April 30, 2009
Montpelier -- The Vermont Farm Viability Program announced today $40,000 in grant awards to meat processing facilities in Troy, Randolph, Barre and Enosburg. The grants are the first round of a new funding opportunity for “agriculture-related businesses,” established to develop and invest in agricultural infrastructure and to improve the viability of agriculture-related businesses. Two subsequent rounds of grant funding will be announced later this year and in 2010. Eleven processors with combined requests of $183,600 applied for $40,000 of available funding. The grant funds are supplied by a private foundation.
Four operators ranging from small custom processors to larger commercial processors will use grant funding to expand facilities and increase efficiency, resulting in greater availability of meat processing services for farmers and others raising livestock. The grant recipients are: Brault’s Market in Troy, The Royal Butcher in Randolph, Vermont Smoke and Cure in South Barre, and the Enosburg Meat Market. Three of the four offer retail sales on site.
“The importance of these funds to meat processing facilities in the state cannot be underestimated. We have seen a tremendous increase in demand in people looking to buy local. I call it a renaissance of the past—knowing where and how your food is grown is again becoming an important aspect to consumers when buying food,” said Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee. “These grants will give meat processors in Vermont the ability to expand and improve their facilities to help meet the increased demand for Vermont products. With improved processing facilities, farmers have the potential to increase what they produce and it opens new market options to them.”
Brault’s Market, providing custom and commercial meat processing and a retail market in Troy, will construct an addition, increasing their processing area and retail space. The Royal Butcher, a meat processor, butcher shop, retail store and bottle redemption center in Randolph, will expand and improve their processing area. Vermont Smoke and Cure, a smokehouse and processing facility in South Barre distributing ham, bacon and sausage throughout New England and beyond, will purchase processing equipment to increase their production capacity. The Enosburg Meat Market, a retail meat market and custom cutting shop, will construct an addition, adding processing and cooler space while creating separate processing areas for game and farm animals.
The Vermont Farm Viability Program was established in 2003 by the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board in partnership with the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets. The program uses business advisers from the University of Vermont Extension, the Intervale Center, NOFA-VT and independent consultants to provide business planning services to participating farmers. The business advisors work with farmers to focus on specific business goals such as improving production or financial records, performing financial benchmark analysis, evaluating new farm enterprises and value-added processing ventures, developing estate and farm transfer plans, and increasing profitability. On-farm consultations result in the preparation of a written business plan.
Upcoming Implementation Grant rounds are announced to farmers that have completed business plans with the Viability Program and to agriculture-related businesses. Farmers and ag-related businesses can find out more and apply by visiting www.vhcb.org/viability.html or by calling Program Director Ela Chapin at 828-2117.
Source: Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Last Updated at: April 30, 2009 17:00:42