Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship awarded 28 Choose Iowa cost-share grants to Iowa farmers, small businesses and nonprofits totaling $463,000.
The announcement was made during an event at Jasper Winery in Des Moines, one of the grant awardees on March 7.
The Choose Iowa cost-share grants were created to assist Iowa farmers, businesses and nonprofits with their efforts to increase or diversify their agricultural product offerings, expand markets and shorten the supply chain.
“Choose Iowa is about connecting consumers to the great products that Iowans are growing, raising and processing in communities of all sizes across our state,” Mr. Naig said in a release. “As Choose Iowa builds into an easily recognizable brand that can be used by farmers, producers, processors, farmers markets, food retailers and many others in the supply chain, these cost-share grants will help build capacity to meet the growing consumer demand for Iowa products.”
The grants will support a wide variety of projects, including cider production from Iowa grown apples, fruit and vegetable processing, cold storage for meat, expanded processing of dairy products, hydroponic lettuce and microgreens, Iowa grown flowers, beer production from Iowa honey and many more.
These cost-share dollars leverage additional private investment. The highly competitive grant application process has yielded grant requests totaling nearly $3.3 million during the first two years of the program, a number far exceeding available funding.
Grants awarded in the Corridor include:
- Feed Iowa First in Cedar Rapids received $3,000 to purchase hoop house and small grain mill processing equipment for culturally relevant foods and greens.
- Organic Greens, LLC, in Kalona received $25,000 to enhance fruit and vegetable processing and expand cold storage capacity.
- Field to Family in Iowa City received $25,000 to purchase a refrigerated truck to expand food hub operations and local food distribution.
- Urban Greens in Iowa City received $12,045 to improve processing and packaging equipment and cold storage capacity.
- Walker Homestead Farm & Winery, Inc. in Iowa City received $25,000 to increase wine production capacity utilizing Iowa grown grapes.