USDA Rural Development Highlights More Than $7.6 Million of Infrastructure and Economic Projects Between the Two States
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Directors Bob Morgan, Pennsylvania, and Jane Asselta, New Jersey, gathered with partners at the ArtYard in Frenchtown, N.J. today to highlight more than $7.6 million in investments in Bucks County, Pa., and Hunterdon County, N.J.
“All of our investments help rural America in a holistic way. This event helps show our regional partners how USDA impacts the lives of rural Americans in so many ways,” Asselta said. “Ag producers can’t feed Americans without the infrastructure in place to do so effectively. We have a program available to support rural communities where their needs are. This event demonstrates that.”
The event at the ArtYard featured representatives from USDA offices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as well as farmers from both Hunterdon and Bucks counties showcasing their products before the announcement highlighting the related funding.
In fiscal year 2022, USDA Rural Development invested a combined $864 million in rural Pennsylvania and New Jersey through our more than 40 loan, loan guarantee, and grant programs. With more than $8 million invested in Hunterdon and Bucks counties. For a complete list of the programs we offer you can visit our website.
Today’s announcement highlights wastewater infrastructure investments in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that will protect the shared waterway, and business investments that will create jobs, and expand markets for ag producers in the region.
For instance, the wastewater systems in Frenchtown received investments of more than $4.66 million to replace their 40-year-old wastewater treatment facility and improve the connecting sewer lines. These investments also included grant awards of more than $2.38 million. These projects were obligated in 2012 and 2020 respectively.
In addition, in Hunterdon County USDA awarded a Value-Added Producer Grant of $250,000 to Flocktown Farm to offset post-harvest labor, delivery labor and marketing costs associated with growing Gristmill Grange's Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership by the 2023 season. Gristmill is doing business as Flocktown Farm. With an anticipated expansion of 2000 new members, 14 full-time positions will be open in the wash/pack barn for post-harvest handling of the raw commodity, along with 7 additional full-time drivers to help with the increase in demand. The CSA is the only sales/distribution method utilized on the farm, and its customers choose them due to its organic certification and accessibility. Gristmill Grange/Flocktown Farm offers home delivery with an in-house team of drivers and fleet of vans ready to deliver within a 400-mile radius from its farm.
In Bucks County USDA invested $344,420 in three Value-Added Producer Grants recipients. Those grant awards include the following projects:
- The Roots to River Farm LLC was awarded a grant of $250,000 to use as working capital to support the business established in 2013. Roots to River Farm LLC is a woman-owned, certified organic vegetable farm. Funds will be utilized for processing and marketing an herbal fortified wine, made from its farm-grown fennel. This wine is aromatized with radicchio and herbs, along with a proprietary blend of spices and citrus. Funds will also be used for marketing the new product and securing a foothold in the increasingly competitive American aperitif market. This includes costs for advertising, web re-design and social media management. This project is anticipated to increase its customer base by roughly 6,000 and increase its revenue by approximately $215,000 over three years.
- The Tinicum Farm Collective LLC was awarded a grant of $49,420 to use as working capital to support the Ottsville, Pa., based farm. The business is a woman-owned farm and bakery business ready to launch its Pennsylvania Heirloom Pumpkin Pies into a broader market. Grant funds will be used for processing, packaging and marketing activities to expand production of the popular and distinct Heirloom Pumpkin Pie to a wider wholesale market in the Greater Philadelphia Region. The goal is to increase sales to customers by providing a retail-ready product that will become the cornerstone of the farm and bakehouse. This project will serve a socially disadvantaged independent producer and is anticipated to increase its customer base by seven retail outlets and its revenue by approximately $45,000 over a one-year period.
- The Manoff Market Cidery LLC was awarded a grant of $45,000 to use as working capital to support the New Hope, Pa., based farm. The cidery was established in 2018 as an outlet to market apples grown on a small family farm, operating since 1984. The funds will be used for processing and marketing activities to help launch a hard cider product into the Bucks County, Greater Philadelphia, and New Jersey areas. The goal of the project is to increase retail sales by promoting its products through print, visual and social media advertisements. This project is anticipated to increase its customer base by roughly 4,000 and its revenue by approximately $231,000 over a 15-month period.
“If you need us, we are here, please reach out and let us know how we can make rural Pennsylvania and New Jersey a better place to sustain economic growth and prosperity without losing the aspects of rural life that make our communities such a great place to live, work, and play,” Morgan said.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender