Farm Aid award helps local ag producers grow
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Darlene and Steve Pinnow, owners of Pinn-Oak Ridge Farms LLC in Delavan check animals in one of their barns. Their business benefited from state and federal grants for growers and producers. Now, a Farm Aid grant to the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy is aimed at helping more agricultural producers like the Pinnows grow their ideas and operations. Terry Mayer/staff.
EAST TROY — Steve and Darlene Pinnow, owners of Pinn-Oak Ridge Farms LLC, grew their small Delavan farm into a thriving family-based operation that now supplies lamb to some 70 grocers and retail outlets around southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
Their business plan was achieved, in part, through state and federal grants available to growers and producers.
Making area farmers aware of what financial or other assistance is available to them is one of the services offered by Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy. And now, thanks to Farm Aid — the nonprofit organization that promotes family-centered farming around the country — MFAI will get a little help when it comes to teaching growers about grants.
Last month, the institute was awarded a $5,000 Farm Aid grant for grant-writing workshops and assistance to underserved farmers and ranchers. The grant was funded by proceeds from last October’s Farm Aid concert in Milwaukee, featuring Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews.
Margaret Krome, policy program director at MFAI said state and federal grants can help farmers develop new, value-added businesses or start marketing enterprises — like a Dodgeville farmer who grew hops and wanted to brew and sell beer. Grants can secure loans or conservation funding, and amounts can range in size from a few thousand dollars to $20,000 and more.
Through the Farm Aid grant, Krome said MFAI was able to hire Deirdre Birmingham as a grants adviser to offer technical assistance to producers and growers who need help with grant applications.
Read the full story in the e-edition of Walworth County Sunday, PAGE 18.