Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Proposed Stoughton-based Food Cooperative Recommended for County Ag Grant

October 25, 2006
Joanne Haas, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
County Executive

A proposed full-service grocery cooperative where area farmers’ produce also would be sold has been recommended by a county panel to receive a 2006 Dane County Agricultural Enterprise Grant. Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk called the Stoughton project, known as the Yahara River Food Cooperative, a “prime example” of the efforts the grant program was established to bolster. “The Stoughton cooperative also is just the kind of project that can increase the individual profitability of local farmers and producers by providing them another market,” Falk said. Yahara Food organizers are seeking a $40,000 grant to kick-start the operation they hope will evolve into a full-service cooperative grocery store. “The project also is one more way people may support Stoughton’s historic downtown and contribute to the local economy via a viable business owned and operated by people who live there,” Falk said. Other projects recommended for 2006 enterprise grants include Pleasant Springs Fish Hatchery, a family-owned fish farming operation in Stoughton, and the Badger Biodiesel project to produce seed-oil processing and manufacturing plant, which is projected to be in operation by 2007 at the O’Brian Farms in Brooklyn. The projects were recommended for grant funding by the Dane County Agricultural Advisory Council, and the total proposed funding is $89,100 for 2006. “This is a great opportunity for innovative agricultural projects in Dane County,” said council chairman Bob Uphoff. Uphoff said the enterprise grants are to provide financial support to farmers who want to develop new markets for specialty products, existing commodities and product systems, create jobs and develop value-added products and technologies. Funded projects include: the Yahara River Food Cooperative, which has yet to have a proposed location in Stoughton; the Becker Organic Beef family-owned project; the Specialty Crop Protection System of Oregon to develop a cost-effective shelter for high margin food crops that will extend the growing season by protection the crop from weather and pests; and, the Madison Public Market Project, a proposed year-round local food market. The $89,100 is proposed to be distributed as follows: -- Yahara River Food Cooperative: $40,000 and $1,000 in cost-sharing funds. -- Badger Biodiesel: $10,100 grant. This project also received $20,000 earlier this year as part of the same grant program. -- Pleasant Spring Fish Hatchery: $15,000 grant. -- Becker Organic Beef: $1,000 in cost-sharing. -- Specialty Crop Protection System: $1,000 in cost-sharing. -- Madison Public Market Project: $1,000 in cost-sharing. ###