Natural Resource News
(USDA) – On Monday, the USDA Deputy Undersecretary Victor Vasquez used the backdrop of a gardening project in Corvallis to announce federal support for a number of Oregon projects. Oregon joins 9 other states to be on the receiving end of $46.9 million in federal loan guarantees. Eleven businesses were selected to receive the funding. Among the eleven was Torii Mor Winery, in Dundee, Oregon, receiving $6 million.
Vasquez also announced a number of smaller awards, including $74,000 in federal support for six Oregon nonprofits under the Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program.
The loan guarantees are from USDA Rural Development’s Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program, which received $1.57 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to help rural businesses stimulate their economies and support local communities.
As part of the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, the USDA seeks to create new economic opportunities, to keep wealth rural communities by promoting local food systems, and to benefit producers by encouraging a national conversation about what we eat and where it comes from. “Right now, how many industries have a trade surplus?” Vasquez asked. “In agriculture, we have a trade surplus.”
Among the Oregon nonprofits to receive grants under the Rural Business Enterprise program were:
- The OSU Food Innovation Center, receiving $7,000 for a feasibility study of cold-pressed edible oils.
- Cascade Pacific Resource out of Tangent received $17,000 to help develop a website that connects vacationers with host farms.
- Cascade Pacific received $18,000 to promote agri-tourism in the state.
The $6 million guaranteed loan for Torii Mor Winery, LLC will enable the company to restructure debt and establish a working capital reserve to create and retain jobs — including preserving nine existing positions. Established 17 years ago, the business is in the heart of Oregon wine country and is an integral part of the local value-added agricultural economy. The winery purchases nearly 90 percent of its grapes from local vineyards, which helps sustain additional jobs and agricultural businesses in the region.
Our farmers are the most productive in the world, supplying much of the nation’s food, and in so doing, are creating the create jobs that are necessary to strengthen our economy,” said Vilsack. “By connecting farmers and ranchers more closely with consumers of food, we are creating new economic opportunities for producers and helping consumers to access healthy, nutritious food.”
Under the B&I program, eligible applicants include private businesses, cooperative organizations, corporations, partnerships, non-profit groups, Federally-recognized Indian tribes, public bodies and individuals. The funds are targeted to create and retain quality jobs and serve difficult-to-reach populations and areas hardest hit by the current economic downturn.
A list of borrowers receiving loans is shown below. Funding is contingent upon borrowers meeting conditions in the loan agreement.
- North American Co-Pack, LLC; Iowa State Bank: $1,890,000 loan World Food Processing, LLC; Bank Iowa: $8,000,000 loan
- Noxubee County Producers, Inc.; BankFirst Financial: $1,251,000 loan
- Garden Fresh Vegetables; UMB Bank: $3,967,262 loan
- Little River Trails Farm & Ranch; Cape Fear Farm Credit: $2,885,000 loan
- Conn’s Potato Chips; The Community Bank: $5,200,000 loan
- Torii Mor Winery, LLC; Oregon First Community Credit Union: $6,000,000 loan
- ASK Foods, Inc.; M&T Bank: $3,100,000 loan
- Snokist Growers; Community Bank: $9,697,163 loan
- Decatur Dairy, Inc.; Wisconsin Community Bank: $400,000 loan
- Baker Cheese Factory, Inc.; Badgerland Financial: $4,500,000 loan
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