Belle Fourche, SD, Feb 16, 2012 -- Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager and South Dakota Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks today announced that a recipient in western South Dakota was 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 and Meeks made the announcement while attending a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) stakeholders meeting in Sioux Falls, SD.
“This federal funding will help this South Dakota entrepreneur expand its business and tap into new markets for its products and services,” said Tonsager. “These outcomes are exactly what the Obama Administration strives for – to help entrepreneurs find new markets and create jobs.”
A working capital grant in the amount of $300,000 will allow Jackson Winery and Vineyards, LLC dba Belle Joli’ Winery to expand their product and services. Jackson Vineyards is a family-owned vineyard located on the northern edge of the South Dakota's Black Hills. It started on a small acreage more than a decade ago where two rivers converge to form the Belle Fourche River. It is here that the natural richness of the soil and the growth potential for South Dakota grapes is fully realized, and all of the fine Belle Joli' Wines are produced.
The Jackson family believes that wine and wine making should be experienced by the senses … sight, smell, and of course taste. The name, Belle Joli’, pays homage to the beauty and rich qualities of the Black Hills. It is here that the dream of a family-owned vineyard began to grow for the Jackson family. The Jackson family has used their vision of a Black Hills vineyard and a passion for wine to create wines that are grown, harvested, and bottled in western South Dakota.
“Our family is honored and proud to receive this grant,” said John Jackson, co-owner of Jackson Winery and Vineyards, LLC. “As our Winery continues to grow and the vineyards continue to expand and mature this grant will help us to develop markets for our South Dakota products.”
Rural Development Value-Added Producer Grants funds are made available to agricultural producers seeking to establish or expand markets for their value-added agricultural products. 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.
USDA Rural Development serves as the lead federal agency for rural development needs by offering financial and technical assistance to individuals, businesses, and communities. USDA Rural Development programs include funding for day care centers, fire trucks and other community facility projects; the purchase, construction or repair of homes; loans and guarantees to rural businesses to save or create jobs and renewable energy; and loans and grants for water and sewer utility projects.
USDA Rural Development has eight offices in the state serving South Dakotans living in rural areas and communities. Office locations include a state office in Huron, along with area offices in Aberdeen, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton.
Further information on this and other programs offered by USDA Rural Development is available by calling (605) 352-1100, by visiting www.rurdev.usda.gov/sd or at any local area office.