The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has selected 12 recipients to receive Value Added Services Funding. Proposals were evaluated on the ability to increase agricultural producers' profitability and access to value added opportunities.
"I am pleased to announce the recipients of the Value Added Services Funding in 2011," said Secretary Ben Brancel. "These awardees now have a great responsibility to take these funds to support producers so they can innovate their products and be competitive in the marketplace."
Value Added Services Funding is provided through the Wisconsin Agriculture Innovation and Development Center, a private non-profit organization established and funded under a grant from United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development. The Agriculture Innovation and Development Center is directed by a board of representatives from commodity and farm organizations.
"These grants support innovation, expand opportunities in rural communities and create jobs," said Stan Gruszynski, State Director of USDA Rural Development. "The Value Added Grants Program has been a success here in Wisconsin. USDA Rural Development commends the initiative of the applicants and appreciates our strong partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture."
USDA Rural Development is committed to improving the economy and quality of life in rural America by providing financial programs, economic development, and technical assistance. Agriculture in Wisconsin is a $59 billion industry that provides 1 in 10 jobs in the state.
In 2011, there was $349,332 of Value Added Services Funding. Recipients include:
? Bayfield Regional Food Producers Cooperative – Expand sales of member products to markets outside Ashland and Bayfield County.
? Economic Development Corporation of Manitowoc County Foundation – Provide technical assistance to producers including business planning and market development.
? Drumlin Community Farm Producers' Cooperative – Recruit new farmers interested in canned items production and provide technical and business development training.
? Green Diesel Wisconsin Foundation – Expand the existing Wisconsin Small-Scale Biofuels Producers Program by assisting farmers with on-farm biofuels production.
? Prairie du Chien Opportunity Center – Provide marketing, business and product development training to local producers.
? Puav Pheej, LLC – Increase Hmong farmers' business opportunities through adequate bilingual resources, marketing and business training, and skills enhancement.
? Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program (SWCAP) – Conduct a technical feasibility study of the frozen vegetable processing plant intended for Highland, Wisconsin.
? The Central Wisconsin Agribusiness Innovation Center – Provide information for non-dairy agri-business entrepreneurs on how to start or add value to their own business.
? The CSA Coalition – Provide technical assistance and training to increase CSA farms' efficiency and profitability.
? University of Wisconsin-Stout Discovery Center – Provide technical and applied research assistance to agricultural operations on marketing and product development.
? Wisconsin Fresh Market Vegetable Growers Association, Inc. – Connect fresh produce growers to consumers through the internet with websites, e-mail, and social media.
? Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association – Develop marketing tools to assist potato growers and shippers in market development of value added potato products.