USDA invests $1.4 billion to support local businesses, create well-paying jobs and strengthen the economy in rural America
Vermont Business Magazine United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Department is investing $1.4 billion to help diverse rural America keep resources and wealth at home through vocational training, business development and technical assistance. The programs through which these investments are made are part of a suite of business and cooperative services that are expected to help create or save more than 50,000 jobs in rural America through investments made during the fiscal year 2021. This includes $9.4 million in Vermont ($3.9 million). ) and New Hampshire.
Vermont Funding (SEE FULL LIST BELOW): Addison County Economic Development $500,000, Glavel, Inc. $504,1000, Community Capital of Vermont $41,442, Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation $68,695, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation $26,515, Fisher Brothers Farm, LLC $250,000, Moose Mountain Maple, LLC $250,000, Jasper Hill Creamery, Inc. Vermont, LLC $250,000, Thurston Forestry, LLC $36,000, Trenchers Farmhouse, LLC $49,950, Pete’s Greens, Inc. $250,000, Lavender Essentials of Vermont $15,753, Champlain Orchards, Inc. $239,072, Green Mountain Spring-Rock Farm, LLC $250,000.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said, “These awards will help strengthen not only local businesses, but also our rural communities. Some recipients, such as Maple Wind Farm, will use this funding to expand into new markets, while others may make necessary capital investments or receive technical assistance.
Burlington-based Glavel, Inc., which manufactures foam glass, an alternative to petroleum-derived materials, received a $500,000 commercial and industrial loan from the USDA. The company is about to open its first foam glass manufacturing plant in Essex. The loan will allow Glavel to power its furnace with renewable energy, according to CEO Rob Conboy.
“The USDA loan guarantee was key to getting our loan from the Vermont Economic Development Authority. Whose product was used to complete our manufacturing system. With this loan we will produce low carbon building material from recycled glass in Essex,” said Conboy.
The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program awarded a combined $136,600 to three Vermont organizations who will then provide technical assistance to small businesses in their communities.
Addison County Economic Development receives a $500,000 loan which it will then use to provide loans and technical assistance to local businesses. The funding is expected to support five rural businesses and contribute to the creation of 35 jobs.
Seventeen Vermont companies received value-added producer (VAPG) grants totaling $2.79 million. These grants can be used as working capital or for marketing and planning purposes. Vermont recipients manufacture a wide range of products from Shrubbly beverages made with native aronia berries to aromatherapy products from Lavender Essentials of Vermont. Other beneficiaries include creameries, breweries and forest products companies.
“Recipients of these grants are a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and inventiveness found in Vermont’s agriculture and forestry sectors,” said Leahy.
Becky Castle, co-founder of Sisters of Anarchy Ice Cream, part of Fisher Brothers Farm in Shelburne, said, “The USDA VAPG grant is second to none in terms of working capital flexibility. This is exactly what agricultural businesses need… It’s a game changer.
Sisters of Anarchy will use the grant for market expansion, including production, marketing and distribution.
New Hampshire Funding: Waterville Valley Ski Resort, LLC $5,000,000, Coos Economic Development Corporation $30,576, Short Creek Farm, LLC $228,210, West Wick Farming, LLC $11,020, Pumpkin Blossom Farm, LLC $250,000, Brookford Farm, LLC $75,000.
“For some time, rural America has been at the mercy of an extractive economy, where resources are taken from rural lands only to create jobs and economic opportunity in urban and suburban areas,” said Vilsak. “That’s why the USDA is committed to doing what we can to transform this extractive economy into a circular economy, where value is added closer to home, so that the wealth created in areas rural stays in rural areas. Today’s announcement underscores the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to help transform the economy and provide well-paying jobs and economic opportunity to those who need it most.
The funding announced today will help people and businesses from diverse communities and industries in 49 states, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. This will help businesses hire more workers and reach new customers. This will open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have not had access to essential resources and funding. And it will help entrepreneurs, business cooperatives, and farmers in nearly every state create jobs, grow businesses, and find new and better markets for the items they produce.
In Oklahoma, Rolland Ranch Beef will use a $250,000 value-added producer grant to increase processing, marketing and delivery of locally raised beef to area consumers, schools and the Chickasaw Nation. Rolland Ranch Beef is a trademarked product by the Intertribal Agriculture Council, certifying that it is made and produced by Native Americans. This certification adds value to the beef as more and more tribes seek to purchase native foods grown by natives.
In Iowa, the Pella Cooperative Electric Association will use a $300,000 grant from the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program to replenish the association’s revolving loan fund, which will help build housing and a women’s health care facility.
In California, the Democracy at Work Institute will use a $200,000 Rural Co-operative Development Grant to provide technical assistance to worker-owned co-operative groups, ultimately creating 17 jobs and saving 41 others in rural areas. The organization will help dozens of cooperatives and rural businesses and will work with Native American and Alaska Native groups that organize cooperative projects in rural California, Alaska and South Dakota.
In Maryland, Diparma Farms, a family business and Army veteran, will use a $33,530 value-added producer grant to expand its outdoor poultry operations. The funds will help pay for operating costs associated with processing and marketing packaged free-range chicken, duck and turkey products. The project will help the company expand its customer base through partnerships with local beef and cheese producers in and around Washington County, which will lead to an expected increase in revenue.
In Pennsylvania, Castanea Farm LLC will use a $10,244 value-added grower grant to help the family farmer’s market and sell chestnuts. The project is expected to increase its customer base by 25% and revenue by $2 a pound over a two-year period.
In Nebraska, Native360 Loan Fund Inc. will use an $8,701 grant from the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program to provide business training and technical assistance to microentrepreneurs and rural microenterprises in 12 Nebraska counties. Native360 Loan Fund’s mission is to provide affordable credit, capital, technical assistance, and related programs to help build strong, self-reliant Native American business owners.
Vilsack highlighted 751 investments the USDA is making in eight programs specifically designed to create economic opportunity for people and businesses in rural areas. These programs include Business and Industry (B&I) loan guarantees, which provided record investments in fiscal year 2021, and the B&I CARES Act program, which helped create thousands of jobs through funding for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Programs also include RISE (Rural Innovation Stronger Economy) Grants, Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program, Rural Microentrepreneur Support Program, intermediary loan and subsidies to value-added producers.
The awards announced today by Vilsack are awarded in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts , Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina , South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Under the direction of the Biden-Harris administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunity, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This aid supports the improvement of infrastructure; Business development; lodging; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed Internet access in rural, tribal and very poor areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. USDA Rural Development prioritizes projects that will support the Biden-Harris administration’s key priorities to help rural America build back better and stronger. Key priorities include tackling the COVID-19 pandemic; coping with the impacts of climate change; and advancing equity in rural America. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/priority-points. If you would like to subscribe to USDA rural development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the US food system with greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in rural America, and committing to equity across the department by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce that is more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
WASHINGTON, February 2, 2022 – United States Department of Agriculture