Secretary Naig Awards 26 Choose Iowa Value-Added Grants

Secretary Naig Awards 26 Choose Iowa Value-Added Grants

Value-added grants help farmers, small businesses, and non-profits expand and diversify the availability of Iowa grown, Iowa raised, and Iowa made products

INDIANOLA, Iowa (Mar. 20, 2024) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has awarded 26 Choose Iowa Value-Added Grants to Iowa farmers, small businesses and non-profits in 22 counties totaling $463,000. Those grants will help leverage a total investment by grant awardees of $1,993,190.47. The Choose Iowa announcement was made as part of Iowa Ag Week during an event at Cortum Farm and Co. outside of Indianola, one of the 2024 grant awardees.

Choose Iowa is the state’s signature brand for Iowa grown, Iowa raised and Iowa made products. These cost-share grants, which match up to $25,000 per project, were created to assist Iowa farmers, businesses and non-profits increase or diversify their agricultural product offerings, expand markets and shorten supply chains. 

This year’s grants will support a wide variety of projects including delivery and cold storage for direct-to-consumer meat sales, fruit production and processing, vegetable processing, packaging equipment, cider and wine canning and bottling, farm store and food hub construction, honey production, culinary herb, lavender and cut flower production, warehouse capacity, cover crop seed distribution, and agritourism opportunities, and much more.

“Consumers are continually looking for more Iowa food, beverages, and ag products to enjoy and these Choose Iowa Value-Added Grants will help Iowa farmers, small businesses, and non-profits build that supply,” said Secretary Naig. “We are so pleased to provide these Choose Iowa cost-share investments because they will enhance the availability of Iowa products while creating positive economic activity in communities, big and small, across our state.” 

Grant funding, for example, could be used to add new processing, packaging or sales techniques that add value to crops, livestock, and other products. For example, a farmer may invest in an on-farm store or cold storage to sell meat, eggs or produce direct to consumers, or a produce grower may upgrade their commercial kitchen to process larger quantities of seasonal produce. Grant funding could also be used for employee training and continuing education. Meat processing and dairy processing projects were not eligible for Choose Iowa Value-Added Grants as separate dedicated grant funding programs are available for both.

Individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations that are currently living or operating in Iowa were eligible to apply and preference was given to small to medium-sized entities. This year, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received 63 eligible grant requests totaling $1,130,139.00. The grant program remains highly competitive, given that requests far exceed the available funding of $463,000. 

Since the launch of the grants in 2022, $1,173,690.00 in Choose Iowa Value-Added Grants have been awarded to 67 projects which has leveraged a total investment of $4,268,099.19. 

Choose Iowa Value-Added Grants awarded today include the following 26 projects, listed in alphabetical order: 

Acorn Bluff Farms, Inc | Columbus Junction | $15,432.00 
Expand cold storage capacity for direct-to-consumer pork sales.  
Total project budget: $30,865.00

Blueberry Bottom Farm | Brighton | $13,072.00  
Enhance blueberry production via the transition to moisture retaining to fabric mulch and add day-neutral strawberry production. 
Total project budget: $29,399.00

Breda Ag Solutions | Carroll | $25,000.00 
Increase seed and grain packaging capacity with new palletizing and specialty bagging equipment to reach new export markets.  
Total project budget: $954,350.84

Calyx Creek | Oxford | $19,586.00  
Improve lavender and specialty herb processing with specialized debudding and distillation equipment to enable value-added culinary-grade lavender and essential oil production.  
Total project budget: $39,173.00

Champion Steaks LLC | Creston | $25,000.00 
Add on-site cold storage and refrigerated transportation for value-added cattle feed to produce premium-grade beef. 
Total project budget: $99,250.00

Cortum Farm and Co. | Indianola | $25,000.00 
Renovate historic barn for on-site farm store, farm market, farm-to-table dinners and diversified event space. 
Total project budget: $51,340.00

Deal's Orchard | Jefferson | $25,000.00 
Transition cider packaging with new a canning line to increase processing capacity and reach new markets. 
Total project budget: $52,805.00

Ebersole Cattle Co. | Kellerton | $25,000.00 
Develop a new food hub in Southwest Iowa and offer home deliveries of beef, pork and poultry. 
Total project budget: $60,000.00

Engelbrecht Farm | Waverly | $25,000.00 
Add processing and storage space, including dedicated cold storage, to increase cut flower production. 
Total project budget: $50,568.17

Golden Outdoors LLC | Adel | $25,000.00 
Customize an existing building for aquaculture and add infrastructure to raise Pacific white shrimp. 
Total project budget: $70,000.00

Honey Hollow Apiary and Gardens LLC | Indianola | $8,473.00 
Improve honey harvest with commercial extraction equipment to efficiently scale up production. 
Total project budget: $16,946.25

HoQ Restaurant | Des Moines | $25,000.00 
Add cold storage and workspace to increase retail product production and distribution. 
Total project budget: $58,732.59

Long Walk Farm | Council Bluffs | $25,000.00 
Construct an on-farm store to increase sales of Iowa ag products and build market access for multiple Iowa farms. 
Total project budget: $68,948.22

Luna Valley Farm Kitchen LLC | Decorah | $25,000.00 
Expand warehouse and storage capacity and add an on-farm store to offer additional locally grown products. 
Total project budget: $81,467.00

Marcellus Orchards LLC | Batavia | $4,000.00 
Procure specialty equipment for use in a new Southeast Iowa freeze-dried fruit processing plant to add value to locally grown fruit. 
Total project budget: $8,381.00

Oak and Olive Flowers | Decorah | $2,328.00 
Expand specialty cut flower production with new outdoor workspace and specialized equipment. 
Total project budget: $4,656.00

Olathea Creek Winery | Bettendorf | $25,000.00 
Increase production capacity and product availability by adding specialized bottling and processing equipment. 
Total project budget: $54,705.00

One Farm LLC | Logan | $3,590.00 
Expand frozen and refrigerated retail display space to offer additional local ag products. 
Total project budget: $7,180.00

Purple Ribbon Beef LLC | Britt | $24,324.00 
Convert a warehouse to a commercial kitchen and a new on-farm store to increase and diversify product availability.  
Total project budget: $48,647.00

Rhubarb Botanicals | Springville | $6,973.00 
Scale up medicinal and culinary herb and flower production by acquiring automated walk-behind harvesting equipment to meet growing wholesale demand. 
Total project budget: $13,946.00

Sennert Farms | Linn Grove | $25,000.00 
Construct a cover crop seed cleaning and fulfillment facility to expand into wholesale cleaned seed production. 
Total project budget: $52,875.00

Sweet Season Farm | Calmar | $15,805.00 
Convert an existing machine shed into an on-farm vegetable processing facility with specialized processing equipment and cold storage. 
Total project budget: $31,611.40

Tailwind Acres LLC | Cresco | $2,418.00 
Expand on-farm infrastructure for cold storage and retail sales of florals and mushrooms in addition to products from other farms. 
Total project budget: $4,836.00

Treasure Acres | Blairsburg | $3,762.00 
Construct an indoor bee overwintering facility to improve colony management and survival success rates. 
Total project budget: $7,524.00

Vintage Beef by Gress Family Farms | Charter Oak | $20,000.00 
Convert a historic railroad depot into a community farm store with cold storage, packaging and retail space. 
Total project budget: $49,130.00

Wills Family Orchard | Adel | $22,927.00 
Convert a portion of an existing warehouse into cold storage to extend the seasonal availability of apples. 
Total project budget: $45,854.00.