NH News Coverage of Poverty Lane/Farnum Hill

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Poverty Lane Orchards and Farnum Hill Ciders were featured in the local press recently, for quite entirely different reasons.

On Thursday, July 15, our local paper wrote about the recent Value Added Producers Grant we received through the US Department of Agriculture.  This grant, matched with our own funds, will help us develop the market for orchard-made ciders.  This federal program.  Two other farms in NH received grants, as reported in the NH Economy blog in June….

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA has selected recipients in 45 states and Puerto Rico, including three New Hampshire agricultural producers, to receive business development assistance and pursue marketing opportunities for agricultural commodities. Funding is made available through USDA Rural Development assistance under the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program, which was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill.

There will be a short grant-signing ceremony next Wednesday, July 21, in the cider room at Poverty Lane.

“These grants provide the capital resources necessary for business growth and job creation in rural New Hampshire,” said Molly Lambert, USDA Rural Development State Director. “Through these investments USDA is strengthening the economic foundation of rural New Hampshire.”

For example, Poverty Lane Orchards, in Lebanon, plans to use their $100,000 grant to expand their craft finished fermented cider into new markets. The cider is fermented from specialized apple varieties grown in the Northeast. Poverty Lane Orchards boasts a large planting of English, European, and New World cider apples, many of which are not edible fresh. Once fermented the cider apples provide a stunning cider blend.

“We are blown away to be selected as a grant recipient,” said Louisa Spencer, one of the proprietors of Poverty Lane Orchards. “This grant will help us to identify market distribution areas throughout New Hampshire, Western Massachusetts, and parts of New York State where we can expand production and distribution and serve as a model for others in this industry.”

In Madison, The Big Farm, a 21 flock dairy sheep operation owned and operated by Paul Priestman, will use a $15,000 grant for working capital to hire additional labor to produce on-farm sheep’s milk cheese. Priestman, a Beginning Farmer, also plans to use this grant to market and sale in expanded areas, yielding a higher per pound value for their liquid milk to high quality finished cheese product.

Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, owned by Carol Soule and Bruce Dawson, is receiving a $64,950 grant for economic planning activities—conducting a feasibility study, establishing a business and marketing plan for developing precooked, frozen, packaged meatballs from boneless, underutilized cuts of high quality beef. This small family farm raises ‘free range’ Scottish Highland Cattle, which produce lean and tender beef without hormones or growth stimulants.

In addition, on Friday, July 16, workers from Poverty Lane Orchards were featured on a story about the H-2A program, a government program that allows U.S. farms to bring in agricultural workers from outside the country. For the full story about the H-2A program, and why it is important to many farms, check out Friday’s online Valley News Story.

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