USDA Grant to Form Cooperative Food Hub

Name
Samantha Evenson
City
Mercer
State
North Dakota
Release Date
Aug 19, 2014

Jasper Schneider, USDA Rural Development state director, announced today that Morning Joy Farm in Mercer, North Dakota received a grant to organize a producer cooperative and launch the first food hub to market local grower products in North Dakota. The funding is provided through USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant program, which aims to help agricultural producers increase their income by expanding market opportunities and developing new products.

“By forming a cooperative, growers can reach new markets and sell to more than just the individual consumer,” said Schneider. “The establishment of a cooperative food hub will provide small to mid-size growers the opportunity to bring their products to grocers, schools and restaurants.” 

Morning Joy Farm, along with other local food producers, will use the $62,325 grant to organize a grower’s cooperative. The cooperative members will then create a food hub to facilitate multi-channel marketing of their specialty crops, proteins, and value-added food products. 

Along with the USDA funding, the North Dakota Rural Rehab Company will provide a matching grant. Common Enterprise Development Corporation will also offer technical assistance to complete the grant’s objectives within a two-year timeframe.

Value-Added Producer Grants may be used for feasibility studies or business plans, working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy projects. Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/nd.