Vermont Farm Viability Program awards $65,000 to five Ag-related businesses

first_imgThe Vermont Housing and Conservation Board announced today grant awards made by the Farm Viability Program to five meat, poultry and grain processing businesses totaling $65,000. Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee said, “With producers all over Vermont raising more grain, poultry and meat in response to the increasing demand for local foods, processing facilities are stretched to the limit. These grants will enable businesses in Westfield, Sharon, Bridport, West Glover and Morrisville to purchase equipment, expand facilities and increase capacity, enhancing the processing infrastructure of Vermont’s food system.”Vermont Rabbitry in West Glover has marketed high quality fresh rabbit meat throughout Vermont and New England since 1987. In 1992, Brown’s Custom Meats was established, adding services including butchering and packaging of beef, pork, veal, lamb and goat. With a $15,500 grant matched with his own investment and a bank loan, operator Phil Brown anticipates doubling his capacity to process rabbits and significantly increasing his capacity to process other locally raised meats. Equipment will be upgraded, allowing him to offer vacuum packaging of custom meat and a wider variety of products including rabbit sausages and ground rabbit to be sold in meat cases across the state.In Bridport, Gleason Grains is an organic milling facility on a small farm operated operated by Ben and Theresa Gleason. The largest operation of its kind in Vermont, the mill facility was built in 1988. The Gleasons raise soybeans, black beans, seed clover, hay and wheat on 100 acres of land. They process the wheat to provide whole wheat flour, pastry flour and wheat berries to customers including bakeries, food co-ops, health food stores, an internet business, a brewery, CSAs, schools and restaurants. In 2010, the Gleasons expect to double the amount of wheat they are processing through a collaboration with three Addison County farmers. In order to process the increased yield, Gleason Grains will use a $15,500 grant from the Farm Viability program to expand and upgrade the current mill facility, storage and drying facilities.Butterworks Farm in Westfield is a farm and milk processing business, producing bottled heavy cream and yogurt and raising corn, soybeans, sunflowers, barley, oats, wheat and peas on 200 acres of owned and leased land. A $14,000 Farm Viability grant will be matched by Anne and Jack Lazor to purchase equipment for hulling whole oats and spelt grain and producing rolled oats and spelt flour to be sold through Vermont Food Coops. Butterworks Farm will offer grain processing services to area farmers to encourage more farmers to raise grains in order to meet a growing demand for locally grown foods.Darryl and Brenda Potter will purchase a cryovac wrapping machine for vacuum packaging at their slaughterhouse, Sharon Beef, where they process beef, lamb, pork and bison for farmers and producers in the agricultural communities of Vermont and New Hampshire. A $15,500 grant, matched with a construction loan and in-kind labor will allow the Potters to make structural and lighting improvements to their facility and install the new machinery. Offering cryovac packaging will increase processing business for commercial customers that are looking for a professional presentation of meat for retail sales. The Potters plan to maintain their current slaughter capacity but to increase the number of customers using their processing services who currently take their meat elsewhere for packaging.In Morrisville, Spring Hill Poultry Processing began operating in the summer of 2009, leasing a mobile processing unit outfitted by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture in response to the scarcity of poultry processing facilities. Operator George Eisenhardt will make improvements to the mobile facility to accommodate a doubling of demand for his services. With a $4,500 grant he will add refrigeration capacity, improving services and reducing costs of the mobile poultry processing.The Vermont Farm Viability Program offers business planning and technical support to Vermont farmers. Farmers and ag-related businesses that complete business plans with the program are eligible to apply for implementation grants. The program aims to support and enhance the viability of agriculture in Vermont. The Farm Viability Program is operated by the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, in collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets. For more information, please contact Director Ela Chapin at 828-2117 or see www.vhcb.org/viability.html(link is external)Source: VHCB. 5.12.2010– end —last_img

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