SEQUIM — The Sequim Growers Cooperative has satisfied all the requirements needed for a $54,500 grant awarded more than a year ago to help market local agricultural products throughout the nation and world.
Since winning the grant, co-op members have conducted a feasibility study, writing a detailed business plan, forming a budget and a five-year plan, and getting a marketing strategy in place, among other administrative tasks.
The co-op was formed to pool the resources of small, local producers to wield larger marketing clout.
“The value-added grant received by this group will help them achieve the critical mass necessary to reach customers and prove they are a solid business force,”‘ John Brugger, cooperative business specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development section, said in a written statement.
“The end result will be access to more markets, a stronger marketplace and increased returns for members.”
Co-op board president Tom Mix said the grant amounted to reimbursement in matching funds for work donated by members.The group has been able to repay its initial investors and buy warehouse equipment, and a large chunk of the grant funds will pay for a marketing campaign to promote the co-op’s brand, Sequim Quality Products, Mix said.