Value Added Producer Grant Program w/USDA Deputy Secy. Merrigan

Uploaded by usda on 17.02.2011

Hi, I'm Kathleen Merrigan.
I'm the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.
Today, I'm announcing new efforts
by the Obama Administration to create
more jobs and business opportunities in rural America.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama
laid out his vision for winning our future.
He said that we need to out-innovate, out-educate,
and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make
America the best place on Earth to do business.
We need to grow the economy. Sometimes it's tough for
a small or beginning rural business or cooperative
to come up with the money for a feasibility study,
marketing or packaging. That's where USDA's
Value Added Producer Grant program can help.
I'm joining you from the USDA test kitchen
in Washington, D.C. where we are announcing
the publishing of new rules for the program.
The changes we are announcing will help you
if you are an independent producer, member of a farmer
or rancher cooperative, agricultural producer,
or work with local and regional supply networks.
The value-added program is highly successful,
and today's announcement will improve its already
outstanding track record. I'm here in the test kitchen
to show you some of the local and regionally
produced products now on the market thanks
to our Value-Added grant program.
Let me start with our first example, Champlain Orchards.
Bill Suhr and Andrea Scott of Champlain Orchards
in Shoreham, Vermont received a Working Capital Value
Added Producer Grant to expand value added processing
and marketing of apples, peaches, small fruit
and vegetables grown on the farm.
Expanding their processing and marketing will increase
sales of value added products by $1 million
over a three year period. In just the last three months,
there was an increase in gross income of 19%
and increase in cider sales of 8%
as a result of this Value Added Producer Grant.
I've got a little waffle here with syrup.
Brett Nunnenkamp is the owner of
The Country Pumpkin in Sutton, Nebraska.
At the age of thirteen, thirteen
is what I said - thirteen!
Brett started raising pumpkins as part of his SAE,
a Supervised Agricultural Experience project for FFA.
A few years ago, Brett recognized the need
to extend the September and October pumpkin market
to do something that could be sold year round.
Brett applied for a Value Added Producer Grant
planning grant to look into products that could
be made from pumpkins. So, we have used this puree,
we have made a pumpkin pie, and I am willing to try this.
In 2005, Doug and Louisa Westendorp received
a Value Added Producer Grant in the nick of time.
They were in the process of installing
a dairy processing plant on their farm in rural Michigan,
but needed help with funding the operations.
The VAPG gave them the working capital
to purchase inventory, pay personnel expenses,
provide training to employees and buy
a lighted sign. Doug says he doesn't know
if they would have made it without the grant.
Time to try it.
Snow's Citrus Court, a small, family-owned
and operated specialty citrus farm in Newcastle,
California received a Value-Added Producer Grant
for a marketing campaign to help introduce their
new citrus-based syrups, marinades,
sauces and vinaigrettes to the surrounding community.
So I have all these wonderful vinaigrettes,
but I need to put it on something: San Miguel Produce.
Located in Oxnard, California, San Miguel Produce
is owned by Roy Nishimori and Jan Berk,
independent producers of organic
and conventional cooking greens. In 2009,
they received a Value-Added Producer Grant
for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
With this grant, San Miguel Produce has been able
to expand markets for their "Cut 'n Clean Green"
products and increase revenues over 500%!
So let's try it.
I'm going to try a little bit of the orange balsamic
vinaigrette on my San Miguel greens.
Michigan Turkey Producers Cooperative.
They received a working capital grant in 2005
and opened a cooking plant soon after.
In exactly 5 years, Michigan Turkey has grown
to cook more than 30 million lbs. of turkey per year
and sell value-added cooked meats to over 200 distributors.
Well, I don't know about you but I like a little cheese
with my turkey sandwich. Jisa Cheese.
Owner David Jisa was born in David City, Nebraska
and grew up on the family farm.
Working with the University of Nebraska,
Dave learned how to make cheese.
With much thought, Dave and his wife Bonnie wanted to create
a wholesome product that people would enjoy and they
received a Value Added Producer Grant to explore
processing farmstead cheeses.
It's not only food that people are using these
grants for, there's a lot of different things.
We have people across the country who are
wild for this program. If you want to find out
how you can apply for a grant, call your local
or state USDA Rural Development Office.
We know the value added program is making
a difference in our rural economy.
Let me assure you, that whether you need
a business plan, working capital or support for
farm-based renewable energy projects,
we want to hear from you. Reach out to any USDA
Rural Development state or area office
for more information. And be sure to read about
the new rules in the Federal Register.
An on-line link to them is available
from the USDA