State-wide program awards funding to local farm and food producers

N.C. State Program Awards Funding to Expand 20 Agricultural Businesses

The North Carolina Value-Added Cost Share (NCVACS) program and the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission (NCTTFC) this week announced the recipients of the 2013 equipment cost share awards. Coordinated by N.C. Cooperative Extension, NCVACS awarded $311,938 to 20 agricultural operations across the state.

NCVACS funding requires recipients to match the award dollar for dollar, or more, so that the burden of investment in specialized equipment is shared. In addition to the cost share award funding, 2013 NCVACS recipients will spend approximately $644,158 of their own money toward equipment purchases between now and the first of December 2013.

The program has provided cost share funding of over $1.3 million to support nearly 70 farmers, producer groups and agricultural businesses since it began in 2009. This assistance translates to at least $3 million in equipment purchases by N.C. businesses in the last 4 years, expansions that might not have otherwise occurred.

Based on past results, the impact of the 4 years of cost share for equipment investment should increase annual sales of the participating producers and processors by about $4 million. This could translate into a total annual economic impact on the North Carolina economy of over $7 million with about 35 new jobs being created.

The 2013 NCVACS equipment cost share award recipients include an array of agricultural producers and processors, from the mountains to the sea, exemplifying the diversity of N.C.’s agriculture economy:

Acre Station Meat Farm, $50,000 (Pinetown)
Blue Ridge Apiaries, $1,328 (Hudson)
Buckwheat Farm, $3,357 (Apex)
Cabin Cove Brand, $5,827 (Asheville)
Core Sound Seafood, $8,365 (Harkers Island)
Cultured Cow Creamery, $28,234 (Durham)
Elizabeth’s Pecan Products, $4,168 (Turkey)
Grassroots Pork Co, $32,143 (Beulaville)
Hickory Nut Gap Farm, $13,500 (Fairview)
Mattamuskeet Seafood, $13,213 (Swan Quarter)
Mays Meats, $28,000 (Taylorsville)
Noble Cider, $15,893 (Asheville)
Once Upon a Meadow Family Farm & Dairy, $9,500 (Kernersville)
Riverbend Malt House, $12,000 (Asheville)
Sandhills Farm To Table Cooperative, $9,950 (Southern Pines)
Simply Natural Creamery, $25,000 (Ayden)
Two Chicks Farm, $8,394 (Hillsborough)
The Friendly Market, $27,359 (Morehead City)
Underwood Family Farms, $14,911 (Lawndale)
Walking Fish Cooperative, $1,064 (Beaufort)
Currently funded by the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, NCVACS provides an agricultural producer or processor with up to $50,000 to purchase new or used specialized equipment to start or grow a value-added operation. A value-added product is a raw, agricultural commodity that has been changed in some manner so that it no longer can be returned to its original state, such as wine from grapes.

“The NCVACS program helps North Carolina value-added agricultural operations grow and adapt to meet the dynamic needs of their clients, including consumers like you and me,” said Brittany Whitmire, program coordinator for NCVACS. “Whether it’s helping a produce farmer expand a line of pickles or a meat processor to better package products for livestock growers, the program gives people involved in agriculture in North Carolina a better chance to succeed in today’s markets.”

Dr. Blake Brown, Hugh C. Kiger professor of economics in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at N.C. State, is the principal investigator on the grant that sustains the NCVACS program. In collaboration with the TTFC and USDA, Brown conceived the idea for NCVACS in 2008 and has been instrumental in the effort to secure funding for the program during each of the subsequent five years.

Profiles of past NCVACS recipients are available at 2013 is slated to be the last year for the program. The NCVACS program is administered in cooperation by the Cooperative Extension component of N.C. State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute, located at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis, and the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at N.C. State. Learn more at


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