In addition to the grant program, the WLEB has created two innovative new loan pilots in partnership with the Vermont Community Loan Fund (VCLF) and the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) to support working lands entrepreneurs and organic dairy transitions.
The partnership with VCLF has launched SPROUT Deferred Payment Loan Program (SPROUT), a low-interest revolving loan fund that will meet the capital needs of Vermont’s working lands entrepreneurs. SPROUT offers deferred-payment, low-interest loans of up to $60,000 at 0% with no payments for the first two years, with a 2% fixed rate thereafter. VCLF will also coordinate comprehensive business development and financial planning/management technical assistance for borrowers as needed. For more information email Dan Winslow, VCLF Business Programs Loan Coordinator.
Working Lands Enterprise Fund/Vermont Community Loan Fund SPROUT Program Metrics:
The $142,478 Working Lands Enterprise Fund (WLEF) dollars expended to date has leveraged $775,500 in Vermont Community Loan Fund (VCLF) capital lent to 21 working lands enterprises. These enterprises have retained 41 jobs and project to create 22 for a total job impact of 63. That equates to $2,262 WLEF dollars per job created or retained.
The partnership with VEDA and the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC) will support conventional dairy farms transitioning to organic production. VACC will be able to offer these borrowers interest-free loans with deferred principal payments for up to the first two years, thanks to subsidies being provided by WLEB. By providing these loans, VEDA hopes to help improve the long-term financial viability of dairy farms transitioning to organic production so that they may receive the higher price that organic milk demands in the marketplace. For more information email Vermont Economic Development Authority or visit the VEDA Website