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Agency Receives Record Demand for Meat and Produce Grants

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) has awarded over $1,600,000 in grants to producers and processors in two industries through the Meat and Produce Agriculture Development Grants (ADG) program. Thirteen operations across ten Vermont counties received funds for projects investing in infrastructural upgrades, increasing operational efficiency, enhancing food and worker safety, and improving climate resilience.   

“Supporting our farmers who feed us is good for rural Vermont and consumers. This strategy was a recommendation of my “Future of Agriculture Commission,” said Vermont Governor Phil Scott. “These dollars will strengthen our food system while making it more affordable for our farmers and producers.” 

The Meat and Produce ADG program represent a portion of the larger Agriculture Development Grant program, which includes Maple ADG, offered in 2023. The larger ADG program was created by the Vermont legislature and included over $2.1 million to be awarded to the maple, meat and produce industries. As previously shared, the Maple ADG program received 350 applications with requests exceeding $18 million. The Meat and Produce ADG program received 172 applications with requests exceeding $25.6 million. The ADG programs represent the single highest requests for number of applications (Maple ADG) and requested funds (Meat and Produce ADG) in Agency history; together they represented 522 applications requesting $43.6 million from the maple, meat and produce industries.  

“Our farmers and producers continue to innovate, and these projects are impressive,” said Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “These investments in meat and produce will allow these businesses to produce more local and regional food for all of us to enjoy.” 

For the Meat and Produce ADG program, feedback from both produce and meat industry stakeholders—including representatives from producer associations, service providers, research institutions, and business viability programs—informed the Agency in the development of the grant program.  

Eligible projects were required to address one of three funding priorities: 1) Climate Resiliency, 2) Infrastructure, Efficiency & Capacity, and 3) Worker and Food Safety & Product Quality. Selected projects support operations across a diversity of the two eligible industries: Produce production (mushroom, fruit and vegetable), produce processing, poultry production, livestock production (beef and sheep), poultry processing, and livestock processing (sheep, pork, beef, goat). Projects will run through mid-2026.   

A list of final awards and project summaries is below:      

  • 5th Quarter (Washington) – $158,876 for construction of a second processing room, increasing capacity for processing and co-packing for Vermont farms.   
  • Adam’s Berry Farm (Chittenden) – $245,123 for construction of an upgraded packing and processing facility to support food safe practices and expanded production and value-added processing.   
  • Blue House Mushroom (Chittenden) – $36,544 for completion of a production facility that will support doubling of production volumes to meet current market demand and expand into new markets.   
  • Brault’s Market (Orleans) – $52,364 for infrastructure upgrades to three coolers, supporting food safe practices and expanding processing capacity.    
  • Clearfield Farm (Addison) – $93,415 for purchase of specialized root harvesting equipment to increase operational efficiency, soil conservation and expanded crop production.  
  • Crossroad Farm (Orange) – $216,650 for construction of a new washing, packing and storage facility to meet efficiency, food safety and worker protection needs for current production volumes.   
  • Dubs Farms (Franklin) – $44,032 for construction and furnishing of an on-farm processing facility that will allow poultry slaughter under Vermont State inspection for the grantee and other Vermont farms.   
  • Dutton Berry Farm (Windham) – $269,500 for critical upgrades to their cider production facility, to increase food safe infrastructure and practices and support expanded production.   
  • Grass Cattle Company (Chittenden) - $31,249 for construction of a fulfilment building and purchase of mobile infrastructure to support expanded direct-to-consumer market access.   
  • Honey Field Farm (Windsor) – $118,650 for critical upgrades to their washing, packing and storage facilities to increase food safe infrastructure, to improve operational efficiency and to support season extension to meet current market demand.   
  • Maplemont (Caledonia) – $43,510 for critical infrastructure upgrades to their barn to increase animal and human safety and wellbeing, operational efficiency and support expansion of their flock.   
  • Mighty Food Farm (Bennington) – $75,213 for climate-resilient improvements to their propagation and production greenhouses to support greater capacity to regulate greenhouse conditions and reduce crop loss in a changing climate.   
  • Roma’s Butchery (Windsor) - $247,519 for infrastructural and equipment upgrades to support coming under Vermont State inspection, improve worker safety and wellbeing, and expand capacity for processing.   

VAAFM received a wide array of eligible applications from businesses in all 14 of Vermont’s counties. Applicant businesses ranged from start-up stage producers to established commercial processors, with businesses of all sizes submitting applications.  

Agricultural businesses interested in future funding opportunities are encouraged to stay engaged through the Agricultural Development Division’s webpage at www.agriculture.vermont.gov/development .  

Source : vermont.gov

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