FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2018
Contact: Kate Stephenson, Vermont Farm Fund
VERMONT FARM FUND LENDS OVER $1 MILLION
Revolving Loan Fund Helps Vermont Farmers and Food Producers
Montpelier, Vermont: May 21, 2018 – Over the past seven years, the Vermont Farm Fund, a non-profit revolving loan fund, has made over 1 million dollars in loans to Vermont farmers and food producers to help build the local agricultural economy.
Originally founded by Pete’s Greens and the Center for an Agricultural Economy in 2011 in response to Tropical Storm Irene, the Vermont Farm Fund has grown to provide not only emergency loans to farmers who have experienced a fire, flood or storm, but also to help food-related businesses grow and expand.
Last week the Farm Fund celebrated a million-dollar milestone after making a $30,000 loan to the Vermont Tortilla Company in Shelburne. To date, the Fund has lent out $1,028,284 in 71 individual loans. The funding for these low-interest loans comes from individual donors and family foundations, and each tax-deductible gift supports a virtuous cycle, where payments from one generation of loans finances the next. Funds are lent to a farm, repaid, and loaned out again and again.
So far in 2018 the Vermont Farm Fund has made twelve loans to a diverse group of farms and food producers from across the state, including Farm Connex (Newport), Understory Farm (Sudbury), Vermont Cranberry Company (E. Fairfield), Hartshorn’s Farm Market (Waitsfield), Laughing Child Farm (Pawlet), Sobremesa (Marshfield), Yoder Farm (Danby), Harris Family Farm (Bridport), Hillside Farm (Glover), Almanack Farm (Chelsea), Livewater Dairy (Putney) and Vermont Tortilla Co (Shelburne). The funded projects included equipment for making value added products like wine, ice cream, apple cider and tortillas as well as farm infrastructure projects like hoop house heaters, sweet potato washing and packing, and fencing.
Sarah Waring, Executive Director of the Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick, which runs the Vermont Farm Fund, said “The Vermont Farm Fund has become a vital resource for local agriculture in our state and a growing community of farmers lending money to farmers when it is most needed, in a timely manner, and without a lot of red tape.”
Currently, requests for loans outstrip the available funds, so the team at the Farm Fund is working to build up the Fund balance to be able to continue to support these growing small agricultural businesses and also be ready in case of the next farm emergency.
Pete Johnson, of Pete’s Greens, is enthusiastic. "When an emergency hits a farm, having this statewide lending program available is so important. And we're proud that we've been able to grow the support over the years so that we can also lend to growing and mature businesses too. It’s all been because of the support of Vermonters and our communities."
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If you would like more information about this topic, please call Kate Stephenson at 802-560-3099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.