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Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
February 12, 2018 | Tom Ballard

Four East TN enterprises among first six AEF grant recipients

Tennessee TNSix enterprises have shared more than $400,000 in grants in the first awards under the State of Tennessee’s “Agriculture Enterprise Fund” (AEF) and four are based in East Tennessee.

A product of the Governor’s Rural Task Force, the AEF is an incentive program that supports agricultural development in Tennessee. It provides assistance to new and expanding Tennessee agriculture and food businesses, particularly in rural counties.

Two of the six – Three Roots Capital and AgLaunch – are support organizations to help businesses, both new and established.

“We worked last year with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, via its Rural Microenterprise Assistance Program (RMAP), to establish a pool of capital specifically for lending to small businesses in rural areas of East Tennessee,” Grady Vanderhoofven, Three Roots Capital’s President and Chief Executive Officer, told us in an email.

“Tennessee’s Agriculture Enterprise Fund (AEF) is a terrific complement for our ongoing RMAP activity, with an additional emphasis on agriculture-related businesses. The entirety of the AEF grant received by Three Roots will support our efforts to deploy capital to small, ag-related, rural companies in East Tennessee. We have six deals currently in our pipeline, and we expect to close our first deal within the next 60 days.”

In addition to Three Roots, the other inaugural grant recipients and projects from East Tennessee are:

  • AgCentral Farmers Cooperative, Athens and Greenback – Adding a soybean roaster.
  • Edgefield Prime Meat Company, Dunlap – Expanding the meat processing facility.
  • Seven Springs Farm to Table, Maynardville – Adding a commercial kitchen facility.

The other recipient besides AgLaunch is Light Hill Meats of Lynnville which will use the funding to expand its meat processing facility.

You can read the full state announcement here.

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