Vermont has awarded another round of annual grants to food and forestry businesses and groups that support them to help boost those industries.
The 18 grants announced on Wednesday include $20,000 for Fisher Brothers berry farm in Shelburne to expand production of its ice cream, $20,000 to Karim Farm and Creamery in Ryegate for a cheese cave expansion, and $130,000 to the Kirby Mulch Company LLC in the Northeast Kingdom town of Concord for infrastructure development.
“It’s clear these efforts and investments make a difference, which is important to our economy and state,” Republican Gov. Phil Scott said.
Since it started in 2012, the Working Lands Enterprise Board has invested more than $5.3 million in 184 projects around the state, resulting in more than 500 jobs, the governor’s office said.
The budget for the Working Lands Enterprise Fund will increase to $1.5 million in fiscal year 2020, with about $500,000 targeted at dairy projects, officials said.
The program is supported by the Legislature, state organizations and public and private donors.
“A lot of these projects are dreams. They start as a dream in a kitchen, they start on their farm,” said Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts, who added that the development of products and taking them to market takes a tremendous amount of work, including quality assurance and marketing.
“If this … seed money can help them get their product and expand their business, it’s well worth it not only to their business and their families, but it’s well worth it to the state of Vermont,” he said.