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USDA Announces Grant to Enhance Operations at New Toledo, OR, Fish Processing Facility

Name
Jill Rees
City
Toledo
Release Date
Aug 15, 2014

USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker today announced a $30,000 grant to the Port of Toledo to help its newest tenant, Fishpeople Seafood, ramp up local operations and create additional economic activity on the Central Coast. Walker announced the grant award at the grand opening event for Fishpeople’s Toledo processing facility.

"USDA and our local partners, like the Port of Toledo, are working to create ladders of opportunity in rural communities through the creation of good-paying jobs," Walker said.

Fishpeople is a Pacific Northwest company that prepares local, sustainable seafood into gourmet entrees and soups packaged in easy-to-prepare, shelf-stable pouches that are ready to be heated as quick, healthy and tasty meals. They are distributed in grocery stores throughout the United States.

“Keeping tuna processing local is very important to our fishermen,” said Port Manager Bud Shoemake.  “Last year approximately ten million pounds of albacore tuna were landed on the Oregon Coast, with five million pounds landed in Newport.  Nearly all of the tuna landed in Newport was transported and processed out of the state or out of the country. Reducing the carbon footprint required for processing is important as well as keeping the jobs local.  Fishpeople’s new processing plant is a win-win for the local economy.”

“This grant allows us to grow our business here in Oregon, by working with local partners, such as the Port of Toledo and the fishing community, to create new jobs and bring state-of-the-art innovation to an industry that’s an important economic-driver,” said Duncan Berry, CEO of Fishpeople Seafood. “Our state-of-the-art processing plant will allow us to forge stronger direct connections with the fishermen landing in Newport. This gives us greater control over quality and freshness and ensures that we deliver on our 100-percent sustainably harvested seafood promise.”

The new processing facility, which celebrated its grand opening with tours, samples and live music, will create at least eight new jobs. In addition, the facility sources 95 percent of its fish from the Pacific Northwest, with a heavy emphasis on Central Oregon fisheries.

The USDA grant will allow the Port of Toledo to conduct additional renovations to accommodate Fishpeople as a new tenant and offset the costs of quality control and food safety training for new hires.

The USDA funds are provided through the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program, which promotes the business and job development in rural areas. Rural Business Enterprise Grants may be used to help fund business technical assistance, distance learning networks, and employment-related adult education programs. Eligible applicants include local governments, non-profit corporations and federally recognized Indian Tribes.

Since the start of the Obama Administration, the RBEG program has helped create or save more than 73,000 rural jobs, expanded or helped establish more than 41,000 rural businesses and community projects and provided more than $170 million in economic development assistance

President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.