News Release
Release No.STELPRD4018112
ContactKatherine Belcher859.224.7306
Lexington, KY, Aug 03, 2012 --

@@USDA Rural Development State Director Tom Fern is in Washington County today to present a ceremonial check to a local vineyard and winery.  

Fern said Horseshoe Bend Vineyards in Willisburg was selected for a grant through Rural Development’s Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. The award of $297,675 will promote small business expansion and entrepreneurship opportunities by providing Horseshoe Bend with access capital, technical assistance and new markets for products and services.

“Helping small businesses grow is vital to the economic success of rural communities,” said Fern. “The VAPG funds 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 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. 

The Value-Added Producer Grants announced for Kentucky this year 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. To learn more about VAPG program, visit USDA Rural Development’s Web site at

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under President Obama’s leadership, USDA has carried out these investments – helping our rural communities and sectors which impact the rural economy.

In turn, this has supported the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. It has empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, and strengthening small towns and rural communities.

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


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).