USDA awards value-added grants to eight Virginia farmers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded value-added grants to eight Virginia farms and small businesses. The grants are intended to help increase the income of farms and agribusinesses by expanding marketing opportunities, creating new products and developing new uses for existing ones.
MeadowCroft Farm LLC is among this year’s grant recipients. The Augusta County farm sells jams, salsas, relishes and pickles. “We plan to use the grant to upgrade some of our technology to address volume demands,” said owner Judie Croft. “We also plan to increase our garden, so we can grow 50 percent of our produce and fruits.”
Additionally, Croft plans to increase the farm’s Internet presence by taking advantage of social media. “Eighty percent of our sales come from direct marketing where we go to gourmet food and art and craft shows and sell the product on site,” she said. “The grant will help us to increase our online market.”
Croft sought help from the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture Innovation & Rural Sustainability for assistance in writing her grant application. The organization, which is affiliated with Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, is dedicated to assisting rural Virginians in advancing their agricultural, economic and social interests.
VA FAIRS Executive Director Chris Cook said the organization worked with all eight Virginia grant recipients. “The grant was very competitive this year.”
USDA Rural Development is helping to fund more than 100 projects across the country. Other Virginia grant recipients are Mid-Atlantic Aquatic Technology LLC in Accomack County, Glenmary Gardens in Bristol, Broadfork Farm LLC in Chesterfield County, Homestead Creamery Inc. in Franklin County, Miller Farms Inc. in Orange County, and Mt. Crawford Creamery and Showalter Orchard and Greenhouse in Rockingham County.