Volume 9 | May 2024
News & Updates From Starbuck Ave
In this Issue:

  • JCED New Leadership
  • Ft. Drum Economic Impact
  • NYS ESD Consolidated Funding Application
  • Agricultural News in Jefferson County
  • Local Business Highlight
  • Saying Goodbye
  • Career Opportunity with JCED
  • Coming Up. . .
JCED New Leadership
Last newsletter we announced that Marshall Weir will take over as our new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) starting May 4th, 2024. Marshall announced at the Jefferson County Board of Legislators meeting last month that he is promoting Jay Matteson as Deputy CEO. Jay's focus will still be on agriculture in Jefferson County but he will also support Marshall as his deputy. Congrats to you both and looking forward to working under your leadership!
Fort Drum Economic Impact Hit $2.5 Billion in 2023
Fort Drum’s total economic impact in the region for the federal fiscal year ending September 30, 2023, was $2.5 billion. It includes $1.9 billion in Fort Drum direct spending in the regional economy—covering Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties — plus an additional $632.5 million in additional economic activity stimulated by that spending. In terms of job numbers, 18,430 military and civilian personnel directly employed at Fort Drum in 2023 (which makes it the largest single-site employer in New York State). In addition to the model estimates that Fort Drum related spending also supported an additional 5,808 jobs in the larger regional economy. Together, the 24,238 jobs within the Tri-County region supported directly and indirectly by Fort Drum account for nearly 21.4% of the region’s wage earners. In Jefferson County alone, Fort Drum related jobs account for 39% of jobs. For a copy of the full report, visit: 

