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WESTERN CAPE ALLOCATES R55M TO ECOLOGICAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Tomorrow, 17 June 2022, is commemorated as World  Desertification and Drought Day. This year's theme is healthy land equals healthy people. This focus is on transforming degraded land into healthy land to promote community and ecosystem resilience while improving human life, particularly in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. Avoiding slowing and reversing the loss of productive land and natural ecosystems are essential for a swift recovery from the pandemic and guaranteeing the long-term survival of people and the planet. The Western Cape...

Casidra Welcomes its New CEO – Dr Keith du Plessis

Casidra is pleased to announce Dr Keith du Plessis as its incoming CEO, effective 1 June 2022. Du Plessis’ experience spans more than 19 years in the Agriculture value-chain in various capacities ranging from Research and Development (R&D) to Investment and Trade Promotion. He spent more than nine years in the Agricultural R&D space at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) in Stellenbosch and more than ten years as Head of the Agro-processing sector at the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) in Gqeberha...

Casidra executing specialised alien plant clearing in rivers and dams

Casidra’s Environmental Sustainability team is on a mission to save precious water resources by eradicating invasive alien plants. The programme is aimed at removing intrusive alien plants which use much more water than our indigenous vegetation. Invasive plants damage the ecological integrity of our natural systems and also create problems for planting of crops. People depend on these natural systems for their livelihoods and our country cannot do without food production. The job creation for local communities is key for this...

LOCUST SWARMS IN THE WESTERN CAPE ARE DIMINISHING IN SIZE AND NUMBER, BUT THE THREAT REMAINS

Following my announcement two weeks ago that the Western Cape Government has allocated R5 million rand towards combating the locust infestation in Central Karoo and Garden Route Districts, indications confirm that the size and occurrence of locust swarms are decreasing in the Western Cape. The threat of re-occurrence, however, remains. No further sightings of locust swarms were reported the past week in Laingsburg. In addition, the number and size of swarms in Murraysburg, the Garden Route District and Beaufort West have...

ELSENBURG HOSTS GRADUATION CEREMONY AT VOORBERG CORRECTIONAL CENTRE

On Monday, 4 April 2022, forty-seven offenders from the Department of Correctional Services Voorberg Centre outside Porterville graduated from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture's Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute. The Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute has been providing skills development at this facility since 2019. Thirteen participants received a National Qualification in Plant and Animal Production NQF4, and fourteen received a skills competency certificate. A further twenty received attendance certificates for various courses completed. This partnership was confirmed on 22 October 2022 with an...

WESTERN CAPE AGRICULTURE TABLES A BUDGET OF R969.2 MILLION FOR 22/23

On the 30th of March 2022, the Minister of Agriculture in the Western Cape, Dr Ivan Meyer, tabled his budget of R969.2 million for 2022/23. In his speech, Minister Meyer confirmed that the Western Cape will not be returning to our pre-COVID days and that we will continue to lead the economic recovery of the Western Cape, create jobs and push forward. The budget of R969. 218 million for 2022/2023 includes earmarked allocations for: Ecological Infrastructure – R37 million River Protection Works (Keurbooms...

CASIDRA BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE VISIT TO PROJECTS

Casidra’s Executive Committee took the Board of Directors on a one-day project tour with the aim of inducting our newly appointed Directors to the type of projects that our company is involved with on a daily basis. Four projects were visited, namely the Alien fuel factory, Holsloot, Bamboo Innovations and African Roots Wine Farm/Seven Sisters Vineyards. The Alien Fuel factory takes the biomass of cut alien vegetation and manufactures compressed wooden pellets. These pellets are fed into patented burner-boiler systems that...

