Last week, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross and the Working Lands Enterprise Board announced first-round recipients of grants to expand value-added farm and forest enterprises. Almost $220,000 was awarded to 20 grantees for projects ranging from a barn for honey production, beekeeping courses and small scale mushroom growing; a kiln to support Northeast Kingdom wood-based businesses; freezer space and a solar drying facility to increase production of cranberry juice and dried cranberries; and more.
“We are committed to supporting and expanding our value-added farm and forest industries," noted Shumlin. "While these individual grants are relatively small, they can make the difference in helping farmers and those who work our woodlands thrive and expand.”
This is round one of the Working Lands Enterprise grant funding, added Ross. The grants range from $3,000 to $15,000 for new and growing agriculture and/or forestry based enterprises. The Enterprise Investment area received 191 applications for a total of $2.1 million in requests from forestry, forest products, dairy, meat, berries, tree fruit, tree farms, maple, produce, honey, fish, horses, renewable energy, compost, specialty foods, fiber, hops, land and soil testing, and drainage.
Where the grants are "seeded"
•$3,000: Eddy Farm Shiitake at Middlebury for infrastructure improvements to the current log laying yard to boost mushroom production and efficiency.
•$15,000: Last Resort Farm at Bristol, to install a thermostatically controlled water flow system to optimize trout and strawberry aquaponic production.
•$6,000: Dancing Bee Gardens at Middlebury, to build an un-insulated barn for honey production, beekeeping courses and small scale mushroom growing.
•$8,000: Wilson and Cody Hall at Rupert, for equipment to log woodlots.
•$10,000: Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers at Dorset, for a comprehensive marketing plan to increase sales for member businesses.
•$12,000: Currier Forest Products of Danville, to purchase a small kiln to support NEK custom wood-based furnishings business.
•$10,000: Vermont Chevon, at Danville, for market research and premium goat meat marketing plan development.
•$10,868: Vermont Goat Collaborative of Colchester, for a new American custom-exempt goat slaughter facility.
•$10,000: Adam's Berry Farm of Charlotte, for a walk-in refrigerator and freezer.
•$15,000: Maple Wind Farm at Richmond, for an inspected poultry processing facility.
•$5,629: The Sculpted Tree of Winooski, for equipment for wood turning and classes.
•$11,406: A.S. Hudak Lumber and Logging of Swanton, for a community-supported agriculture mill business where wood consumers could become member-investors.
•$15,000: Vermont Cranberry Company of Fletcher, for press building, freezer space and a solar drying facility to increase production of cranberry juice and dried cranberries.
•$6,103: Does' Leap of Bakersfield, for expanded pork production and sausage processing infrastructure to raise more pigs on pasture and increase sausage production.
•$12,000: Timberhomes of Vershire, to develop natural structurally-insulated panels made with Vermont timber.
•$15,000: Sweet Rowen Farmstead of West Glover, for a 200-gallon pasteurizer to quadruple production capacity of mil.
•$9,900: Krueger-Norton Sugarhouse at Shrewsbury, to convert the sugarbush to use a high-vacuum gravity tubing system.
•$15,000: the Vermont Switchel Company of Cabot, for bottling and capping equipment.
•$15,000: Screamin' Ridge Farm at Montpelier, to purchase equipment boosting production capability and efficiency of Joe’s Soups
•$15,000: Sidehill Farm of Brattleboro, for new equipment and frozen storage capacity to expand product line and increase cost-competiveness.
Information on the Working Lands Initiative and investment areas can be found at www.VermontWorkingLands.com