ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb 03, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced that seven agricultural producers and rural small businesses in Minnesota were selected to receive over $1.6 million in Value-Added Producer Grants.
“These projects create jobs and growth opportunities for local producers and small rural businesses,” Landkamer said. “Providing local farmers and entrepreneurs with access to capital, technical assistance and new markets carries out President Obama’s vision for rural job creation and building sustainable rural communities.”
Minnesota projects are located in Kerkhoven, Clearbrook, Ashby, New Prague, Pierz, Alexandria and Duluth. Nationally, 298 projects totaling more than $40 million were announced.
Minnesota projects include:
Pastures A Plenty (Kerkhoven)
A $300,000 grant will be used as working capital to grow sales of value-added pork products.
Clearbrook Elevator Association (Clearbrook)
A $300,000 grant will be used for working capital for a soybean extruder enterprise that adds value to organically produced soybeans.
TFC Poultry (Ashby)
A $300,000 grant will be used will be used for working capital to expand and market locally raised poultry products.
Cedar Summit Dairy (New Prague)
A $300,000 grant will be used to market existing products, introduce new products and purchase additional raw milk to meet increased demand for branded products.
Smude Enterprises (Pierz)
A $298,500 grant will be used for working capital to produce and distribute locally produced sunflower oil.
American Ag Energy of Minnesota (Alexandria)
A $100,000 grant will be used for planning and feasibility activities for a biofuels pellet plant.
Duluth Market Gardeners and Berry Association (Duluth)
An $18,986 grant will be used to fund a feasibility study to determine the economic feasibility of establishing a formal farmer cooperative made up of independent producers at the Duluth Farmers Market.
Value-Added Producer Grants may be used for feasibility studies, business plans, working capital for valued-added agricultural products and 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.
In addition to valued-added agricultural projects, Rural Development invests in housing, infrastructure, businesses, community facilities and renewable energy in rural areas. To learn more about Rural Development programs, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn.