WASHINGTON, May 07, 2013 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced grant awards to 110 agricultural producers and rural businesses that will help create jobs and develop new products. Claybrook Farm in Tipton County, Tenn. will use one of the grants to expand operations to include retail sales of Angus beef in the tri-state region.
According to Owner Dave Turner, Claybrook Farm has had great wholesale success with its Black Angus beef featured by chefs at restaurants in the Memphis area including Chez Philippe, The Peabody and Andrew Micheal Italian Kitchen. "With the help of USDA we are now able to take the next big step and invest more in marketing and hire more people for sales and packaging so we can expand into the regional retail market," he said.
"As a family producer there's nothing more rewarding than hearing how much a chef or family has enjoyed our beef products," said Turner. "We're grateful for this partnership with USDA that helps us grow the business and even more motivated to maximize this opportunity for the betterment of our farm, family and community."
Turner said, "Progressive management practices, rotational grazing on a mix of grasses, avoiding pesticides, hormones and antibiotics, and finishing with home grown corn and crop products keeps our final product all natural." Turner has been raising Black Angus since 1975 when he took over from the Claybrook family. Since then the 740 acre operation has grown to include more than a thousand acres of grassland for grazing, hay production and feed crops.
Retail outlets currently include Miss Cordelia's Grocery in Harbor Town, the Memphis Farmers Market and Sunflower Health Food in Dyersburg. More information is available at www.claybrookangus.com/meat.html
"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."
USDA Rural Development's Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) help agricultural producers increase farm income by expanding marketing opportunities, creating new products or developing new uses for existing products. The program includes many kinds of locally-produced agricultural food products, and gives 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 the 110 Value-Added Producer Grant award recipients announced today, click here. Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.
USDA helps fund an array of projects nationwide 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 foods processed or prepared from locally grown fruits and vegetables.
VAPGs are an important element of USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, which coordinates the agency'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
Over the last four years the VAPG program has helped more than 600 agricultural producers and rural businesses expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural communities. USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, families, businesses, farmers and ranchers.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, homeownership and affordable rental housing to improve the economic health of rural communities. During the last four years the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 158 communities, investing more than $3.3 Billion into local economies through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
Since 2009 USDA staff have undertaken historic efforts to save more than $700 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, even while implementing sequestration - the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. Our goal is to make the required cuts in a fair manner that causes as little disruption to our customers as possible.
The administration'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 strengthened America’s economy and empowered small towns and rural communities.
For more information on Rural Development programs in Southwest Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Jackson at 731-668-2091 x2, toll free at 1-800-342-3149 ext. 1495 or visit us online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
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