MOUNT LAUREL, NJ, Nov. 27, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA is making investments that will expand markets for agricultural producers and strengthen American food and agriculture supply chains in 37 states, including New Jersey.
The announcement was made as part of the inaugural meeting of the new White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience which is part of President Biden’s agenda to bring down costs for American families and increase investment in America’s supply chains critical to economic and national security.
In New Jersey, grants totaling $308,886 funded four projects under the Value Added Producer Grants Program which will help local agricultural producers add value to their products and operations.
“Here in New Jersey, we’re committed to adding value closer to home, where wealth created for our farmers stays in rural areas – especially helpful to new producers,” said Jane Asselta, New Jersey state director. “Many of our recipients are beginning farmers, and these investments are critical in establishing and growing successful operations, demonstrating the importance of this assistance to ensure the future of farming in New Jersey continues to grow. Pun intended.”
New Jersey Projects
Beyond Organic Growers LLC received a $98,275 grant for working capital to host special events on the farm to introduce and expand the success of its produce, juice, and smoothie business to new groups of consumers.
Chickadee Creek Farm Company, a first-time VAPG recipient, received a $86,043 grant to expand the farm's custom-packed community supported agricultural program, to include delivery to corporate parks and business centers within a 25-mile radius.
Stewgler Farm and Forest LLC received a $75,068 grant to develop, produce and launch a new market portfolio of aged goat cheese. The grant will also help expand the farm's goat dairy products customer base and accessibility to their products.
Salem Oak Vineyards LLC received a $43,500 grant to streamline their bottling process and educate customers on local grape wine production to enrich their brand in high-value markets.
Over the past four years, Rural Development has funded more than $2 million to Value Added producers in New Jersey, spanning across eight counties. Some recent examples include:
Cherry Grove Farm in Lawrenceville – a family-owned, diversified livestock farm that’s held its spot in Central Jersey for over a century – used a $236,000 grant to launch an online distribution system and expand farm production processing. The funding supported the improvement of their cheesemaking process, further establishing the farm as one of the region’s premier artisanal cheesemakers.
Two River Gourmet Mushrooms in Millstone -- whose mission is “to grow high quality USDA Organic mushrooms for the passionate, knowledgeable, and creative chef or home cook who desires only the finest ingredients” -- received a $24,653 grant to process their mushrooms into broth. The funding will also be used to grow the farm’s customer base and provide existing customers additional product offerings.
Flocktown Farm in Pittstown received a $250,000 grant to offset post-harvest labor, delivery and marketing costs associated with growing their Community Supported Agriculture membership by 2,000 members this year. The funding also assisted the farm’s home delivery process, which is made up of an in-house team of drivers ready to deliver within a 400-mile radius.
These are just a few examples that demonstrate Rural Development’s commitment to supporting rural New Jerseyans through our programs. With this assistance, rural producers are empowered to further develop and create sustained success within the local economy.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is championing America’s farmers and ranchers by helping to expand businesses, support more robust American supply chains and save jobs,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Today’s investments in agricultural producers and rural entrepreneurs will create better economic opportunities that spur competition and bolster food supply chains across the country. This will result in more affordable prices and choices for consumers, as well as more opportunities and revenue for farmers.”
Background on Programs
USDA and the Biden-Harris Administration are making these investments through six programs designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas.
Rural Business Development Grants assist with economic development planning and/or the financing or expansion of rural businesses by providing technical assistance and training for small rural businesses.
The Value Added Producer Grants Program helps farmers and ranchers venture into new markets by adding value to their bio-based products that will increase their revenue. Funds may be used to process or market these products. For example, an olive farmer may use funding to produce and market olive oil.
Business and Industry Loan Guarantees help improve rural economic health by increasing access to business capital, allowing commercial lenders, like banks and credit unions, to offer affordable financing to eligible rural businesses. This program was authorized by the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.
The Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program supported investments in infrastructure for food processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling, aggregation and distribution to increase capacity and create a more resilient, diverse and secure U.S. food supply chain through the American Rescue Plan Act.
The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program provides funding for rural projects through local utility organizations. USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which, in turn, lend the funding to local businesses to support projects that will create and keep jobs in rural areas.
USDA Rural Development funds projects in New Jersey under the leadership of its state office staff located in Mt. Laurel and is supported by offices located in Hackettstown, Columbus, and Vineland. For more information on programs, visit our state website or follow us on social media.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.