WESTERN CAPE HOSTS 2ND DRONE USERS CONFERENCE: AGRICULTURE AND CONSERVATION

Yesterday, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer welcomed delegates to the 2nd Drone Users Conference: Agriculture and Conservation at Elsenburg. Hosted by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA), the United Nations Development Programme-GEF5 Sustainable Land Management Project, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the Department of Environment, Fisheries and Forestry, the three-day hybrid conference attracted 200 attendees. Speakers on the first day of the conference included Western Cape Head of Agriculture, Dr Mogael Sebopetsa; Dr Janice Golding, UNDP; Prof Serge...

WESTERN CAPE COMMEMORATES WORLD FOOD DAY

On the 16th of October 2021, the Western Cape will join the rest of the world in commemorating World Food Day. In the lead up to World Food Day 2021, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA) supported by its implementing company, Casidra recently hosted an event in the Witzenberg area. The occasion provided the Department and its partners with the opportunity to support the local community, household and school food security projects. This year, 179 households and 12 diverse community projects...

MINISTER MEYER WELCOMES SCA FINDINGS IN FAVOUR OF WESTERN CAPE AGRICULTURE

I welcome the news that the Supreme Court of Appeal(SCA) yesterday handed down judgement in favour of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture regarding the Auditor-General's appeal against the Western Cape High Court ruling in favour of the Department. The SCA judgement confirms the earlier decision handed down by the Western Cape Division of the High Court to set aside the Auditor General's qualified audit reports on the Western Cape Department of Agriculture for the financial years ending 31 March 2017...

MINISTER IVAN MEYER HANDSOVER R50m MEERLUSTKLOOF AND MEUL RIVER PROJECTS

On Tuesday, 22 September  2021, the Western Cape Minister for Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, officially handed over the Meerlustkloof and Meul Project near Genadendal in the Overberg Region to the  Zonderend Water User Association.  Speaking at the handover of the R 50 million projects, Minister Meyer congratulated the project team consisting of officials of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA), Ruwacon Engineering and Martin & East for the construction and CASIDRA for the construction project management. Meyer: "We are celebrating the...

Happy retirement

Casidra is bidding farewell to one of its stalwarts, Johan Bronkhorst, Regional Manager at our George Office who is retiring at the end of September 2021 after 31 years of uninterrupted service. Johan was one of the first employees of Lanok in 1990 now Casidra.  He leaves behind a great legacy both within Casidra and amongst our various stakeholders with whom he worked for many years.  Johan provided excellent support to the various farms, i.e. Henkries, Jackalskraal, Anhalt, Amalienstein and...

CASIDRA IS STRIVING FOR A WINNING CULTURE AND SELLING TRUST

The Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, congratulated Casidra for achieving their 32nd clean audit in a row during the Company’s Annual General Meeting held at its head office in Paarl.  “This is a very good record to add to your accolade and no other single entity in the country has managed to achieved this milestone besides Casidra. Casidra has continued to fulfil its role in rural community development, and did so without placing its proud financial governance...

CASIDRA BID FAREWELL TO 4 OUTGOING BOARD MEMBERS

Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, thanked all outgoing Board Members for their sterling work and valuable contributions during their tenure with Casidra.  “You demonstrated your full commitment to the vision of boosting agricultural and economic development opportunities in rural communities and I thank you for that”, says Minister Meyer. Ainsley Moos and Gerard Martin served for 8 years, Prof. Estian Calitz served for 10 years and Gugu Ntuli served for 13 years on Casidra’s Board.  We are truly...

Casidra’s Newfound Strategy Points to a More Relevant Future

The Board of Directors recently appointed Stuart Symington as the new Chief Executive Officer at Casidra. His skills make him ideally suited to the current challenges facing South Africa, where strategic insight, diplomacy, and the ability to execute successfully will be highly prized by the company. Finding innovative solutions to tough challenges underpins everything Stuart does. So it is for good reason that the Board and the management team look forward to his leadership at the helm of the company. At...

