Our Work

“Working Lands” Grants Awarded

State officials have announced the first round of grant recipients from the “Enterprise Investment Area” of the Working Lands Enterprise Fund, with almost $220,000 awarded to 20 grantees representing sectors across agriculture, forestry and forest products.

VNRC was part of a broad coalition that supported the legislature’s creation of the Working Lands initiative last year and supports additional funding this year.

Enterprise Investments are one of three areas of the Working Lands Initiative, with grants ranging from $3,000-$15,000 for new and growing agriculture and/or forestry based enterprises.  The Enterprise Investment Area received 191 applications for a total of $2.1 million in requests from forestry, forest products, dairy, meat, berries, tree fruit, tree farms, maple, produce, honey, fish, horses, renewable energy, compost, specialty foods, fiber, hops, land and soil testing, and drainage.

“In Vermont, we are committed to supporting and expanding our value-added farm and forest industries, and while these individual grants are relatively small, they can make the difference in helping farmers and those who work our woodlands thrive and expand,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said during the May 2 event.

Michael Snyder, commissioner of the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, said this: “Vermont’s forests contribute to our economy and well-being in so many important ways. When we invest in our working forests and forest products businesses, we strengthen this pillar of our economy and we bolster the character of Vermont.”

“The Working Lands Enterprise Fund provides for a deeper investment in agriculture and food systems in Vermont, and represents a historic initiative by the State to advance Vermont’s forestry and forest Products sector in a way that has never been done before,” said Agency of Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross.

The Board will be making decisions on the remaining two investment areas (Grants for Service Providers and Capital & Infrastructure Investment Funds) during their May 21 Board meeting. Strategic planning and fund development are also on the horizon.

Information regarding the Working Lands Initiative, including investment areas two and three (Working Lands Service Provider Grants and Capital and Infrastructure Investments), can be found at VermontWorkingLands.com.

Recipients in this round, by county, were:

Addison
• Andrew Bojanowski, Eddy Farm Shiitake, Middlebury
$3,000 for infrastructure improvements to the current log laying yard to facilitate increased production and efficiency

• Sam Burr, Eugenie Doyle, and Silas Doyle-Burr, The Last Resort Farm, Bristol
$15,000 to install a thermostatically controlled water flow system to optimize trout and strawberry aquaponic production

• Ross Conrad, Dancing Bee Gardens, Middlebury
$6,000 to build an un-insulated barn for honey production, beekeeping courses and small scale mushroom growing

Bennington
• Jay Wilson and Cody Hall, Rupert
$8,000 for equipment for logging woodlots

• Steve Holman, Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers, Dorset
$10,000 for comprehensive marketing plan to increase sales for member businesses

Caledonia
• Joel Currier, Currier Forest Products, Danville
$12,000 to purchase a small kiln to support NEK wood based businesses

• Shirley Richardson, Vermont Chevon, LLC, Danville
$10,000 for market research and tactical marketing plan development

Chittenden
• Karen Freudenberger, Vermont Goat Collaborative, Colchester
$10,868 for a “New American custom exempt goat slaughter facility”

• Adam Hausmann, Adam’s Berry Farm, Charlotte
$10,000 for a “Walk-in refrigerator and freezer”

• Bruce Hennessey, Maple Wind Farm, Richmond
$15,000 for an “Inspected poultry processing facility”

• Nick Rosato, The Sculpted Tree, Winooski
$5,629 for “Equipment for wood turning and classes”

Franklin
• Alexander Hudak, A.S. Hudak Lumber and Logging, Swanton
$11,406 for a “CSA model where milled wood consumers (woodworkers, carpenters, etc.) could become member investors in the mill”

• Robert and Elizabeth Lesnikoski, Vermont Cranberry Company, Fletcher
$15,000 for “Capital for press building, freezer space and a solar drying facility to increase production of cranberry juice and dried cranberries”

• George van Vlaanderen, Does’ Leap, LLC, Bakersfield
$6,103 for “Increased pork production and sausage processing infrastructure to both raise more pigs on pasture and increase sausage production”

Orange
• Sean Dalton, Timberhomes, LLC, Vershire
$12,000 to “Develop natural Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) made with Vermont timber & agricultural resources”

Orleans
• Paul Lisai, Sweet Rowen Farmstead, LLC, West Glover
$15,000 for a 200 gallon pasteurizer to quadruple production capacity of milk

Rutland
• Patricia Norton, Krueger-Norton Sugarhouse (KNSH), Shrewsbury
$9,900 to convert the sugarbush to use a high vacuum gravity tubing system

Washington
• Susan Alexander, The Vermont Switchel Company, LLC, Cabot
$15,000 for “Bottling and capping equipment”

• Joe Buley, Screamin’ Ridge Farm: Joe’s Soups and Joe’s CSA, Montpelier
$15,000 to purchase equipment that will boost production capability and efficiency of Joe’s Soups

Windham
• Kelt and Kristina Naylor, Sidehill Farm, Brattleboro
$15,000 for new equipment and frozen storage capacity to expand product line and increase cost-competiveness