3 Addison County biz awarded Working Lands (WLEF) grants
Gov. Shumlin announces 20 grantees of Working Lands Enterprise
MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin, Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross, Forest, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder and the Working Lands Enterprise Board today announced the first round of grant recipients from the “Enterprise Investment Area” of the Working Lands Enterprise Fund, with almost $220,000 awarded to 20 grantees representing sectors across agriculture, forestry and forest products.
The awards include funding for 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.
“In Vermont, we are committed to supporting and expanding our value-added farm and forest industries, and while these individual grants are relatively small, they can make the difference in helping farmers and those who work our woodlands thrive and expand,” Gov. Shumlin said.
“The Working Lands Enterprise Fund provides for a deeper investment in agriculture and food systems in Vermont, and represents a historic initiative by the State to advance Vermont’s forestry and forest Products sector in a way that has never been done before,” said Ross.
“Vermont's forests contribute to our economy and well-being in so many important ways,” said Snyder. “When we invest in our working forests and forest products businesses, we strengthen this pillar of our economy and we bolster the character of Vermont.”
Enterprise Investments are one of three areas of the Working Lands Initiative, with grants ranging from $3,000-$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.
The Board will be making decisions on the remaining two investment areas (Grants for Service Providers and Capital & Infrastructure Investment Funds) during their May 21 Board meeting. Strategic planning and fund development are also on the horizon.
Recipients in this round, by County:
3 from Addison County:
$3,000 for “Infrastructure improvements to the current log laying yard to facilitate increased production and efficiency”
Eddy Farm Shiitake, Middlebury
$15,000 to “Install a thermostatically controlled water flow system to optimize trout and strawberry aquaponic production”
The Last Resort Farm, Bristol
$6,000 to “Build an un-insulated barn for honey production, beekeeping courses and small scale mushroom growing”
Dancing Bee Gardens, Middlebury
2 from Bennington County:
Jay Wilson and Cody Hall
$8,000 to “Equipment for logging woodlots”
$10,000 for a “Comprehensive marketing plan to increase sales for member businesses”
Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers, Dorset
2 from Caledonia County:
$12,000 to “Purchase a small kiln to support NEK wood based businesses”
Currier Forest Products, Danville
$10,000 for “Market research and tactical marketing plan development”
Vermont Chevon, LLC, Danville
4 from Chittenden County:
$10,868 for a “New American custom exempt goat slaughter facility”
Vermont Goat Collaborative, Colchester
$10,000 for a “Walk-in refrigerator and freezer”
Adam's Berry Farm, Charlotte
$15,000 for an “Inspected poultry processing facility”
Maple Wind Farm, Richmond
$5,629 for “Equipment for wood turning and classes”
The Sculpted Tree, Winooski
3 from Franklin County:
$11,406 for a “CSA model where milled wood consumers (woodworkers, carpenters, etc.) could become member investors in the mill”
A.S. Hudak Lumber and Logging, Swanton
$15,000 for “Capital for press building, freezer space and a solar drying facility to increase production of cranberry juice and dried cranberries”
Vermont Cranberry Company, Fletcher
George van Vlaanderen
$6,103 for “Increased pork production and sausage processing infrastructure to both raise more pigs on pasture and increase sausage production”
Does' Leap, LLC, Bakersfield
1 from Orange County:
$12,000 to “Develop natural Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) made with Vermont timber & agricultural resources”
Timberhomes, LLC, Vershire
1 from Orleans County:
$15,000 for “200 gallon pasteurizer to quadruple production capacity of milk”
Sweet Rowen Farmstead, LLC, West Glover
1 from Rutland County:
$9,900 to “Convert the sugarbush to use a high vacuum gravity tubing system”
Krueger-Norton Sugarhouse (KNSH), Shrewsbury
2 from Washington County:
$15,000 for “Bottling and capping equipment”
The Vermont Switchel Company, LLC, Cabot
$15,000 to “Purchase equipment that will boost production capability and efficiency of Joe’s Soups”
Screamin' Ridge Farm: Joe's Soups and Joe's CSA, Montpelier
1 from Windham County:
$15,000 for “New equipment and frozen storage capacity to expand product line and increase cost-competiveness”
Sidehill Farm, Brattleboro
The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative is administered by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, in partnership with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation and Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The initiative is composed of the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) and is responsible for allocating almost $1 million in grant funds. The Board is made up of public and private sector members involved in agriculture, food systems, forestry, and/or forest products.
Information regarding the Working Lands Initiative, including investment areas two and three (Working Lands Service Provider Grants and Capital and Infrastructure Investments), can be found at VermontWorkingLands.com.