U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today visited Miles Smith Farm to discuss how the Value Added Producers Grant (VAPG) program and other United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs will promote economic activity in rural New Hampshire and help create jobs. Shaheen and Vilsack announced that Miles Smith Farm will receive a $127,000 grant through the VAPG program which was reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, giving Miles Smith Farm important working capital for producing and distributing their products. The USDA estimates that as a result of the investment, Miles Smith Farm will see an increase in revenues as a result of 10 new retail outlets carrying their products.
New Hampshire has 4,391 farms across 474,065 acres and sales of agricultural products contributed nearly $184 million to New Hampshire's economy in 2012.
"Agriculture is a critical part of New Hampshire's economy, which is why I have worked hard to make sure New Hampshire's vibrant agricultural sector receives the support it needs to thrive," Shaheen said. "The bipartisan 2014 Farm Bill will support New Hampshire jobs and help our economy grow with significant investments in programs that support farmers, particularly grant programs like the Value Added Grant Program that help small farms to grow and promote job creation. I'll continue to fight for Granite State farmers because I know supporting New Hampshire's agricultural sector is good for New Hampshire jobs and our state's economy."
"Value-Added Producer Grants enable small businesses to turn raw products that sell at commodity prices into a finished product that provides a higher return," Vilsack said. "USDA is helping producers brand, package, and market products that diversify our local food systems and grow rural economies. These efforts put more people to work in New Hampshire's agriculture sector while connecting more consumers to the Granite State's farmers. The new Farm Bill will provide even more of these opportunities in rural communities here and across the country. Senator Shaheen's leadership has helped pass this bill and other legislation critical to rural New Hampshire's economy."
Between 2009 and 2013 New Hampshire received $441,000 in Value Added Producer Grants, which help agricultural producers generate new products with their goods, create and expand marketing opportunities and increase income.
Shaheen has worked throughout her time in the Senate to protect Granite State farmers and encourage New Hampshire's agriculture sector. The 2014 Farm Bill also included additional provisions championed by Shaheen, including protections for small dairy farmers in New Hampshire, that will further protect and strengthen agriculture in the state.