Value-added producer funding awards (Keeping the Farm)
(Editor’s note: Denise Lovelady is the state director for USDA Rural Development for Maryland Delaware.)
I am incredibly proud of the work our Rural Development team has completed in 2020 despite the challenges we’ve been dealt this year.
However, now I want to begin by speaking directly to agricultural producers and agribusinesses, regardless of size or type, that foster growth and prosperity by producing food and creating jobs in rural communities.
Through the USDA Business Programs, financial assistance is currently available to assist farmers, agricultural producers, and agribusinesses with access to much-needed capital, add value to products, improve energy efficiency and housing for farm laborers.
One program I would like to highlight within our Business Programs is our Value-Added Producer Grant program.
The VAPG program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of value-added products.
Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are goals of this program.
Independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer- or rancher-cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures are eligible to apply.
Grant and matching funds can be used for planning activities or for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product. Examples of planning activities include conducting feasibility studies and developing business plans for processing and marketing the proposed value-added product.
Examples of working capital expenses include processing costs, marketing and advertising expenses, inventory and salary expenses.
Under the leadership of President Donald Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Rural Development commits to be a strong partner to rural America through our programs and now I have the distinct honor, with their permission, to announce the four 2020 Value-Added Producer Grant recipients.
Dittmar Family Farms, LLC, in Kent County, Del., will use an $83,366 VAPG as working capital to enhance a Community Supported Agriculture program serving customers in both Sussex and Kent counties.
This farm grows over 100 vegetables and fruits providing a continuous turnover of new selections each week.
The investment will create two new jobs and will increase customer base by 148. The locally produced vegetables and fruits are sold at five locations in Sussex and Kent Counties.
Twin Oak Farms, in Worcester County, Md., will use a $41,123 VAPG as working capital to market farm made salsas, relishes, jams, pickles and pasta sauce.
The products are sold at their farmer’s market, through E-commerce and are wholesaled to other businesses in the area. The project will create one new job and increase their customer base by 300.
Star Bright Farm, in Baltimore County, Md., will use a $159,522 VAPG as working capital to market distilled floral water known as Hydrosol.
This herb farm is focused on growing aromatic and medicinal herbs to develop natural cosmetic products and plant-based drink additives. The project will create two new jobs and increase its production of Hydrosol from 50 to 500 gallons per year.
Burnt Hill Farm, in Montgomery County, Md., will use a $250,000 VAPG as working capital to market a variety of new wines.
The project will create seven jobs and will produce 2,800 cases of wine annually.
The wine will be sold at the farm, at agri-tourism events, on-line, and wholesale through distributors, restaurants and wine shops.
For more information about the VAPG program please contact Letitia Nichols, our USDA Rural Development Business and Cooperative Program Director for Maryland/Delaware.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about available resources.
In conclusion, I want to express that my staff and I will continue our efforts to ensure people who live and work in rural areas have access to the same resources and services necessary to prosper.
While continuing to adapt to challenges and changes, we remain focused on the timely delivery of our programs.
I believe our programs make a difference for rural Delaware and Maryland and when we work together, America prospers.
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