NYS Empire State Development
Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) GRANT Opens 5/13/24
As part of New York's efforts to improve the business climate and expand economic growth, the NYS Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) grant program was created to support the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Initiative. The CFA has streamlined and expedited the grant application process marking a fundamental shift in the way state resources are allocated, ensuring less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local needs. The CFA allows applicants to access multiple state funding sources through one application, making the process quicker, easier, and more productive.
As statewide programs and local needs have evolved, so has the CFA which is now host to a multitude of programs and initiatives. These programs change throughout the year so be sure to check back periodically to see what programs are available.
Additional information on the Regional Economic Development Council Programs can be found by going to CFA Available Resources | Consolidated Funding Application (ny.gov) and selecting Regional Economic Development Council Programs.
Additional information on Other New York State programs in the CFA can be found by going to CFA Available Resources | Consolidated Funding Application (ny.gov) and selecting Other New York State Programs.
Agricultural News In Jefferson County
Farmer’s Markets, Utility Versus Experience
Farmer’s Market season is upon us in Northern New York as the first opens on Saturday, May 18 at the JB Wise Pavilion in Watertown. According to the list included in the 2024 Local Food Guide published by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, a total of eight markets will operate throughout the season until the last one closes on October 26.  To find the local food guide online visit https://ccejefferson.org/resources/2024-jefferson-county-local-food-guide. Jefferson County Economic Development is a proud sponsor and contributes information to the Guide every year.
Farmer’s Markets are generally defined as having a minimum of two farm vendors in a common location. The farms usually produce at least 50% of the goods sold.  Depending upon the demand of consumers visiting the market, the growing season, and whether the product can be grown or raised locally, market vendors may purchase elsewhere and resell the goods at the market they attend. Sometimes, goods are purchased from other farms that don’t attend a market. In other instances, farms may travel to the central New York Regional Market to pick up products not grown or raised locally, and resell it at a local market, along with their own goods. If a farm has a limited amount of products it grows or raises, they may choose to carry other products they don’t grow to attract consumers to their booth. Carrying other products helps generate customers and revenue and benefits whoever produces the products.  The consumer can purchase more products in one location, at the Market, than needing to travel to supermarkets to fulfill their shopping needs.
There are generally two types of Farmer’s Markets. Utilitarian markets feature the farmers who grow or raise the goods available.  Generally, you won’t find a lot of “craft” products unless it is something made by the farmer.  These markets also tend not to have a lot of ready to eat food options, such as hamburgers and hot dog stands. The utilitarian market gives the consumer the opportunity to interact with the farmers, and spend their grocery dollars buying locally grown meats and produce, without a lot of other “festival” type activity at the market. A great example of a utilitarian market is the Saturday Market at the JB Wise Pavilion in Watertown. It offers many opportunities to interact with farmers while consumers purchase locally grown products. There are some non-food items available, but they are offered only through the farm vendor.
The second type of farmers market is a “street festival”. The street festival-type market becomes as much a social event as a place to go buy local food. Farm vendors are a principal part of the market. But you may find as many or more craft vendors and food vendors as farm vendors. There may be several ready-to-eat food vendors, food trucks, and snack food options.  There may be entertainment provided by the market manager.   People may go to the “festival” market to meet friends, have a beverage or meal, and relax in the festival atmosphere without purchasing anything from the farmer.
It is important to understand that either style of market offers opportunity. Some farmers and consumers may prefer the utilitarian style market to get away from the extra “noise” and competition for consumer dollars. The consumer may find it easier to go to the market, talk with farmers, and purchase what they came for.  The challenge with utilitarian markets is attracting new consumers to the market.  Without the festival atmosphere catching the eye, enticing the consumer not to think about buying local foods, may be challenging.
The festival-style market makes it somewhat easier to attract consumers who weren’t thinking about purchasing local goods at that moment. The “hype” of the atmosphere encourages people to stop in and see what is going on. The challenge is getting the person to then stop at your booth and purchase your product versus all the other spending opportunities at the market. Farmer vendors at the festival-style market need to put more effort into “catching the eye” of the consumer. A great example of the festival-style market is the Watertown Farm and Craft Market in Washington Street in Watertown.
With both styles of market, it is a lot of work for the farm vendor to prepare. Unlike a static retail location, attending a farmer’s market requires hours of preparation prior to the market. Produce must be freshly harvested. Perishable products require planning of how to safely store products while at the market.  Sales systems using internet technology are important in this day when many consumers don’t carry cash. And the farmer must put on their best, customer relations face in preparation for friendly interactions with their customers. If the farmer sells at multiple markets, they have to balance out how to manage farming with selling their products. That is no easy task in a very weather-dependent business.  
When you have a chance this year, visit a farmer’s market! Always try to buy local!
Amanda Bickford, Local Food Marketing Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, contributed to this article.
Local Business Highlight
Midway International Logistics, Bradley St, Watertown, NY 315-586-2994
When people think about agriculture in Jefferson County, they often consider the dairy farms, dairy processing plants and farm wineries, which is reasonable since it is what we see and talk about most. What people don’t realize is that agriculture is a much more massive industry that reaches far beyond our rural landscape. In the City of Watertown, on Bradley Street, is a large warehouse facility called Midway International Logistics.  The warehouse was part of the Renzi’s Company about 20 years ago.
Midway International Logistics primarily is an export inspection service for poultry and meat products destined for Canada. Tractor trailers hauling up to 40,000 pounds of meat products stop at Midway to be inspected and USDA certified before reaching the Thousand Islands Border Crossing into Canada. Midway staff unload the products from the tractor trailers, verify labeling and information about the load. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors are on hand to verify Midway’s work and perform verification of product quality. All 40,000 pounds are then re-wrapped and loaded back onto the trucks. If everything goes well, it takes about an hour and a half per load.
Behind this operation is Courtney Schermerhorn. Courtney started with Midway in October of 2013, one month after the company started business. Courtney was the only employee for three years; scheduling, unloading, inspecting, wrapping, reloading, and completing all the paperwork for each load. Back then Courtney sometimes had to drive four hours round trip to obtain a USDA Veterinarian’s signature on the paperwork before it could be released. After a two year period of transition for Midway, Courtney became owner and President of the company in 2018. The company now has seven employees. Courtney’s husband Chad plays a significant role in running the business.
In 2013, Midway inspected 2 to 3 trucks per week.  Over time, Midway built its reputation and now inspects an average of 25 trucks a week with an all-time high of 40 trucks in a week, before the trucks cross the border into Canada. On average, Midway inspects 10 million pounds of pork products and 48 million pounds of poultry products per year exported into Canada.
Mrs. Schermerhorn credits Jefferson County Economic Development for help in expanding market opportunities for Midway. Previously, Courtney learned from the trucking companies that it was easier to get their trucks across the border at the Detroit inspection facility. USDA in Detroit, Michigan was interpreting regulations differently than the regional USDA office based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The different interpretations of the same regulations significantly slowed crossings through the Thousand Islands Border Crossing.  This caused trucks to divert from Midway to the inspection service in Detroit.  Courtney says she reached out to Jay Matteson at Jefferson County Economic Development and Jay contacted United States Senator Charles Schumer. Senator Schumer’s office investigated the disparity and was able to get both USDA offices to interpret the rules correctly. Courtney says this returned, and increased, business to Midway and the Thousand Islands Border crossing. 
Midway also provides USDA inspection services to meat and poultry products coming into the United States from Canada. Courtney says this is a more rigorous process and involves USDA inspectors taking samples of product and testing them.  Midway provides a USDA certified inspection room where product sampling takes place. 
The size of the facility on Bradley Street allows Midway to offer warehousing services to trucking companies.  Performance Food Services contracts with Midway to utilize Midway as a cross-docking site. Once Midway closes for the day, Performance Food Services brings their larger trucks in from far away to unload products.  Then the products are grouped and loaded into smaller trucks for distribution for local delivery around the region.
Courtney is proud to share that they also provide cooler, freezer and dry storage space to local farms at reduced rates. One of the challenges for local farms is storage of perishable products.  Thanks to Midway International Logistics, farms can bring their product to the Bradley Street location and store it until needed for sale.   Many farms in the area take advantage of this service.
Schermerhorn is looking forward to building a shared-use commercial kitchen in the Midway facility. Courtney says there is a definite need for a shared-use kitchen facility that businesses and farmers can rent to process and create their products. Courtney has been doing a tremendous amount of research on shared-use kitchen facilities and believes that Midway can offer the right facilities and management to make one work on Bradley Street. They have the space to accommodate a facility.  Midway rents the front of their building to the famous Alteri Family for their fantastic bakery and provides office space to an accounting firm that is in the process of building new offices.
Jefferson County Economic Development salutes this dynamic agriculturally based business and the entrepreneurial spirit of Courtney Schermerhorn and her family. We are excited to see this business “Grow With Jefferson County.”
Saying Goodbye
The staff here would like to thank everyone who came to Dave's retirement party to say goodbye and congratulations. It was a great time to see everyone. We also want to say congrats to our own Joy Nuffer who has taken on a new position of Chief Financial Officer with Watertown Local Development Corp. We wish her all the best and she will be missed as well.
Career Opportunity with JCED
Jefferson County Economic Development is located in Watertown, NY. Our goal is to hire a professional person who is looking to grow their responsibilities within our organization.
Our work environment includes:

