Chapel Hill, NC, Jan 30, 2012 -- Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager today announced that 10 small businesses in North Carolina have been selected to receive business development assistance through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. Tonsager made the announcement while visiting Chapel Hill Creamery, one of the recipients.
“In his State of the Union address last week the President was clear that we need to do more to create jobs and help economic growth. Under his leadership the economy is growing again. These VAPG funds will improve financial returns and help create jobs for agricultural producers, businesses and families across North Carolina.” 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, Chapel Hill Creamery, LLC (CHC), an independent producer, processes cheese on the farm for sale by area farmers' markets, and to restaurants and retail stores. The operation was founded in 2001 by Portia McKnight and Florence Hawley who purchased land near Chapel Hill, constructed a 2,400 square foot milking bam and processing facility, and began milking cows and processing cheese. Since then, the business has realized steady growth.
In Faison, Cottle Strawberry Nursery has developed a method to transform the muscadine grape into a healthy value-added smoothie to be marketed in three varieties to health conscience consumers. Cottle Farm has been selected to receive a Value-added producer grant to be used as working capital to research, create, and implement a complete three year marketing strategy for this product.
Bobcat Farms is an independent producer that raises and processes genetically superior Black Angus beef in Central North Carolina. USDA Rural Development has approved a value-added producer grant to be used as working capital. The funds will be used to grow direct sales to customers through their new marketing plan and to develop new opportunities in food service and retail sales channels.
The Value-Added Producer Grants announced today in North Carolina total more than $1.33 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-controlled 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.
• Sunburst Trout Company, LLC; Canton; $283,884
• Chapel Hill Creamery, LLC; Chapel Hill $180,000
• Nooherooka Natural, LLC; Snow Hill $130,000
• Honey Mountain Farm LLC - Chuck Moore; Mt. Ulla $120,000
• Bobcat Farms, LLC; Clinton $140,000
• Cottle Strawberry Nursery; Faison $300,000
• Sleepy Goat Cheese LLC; Pelham $22,500
• Smoky Mountain Native Plant Association, Inc.; Robbinsville $20,000
• Yamco LLC; Snow Hill $100,000
• Sullivan Estate Vineyard & Winery, L.L.C.; Hudson $37,148
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.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).