Marshalltown, Iowa, Nov 12, 2013 -- Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa, was in Marshalltown today to participate in ribbon cutting and open house activities for Iowa Choice Harvest’s new processing facility.
During the past two years, USDA Rural Development has awarded Iowa Choice Harvest with loan guarantee and Value Added Producer Grant funds totaling $662,184 to assist the start-up business. The funds will help purchase equipment for the sizing, freezing and processing of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as help build an accounting and financial software system and develop marketing materials for the business.
Iowa Choice Harvest is owned by a small group of central Iowa farmers who are developing processes for freezing fruits and vegetables and creating a distribution network. The farmers have traditionally sold directly to customers at places such as area farmers markets.
“Building markets for local and regionally grown agricultural products makes great economic sense,” Menner said. “Continuing to look for ways to promote the value of locally produced foods is an extremely important activity as communities work hard to attract new families and business opportunities.”
USDA Rural Development has numerous loan and grant programs available to assist organizations or producers who are involved in local food production and regional food systems.
This use of USDA Rural Development funding is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs from rural America. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stresses that a comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy. He said that’s just one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.
Contact USDA Rural Development
For more information about USDA Rural Development please call (515) 284-4663 or visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities. 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.
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, 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.
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.
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