Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that six farmer owned businesses in Iowa have been awarded grants totaling $434,410 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. The program helps agricultural producers grow their businesses by turning raw commodities into value-added products, expanding marketing opportunities and developing new uses for existing products. The grants will help these Iowa businesses expand, diversify, create jobs, and improve the quality of life in rural communities. Harkin is a senior member of both the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the USDA as well as the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. As Chairman of the Senate agriculture committee during the 2002 and 2008 farm bills, Harkin oversaw the continuation, strengthening, and funding of the Value-Added Producer Grant Program.
"These grants will help Iowa producers grow their value-added businesses while also boosting the economy, creating jobs, and increasing the availability of high-quality, nutritious locally grown and processed foods for consumers," said Harkin. "I am pleased that this assistance will help local producers to enhance economic opportunities, as well as the quality of life and well-being for Iowa farm producers, consumers and rural communities."
Details of the funding are as follows:
Country View Dairy, LLC-- $117,433 to be used as working capital for the production and marketing of two new yogurt based products in northeast Iowa.
Dan and Debbie's Dairy-- $5,780 to be used as used as planning capital to help create a marketing and business plan for locally produced and processed milk products.
Great River Maple, LLC-- $49,900 for the production and marketing of maple syrup in northeast Iowa.
Iowa Fresh Market, LLC dba Wimmer Farms-- $41,297 to support the expansion of local food marketing of fresh produce and vegetables.
Jerald Deal's dba Deal's Orchard --$20,000 to be used as working capital for hard cider production.
North American Aronia Cooperative-- $200,000 to provide critical working capital to assist in developing new markets and growing sales.