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Tagged: “Value-Added Agriculture”

Leveraging Plant Based Foods For Rural Prosperity

Leveraging Plant Based Foods For Rural Prosperity

The Great Falls Development Authority is a public-private partnership with about 80% of funding coming from the private sector. Great Falls is seeking to leverage its reputation as the “Golden Triangle” to grow its larger scale producers (as opposed to smaller scale, cottage food industry producers) for larger domestic markets. While there are difficult challenges in living in rural America, entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial spirit has been key to people providing employment for themselves. One of the key challenges that remain is getting rural people connected to larger markets outside their area and understanding the consumers in that area. In addition, there is a huge need for people not familiar with agriculture or who are not from rural areas to learn about current agriculture production to inform how they could best create businesses and systems that reflect their goals.

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Value-Added Producer Grants With Jim Gage

Value-Added Producer Grants With Jim Gage

James D. Gage Consulting is a firm that helps value-added farms and other agriculture clients problem solve in critical business areas so that they can be financially viable. Jim’s firm works as a value-added business strategist and creates a client-consultant relationship with entrepreneurs before writing a Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) for their business so that he can both write a better grant and provide more meaningful follow-up technical assistance to help them implement the grant. VAPGs include both Planning Grants (maximum: $75,000) and Working Capital Grants (maximum: $250,000). While the VAPG grant can be complicated (for example, a 75 page application plus Business Plan and third-party Feasibility Study), it requires applicants to critically consider expansion of the customer base and the marketplace for products as well as demonstrate how they will have sufficient business structures, profit and cash flow to operate in the long-term. Adding value-added as part of a farm’s business strategy is one of the key financial means to help farms transition to the next generation.

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Midwestern BioAg and The Business of Biological Farming

Midwestern BioAg and The Business of Biological Farming

Biological farming is treating your farm like an ecosystem and preserving the long-term health of the soil. Midwestern BioAg is a company that provides farmers with consulting and products (mostly inputs) that help their farm’s yields, resiliency and profitability by using biological farming methods i.e. treating your farm like an ecosystem and preserving the long-term health of the soil. While the company started focused on small dairy producers (50-400 cows in a herd), their customers now include large farms and vegetable producers.

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Farm Credit With Paul Dietmann of Badgerland Financial (Now Compeer)

Farm Credit With Paul Dietmann of Badgerland Financial (Now Compeer)

The Farm Credit system consists of a farmer owned, farmer led co-ops which primarily lend to farmers and any agriculture producers anywhere in all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, including manufacturing companies if majority owned by farmers. The book Fearless Farm Finances is a a farmer-friendly reference guide for all things financial relating to farming enterprises.

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Black Earth Meats Evolves Into Conscious Carnivore

Black Earth Meats Evolves Into Conscious Carnivore

Bartlett Durand of Conscious Carnivore, a whole animal butcher shop in Madison, WI talks about how Black Earth Meats (Black Earth, Wisconsin) evolved into Conscious Carnivore. The craft of cutting meat takes a long time to learn, and because Black Earth Meats operated at a human scale that honored the humans and the animals, his employees and animals were happy. However, the town of Black Earth eventually forced Black Earth Meats to shut down its operations. Conscious Carnivore remains open and thriving, educating people about where their meat comes from and how to cook it.

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Biological Farming and Human Scale Meat

Biological Farming and Human Scale Meat

Bartlett Durand worked with his father-in-law Gary Zimmer on Otter Creek farm, working with a local cheese maker to make a delicious, truly seasonal cheddar cheese. Bartlett saw huge demand for local/organic meats in his work with Otter Creek. However, there wasn’t consistent throughput and quality to properly serve consumers and restaurants. Rather than scaling up to compete with large-scale industrialized meat processors or launching a direct to consumer farm of his own to meet this demand, Bartlett began aggregating meat from existing local farms under the brand Black Earth Meats.

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