Leahy Announces $3.9 Million In USDA Funding To Strengthen Vermont Businesses, Organizations

(THURSDAY, Feb. 3, 2022) – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday announced the awarding of more than $3.9 million in USDA loans and grants to 22 Vermont farms, businesses and organizations.

Leahy, who is the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said:  “These awards will help to strengthen not only local businesses, but our rural communities.  Some recipients, such as Maple Wind Farm, will use this funding to expand into new markets, while others will be able to make needed capital investments or receive technical assistance."

Burlington- based Glavel, Inc., which makes foam glass, an alternative to materials derived from petroleum, received a $500,000 USDA Business and Industry Loan.  The company is on the verge of opening its first facility to make foam glass in Essex.  This loan will enable Glavel to power its kiln with renewable energy, according to CEO Rob Conboy.

“The USDA loan guarantee was key to securing our Vermont Economic Development Authority loan.  The proceeds of which were used to complete our manufacturing system.  Thanks to this loan we will be producing a low embodied carbon building material from recycled glass in Essex,” Conboy said.

The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program granted a combined $136,600 to three Vermont organizations which will then provide technical assistance to small businesses in their communities.

Addison County Economic Development is receiving a $500,000 loan it will then use to provide loans and technical assistance to local businesses.  The funding is expected to assist five rural businesses and contribute to the creation of 35 jobs.

Seventeen Vermont businesses received Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG) totaling $2.79 million.  Those grants may be used as working capital or for marketing and planning purposes.  Vermont’s recipients make a wide array of products from Shrubbly’s beverages made with native aronia berries, to the aromatherapy products of Lavender Essentials of Vermont.  Other recipients include creameries, breweries and forest product businesses.

“The recipients of these grants show the entrepreneurial spirit and inventiveness to be found in Vermont’s agricultural and forestry sectors,” said Leahy.

Becky Castle, co-founder of Sisters of Anarchy Ice Cream, which is part of Fisher Brothers Farm in Shelburne, said, “The USDA VAPG grant is incomparable in terms of the flexibility of the working capital.  It’s exactly what farm businesses need… It’s a game changer.”

Sisters of Anarchy will be using the grant for market expansion, including production, marketing and distribution.

A full list of recipients is attached.

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