The Working Lands Enterprise Board announced this year’s 36 grant recipients – 24 agriculture and 12 forestry projects – for just over $1 million in both Working Lands and Local Food Market Development grant funding. These projects impact every county in Vermont, and leverage an additional $1.8 million in matching funds. Investments were made to 26 working lands enterprises and 10 service providers for projects that increase production, expand markets, develop innovative technologies, improve water quality, and train the workforce that Vermont’s businesses need to succeed.

Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets Chuck Ross, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Lucy Leriche, and Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation Michael Snyder joined the selected grantees and other program stakeholders at Maple Wind Farm in Richmond to celebrate this year’s grant recipients and the success of the program to date.

“These grants fund critical leverage points in the supply chain,” said Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross. “They remove pinch points and open up commerce so that the economy can grow.”

Now in its third year of grant making, the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative has invested over $3 million into Vermont’s working landscape, leveraging close to $4 million in matching funds. As of December 2014, 23 completed projects resulted in 25 new jobs and a 25% average increase in total product output. Additionally, 91% of these grantees increased their capacity to fulfill new contracts.