Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA has selected four recipients in Texas to receive business development assistance to pursue marketing opportunities for agricultural commodities. Funding is made available through USDA Rural Development assistance under the Value-Added Producer Grant program, which was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill.
"As part of the Obama administration’s work to turn the economy around, USDA is acting as an important catalyst for business development and job creation in rural America," Vilsack said. "These grants will improve financial returns and help create jobs for agricultural producers, businesses and families across the Nation. USDA is investing in farmers, ranchers and cooperatives to strengthen the economic foundation of rural America."
"Investing in the ideas of rural Texans is a direct route to economic recovery of our rural communities," said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development Texas State Director. "I congratulate these recipients on their innovative ideas and initiative in finding profitable value-added agricultural commodities."
Two Texas recipients will utilize the grants to investigate the viability of new value added commodities. Green Gate Farms, located outside Austin, will receive an $87,500 grant to determine the profitability of blending chicken manure with the City’s food scraps from apartments and condominiums to produce a high protein feed for pets and animals. The Waller County Biofuel Steering Committee will receive a $25,000 grant to investigate biogas electrical generation from hybrid forage sorghum.
Two additional Texas recipients will receive grants to provide working capital to package and market their value-added commodities. J Berry Nursery, located in Van Zandt County, will receive a $300,000 grant for their project with a hybrid hibiscus plant. Rangeland Restoration and Improvement, LP, located in Hays County, will receive a $250,000 grant to process and market hay into compost and compost tea extract.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in the nation’s capital and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.