USDA Rural Development Announces $3.9 Million for 20 Virginia Farms and Businesses

RICHMOND, Va. (Oct. 27, 2016) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Virginia Rural Development office today announced it has approved $3.9 million that will aid in developing new bio-based products and expanding markets for 20 Virginia farms and businesses.

The 20 grants announced today are part of USDA Rural Development’s Value-Added Producer Grant program. The VAPG program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based, value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the goals of this program.

“We have a strong history working with local producers and small rural businesses through the VAPG program, and we continue to give the program careful attention each year because those who benefit are innovative leaders working to expand their businesses,” said Acting USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director Janice Stroud-Bickes. “We’re proud to help rural farmers, producers, business owners, families and communities maximize the return on their hard work and creativity.”

For example, Botanical Bites & Provisions in Spotsylvania will use grant money to conduct a feasibility study on creating natural cosmetics made from beeswax.

Papa Weaver’s Pork in Orange will use its funding for marketing, labor, and supplies to help expand business and customer base as it processes pork into individual cuts and sausages.

The Good Earth Peanut Company in Greensville will use its funds marketing and operational costs to increase the volume of peanut butter, butter toasted peanuts, and peanut brittle lines.

Grant applicants may receive priority if they are a beginning farmer or rancher, a socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a veteran, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer or rancher cooperative, or are proposing a mid-tier value chain. Grants are awarded through a national competition.

Funding announced today is contingent upon recipients meeting the grant terms.



Value added activity


Vintage Virginia Apples
dba. Albemarle Ciderworks


To provide working capital to hire more staff, purchase packaging, and hire a marketing firm to expand cider business.


Farmer's Direct, LLC


To cover processing costs, labor and operation costs, and increased marketing.


Upper Shirley Vineyards, LLC

Charles City

To increase wine production, marketing and inventory.


The Good Earth Peanut Company, LLC


To fund marketing and operational costs to increase the volume of peanut butter, butter toasted peanuts, and peanut brittle lines.


Kats Ag Energy Farms, LLC
dba. CEA Farms


To increase marketing, labor, and supplies to expand value-added beef business.


Rosemont of Virginia, LLC


To support marketing and labor expenses to increase sales of sparkling wine.


Rappahannock River Oysters, LLC


To increase oyster production, implement consumer friendly packaging, and hire staff.


Seaman's Orchards, LLC


To increase the marketing and sales of locally produced apples.


Silver Creek Orchards


To assist with advertising and operational costs to transition into local sales.


Miller Farms, Inc.


To purchase operational supplies, hire staff, and increase marketing to add value to goods through baking and canning.


Papa Weaver's Pork


To provide working capital for marketing, labor, and supplies to help expand business and customer base.


The Garden Patch


To purchase packaging and operating supplies, offset marketing costs, and pay for post-production labor.


Stanburn Winery, LLC


To increase marketing, labor, and supplies necessary for business growth.


Cobblestone Milk Cooperative, Inc.


To determine the feasibility of owning a processing plant for specialty, aged cheeses.


Manakintowne Specialty Growers, LLC


To purchase packaging supplies, marketing, and labor to increase sales of locally sold produce.


Cana Cellars Inc.
dba. Rappahannock Cellars


To assist with marketing, labor, and supplies for increased wine production.


Marceline Vineyards, LLC


To increase production and marketing to increase wine sales.


Botanical Bites & Provisions, LLC


To conduct a feasibility study to determine the viability of producing natural cosmetics made from the beeswax produced on the farm.


Garner's Produce, LLC


To provide working capital to market produce to a wider customer base


Mountain Rose Vineyards, Inc.


To assist with increased marketing, labor, and processing necessary to add sparkling wine to production line.


USDA Rural Development in 2015 invested more than $1 billion in rural Virginia through 40 loan, grant and loan guarantee programs in housing, business, agriculture, energy, health care and community facilities. It has employees stationed in 14 offices across the commonwealth to better serve residents where they live and to improve the economy and quality of life in rural Virginia.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.