USDA awards Deal’s Orchard grant for hard cider

Staff Report

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a $20,000 grant to Deal’s Orchard near Jefferson to provide working capital for hard cider production.

The funding is part of a USDA Rural Development round of $434,410 in Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) to assist six rural Iowa producers and businesses.

Nationwide, nearly 250 rural businesses received a total of $25 million in 2014 VAPG investments to help them grow, diversify and create jobs in rural America by turning raw commodities into value-added products, expanding marketing opportunities and developing new uses for existing products.

“The funding we are announcing will have far-reaching, positive impacts in rural communities across the country,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.  “The investments will help businesses create new products, expand their operations and support local and regional food systems. The new Farm Bill expands this program to provide even more of these opportunities.”

In addition to Deal’s, recipients of USDA’s 2014 Value-Added Producer Grant program in Iowa include:
• $117,433 to County View Dairy, LLC near Hawkeye to assist with working capital as the business makes plans to produce and market two new yogurt-based products.
• $49,900 to Great River Maple, LLC near Garnavillo to help with the production and marketing of maple syrup in northeast Iowa.
• $41,297 to Iowa Fresh Market, LLC near Afton to support expansion of marketing locally produced fresh produce and vegetables.
• $200,000 to North America Aronia Cooperative in western Iowa to assist the company with working capital to develop new markets for aronia berries.
• $5,870 to Dan & Debbie’s Dairy near Ely to help develop a marketing and business plan for a business that will locally produce and process milk products.

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