Washington, D.C., May 01, 2013 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 110 grants to agricultural producers and rural businesses that will help create jobs and develop new products. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
“This support will benefit rural businesses and the communities where the recipients are located,” Vilsack said. “These awards also will advance USDA’s goals to develop a bio-based economy and support local and regional food systems.”
In today’s announcement, 110 awardees are being selected for USDA Rural Development Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG). Four of these projects are in Iowa and include:
Wilrona, LLC – (dba) Fireside Winery
$48,910 Value-Added Producer Grant
Grant funds will be used to assist with marketing the winery.
Paul Rasch, Wilson’s Orchard
$160,000 Value-Added Producer Grant
Grant funds will be used to assist with expansion of cider and vinegar business and improve efficiency of local baked goods venture.
Ralph and Colleen Krogmeier – (dba) Hinterland Creamery
$45,000 Value-Added Producer Grant
Grant funds will be for market and business planning for on-farm processing of milk into cheese.
James R. Bonnecroy
Orange City, Iowa
$9,000 Value-Added Producer Grant
Grant funds will be used for market and business planning of a winery in northwest Iowa.
The grants help agricultural producers increase their income by expanding marketing opportunities, creating new products or developing new uses for existing products.
The awards announced today include 11 projects nationally involving bio-based products. They include grants to convert: corn stover to anhydrous ammonia; miscanthus fiber, wood and goat manure into biochar and enhanced compost; and sorghum to electricity and fertilizer.
A number of Native American applicants will also receive support for their projects.
Value-Added Producer Grants are an important element of USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, which coordinates USDA’s work to support local and regional food systems. Previous VAPG awards supporting local and regional projects are mapped on the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food compass.
USDA Rural Development is funding an array of projects involving locally produced and marketed foods. These include cheese, wine, reduced-cholesterol dairy products, produce, packaged poultry, pork and beef products, and a variety of processed or prepared foods from locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Since the start of the Obama Administration, the VAPG program has helped more than 600 agricultural producers and rural businesses.
Through 2008, Congress made several enhancements to the VAPG program. It expanded the definition of value-added to include locally-produced agricultural food products, and it gave priority to projects that focus on increasing opportunities for small and mid-size family farmers and ranchers, beginning farmers and ranchers, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
For a complete list of Value-Added Producer Grant award recipients selected today, click here. Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.
About USDA Rural Development
This past year USDA Rural Development’s investment in Iowa helped create or retain more than 1,600 jobs, aided 2,400 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 60 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.
For more information about finance programs available through USDA Rural Development, please call (515) 284-4663 or visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).