Portland, OR, May 01, 2013 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced three grant awards to Oregon agricultural producers to help develop new products and create jobs. 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.
The Oregon grants are among 110 awardees selected nationwide to receive USDA Rural Development financial support through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.
“This support will promote business expansion, entrepreneurship and job creation in rural Oregon by helping producers develop new products and access new markets,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker.
For example, Minto Island Growers near Salem, Oregon, will receive a $12,893 working capital grant from Rural Development to help produce and market their small-batch specialty tea to new retail and wholesale markets, allowing them to create two new jobs.
Imperial Stock Ranch, located in Central Oregon, will be awarded $300,000 to design and produce a new apparel line using sheep’s wool harvested on their ranch, saving five jobs while adding three new positions.
In another effort, the family-owned Thompson Creek Organics apple orchard located in the town of Applegate will be adding three new jobs as their $48,515 award is used to begin a hard cider production operation.
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.
Since the start of the Obama Administration, the VAPG program has helped more than 600 agricultural producers and rural businesses.
Across the country, the current VAPG announcement includes 11 projects involving bio-based products, such as grants to convert corn stover to anhydrous ammonia; miscanthus fiber, wood, and goat manure into biochar and enhanced compost; and sorghum into electricity and fertilizer.
A number of Native American applicants will also receive support for their projects. This year marks the first time that tribal entities have received funding through the VAPG program.
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, http://www.usda.gov/maps/maps/kyfcompassmap.htm
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.
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.
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