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Working Lands Enterprise Board Announces COVID-19 Response Business Development Grant Recipients

June 16, 2020

June 16, 2020 | Montpelier, VT – In response to the ongoing urgent needs arising from COVID-19 challenges to Vermont’s Working Lands businesses, the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) has announced that 16  businesses will receive over $250,000 in COVID-19 Response Business Development Grants within the sectors of agriculture and forestry. These awards will focus on business response, shifting marketing strategies, or other activities that may improve business recovery. “Vermont’s agricultural and forestry businesses are critical to our future. Getting grants quickly to these companies will help Vermont’s economy to recover and grow as well as help feed Vermonters,” said Governor Phil Scott.

With supply chain impacts felt around the region, one grantee, The Royal Butcher of Braintree, intends to respond to the surge in demand for slaughter and meat processing. Current bottlenecks in processing will require urgent need to meet the local demand for this butcher’s services. “These dollars will allow us to expand our business while helping farmers who need our services during the pandemic,” said Justin Sauerwein of The Royal Butcher. The Royal Butcher, established in 2003, is a USDA inspected slaughterhouse and meat processor, attending to the needs of local livestock and dairy farms. This $20,000 grant will allow them to serve more farms, improving throughput by 30-40%.

The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative (WLEI) was pleased to receive funds from  the Vermont and Northeast USDA Dairy Business Innovation Center which enabled WLEI to sponsor two businesses from the pool of applicants with grants to assist in marketing and brand development efforts in direct response to coronavirus pandemic induced market declines. The WLEI is a strong program with rigorous standards, an in-depth review process, and history of grantees achieving their goals with lasting positive impacts. The two value-added dairy processors, Cellars at Jasper Hill in Greensboro and Parish Hill Creamery in Putney, are both strong operations who have been adversely impacted. As producers of high-quality, innovative, and world-renown cheeses, they exemplify the goals of the Vermont and New England USDA Dairy Business Innovation Center.

About the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative - The mission of the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative is to grow the economies, cultures, and communities of Vermont's working landscape. The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) achieves this by making essential, catalytic investments in critical leverage points of the Vermont farm and forest economy and facilitating policy development to optimize the agricultural and forest use of Vermont lands.*Attached photo courtesy Almanack Farm/The Royal Butcher LLC.

For questions please contact:

Lynn Ellen Schimoler, Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

Senior Agricultural Business Development | Working Lands Enterprise Initiative | 802-622-4477