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USDA Invests $500,000 to Support Farming and Ranching Business Expansion in Rural Arizona

Isaac Navarrete
Release Date

PHOENIX, Nov. 30, 2023 – USDA Rural Development Arizona State Director Charlene Fernandez announced over $500,000 to two Value-Added Producer Grant recipients, expanding their markets and strengthening Arizona food and agriculture supply chains.

“Secretary Vilsack’s announcement reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to supporting our farmers and ranchers, ensuring job security, business prosperity, and a strong supply chain,” Fernandez said. “Our two Value-Added Producer Grant recipients in Arizona will have the ability to expand their businesses to new markets through funding for distribution and marketing strategies.”

Moon River Beef, LLC in Arizona will use a $250,000 Value-Added Producer Grant to expand its market reach from local and in-person exchanges and be able to distribute to all of Arizona and southern California. The grant money will assist with mail order expansion and result in increases in revenue and customer base.

Merchant’s Garden LLC is a hydroponic and aquaponics farm in Tucson, Arizona. The company will use a $250,000 Value-Added Producer Grant to expand marketing and sales of prepackaged salad mixes to help them become a local supplier of organic leafy greens for southern Arizona. The funding will help with marketing, labor, and packaging supplies within in the first 18 months of expansion.

Value-Added Producer Grants assist help agricultural producers enter value-added activities to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income.

These investments are included in a national announcement made by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, totaling $160 million nationwide in support of supply chain resilience. The announcement was made part of an inaugural meeting of the new White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience.

USDA 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/az.