Nearly $450,000 Awarded for Three State Projects
RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 5, 2022 – Three Virginia farms will be on the leading edge of a nationwide U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) initiative to bolster meat production and strengthen local and regional food supply chains through 25 new investments in producer-owned companies and infrastructure.
The following Virginia operations were among 23 agricultural entities receiving a total of $3.9 million in Value Added Producer Grant program funding to facilitate production and marketing of new products that will create income opportunities for farmers and independent meat processors:
- Studley Farms of Virginia LLC is receiving $250,000 for processing of beef, pork and lamb into individually cut and processed meat products for sale to retail customers through area farmers markets, direct farm sales and wholesale accounts. The Mechanicsville operation also intends to use the grant to fund marketing efforts, packaging and supplies, and to hire additional labor.
- Double M Dairy LLC in Wirtz was awarded $150,000 to help expand the customer base for its high-quality beef, pork and eggs. The funds will be used to offset processing, packaging and supply costs; streamline employment opportunities; and increase marketing activities to promote direct sales in their service area, which extends from Roanoke to Rocky Mount in the Southern Region of Virginia.
- Gillispie's County Line Farm LLC in Kents Store will receive a $44,000 grant to help finance the processing of pasture-raised chickens, beef cattle and hogs into individually cut and processed products for direct farm and online sales. The funding will be used to offset costs for supplies/packaging, hire new employees to assist with production and sales and implement professional marketing activities to broaden their clientele.
“USDA is putting the needs of farmers, ranchers and consumers at the forefront of the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to strengthen the resiliency of America’s food supply chain while promoting competition,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “USDA has undertaken a Department-wide approach to coordinate ways to deliver more opportunities and fairer prices for producers, to give people access to healthier foods, eliminate bottlenecks in the food supply chain and ultimately lower prices for consumers.”
“Farms may not come to mind when you think about rural businesses, but they definitely qualify and have a significant impact on the health and vitality of the Virginia economy,” adds Perry Hickman, USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director. “These latest awards will help increase the availability and affordability of high-quality Virginia beef, pork and poultry products.”
USDA is investing in a total of 25 projects in California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. The full $9.6 million award also includes $5.7 million in funding to two companies through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program, which supports new investments in infrastructure for food aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling and distribution.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans, grants and loan guarantees 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.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and 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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