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Working Lands Enterprise Board announces $300,000 to 19 working lands businesses

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2014-04-17

Vermont Business Magazine The Working Lands Enterprise Board announces this year’s grant recipients from its “Enterprise Investment” area awarding just under $300,000 of $1.2 million available to 19 grantees in 11 counties of the state representing the agriculture, forestry and forest products sectors, (3 forestry projects and 16 agriculture projects), leveraging over $350,000 in matching funds: http://www.vermontbiz.com/news/april/working-lands-enterprise-board-announces-300000-19-working-lands-businesses.

Last year’s investment reached over $1 million into 37 agriculture and forestry projects touching every county in the State and leveraging an additional $1.3 million in matching funds (funded 25 ag projects and 12 forestry projects proportionate to the total number of applications received by each sector). This year, the program further invests in job creation, innovation, sustainability, and increased income.

Enterprise Investments are one of three areas of the Working Lands Initiative, with grants ranging from $3,000 - $20,000 for new and growing agriculture, forestry, and forest products enterprises. The Enterprise Investment area received 49 applications with a total request of $415,427 in funds.

“We recognize the tremendous economic and environmental impact that our Working Lands businesses have across the state of Vermont,” said Gov. Shumlin. “By investing in technical assistance and infrastructure for our ag and forest economies, we are creating jobs and supporting a quality of life that will attract Vermonters and out-of-stater’s for generations to come.”

“The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative builds upon Vermont’s history and culture through investment in our state’s backbone: our forests, farms, food, recreation, and wood products economies,” said Secretary of Ag, Chuck Ross.  “It takes investment in infrastructure and support services at all stages of business development to grow and maintain a vibrant working lands sector.” 

Highlighting the vital role technical assistance plays in developing and sustaining Vermont’s working landscape, 14 of the 19 grantees awarded received recent technical assistance including education and business mentoring or support. Delivery of these critical business and organizational resources were provided by Vermont Housing and Conservation Board’s Farm Viability Program, University of Vermont Extension Service, Northeast Organic Farmers Association of Vermont (NOFA VT), United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS), Small Business Development Center (SBDC), The Intervale Center, and various county Economic Development Corporations. Technical assistance is loosely defined as providing recipients with technical guidance on business and management planning, feasibility studies, practical application, and product design.

Applicants denied Working Lands funding can greatly benefit from the variety of technical assistance programs available, to further develop ideas and plans in order to reach their business and project goals. Of the 19 grantees announced today, eight submitted unsuccessful applications in the first Working Lands grant round.  Since that time, six of those eight received technical assistance underscoring the importance of technical assistance in greatly enhancing the likelihood of a successful project application.

I. Enterprise Investment Grant Recipients

16 Agriculture Grant Recipients

Addison County

  • Doolittle Farm, Shoreham | $14,203 for egg washing equipment
  • Windfall Orchard, Cornwall | $9,750 for cider presses and equipment to expand business

Bennington County

  • Wilcox Ice Cream, Manchester | $20,000 for a manufacturing facility

Caledonia County

  • Snug Valley Farm, East Hardwick | $20,000 for improving delivery of pigs and pork products

Chittenden County

  • Jericho Settlers Farm, Jericho | $18,200 for heated tunnels with biomass furnace to expand winter vegetable production
  • North Williston Cattle Company, Essex Jct. | $10,000 for equipment to reclaim prime agricultural land.

Franklin County

  • Bouchard Farm, St. Albans | $9,750 for equipment and materials for organic dairy cow housing

Lamoille County

  • Elmore Roots Fruit Tree and Berry Nursery, Elmore | $12,000 for kiosks to expand accessibility to product

Orange County

  • Fat Toad Farm, Brookfield | $15,000 for more efficient caramel equipment to expand production

Orleans County

  • Bonnieview Farm, Albany | $20,000 for cheese aging cave to double production
  • Cate Hill Orchard, Greensboro | $20,000 for an on-farm processing facility for value added products and to begin producing farm farmstead sheep cheese
  • Kingdom Brewing, Newport | $20,000 for a retail bottle/cannery and growler fill station
  • Lazy Lady Farm, Westfield | $6,000 for a solar array to secure energy requirements for an off-grid dairy.

Washington County

  • Rogers Farmstead, Berlin | $20,000 for equipment to expand grainery capability

Windham County

  • Big Picture Farm, Townshend | $20,000 for materials for caramel production and cheese production facility
  • Boyd Family Farm, Wilmington | $20,000 to renovate existing barn

3 Forestry Grant Recipients

Addison County

  • Green Mountain Hardwood, Ripton | $9,825 for a portable sawmill and materials for solar-assisted lumber kiln

Orleans County

  • NorthWoods Stewardship Center, East Charleston | $18,200 for forwarding trailer and implementation of low-impact timber harvests in the Northeast Kingdom

Windsor County

  • Rockledge Farm, Weathersfield | $10,000 for website development and marketing

The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, Act 142, is administered by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and is in partnership with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, as well as the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The Working Lands Enterprise Board, comprised of public and private sector members involved in agriculture, forestry, and/or forest products is in its second year of funding. This year the fund is responsible for allocating over $1 million in grant funds. Service Provider and Capital and Infrastructure decisions will be forthcoming at an on-site press event to be held in June at which all round two Working Lands grant recipients will be featured.

Full Enterprise Investment recipient profiles can be found at the Working Lands website at http://workinglands.vermont.gov/projects

A growing list of technical assistance providers for agriculture and forestry/forest products business can be found at the Working Lands website at http://workinglands.vermont.gov/apply/ta/tools. If you would like to add your contact information to be listed as a technical assistance resource, please email working.lands@state.vt.us.