Investments support the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to build back better in rural America
RALEIGH, N.C., Feb. 2, 2022 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the Department is investing $161 million to help a diverse rural America keep resources and wealth right at home in North Carolina through job training, business expansion and technical assistance.
“For some time, rural America has been at the mercy of an extraction economy, where resources are taken from rural lands only to create jobs and economic opportunity in urban and suburban areas,” Vilsack said. “That’s why USDA is committed to doing what we can to change that extraction economy into a circular economy, where value is added closer to home, so the wealth created in rural areas stays in rural areas. Today’s announcement underlines the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to helping transform the economy and bring high-paying jobs and economic opportunities to the people who need it most.”
The funding announced today will help people and businesses in diverse communities and industries in North Carolina.
“Today’s announcement underlines the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic commitment to help transform the economy and bring good-paying jobs and economic opportunities to the people who need it most in our state,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Reginald Speight. “We are helping local businesses invest in themselves, allowing them to create jobs, grow businesses and find new and better markets for the items they produce.”
This funding will help companies hire more workers and reach new customers. It opens the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing. And it will help entrepreneurs, business cooperatives and farmers in nearly every state create jobs, grow businesses and find new and better markets for the items they produce.
- Addison Farm, LLC, in Buncombe County, will use a $250 thousand Value-Added Producer Grant to enable their small winery to maintain key employees' retention, and concentrate on marketing expansion and winery growth.
- Anders Family Farm, in Forsyth County, will use a $30 thousand Value-Added Producer Grant to for working capital to purchase two green spinners and expand their reach within the local area. This equipment would allow them to provide the community with pre-washed, ready to eat locally grown salad mixes. Other funds would help with package supplies, labor, and contractual expenses.
- Carolina Common Enterprise, in Durham County, will use a $200 thousand Rural Community Development Grant to be used to provide funds for technical assistance in training and technical assistance for education and outreach about cooperative business models and develop proactive co-op projects such as rural grocery access research. This project will include ongoing cooperative development services, technical assistance, and training.
- Chapel Hill Creamery, in Orange County, will use a $49 thousand Value-Added Producer Grant to provide working capital funds to support the processing, marketing and sales of new product.
- Energy United, in Davidson County, will use a $300 thousand Rural Economic Development Grant to buy a new pumper truck and related equipment for Arcadia Reedy Creek Hampton Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department.
- Fresh Pik Produce, Inc., in Wilson County, will use a $250 thousand Value-Added Producer Grant to expand consumer-direct sales through Deans Farm Market. This will be done by using the funds for marketing activities, including improved digital and print marketing materials, sales/distribution activities, including improved customer service, and processing activities, as well as expanding the value-added product line.
- Hickory Nut Gap Farm, LLC, in Buncombe County, will use a $250 thousand Value-Added Producer Grant to provide working capital for processing costs, increase marketing efforts and hiring additional personnel.
- The Industrial Commons, in Burke County, will use a $200 thousand Rural Community Development Grant to expand their existing sector-based and community-based strategies for building wealth and strengthening the regional economy of Western North Carolina.
- Mountain Biz Capital, in Buncombe County, will use a $158 thousand Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program Grant to provide low-interest loans to public and non-profit organizations to relend for business and community development.
- Randolph EMC, in Moore and Randolph Counties, will use $480 thousand in Rural Economic Development Grants to buy a new pumper truck and related equipment for the town of Robbins in Moore County. They will also buy a new pumper truck for Ulah Fire Protection Association located in Randolph County.
- Round Mountain Creamery, in Buncombe County, will use a $45 thousand Value-Added Producer Grant to for working capital to help pay for the labor costs to pasteurize milk, process it into cheeses, and package it for sale. Funds will also help pay for finished goods supplies including packaging, labels, ingredients and cheese cultures.
- Simply Natural Creamery, LLC, in Greene County, will use a $247 thousand Value-Added Producer Grant to provide funds as working capital to expand production and marketing of wholesale ice cream products.
- Sun-raised Foods, LLC, in Mecklenburg County, will use a $250 thousand Value-Added Producer Grant to expand the logistics, processing, branding, marketing, and sales of the unique lamb products produced directly to consumers in the local and regional market. The grant funds will also be used to support the cost of processing the value-added products, including slaughtering, salami processing, transportation, packaging, storage, and shipping.
- Valdese Economic Development Investment, in Burke County, will use a $35 thousand Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program Grant to capitalize a revolving loan fund.
Nationwide Vilsack highlighted 751 investments that USDA is making in eight programs specifically designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas.
These programs include Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantees, which provided record-breaking investments in fiscal year 2021, and the B&I CARES Act Program, which has helped create thousands of jobs with funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Programs also include Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grant, Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program, Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, Intermediary Relending Program and Value-Added Producer Grants.
These programs are part of a suite of business and cooperative services that are projected to help create or save more than 50,000 jobs in rural America through investments made in fiscal year 2021.
The awards Vilsack announced today are being made in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Under the leadership of 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. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. USDA Rural Development is prioritizing projects that will support key priorities under the Biden-Harris Administration to help rural America build back better and stronger. Key priorities include combatting the COVID-19 pandemic; addressing the impacts of climate change; and advancing equity in rural America. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/priority-points. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the leadership of 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.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.