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USDA Officials Visit Port Washington, Wisconsin to Highlight New Opportunities for Strengthening Rural Food Supply

Name
Nikki Gillespie
City
PORT WASHINGTON
Release Date
Mar 04, 2022

PORT WASHINGTON, Wisc., March 4, 2022 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Wisconsin Julie Lassa today, alongside other federal officials, visited local ag producers Ed and Peggy Callahan to tour Dream Apple Farm and hear about new opportunities for apple and raspberry production.

“Today’s event shows how important it is to invest in strengthening Wisconsin’s food supply chain,” Lassa said. “As President Biden said in his State of the Union address, ‘instead of relying on foreign supply chains, let’s make it in America,[1]’ That is exactly what USDA is doing by investing in ag producers and businesses like Ed and Peggy Callahan. Under President Biden’s leadership, USDA remains dedicated to helping rural ag producers and small food supply businesses be innovative, grow their business and customer base, and together this builds a better America.”

The story is in the name, Dream Apple Farm. Caring for rural residents as health care physicians in family and emergency medicine, it was always Peggy’s dream to one day have an apple orchard. In 2012, an opportunity arose to purchase some distressed land in need of lots of attention and hard work. That hard work paid off and resulted in Dream Apple Farm. Recently, the Callahans received a $49,500 grant to expand processing, marketing and distribution of apple and raspberry products made from organic apples and raspberries grown on their farm. Some of these new products include mini and full servicings of raspberry jam, apple butter, apple bread and apple pie. Funding also helped to hire a full time baker, store managere and two part-time employees.

Lassa and guests followed up their tour of the farm with a visit to the farm store DreamPort Harvest Market to test out some of the Callahan’s newest raspberry and apple products. These new products, with help from USDA’s investment, will increase their customer base by 1,700 people and increase revenue by $127,000.

Funding for today’s investment was provided through USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant Program and will help rural businesses hire more workers and reach new customers. Projects funded through USDA’s Business Programs open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing. These investments help entrepreneurs, business cooperatives and farmers create or save jobs, grow businesses, and find new and better markets for the items they produce.

USDA is now accepting applications for fiscal year 2022 Value-Added Producer Grants. A total of $19.75 million is available in fiscal year 2022, including $2.75 million in COVID-19 relief funds carried over from 2021.

The maximum award for a planning grant is $75,000. The maximum award for a working capital grant is $250,000.

Awardees must contribute matching funds equal to the amount of the grant unless they are applying for COVID-19 relief funds, which allows for a reduced matching requirement of 10%of the grant amount.

Electronic applications will be accepted via Grants.gov until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 25, 2022.

Paper applications must be sent to the State Office where the project is proposed.

 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/wi. 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 combating 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.

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[1] Remarks of President Joe Biden – State of the Union Address as Prepared for Delivery | The White House | https://www.whitehouse.gov/state-of-the-union-2022/