Today, Senator Joe Donnelly applauded the USDA announcement of Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG), an initiative focused on supporting rural producers and local economies across the country. Yesterday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced 110 grants for agricultural producers and rural businesses, including four Hoosiers, that could help create more business opportunities and develop better products for regional agricultural and food communities.
"I am pleased the USDA has recognized the hard work the Hoosier ag community does for their communities and our entire state," said Senator Donnelly. "The ag community is the backbone of Indiana's economy, and the investment in these business owners will allow them to develop better products and create more opportunities for hardworking Hoosiers who want a job close to home."
Four Hoosier recipients of the Value-Added Producer Grants include the following:
-Cornerstone Family Farms of Salem, funds will be used begin fertilizer production from farm's biomass and glycerin wastes.
-Indiana Soybean Allaince, funds will be used to complete feed mill and fish food study.
-Pleasant Home Farm, LLC of Wabash, funds will be used to fabricate fertilizer by using biomass from a nearby factory.
-Jerome Steckler of Dale, funds will used to help market and produce organic cheeses.
Indiana Soybean Alliance CEO Jane Ade Stevens released the following statement in support of the USDA's VAPG announcement:
"Indiana soybean farmers have made a commitment to helping grow the soybean industry through aquaculture within our state and this grant helps us move forward and explore the opportunity of locating a feed mill within our borders dedicated to producing soy-based fish feed," said Ade Stevens. "Not only would this open a new market for Indiana soybeans but it could attract new aquaculture operations to the state and encourage our current producers to expand."
Value-Added Producer Grants are an element in the USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, a mission to support regional food systems across the country. All grant recipients have met the terms of agreement provided by the USDA. For more information about the VAPG and its previous winners, click here.