Saturday, October 26, 2013

Smart new grant program announced supporting value-added food businesses.

Farms and foods businesses in Southern Wisconsin just got a major boost that others should emulate. 

Badgerland Financial, our regional Farm Credit Administration lender, has just launched a very positive, creative new grant program that supports their customers and others who are interested in farm diversification and food entrepreneurship.

Their 'Beginning With Badgerland' grant program gives up to $1,500 grants to explore and grow food based businesses.  

Grants are available to any beginning farmer living in Badgerland Financial territory (see attached map), regardless of age.  The farmer needs to have less than ten years of experience operating a farm and should be able to show that farming is a part-time or full-time vocation.  (Full text is below)

This program includes the use of funds for developing value-added food products at licensed food processing facilities.

Our Innovation Kitchens can be used to develop these value-added products.  We have several programs that enable people to learn about growing their own small value-added food businesses.  The Badgerland Financial application is linked below.

There is great demand for regional and specialty foods.  This grant program gives Badgerland customers and others a way to grow and build businesses to meet this demand.  

This is a great tool for launching and growing farms and food businesses in Wisconsin.  Others should emulate.

Download the Badgerland Financial grant application

Badgerland Financial territory map 

Innovation Kitchens


Below is the full description of the program.  Badgerland Financial's emerging market specialist Paul Dietmann's contact information is at the end:

October 23, 2013

Our Beginning with Badgerland Grant program is now up and running.  Grants are available to any beginning farmer living in Badgerland Financial territory (see attached map), regardless of age.  The farmer needs to have less than ten years of experience operating a farm and should be able to show that farming is a part-time or full-time vocation.

There are three grant funding levels depending on the amount of business—if any--that the farmer does with us:
    • Beginning farmers who are Badgerland Financial loan customers with a loan principal balance of $50,000 or more can receive up to $1,500 in grant funding.
    • Beginning farmers who use Badgerland Financial’s tax, accounting, or other related services, or have a principal balance of less than $50,000 on loans with us, or are “next generation” farmers that represent the next generation of a farm operation that already has a lending relationship with us (for example, the daughter of a family that has a loan with Badgerland Financial) can receive up to $500 in grant funding.
    • Beginning farmers who do not have any business relationship with Badgerland Financial can receive up to $250 in grant funding.
Grant funds can be used to pay for a variety of farm business-related expenses including:

    • The first year of tax or farm accounting services from a Badgerland Financial tax consultant or farm accounting specialist
    • Purchase of farm accounting software
    • Tuition for courses in farm business management, accounting, or related topics
    • Registration fees for farm-related conferences or workshops
    • Fees for development of a new value-added agricultural product at a licensed food processing establishment
    • FSA guarantee fees
    • Other farm business expenses
To apply for a grant, the farmer simply needs to fill out a brief application.  The Beginning with Badgerland Grant application form is available on our website,, in the lower right-hand corner of the front page.  It can be completed and submitted online, or printed off and mailed, e-mailed, or faxed in.  There is no application deadline. 

If the application is approved, the applicant will receive a confirmation letter along with a W-9 and a postage-paid return envelope they can use to send receipts for grant-eligible expenses.  Expenses will be reimbursed 100% up to the total amount of the recipient’s eligibility level.

In addition to the Beginning with Badgerland grant program, we are developing an e-newsletter for beginning farmers and people who work with beginning farmers (if you’d like to be added to our e-mail list, please let me know).  We will also have a Beginning with Badgerland page on our new website, which is slated to be live by mid November.

If you have any questions, give me a call or send me an e-mail.


Paul Dietmann
Emerging Markets Specialist
Badgerland Financial
1430 North Ridge Drive, PO Box 70
Prairie du Sac, WI 53578
Toll free cell: 800.236.3376
NMLS #868481

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Looking for regional food ingredients for your restaurant, store or brand?

The Innovation Kitchens we're helping have access to thousands of pounds of sustainably raised fall crops, grown in Wisconsin and nearby.

Think beautiful deep-orange pumpkin purees, butternut squash purees and chopped/frozen late season crops including colorful bell peppers.  How about delicious apple sauces and apple butters?

These great regional foods can all be farm identified.   They are lightly processed, frozen, or packed in jars for year-round sale and use.

Frozen purees and chopped/frozen mixes can be used by restaurants, stores and food entrepreneurs year-round as ingredients or specialty foods.  We can also package them in consumer sized containers for commercial sale.  Ongoing storage options are available.

We're looking for regional relationships with buyers and sellers that want to celebrate regional foods in the area.

Interested in access to great regional ingredients and foods year round?  Here's a great way to get them.

Innovation Kitchens

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Remaking the Food System

The world is looking for solutions to make our food system more resilient, sustainable and effective.  This new article from Stanford Social Innovation highlights the emerging role that loan guarantees can play in moving this work forward.

"Many of us in the social enterprise sector—investors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists—see the need for an alternative food system that dramatically expands access to fresh food and supports sustainable local food production, and that ultimately helps create more resilient communities. For that to happen, we need to get outside our comfort zones and work together. Collaboration between philanthropists and investors in particular is essential to building an alternative food system."

"It helps that food is a hot investment area in Silicon Valley, especially on the distribution end, where scalable online distribution businesses are attracting substantial capital."
Smart investors, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists can utilize the Innovation Kitchen model to make regional foods profitable and sustainable.

Remaking the Food System.   Stanford Social Innovation Review.  Sept 30, 201.  By Don Shaffer, President and CEO of RSF Social Finance.

Innovation Kitchens 

Thursday, October 03, 2013

"The Invisible Faces of Hunger"

"Madison, where the farm-to-table movement thrives and foodies flock to an eclectic restaurant scene, is also home to the increasingly worrisome, yet often unrecognized issue of food insecurity."

Thanks to authors Nancy Christy & Neil Heinen.