Madison (WKOW) -- from USDA: U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director, Frank Frassetto, announced Monday the selection of 17 Wisconsin agricultural producers to receive more than $3.1 million in USDA Rural Development assistance under the Value-Added Producer Grant program.
For the second year in a row, Wisconsin has led the nation in both number of grants awarded and dollars received.
"Once again, through hard work, perseverance and ingenuity, Wisconsin's agricultural producers, businesses and Rural Development have succeeded in securing federal dollars to be put to work in rural Wisconsin. This is an excellent example of how we are creating economic opportunity and enhancing the quality of life for rural residents," Frassetto said.
The recipients were announced and recognized in Madison at an event showcasing the strength of the Value Added Producer Program and the positive impact it has had on Wisconsin.
Since the program's inception in 2001, more than 67 projects have been funded in Wisconsin, bringing over $12 million in grants to the State.
"These grants will improve financial returns and help create jobs for agricultural producers, businesses and families across rural Wisconsin. With these grants Rural Development is investing in rural businesses and the economic integrity of the State of Wisconsin. Additionally, these funds will provide for the further development of renewable energy sources," added Frassetto
Value-Added Producer Grants, ranging from $14,000 to $300,000, may be used for feasibility studies or business plans, working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy projects.
Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and agricultural producer groups.
Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage.
For example, O'Brien Farms in Brooklyn, Wis., has been awarded a $300,000 grant for working capital to market a hybrid form of corn and soybean seeds.
Premier Cooperative, in Mt.Horeb, Wis., was selected to receive a $50,000 grant to determine the feasibility of the collection and processing of biomass materials to be used in co-firing with coal for the production on electricity in a proposed plant expansion.
Additional Wisconsin recipients are:
USDA Rural Development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents.
Rural Development has invested more than $90 billion since 2001 for equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure.
More than 1.7 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments.