Dane County Eyes New Facility to Create Jobs, Help Local Farmers Sell Produce
March 14, 2011
Joshua Wescott, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
Dane County, Numerous Partners Explore Feasibility of Developing New Packing Facility
Dane County along with a number of private and public partners are launching a study to gauge the interest and feasibility of opening a brand new packing facility in the county.
This new facility would wash, pack, label, distribute, and market locally grown produce to help local growers sell more produce across the region and country. In the first phase, the facility would create 30 new jobs and $20-$30 million in tax revenue in just the first three years. As it grows, the facility could do processing for large volume wholesale buyers and add additional jobs.
“Dane County has been an innovative leader in growing our agriculture economy and creating new markets for our growers to sell their goods,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said. “This new facility will help open new doors for our farmers to get their produce into new markets and onto more lunch and dinner tables.”
As proposed, this up to 30,000 square foot packinghouse would be located in Dane County but an exact location hasn’t been determined. The facility will help meet a growing demand for buying locally grown produce wholesale.
In 2006, Dane County created the Institutional Food Market Coalition to link local farmers and producers with large food buyers like universities, hospitals, hotels, and conference centers. This effort successfully sold and delivered well over 1.5-million dollars of locally grown products - - vegetables, meats, and cheeses - - to dozens of public and private sector users in 2010.
Dane County has one of the most vibrant agricultural industries of any county in the entire United States. Dane County’s combined farm income is 32nd highest of any county in all of America.
The feasibility study is being paid for by a joint effort between Dane County, the City of Madison, Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) and funding from the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant (a partnership between Housing & Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, and Environmental Protection Agency).
More information about this effort and the Institutional Food Market Coalition are available at: www.ifmwi.org