For recipients of VAPG working capital funds, the production benefits can be quickly realized.  Will Harris of White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Ga., received a grant for $300,000 for his pastured poultry production.  He spent a million and a half dollars building one of the only pastured poultry abattoirs, or slaughterhouses, in the Deep South.  Harris says the grant "will help get the facility going."  Not only does Harris's fifth generation farm invest in sustainable animal welfare and land usage practices, but it also invests in the economic sustainability of its community, currently providing 75 jobs and serving as the largest privately owned employer in the county.  Harris notes that his grant "makes it possible to continue to move our practices forward."



Value-Added Producer Grants enable agricultural producers to attract new customers and thus to strengthen their revenues.  Explains Sharon Klay with Christian W. Klay Winery in Chalk Hill, Pennsylvania, the recipient of a VAPG for $24,888: "One of the aspects of our grant is to bring the public to our farm.  We are heavily oriented towards tourism; people are curious about grape growing and wine tasting.  The grant will broaden the appeal."  Klay Winery's VAPG funding will be used in the production of lavender to infuse into its wines and to use in public culinary classes.  These unique products and opportunities will undoubtedly expand the winery's consumer traffic and increase its bottom line.



Top States



The states with the largest number of VAPG awards from today's announcement are Wisconsin (28), Oregon (23), New York (21), California (17), and Missouri (15).  NSAC will post more a detailed breakout of VAPG award data on its website, www.sustainableagriculture.net in the near future once additional information is released by USDA.