Oregon City, ORE, Jan 26, 2012 -- Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager today announced that 23 recipients throughout Oregon have been selected to receive business development assistance. Funding is made available through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program, which was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. Tonsager made the announcement while attending a business roundtable meeting in Oregon City.
“These grants will improve financial returns and help create jobs for agricultural producers, businesses and families across Oregon.” Tonsager said. “This funding will promote business expansion and entrepreneurship opportunities by helping local businesses access capital, technical assistance and new markets for their products and services."
For example, a working capital grant will allow Fairview Farm in Dallas, OR, to add product lines and increase production of their artisan goat cheeses. The funds will help Fairview Farm develop packaging and marketing techniques appropriate for a variety of retail sales. Fairview Farm expects the value-added effort will help them increase production by 30 percent, sell at three additional farmers markets weekly, improve wholesale sales to regional grocery outlets, and add two new employees.
Rural Development funds are made available to agricultural producers seeking to establish or expand markets for their value-added agricultural products. Zena Forest, LLC in Rickreall is comprised of family owned forest land and an on-site sawmill. The Oregon white oak logs that are harvested from the forest are processed at the on-site sawmill and manufactured into tongue and groove flooring. The flooring will then be marketed directly to wholesalers, architects, builders, flooring installers, and homeowners.
Seely Family Farm in Clatskanie remains one of the last mint growing and mint oil distilling operations in northwestern Oregon, a region known for producing distinctive, high-quality peppermint and spearmint oil. The VAPG grant will help Seely Family Farm expand sales of mint oil and a new line of confections (peppermint patties, mint melt-aways, peppermint bark, etc.) directly to consumers and through regional grocery outlets. Specifically, funding will allow them to develop a marketing strategy, brand recognition, packaging designs, website and a social media strategy. In addition, they will be able to conduct a series of in-store demos and install the necessary inventory management and accounting procedures for the expanded product line. Seely Farms estimates their specialty mint and confections will bring a significantly higher price for their mint oil than current prices from wholesalers. In addition, they expect to add six full-time jobs over the next two years.
The Value-Added Producer Grants announced today in Oregon total nearly $1.5 million. Funds may be used for feasibility studies or business plans, working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and majority-contolled producer-based business ventures. Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage.
A list of recipients receiving grants is shown below. Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.
• Bogdan Caceu, Portland $12,125
• Wrigley Family Ventures, McMinniville $49,999
• Fairview Farm LLC, Dallas $49,264
• Seely Family Farm, Clatskanie $163,013
• Zena Forest, LLC, Rickreall $130,750
• Daedalus Cellars Co., Dundee $49,005
• Sokol Blosser, Ltd., Dundee $49,999
• Carman Ranch , Wallowa $18,050
• Seaview Cranberries, Inc., Sixes $49,999
• Deck Family Farm, Junction City $300,000
• Coleman Vineyard LLC, McMinniville $49,824
• The Continental Shelf, Inc., Rickreall $49,999
• Goldin Artisan Cheese, LLC, Moalla $10,410
• Michael Steven Mega, Dundee $49,992
• Oregon Coastal Flowers, LLC, Tillamook $100,000
• Champoeg Creek Farm, Saint Paul $49,990
• Morale Orchards, LLC, Hood River $39,909
• Stoller Vineyards, Inc., Dayton $49,792
• Queen Bee Honey Company, Covallis $30,824
• Southern Oregon Winery Association, Medford $22,550
• Wild Wines, LLC, Jacksonville $93,572
• Rainshadow Organics, Terrebonne $49,999
• Wayne Hutchings (Red Hill Vineyard), Oakland $24,400
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $155 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.