Sunday, March 31, 2024

ANCA’s SOIL Fund boosts two small North Country farms

A couple embrace

Saranac Lake, NY — The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has announced two loans that were recently awarded through the regional nonprofit’s SOIL Loan Fund. Tangleroot Farm in Essex, N.Y. and Tucker’s Black Angus Ranch in Brushton, N.Y. received zero-interest loans to use toward projects that build long-term growth and stability for their operations.

ANCA has partnered with Foodshed Capital, a certified Community Development Financial Institution that centers mission-driven lending and customized business support for underserved farmers, to award a total of five loans for small farm projects since the SOIL Loan Fund launched in 2022. These two most recent awards include a $10,000 loan to partially fund the purchase of a tractor at Tangleroot Farm and an $8,000 loan to purchase three retail freezers for Tucker’s Black Angus Ranch.

“The SOIL Fund was created to support projects like these that allow farmers to streamline their processes or expand retail opportunities,” said Adam Dewbury, ANCA Local Food Systems Program Director. “ANCA is very happy to support Tangleroot Farm and Tucker’s Black Angus Ranch with these loans.”
With lending assistance from Foodshed Capital and funding support from donors, ANCA established the SOIL Loan Fund in May 2022 in order to address the challenges many North Country farms have accessing capital through conventional loan programs. In particular, farm businesses that are small-scale or women- or minority-owned have traditionally had difficulty securing funds for projects that would improve farm viability and growth.
Tucker’s Black Angus Ranch is a small veteran-owned family farm that produces Black Angus beef as well as pork, chicken and goat meat. Owners Justin and Kelli Tucker prioritize sustainable farming practices and animal welfare on their ranch in North Lawrence, N.Y. Utilizing natural feeds and supplements and avoiding the use of antibiotics and growth hormones, they produce high-quality meats for their on-farm and online stores and for community supported agriculture (CSA) shareholders. The three freezers the Tuckers purchased with their SOIL Loan will allow them to market more of their sustainably produced meats for their local community.
“The loan we received from ANCA’s SOIL Loan Fund has helped provide more space to better serve the community,” said Justin Tucker. “We used the loan to purchase additional freezers for our storefront. We also were able to buy an additional freezer that we have installed in a local grocery store. This has given us the ability to reach new customers that otherwise might not be able to travel to our ranch. We hope to add additional freezers in various towns and locations this year and expand our reach even further.”
Established in 2013 by owner Adam Read, Tangleroot Farm produces a variety of certified organic vegetables using sustainable farming practices. With a mission to make organic produce more accessible to more people, Adam partnered with AdkAction to provide low-income households with CSA shares during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tangleroot continues to provide participating North Country households with low-cost organic products. By utilizing minimal tillage, natural soil amendments and efficient irrigation techniques, the farm places a strong focus on land stewardship and regenerative farming practices. The tractor Reed purchased with his SOIL Loan will allow the Tangleroot team to operate more efficiently, increase vegetable production and expand marketing opportunities.
Past SOIL Loans were awarded to Della Terra Farm in Castorland, N.Y. to develop a commercial composting operation that diverts organic waste from landfills, build soil health, and provide high-quality compost for local farms and gardens; Donahue’s Livestock Farm in North Bangor, N.Y. to renovate and purchase equipment for a specialty butcher shop in Malone, N.Y.; and Reber Rock Farm in Essex, N.Y. to purchase a walk-in freezer that provides organizational space and storage for the organic farm’s pastured meats.
Capital for the loan program came from private donations as well as grants from Adirondack Bank, Adirondack Foundation’s Generous Acts Fund, the Glen and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Fund, Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation and NBT Bank. ANCA recently received a grant from Cloudsplitter Foundation to fund the next series of loans.
“We are grateful to all who have supported the SOIL Loan Fund since its beginning. This kind of flexible financing makes a real difference for small farms in our region,” said ANCA Executive Director Elizabeth Cooper. “We’re happy to be able to provide this service so local farmers can move forward with projects or purchases that help their operations remain viable for the long term.”
Farmers and other local food entrepreneurs are invited to contact for more information about the SOIL Loan Fund.
ANCA is an independent, nonprofit corporation with a transformational approach to building prosperity across northern New York. Using innovative strategies for food systems, clean energy, small businesses, and equity and inclusion, ANCA delivers targeted interventions that create and sustain wealth and value in local communities.
Foodshed Capital is a certified Community Development Financial Institution dedicated to building more equitable, regenerative foodsheds through mission-driven lending and customized business support. FoodCap serves regenerative farmers and food entrepreneurs up and down the East Coast with a focus on BIPOC- and female-led operations.
Photo at top: Justin and Kelli Tucker have used their loan from ANCA’s SOIL Loan Fund to purchase freezers for displaying their local meats at their own shop and a local grocery store. Photo courtesy of Tucker’s Black Angus Ranch.

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ANCA is building prosperity across northern New York. Our programs and partnerships focus in these areas: ANCA Center for Pandemic Response, Entrepreneurial Economy, Food Systems and Energy.

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