Gov. Peter Shumlin, Agriculture, Food & Markets Secretary Chuck Ross, Commerce & Community Development Secretary Lawrence Miller, Forests, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder and the Working Lands Enterprise Board have announced the final grant recipients from the Service Provider and Capital and Infrastructure areas of the Working Lands Enterprise Fund, awarding more than $750,000 to 16 grantees representing sectors across agriculture, forestry and forest products.
“Vermonters are committed to supporting and expanding our value-added farm and forest industries,” said Gov. Shumlin. “By investing in technical assistance and infrastructure projects, these grants will help farmers and those who work our woodlands prosper and grow sustainably for future generations.”
The awards include funding for statewide support services to provide technical assistance in the areas of business, market, workforce, infrastructure, and professional development for agricultural, forestry & forest products based businesses. Funds to support infrastructure projects will reach all corners of the state and impact multiple sectors.
“Vermont’s working landscape captures Vermont’s culture, character, and community,” said Sec. Ross. “The Working Lands Enterprise Fund provides a deeper investment in Vermont’s working lands and its people. It 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.”
Secretary of Commerce and Community Development, Lawrence Miller, said “The working landscape is the foundation of several of our most important economic sectors: fundamental to agriculture, forest products, stone and minerals, and renewable energy, but also critical for our tourism economy. Interacting with the land in work and recreation is also a fundamental part of our culture.”
“Vermont's forests provide significant contributions to our economy and well-being,” said Commissioner Snyder. “When we invest in support services and capital and infrastructure for working forests and forest products enterprises, this pillar of our economy grows stronger and we bolster both Vermont’s character and integrity.”
The Service Provider Grant Area received 84 Letters of Intent (LOIs), totaling $3.2 million in requested funds. Of the applicants invited to submit a full application, 27 applications were received for a total of $1.2 million in requests. The Board announced $350,000 in awards to 8 grantees representing sectors across agriculture, forestry, and forest products, all of which provide impact statewide.
The Capital and Infrastructure Investment Area received 112 Letters of Intent (LOI), requesting a total of $6.7 million in requested funds. Of the applicants invited to submit a full application, 22 applications were received for a total of $2.2 million in requests. The Board announced over $400,000 in awards to 8 grantees representing sectors across agriculture, forestry, and forest products, and offering benefits to the supply chain.
II. Service Provider Grant Recipients:
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont: Erin Buckwalter, Richmond, VT: Statewide Impact: $20,000 for Professional Development for Farmers’ Market Managers
Patricia A. Hannaford Regional Technical School District: Lynn Coale, Middlebury, VT: Statewide Impact, $55,000 for an Expansion of the Vermont Skilled Butchers and Meat Cutters Training Program
University of Vermont Extension Service: Mark Cannella, Berlin, VT: Statewide Impact, $39,302 for Poultry and Grape Sector Business Model Research & Development
University of Vermont Extension Service: Vern Grubinger and Chris Callahan, Brattleboro, VT: Statewide Impact, $40,000 to Increase Supply and Quality of “Local” Vegetable Storage
Vermont Housing and Conservation Board: Ela Chapin, Montpelier, VT: Statewide Impact, $100,000 to Expand Business Assistance to Agricultural Infrastructure and Forestry Sectors
Vermont Meat and Poultry Processors’ Association: Statewide Impact, $15,000 to Enhance Innovation in Vermont’s Meat Processing Industry
Vermont Solid Waste District Managers Association: Teresa Kuczynski, Middlebury, VT: Statewide Impact, $55,000 for Technical Planning Services for Food Scrap Composting
Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association: Erin Sheridan Lorentz, Rutland, VT: Statewide Impact, $48,000 for Workforce Development for the Secondary Wood Manufacturing Industry
III. Capital and Infrastructure Investment Recipients
A. McGovern Logging and Sawmilling: Andrew McGovern, Orange County, $20,000 for Increasing Volume of Custom Milled Wood Products through Portable Sawmill Upgrades
Black River Produce/ Black River Meats: Jean Hamilton, Windsor County, $50,000 to Build Volume and Value for Vermont Livestock Producers in New Regional Meat Markets
Champlain Orchards: Bill Suhr, Addison County, $75,000 to Expand Vermont’s Cider Apple Supply Chain
Jasper Hill Farm: Andy and Mateo Kehler, Orleans County, $50,000 for a Cheese Microbiology Lab to Develop “Artisanal Cultures” to Promote Product Quality and Safety for Vermont Producers
Vermont Refrigerated Storage: Barney Hodges, Addison County, $43,369 for Increasing Storage Capacity for Farms, Distributers and Processors with the Construction of a 300-Pallet Freezer
Vermont Wood Pellet Company: Chris Brooks, Rutland County, $38,153 to Increase Pellet Mill Efficiency and Quality through Mill Upgrades
Vermont Wood Studios: Peggy and Ken Farabaugh, Windham County, $100,000 to Expand Markets of Vermont Made Furniture by Building a Destination Shopping Experience in Southeastern Vermont
Vermont Woodworking School: Carina Driscoll, Franklin County, $50,000 for an Incubator Space for Emerging Woodworking Businesses
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 the 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 (Working Lands Service Provider Grants and Capital and Infrastructure Investments), can be found at VermontWorkingLands.com.
Contact: Alex Ibey, Senior Economic Development Specialist, Agency of Commerce and Community Development,(802) 828-5241