Investments support the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to build back better in rural America
STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA, Feb. 2, 2022 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the Department is investing $1.4 billion to help a diverse rural America keep resources and wealth right at home through job training, business expansion and technical assistance. Of that $1.4 billion, $70,639,372 is being invested in rural Oklahoma.
“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 throughout 49 states, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Investments in Oklahoma include:
Business & Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantees – CARES Act
- $7,759,800 invested in four businesses.
Business & Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantees
- $59,844,300 invested in 13 businesses.
Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grants
- The City of Ada will use a $467,742 grant to renovate a fire station in order to create an innovation hub and job accelerator.
Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP)
- Southwest Intermediary Finance Team, Inc. will use a $100,000 grant to provide funding for technical assistance for training to small businesses in southwest Oklahoma. These funds will be used to assist eight small businesses in their service area. This assistance will include training in the areas of business planning, graphic design and marketing as well as other assistance as it relates to small business and entrepreneur development.
- Southwest Intermediary Finance Team, Inc. will use a $500,000 loan to create a revolving loan fund. Initially, SWIFT, an experienced intermediary lender, will use these funds to assist eight small businesses in their service area with funding needs and will continue these types of loans to other businesses as this fund revolves over time. The ultimate recipients will also benefit from technical assistance and small business training through this program.
Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG)
- Rolland Ranch Beef will use a $250,000 grant to increase processing, marketing and delivery of locally raised beef to area consumers, schools and the Chickasaw Nation. Rolland Ranch Beef is a trademarked product by the Intertribal Agriculture Council, certifying it as made and produced by Native Americans. This certification adds value to the beef as more Tribes seek to buy Native foods grown by Native people.
- John’s Farm Oklahoma Family Farm, LLC will use a $249,845 grant for processing, delivery, marketing and brand awareness of John's Farm Beef, an organic, grass-finished beef sold farm-gate to doorstep to consumers. This investment will help expand their customer base by 54 percent. The global pandemic initiated their pilot idea to direct ship John's Farm Beef, farm-gate to doorstep, to meet consumers mounting interest in convenient access to value-added beef. The results of this will be two-fold, satisfied consumers and economic stability for John's Farm which leads to economic benefits to individuals, the community and the state.
- The Egg Packer, LLC will use a $250,000 grant for the processing, packaging, and marketing of pasture-raised, free range and cage free eggs. The Egg Packer LLC, the sole egg processing facility in Oklahoma, will take eggs from independent producers and convert those eggs to meet Food and Drug Administration standards. They will link the independent producers of raw eggs with distributors, grocery stores and restaurants in a manner that will increase their profitability and competitiveness.
- Semco Meat Processing, LLC will use a $250,000 grant to increase their processing numbers and market their locally raised and processed beef to area consumers. Within the last year, consumer demand for locally produced and processed meat has increased dramatically. Due to this demand, they lost access to consistent processing for their live cattle. This investment will allow them to take out the middleman and complete the whole process on their own. After processing, the funds will be spent introducing the product to the local community. It will be used to pay a sales and marketing coordinator to promote the company's beef. SemCo's beef will be sold directly to the consumers from the plants retail store.
- Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma will use a $75,000 grant for planning funds to contract out the completion of a feasibility study as well as a business and marketing plan for the Quapaw Nation. This study will be completed to show a broadened marketing strategy for leather goods created from cattle and bison hides that are harvested at the time of processing. The Quapaw Nation's goals are to increase their revenue, open the tribe's products to new untouched markets, and to teach others about their culture and how they can support and learn more about the Quapaw Nation and their heritage.
- Icehouse Urban Creamery, LLC will use a $250,000 grant to assist with processing expenses, supply purchases, and marketing of their new value-added product, cheese. Visitors of the creamery will be able to watch cheese being processed, view a live video streaming of cows being milked or grazing on pasture, and taste a wide selection of cheese and other dairy products. The storefront will also include take-away food made on-site, including cheesecakes and quiches made with the cheese, as well as refrigerated and frozen food from other local farms.
- Callison Ranch Beef, LLC will use a $250,000 grant to increase the processing, marketing and advertising for Callison Ranch Beef LLC. It will also allow them to add new value-added products such as convenience meals, protein snacks and pet snacks for its local customers. The beef is ranch raised, processed and sold to local customers. Callison will utilize a commercial kitchen to create the economical and convenient prepared food products and meal kits for humans and pets while adding value to less desirable beef cuts, incorporating local farm goods, meeting the need for healthy convenient food options and creating jobs in the rural area. Callison will also offer cooking classes demonstrating easy family dinner recipes using local food sources, nutritional information, food safety and healthy eating guides in a hands-on environment, especially for low-economic areas. They will host a farm to table experience on the ranch promoting ag-tourism and ag-education in an on-farm experience serving their beef products and local products.
- Far Away Ranch, LLC will use a $92,785 grant to increase the processing and marketing of an Oklahoma certified beef product produced by Far Away Ranch LLC. In 2020, the cattle market inconsistencies were exacerbated as COVID-19 forced shutdowns, resulting in a shortage of packaged beef and inflated prices at grocery stores. Far Away Ranch adjusted its business model to improve the vagaries of the cattle market, increase revenue from operations, and provide consumers with a higher quality locally produced product. The ranch is operating and producing grass-fed, grain-finished Black Angus beef cattle with an established feeding process resulting in a premium natural-flavored tender beef product. The ranch will expand its customer base to local grocery stores, cafes, and restaurants; a market segment the ranch has not previously entered.
- Pecan Creek Winery, LLC will use a $49,900 grant to rebrand and market its current value-added products. Pecan Creek, a six-year-old fruit and grape-growing operation and bonded winery, is one of the fewer than 10 wineries in Oklahoma that grows most of its own grapes instead of starting with barrels of grape concentrate. The winery will engage with a food and beverage industry brand consultant to help develop a consistent brand and appealing message. Its initial labels have been in use since 2015 and are inconsistent in appearance and make little distinction between their whimsical fruit wines and their more serious, classic dry wines. Pecan Creek will work with a consultant to revamp its labels to help better market its prestigious wines while also expanding its sales regionally into Colorado, Texas, and Missouri.
- Stobaugh Wine Group, LLC will use a $250,000 grant to launch a new brand of wine. Funds will be used for the packaging, branding, marketing and market expansion of the newly labeled wines. They will launch "Farm Girl Wines," a new collection of wines that are designed for distribution in convenience stores, grocery stores, and liquor stores as well as restaurants and bars. This wine will consist of local canned and screw cap wines to add a wider appeal to convenience and box stores. Local fruits will be processed in the style of their fifth-generation winemaking family and made into their blends that have been proven successful over the last 16 years of business.
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. In Oklahoma programs also include Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grants, Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program and Value-Added Producer Grants.
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. 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.
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