Agricultural loans approved through the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC) in FY 2016 outpaced all prior years, it was announced recently at the Annual Meeting of the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). “We had a particularly successful year in our agricultural lending program, with the agricultural sector now comprising approximately 35% of VEDA’s total loan portfolio,” said VEDA CEO, Jo Bradley. VACC made $25.8 million in loans to 235 Vermont farmers, agricultural facilities, forestry and forest product-based businesses. Learn more here.
Established in 1999 as a program of VEDA, VACC makes loans to Vermont farmers, agricultural facilities, forestry and forest product-based businesses to help start a business, strengthen existing farm operations, encourage diversification, and encourage marketing and processing of Vermont agricultural and forestry products.
Established in 2009, Caledonia Spirits is an award-winning manufacturer of the small-batch craft distilled spirits brand Barr Hill. Products include Gin, Barrel Aged Gin (Tom Cat), and Vodka. Based in Hardwick, Caledonia Spirits has experienced rapid growth as the popularity and distribution of their products increases across Vermont and the rest of the country. The company sources its raw ingredients as locally as possible, right down to the barrels in which they store their product. VACC approved $500,000 in financing to help Caledonia Spirits undertake a machinery and equipment expansion project at their distillery to meet growing product demand. The company will increase production and distribution of its current line of spirits, and expand its manufacturing into aged whiskey. Currently, Caledonia Spirits has eighteen full-time positions, in addition to twenty part-time and seasonal positions.
According to part-owner of Caledonia Spirits, Minty Conant, “Our company is in a high-growth phase and VACC has been there for us every step of the way. We appreciate their professionalism, attention to detail, and willingness to help us grow. They moved quickly to meet the needs of our business with our recent loan. Thanks to VACC, we are able to have the funds to buy the equipment we need.”
Through VEDA’s Agricultural Energy Loan Program http://www.veda.org/financing-options/vermont-agricultural-financing/agricultural-energy-loan-program/ VACC also helps Vermont agriculture- and forest product-based businesses finance qualifying renewable energy generation or energy efficiency improvement projects, and adopt technologies that enhance or support the development and implementation of renewable energy or energy efficiency, or both.
And, working in partnership with the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM), VACC has helped develop a loan program to assist conventional dairy farmers in transitioning to organic milk production http://www.veda.org/financing-options/vermont-agricultural-financing/organic-transition-loan-program. The goal of the program is to improve the long-term financial viability of the farms that participate in the program by enabling them to receive the higher price that organic milk demands in the marketplace.
For more information about VEDA’s agricultural lending programs, visit http://www.veda.org/financing-options/vermont-agricultural-financing/ or call 802-828-5627.