Lexington, KY, Mar 01, 2012 -- USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan recently announced that nine Kentucky agribusinesses will receive business development assistance in the most recent round of Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG). The VAPG program provides competitive grants to individual independent agricultural producers, groups of independent producers, producer-controlled entities, and farmer or rancher cooperatives to create or develop value-added producer-owned businesses.
“These projects will provide financial returns and help create jobs for agricultural producers, businesses and families across the country,” Merrigan said. “This funding will promote small business expansion and entrepreneurship opportunities by providing local businesses with access capital, technical assistance and new markets for products and services.”
Tom Fern, Kentucky State Director for Rural Development, said the Kentucky businesses receiving grants include: Evans Orchard and Cider Mill in Georgetown; Freshwater Fish in Ledbetter; Horseshoe Bend Vineyards in Willisburg; Kendall Clark Farms in Crofton; Kenny’s farmhouse Cheese in Austin; Kentucky Hydro Farms in Benton, Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office; Meat Hook Butcher Shop in LaGrange; and Stone Cross Farm in Taylorsville.
“Helping small businesses grow is vital to the economic success of rural communities,” said Fern. “The VAPG funds announced by Deputy Secretary Merrigan will offer Kentucky agribusiness owners the tools to create, expand and improve their business operations and provide them the means and opportunity to create and retain jobs.”
The Value-Added Producer Grants announced for Kentucky total more than $1.17 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.
Kentucky Freshwater Fish in Livingston County was awarded $300,000 to add value to its fish products. The company wants to be able to purchase additional units of the delivered raw commodity of several types of fish in order to process it into the value-added product, the “Carp and Fish Fertilizer.”
Meat Hook Butcher Shop in LaGrange will receive $67,397 for economic planning activities to assess feasibility of a retail butcher shop in Louisville to connect urban residents with high-quality meat and value-added products produced by Kentucky livestock producers. If the project proves feasible, the company will build a retail store to sell Kentucky grown meat and poultry products.
KY Hydro Farms, LLC in Marshall County was approved for $49,999 grant to expand their customer base by marketing to hospitals, additional schools and local groceries and make the switch to individually packaged servings for the grocery trade. KY Hydro Farms is a farming operation with greenhouses that produce agriculture products for sale to the public. Produce products include living lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers.
To learn more about VAPG program, visit USDA Rural Development’s Web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov. To see the entire list of 298 recipients across the nation that received funding in this round click here.
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.
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