Incentives worth nearly $64 million OK’d for fairlife project

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An incentive package worth nearly $64 million for the largest industrial development business project ever in Monroe County received approval Tuesday.

The County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency OK’d $63.4 million in tax incentives for Coca-Cola Co. subsidiary fairlife’s planned $660 million milk production facility on Tebor Road in Webster.

The COMIDA board signed off on a $43,842,000 sales tax exemption and a custom PILOT agreement valued at $19,599,300 over 20 years.

The $660 million project is projected to create 250 new full-time-equivalent positions over the next three years. In terms of total project cost, the 745,000-square-foot dairy processing plant is the largest industrial development business project in county history.

“The fairlife project is a historic milestone for economic development in Monroe County and a catalyst for economic growth in our region,” says County Executive Adam Bello. “It is projected to create more than 500 jobs during the construction phase, 250 permanent jobs upon completion in 2025 and directly impact over 850 dairy farming jobs, benefiting dairy farmers and agribusiness throughout the Finger Lakes, Western New York and beyond.”

The facility is expected to take in 5 to 6 million pounds of raw whole milk per day from local dairy farmers. It is slated to be operational by the end of 2025.

Plans for the fairlife facility were announced in May.

The company’s products are made through an ultrafiltered milk process that removes the lactose and much of the sugar and leaves behind more of the protein and calcium. Coca-Cola acquired fairlife in 2020.

At the time of the announcement, fairlife CEO Tim Doelman said the company was drawn by “Webster’s proximity and access to best-in-class dairy farmers”—factors that “make it an excellent location to support our next phase of growth in the region and beyond.”

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Monroe County IDA, the town of Webster, Rochester Gas and Electric and Greater Rochester Enterprise helped in bringing the company to New York.

The total local and state benefit from the project is estimated to be $692,499,744.

Paul Ericson is Rochester Beacon executive editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

One thought on “Incentives worth nearly $64 million OK’d for fairlife project

  1. Not surprising. The county is big on making terrible business decisions, and RG&E is also contributing to this venture. Fairlife has a long history of abuse to their animals. They finally settled a series of 8 class action suits last year which accused them of over pricing their products by claiming that they treated their cows particularly well. Not true, of course. In 2019, undercover footage taken by an animal rights activist exposed Fair Oaks Farms, which supplied Fairlife, revealed appalling evidence of extreme and violent animal abuse. In response, multiple stores stopped carrying Fairlife products, and numerous consumers boycotted the brand. Since then, they supposedly stopped working with Fair Oaks, and say they are so very nice to their cows now. But there is no transparency, and they are not required to prove their claims. From the website Greenmatters: Fairlife does not provide any evidence that its cows are no longer being abused — in fact, industrial animal farms are protected from being photographed or filmed by a set of laws called ag-gag laws. As explained by the Animal Legal & Historical Center, ag-gag laws were actually first instituted in response to undercover activists, and these laws are the government’s way of protecting the meat, dairy, and egg industries (which makes sense, since the U.S. government gives tens of billions of dollars in subsidies to the animal agriculture industry every year). Because of these laws, there is no way to know for sure what is going on at Fairlife’s farms.”

    I am flabbergasted that the county has rewarded Fairlife for their history of torturing their cows.

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