January 18, 2024 | Montpelier, VT - The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative announces 14 awards totaling $652,211 to maintain and grow the agricultural and forestry sectors in Vermont. Another $2.3 million in Working Lands Enterprise Initiative grants to directly to businesses will be announced in the spring. The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) strategically invests in working lands businesses that can influence their value chain, create jobs, boost sales, increase production or efficiencies, adapt to climate change, improve management of working lands acreage, and contribute to community equity. The WLEB also invests in service providers who work directly with working lands businesses to support them as they grow, pivot, and adapt to an ever-changing marketplace. In 2022, responding to the need to support producer association groups that represent and promote Vermont products, the WLEB introduced a grant opportunity specifically for Vermont’s producer associations.
“Coming off severe weather challenges, these investments will have positive impacts for those making their living off the land,” said Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “Investing in our working lands and making Vermont more affordable is a priority. These dollars will help grow businesses while supporting our rural economy.”
So far this year, working lands organizations in the following categories will receive awards. Please follow the link in each category to view the individual organizations receiving awards.
- Service Providers – $595,323 awarded
Grants and contracts include funding to assist agricultural and forestry with business and financial planning, business transitions to the next generation, access to capital, manufacturing efficiencies, skills training, and more.
- Producer Associations – $56,588 awarded
Grants benefit Vermont-based nonprofit producer association groups that represent and promote Vermont agriculture, food, beverage, forest, or fiber products.
“These investments provide critical support to business assistance organizations that help Vermont’s farm and forest businesses grow and thrive,” said Elizabeth Sipple, Program Lead. “With this funding, more businesses will have access to financial planning, marketing assistance, workforce development training, and other important services that improve their operations and support worker well-being.”
A total of $3 million dollars will be invested this fiscal year under the Working Lands Program. Please visit workinglands.vermont.gov to find out more.
The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative (WLEI) and governing board (WLEB) were created by the Vermont Legislature in 2012 to stimulate economic development in the agricultural and forestry sectors. WLEI is a collaborative effort between the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, the Vermont Department of Forest, Parks, and Recreation, and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
For questions, please contact:
Clare Salerno (she/her)
Program Coordinator, Working Lands Enterprise Initiative| https://workinglands.vermont.gov/
802-917-2637 | Clare.Solerno@vermont.gov