Vermont Business Magazine Farm and forest companies are ready to grow the Vermont economy thanks in part to a jump start from the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative. Governor Phil Scott, Agriculture, Food & Markets Secretary Anson Tebbetts, Deputy Commerce & Community Development Secretary Ted Brady, Forests, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder, and the Working Lands Enterprise Board awarded $680,000 in grants to 19 agriculture and forest sector businesses and service providers yesterday. The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative has distributed over $3.8 Million in grants since its inception in 2012, leading to an additional 428 jobs and $18.1 million in sales.
Governor Scott voiced his support for the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative's and its value to Vermont's economy.
"I've been in business for 35 years, and when I look back at the most pivotal times for the direction of my company, it always involved taking a risk," said Scott. "These grants allow these businesses to take risks and take advantage of opportunities to move forward."
This year, the Working Lands Enterprise Fund received a donation of $19,980 from Ski Vermont. The first ever Ski Vermont Grant went to Larson Farm & Creamery from Wells and will be used to launch a new product line of value-added dairy products, including organic gelato, butter, and skyr.
"The donation from Ski Vermont underscores the connection between our outdoor economy and working landscape and the great synergies between these industries in support of tourism," said Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts.
It was another competitive year for the Working Lands Enterprise Fund. The Board received 87 applications totaling $2.7 million in requests for $680,000 in available funds.
"The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative represents a strategic partnership between Agriculture, Forestry, Commerce, and the private sector," said Deputy Commerce & Community Development Secretary Ted Brady. "We live in the most amazing place in the world, but to maintain our pastoral and forest landscapes, we must have innovative people working on our farms and in our forests, creating products, jobs and opportunities. These grantees create the sense of place that attracts people to live and do business here."
"Vermont is Forest Strong," said Forests, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder. "Vermonters reap colossal benefits from forest land, from clean air and water to flood resistance and habitat, scenery, outdoor recreation, and the $1.4 billion in annual economic activity from the wood products industry. When we invest strategically in the people and businesses working the land, we invest in what really makes Vermont, Vermont."
Business Investment Recipients
* Paul Stone of Stonewood Farm, Orwell: $13,750 for growing, processing, packaging, and selling popcorn for wholesale market.
* Dustin Glasscoe of Vermont Farm Table, Bristol: $50,000 for commercial development plan.
* Michael Rainville of Maple Landmark, Middlebury: $40,000 for an automated wood-turning lathe.
* Andy Jones of Intervale Community Farm Cooperative, Burlington: $35,000 for construction of multi-user wash/pack/storage facility for produce and nursery stock.
* Russell & Melissa Beatty of Charlotte Berry Farm, Charlotte: $7,675 for irrigation system replacement for the farm.
* Charles Smith of Sap! Maple Beverages, Burlington: $40,000 for building a first-class marketing team and marketing plan.
* Mac Broich of Green Mountain Grain & Barrel, Richmond: $50,000 for stave jointer and hoop press machine acquisition.
* Tracy Baker of Bourne's Wood Pellet Delivery, Morrisville: $27,500 for purchase of a bulk pellet delivery truck.
* Paul Lisai of Sweet Rowen Farmstead, West Glover: $50,000 for an on-farm creamery and community space.
* Pete Johnson of Pete's Greens, Craftsbury: $20,000 for improved seed garlic access for Vermont farmers.
* Richard & Cynthia Larson of Larson Farm and Creamery, Wells: $19,980 product line of value-added dairy products, to include organic gelato, butter, and skyr. (SEE RELATED STORY HERE)
* Greg Georgaklis of Farmers to You, Berlin: $50,000 for Regional Market Development to grow Vermont's working lands economy.
Service Provider Grant Recipients (all have Statewide impact):
* Amanda Fischer of Intervale Center, Burlington: $15,943 for Coaching Services for Beginning Farmers.
* Jen Miller of The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, Richmond: $20,887.00 for Farm Scale Decision-making for Profitability and Quality of Life.
* Mark Canella of University of Vermont Extension Service, Berlin: $50,000 for Maple and Forest Business Benchmarks.
* Meghan Sheradin of Vermont Fresh Network, Richmond: $37,500 for Building Vermont's Agritourism Sector through Collaborative Marketing.
* Ela Chapin of Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Montpelier: $75,000 for Advancing Forestry Sector Entrepreneurialism and Supporting Forestland Owner Succession.
* Stephanie Mueller of Vermont Natural Resources Council, Montpelier: $40,000 for Modern Wood Heat Market Development.
* Christine McGowan of Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Montpelier: $39,716 for Vermont Forest Products Value Chain Investment Strategy.
Source: Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets 5.18.2017