Leahy: Grants Totaling $185,865 To Two Vermont Farms Will Advance Value-Added Farm Products

(WEDNESDAY, Aug. 20, 2014) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says two Vermont farms will receive a total of $185,865 in grants under a program that encourages value-added American agricultural products.  The awards, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Value-Added Producer Grant program, will be used to expand natural meat production and to develop nutritional labels, among other projects.

Leahy said, “The Value-Added Grant Program has been a great success in Vermont and fits well into our efforts to upgrade and diversify our economy.  Value-added agriculture creates new jobs, contributing to community and rural economic development and building on the record and reputation for quality that has become a Vermont trademark.  These grants help Vermont farmers in bringing products that consumers want to market, from grass-fed beef, chicken, and pork, to fresh cream-top milk.  Rewarding and supporting the innovation and hard work of Vermont farms like Sweet Rowen Farmstead and North Hollow Farm is a great way and a smart way to move our agricultural economy forward.”

Leahy, the most senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has long championed expansion of value-added agriculture in Vermont’s farm and food sector.  He fought hard and succeeded in renewing the value-added promotion program in this year’s 2014 Farm Bill, overcoming strong opposition.  The modest but targeted program helps agricultural producers grow their businesses by turning raw commodities into value-added products, expanding marketing opportunities and developing new uses for existing products. 

North Hollow Farm LLC in Rochester is receiving a $161,204 grant to expand processing and marketing of grass-fed beef and natural meats.  Sweet Rowen Farmstead LLC in West Glover will use its $24,661 grant to help in hiring and employee training, and for developing nutritional labels for their products.

Since 2009, USDA has awarded 863 Value-Added Producer Grants totaling $108 million.  Twenty percent of the grants and 16 percent of total funding has been awarded to beginning farmers and ranchers.  The 2014 Farm Bill increases mandatory funding for the program from $15 million to $63 million over five years, while also reauthorizing an additional $40 million in discretionary funding.

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