cornell University Agricultural Cooperative Extension to learn about crops that can be successfully grown on a commercial scale in Chautauqua County and meet quality requirements of craft beverage customers.
The study was conducted by First Key, a group that specializes in brewery, distillery, hops, and malting operations with funding from Chautauqua County, the county’s Industrial Development Agency, Gebbie Foundation, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, and Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation.
An executive summary of the study will be posted on the county’s website in the coming weeks.