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August 19. 2014 8:46PM

$127k grant gives Loudon meat business a boost


From left, Bruce Dawson, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Carole Soule, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen at Miles Smith Farm in Loudon Tuesday. (Dan Seufert/Union Leader Correspondent)

LOUDON — Thanks to a government grant, Carole Soule and Bruce Dawson will be selling a new kind of hamburger at meat markets soon.

The burger will be 55 percent beef and 45 percent pork. So far, the couple have no name for the new product, which the couple invented “because we wanted more flavor in the burger, without just adding fat to it,” said Dawson, who co-owns Miles Smith Farm with Soule, his wife.

“We haven’t been able to come up with a name yet,” he said. “We thought of ‘Bork,’ but that doesn’t do it. We’re thinking of saying, ‘the burger that squeals with flavor.’”

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack both spoke of the couple’s new beef/pork product at the 36-acre farm, which was the site of a news conference Tuesday called by both to discuss how the Value Added Producers Grant program and other Department of Agriculture programs are designed to promote economic activity and help create jobs.

They announced that Miles Smith Farm will receive a $127,000 grant through the value added program, which was reauthorized under the 2014 Farm Bill. Dawson and Soule have to match the $127,000 under the program, Dawson said.

The grant money gives the couple “important working capital for producing and distributing their products,” and will be used to buy packaging for the new burgers, to pay for distribution costs, as well as marketing and advertising, Dawson said.

Vilsack said the USDA estimates that as a result of the investment, Miles Smith Farm will see an increase in revenues as a result of 10 new retail outlets carrying their products.

Soule said the money was very much needed. The couple applied for the grant last year, Dawson said, and heard the news that they had received it last Thursday night.

“We’re really excited, we have this great product and no way to spread the word about it,” she said.

Shaheen said the grants help New Hampshire accomplish the “farm to table” goal of putting more locally-grown products on local dinner tables.Good farming is good business in the state, she said. New Hampshire has 4,391 farms across 474,065 acres and sales of agricultural products contributed nearly $184 million to New Hampshire’s economy in 2012.“This is about New Hampshire’s quality of life,” she said.

dseufert@newstote.com



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