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USDA Partners with Two Virginia Businesses to Strengthen Markets and Create Jobs

Barbara Bowen
Release Date

RICHMOND, Va., June 15, 2023 – Two Virginia companies are included in a $320 million USDA investment to create new and better markets for agricultural producers and food businesses in 19 states across rural America. 

Shenandoah Valley Organic LLC is receiving $25 million in Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program funding to purchase additional equipment and refinance debt for ongoing site modifications that will expand its processing capacity. This financing will provide working capital to help the USDA certified organic chicken processor and wholesaler cover construction soft costs and management, contingencies, site work and legal fees associated with the project. 

Also known as Farmer Focus, this Rockingham County company operates on a business model that promotes and protects generational family operations by empowering producers to own their flocks. These loan guarantees authorized by the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act will help provide more low-cost poultry options for an estimated 84,394 Virginians and improve rural economic health by enabling commercial lenders like banks and credit unions to offer affordable financing to eligible rural businesses. 

In Charlottesville, a $15.7 million Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan will help Bonumose Inc. cover the purchase and installation of manufacturing equipment, associated fees, and expenses to finalize development of a 48,000-square-foot commercial-scale manufacturing facility for alternative food sweetener ingredients. Authorized under Section 1001 of the American Rescue Plan Act, this program supports new infrastructure investments for food aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling, and distribution to increase capacity and create a more resilient, diverse, and secure U.S. food supply chain. 

“These investments will enable Virginia entrepreneurs and agricultural producers to expand the production capacity of their businesses,” said Perry Hickman, USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director. “The increased access to business capital also helps to save and create jobs with a ripple effect on the economic health of rural communities.”

A total of 27 projects were funded through four programs to build brighter futures and connect business owners to new markets in these 19 states: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. 

The other project awards came from the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP) and Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program. MPILP provides grant funding to intermediary lenders who finance – or plan to finance – the start-up, expansion, or operation of slaughter, or other processing of meat and poultry. The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program provides funding for rural projects through local utility organizations. 

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans, loan guarantees 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 the GovDelivery subscriber page.