  • Modern office setting
  • Growth opportunities
  • Safe work environment
  • Lively atmosphere

**Job Overview:**
We are seeking a Deputy Chief Financial Officer to join our team. The Deputy CFO will play a vital role in supporting the operations of the office by handling various administrative tasks and assisting with financial management responsibilities. If interested in applying click on link below.

Looking to Locate, Expand,
or Start Your Business in Jefferson County?
Looking to start or expand your business and need funding? There might be a program that is right for you and your venture. From Micro loans to Revolving loans and even PILOT programs. To learn more about our programs give us a call!

Coming Up . . .
  • Armed Forces Day Parade, 5/18/2024

  • Jefferson County Dairy Parade, 6/7/2024

Have questions, just reach out!
Meet our Team

Marshall Weir, Chief Executive Officer
Peggy Sampson, Executive Assistant
Lyle Eaton, Chief Financial Officer
Jay Matteson, Ag. Coordinator & Deputy CEO
Robin Stephenson, Director of Bus. Development

Meet our Board of Directors

Robert Aiken - Aubertine & Currier Arch. Eng.
Robert Aliasso, Jr - ErgonArmor
Kent Burto - Howard Hanna
David Converse - Converse Laboratories. Inc.
John Condino - Barton & Loguidice Eng.
Greg Gardner - SUNY Potsdam
William Johnson - Jefferson County Leg. Dist 2
Lisa L'Huillier - Hefferon Real Estate
Christine Powers - Watertown Savings Bank
Edward Walldroff - Homestead Fields Org. Farm
Paul Warneck - Real Property Director (Ret.)