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Vermont Working Lands Initiative Awards Final 16 Grants, Worth $750,000

The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative awarded the program's remaining available funds for the year, with 16 grantees recieving funds totalling more than $750,000. There were 8 recipients from the Service Provider Grant Area, and 8 recipients from the Capital and Infrastructure Grant Area.

The awards include funding for statewide support services to provide technical assistance in the areas of business, market, workforce, infrastructure, and professional development for agricultural, forestry & forest products based businesses.  Funds to support infrastructure projects will reach all corners of the state and impact multiple sectors.

“Vermonters are committed to supporting and expanding our value-added farm and forest industries,” said Governor Shumlin. “By investing in technical assistance and infrastructure projects, these grants will help farmers and those who work our woodlands prosper and grow sustainably for future generations.”

Read more about the press announcement at Vermont Business Magazine

Agriculture and food system projects awarded include:


Service Provider Grant Area Recipients:

  • Erin Buckwalter, $20,000 for "Professional Development for Farmers’ Market Managers" The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, Richmond
  • Lynn Coale, $55,000 for an "Expansion of the Vermont Skilled Butchers and Meat Cutters Training Program" Patricia A. Hannaford Regional Technical School District, Middlebury
  • Mark Cannella, $39,302 for "Poultry and Grape Sector Business Model Research & Development" University of Vermont Extension Service, Berlin
  • Vern Grubinger and Chris Callahan, $40,000 to "Increase Supply and Quality of “Local” Vegetable Storage" University of Vermont Extension Service, Brattleboro
  • Ela Chapin, $100,000 to "Expand Business Assistance to Agricultural Infrastructure and Forestry Sectors" Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Montpelier
  • Vermont Meat and Poultry Processors’ Association, $15,000 to "Enhance Innovation in Vermont’s Meat Processing Industry"
  • Teresa Kuczynski, $55,000 for "Technical Planning Services for Food Scrap Composting" Vermont Solid Waste District Managers Association, Middlebury

Capital and Infrastructure Investment Grant Area Recipients:

  • Jean Hamilton, $50,000 to "Build Volume and Value for Vermont Livestock Producers in New Regional Meat Markets" Black River Produce/ Black River Meats, Windsor County 
  • Bill Suhr, $75,000 to "Expand Vermont’s Cider Apple Supply Chain" Champlain Orchards, Addison County
  • Andy and Mateo Kehler, $50,000 for a "Cheese Microbiology Lab to Develop “Artisanal Cultures” to Promote Product Quality and Safety for Vermont Producers" Jasper Hill Farm, Orleans County
  • Barney Hodges, $43,369 for "Increasing Storage Capacity for Farms, Distributers and Processors with the Construction of a 300-Pallet Freezer" Vermont Refrigerated Storage, Addison County

The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative is administered by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, in partnership with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The initiative is composed of the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) and is responsible for allocating almost $1 million in grant funds. The Board is made up of public and private sector members involved in agriculture, food systems, forestry, and/or forest products. 

Information regarding the Working Lands Initiative (Working Lands Service Provider Grants and Capital and Infrastructure Investments), can be found at