03.18.10

Leahy Announces Grant To Seal A Dairy Processor’s Move To Brattleboro

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. – During a groundbreaking ceremony for Commonwealth Dairy in Brattleboro on Thursday, staff for Senator Patrick Leahy announced that he has secured a $300,000 federal grant for the project, finalizing a $25 million public and private investment that will create jobs in Brattleboro and boost demand for Vermont milk.

“The Town of Brattleboro, the State of Vermont, and the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation have helped facilitate a great opportunity for Brattleboro and all of Vermont – additional value-added dairy processing capabilities here in Vermont, which means jobs in the processing plant and more demand for Vermont milk,” said Leahy, a veteran member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee.  

The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) will use the grant to complete a $1.15 million public-private partnership to build a $1.15 million water line to the Delta Campus, a business park located just West of Interstate 91.  According to BDCC Executive Director Jeff Lewis, the water line is the final piece of a package of job-creating initiatives that attracted Commonwealth Dairy to Vermont, including financing from the Vermont Economic Development Authority, job growth incentives from the Vermont Economic Growth Incentive program and a federal grant/loan through the Community Development Block Grant program administered by the Vermont Community Development Program.  
 
Lewis said, “We are very excited about Commonwealth's project. This the first major business development in some years in this region and it builds on Vermont's brand for quality and environmental values, while drawing on Vermont's dairy production. This is a win for everyone!”
 
Commonwealth Dairy is a new company that has partnered with the German yogurt firm Ehrmann AG to build a new dairy processing plant and yogurt production plant in Brattleboro.  The company plans to produce private label yogurt using Vermont and New England milk, as well as a branded product that is marketed around its Made in Vermont origins.  During Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony, Commonwealth Dairy’s Thomas Moffitt said the company should be operating by January 2011.
 
Moffitt said, “We are excited about being in Vermont and starting production at our new facility.  Senator Leahy's support was crucial to realizing our vision and this project.”

Moffitt said that in addition to the agricultural and economic synergies that drew the company to Vermont, the ability to use the New Market Tax Credit program -- a tax incentive that incentivizes community development in economically distressed areas -- in Brattleboro was also critical to the project’s success.  Leahy supported expanding the New Market Tax Credit program by $3 billion during consideration of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, sometimes called the economic stimulus bill.  

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