AGRICULTURAL WORKERS GET THEIR JAB

Today, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s research farm, Elsenburg, hosted a vaccination outreach to agri-workers on the farm and from surrounding areas. The Cape Winelands District Health initiative resulted in 328 agri-workers and 94 qualifying staff members lining up for their Covid-19 vaccination. Commenting on the outreach, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer said: “Today’s outreach is primarily targeted at our agri-workers, farmers and producers.” Dr Meyer said it was vital that we encourage people to vaccinate against the virus. “I...

MANDELA DAY 2021

Casidra identified a non-profitable organisation, the Pebbles Project, as part of its social responsibility initiative for Mandela Day. Celebrations were concluded by handing over school stationery and rainwater tanks to the Pebbles Project on Monday, 19 July 2021, at Casidra Head Office. We extended a request to our Staff and Service Providers for either school stationery or a financial donation towards the Pebbles Project’s Back-to-School Stationery campaign.  Casidrans managed to raise money for two rainwater tanks and stationery packs to assist...

Garden Route Municipality SMME Support handover ceremony

Casidra was commended for the sterling work of rolling out the SMME Support Project during the virtual Garden Route Municipality handover ceremony on the 6th of July 2021. The Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, emphasised that partnerships between government and the private sectors can yield positive results.  “To grow our economy, we must start at the grassroots level by helping SMMEs in our jurisdiction to grow and create jobs as well as put food on their table”, said Alderman Booysen. 19 SMME...

GARLIC PROJECT CREATES JOBS IN MURRAYSBURG

Following the financial support of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA), a small-scale garlic project in Murraysburg is playing a role in creating much-needed jobs in the Central Karoo town of Murraysburg. Murraysburg Garlic (Pty) Ltd was the brainchild of the grandfather of brothers Craig and Ryan Newborn. He was determined to secure the future of employees who had been employed on the family farm for a long time. "We then decided to create an opportunity for staff, who have been...

THE WESTERN CAPE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE RECEIVES SILVER AWARD FOR ‘ONE HOME ONE GARDEN’ CAMPAIGN

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA) received a silver award during the Premier’s Award ceremony for their outstanding performance in successfully rolling out their ‘One Home One Garden’ campaign. This follows after the WCDoA encouraged every household to have a food garden to enable them to contribute towards their families’ food security as part of the COVID-19 response in 2020. Food production units, in the form of vegetable gardens or a chicken house, were delivered and set up by Casidra,...

MINISTER IVAN MEYER OFFICIALLY OPENS R78 MILLION HOLSLOOT WEIR IN RAWSONVILLE

On Thursday, 27 May 2021, the Western Cape Minister for Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, officially opened the Holsloot Weir near Rawsonville and handed it over to the Holsloot Water User Association to operate. Speaking at the official opening and handover of the R78 million project, Minister Meyer congratulated the project team consisting of officials of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA), Stellenbosch University, Ingerop Consulting Engineers, JVC Construction and implemented by Casidra. Meyer: "We are today celebrating the completion of a...

Holsloot Project – Rawsonville

Jacques Swanepoel, Senior Project Manager: Technical, is proud to showcase the successful completion of the Holsloot Project in the Rawsonville area. This is an exemplary state-of-the-art multi-million Rand project that demonstrates Casidra’s project management excellence!

TABLE GRAPE INDUSTRY SET FOR RECORD YEAR

The Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, welcomes the news that the South African Table Grape Industry reached a total intake for the 2020/2021 season of 73 million cartons. This is significantly more than the 66.15 million cartons recorded last year. Meyer: "This is great news for the Western Cape. The current pandemic has led to an increased demand for healthy foods worldwide, causing further increased demands for fresh fruit and vegetables. Greater market access and an increase in...

A WARM WELCOME TO OUR NEW CEO

Stuart has acted in the capacity of MD, CEO and non-executive director in the perishable FMCG sector over the last twenty years. More specifically, he has led organizations in the public and private sectors, both in South Africa and Europe that were involved in very complex, fresh fruit export value chains. In the private sector, Stuart has helped turn around multi-billion rand companies relatively quickly. This was achieved by looking at every facet of the businesses to see where things could be...

STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP TO INCREASE EXPORTS TO CHINA

Over the past two weeks, Western Cape table grapes producers have been harvesting table grapes. These are to be marketed under the South African Table Grape Industry’s (SATI's) China Market Development Campaign in March 2021. The campaign is a strategic partnership between the table grape industry and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA) and aims to increase market access for table grape producers. Minister Meyer: “One of my Ministerial priorities is market access. The strategic partnership with SATI is aligned to...

WESTERN CAPE MARKET ACCESS PROGRAMME SUPPORTS AGRIBUSINESSES

Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, recently visited Marice Mercuur, winner of the Ministerial Special Award for Youth at the 2019 Western Cape Female Entrepreneur Awards Competition. What started for Mercuur as a quest to find a remedy to treat her daughter's severe eczema has resulted in her business, Marice Mercuur (Pty) Ltd. Today, she manufactures and supplies health and beauty products. Mercuur proudly said, “I started experimenting with glycerine soap and rooibos tea. I was amazed by the results, as...

WCDoA supports wine tourism employees with R12 million support funding

 The Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA) will be providing crucial relief to employees in the South African wine tourism sector, in the form of a R12 million support funding. The Wine Tourism Worker Support Stipend (WTWSS) was officially launched at Elsenburg. The aim is to safeguard the continuous employment of wine tourism workers by subsidising their salaries for a key quarter of the tourism calendar. Dr Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, said: “The Western Cape Cabinet has prioritised economic...

FOOD SECURITY: ONE HOME ONE GARDEN LAUNCH

Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde, and Minister of Agriculture, Ivan Meyer, launched the One Home-One Garden initiative for the Metro in Mitchell's Plain. A huge word of thanks and congratulations goes to our Casidra Food Security team led by Michael Mackenzie who were hands on to ensure the availability of food garden starter packs for distribution to the needy. Casidra is extremely proud of our Team for continuing to raise our flag high.  You are a bunch of winners!  Meyer emphasised, "We are encouraging...

ACEO’s Desk: VOTE OF APPRECIATION FOR THE YEAR

In a year that will go down in history books as a time that brought the world literally to a complete standstill due to COVID-19, we operated in an environment where the economic realities and social challenges deteriorated. This has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic that has reaped havoc worldwide, causing major disruptions to economies and the unfortunate loss of life of many. Casidra had to adapt fast and ensure that it continues with its primary mandate – that of...

LONG SERVICE AND TOP PERFORMER AWARDS 2020

Congratulations to the following employees who received their long service and top performance awards.  5-Year Long Service receivers are Justin Janse, Yandisa Ndongeni, Constance Makhuvha, Loinice Seconds, Wouter Kriel and Warren Marcus.  Andrea Pretorius received her 10-year long service award.  The top performers for 2020 were Jacques Swanepoel in the third place, Lynette Neethling in the second place and Warren Marcus as the overall winner.  Well done! Awards

MINISTER IVAN MEYER VISITS SMALL- SCALE FARMERS IN EBENHAESER

Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer recently visited small-scale farmers in Ebenhaeser, in the Matzikama Municipality District. Two such farmers are Natasha Love and Niklaas Le Roux who are both supported by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA).  Natasha farms on two hectares and produces Chenin Blanc grapes.  The grapes are sold to Cederberg Cellar. The wine is then produced, bottled and exported to Sweden.    Natasha stated, “The Western Cape Department of Agriculture kindly took us by the hand...

WORLD FOOD DAY 2020 COMMEMORATION IN RIETPOORT

During this year’s World Food Day, the Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, visited several vegetable garden projects in Rietpoort, in the Matzikama Municipality, West Coast District. During the visit, Minister Meyer highlighted the importance of food security. Minister Meyer said, “Food security is essential for the development of the nation. It is for this reason that the Western Cape Government is currently rolling out household and community food gardens across the Western Cape.” Meyer continued: "We are encouraging households to...

MESSAGE FROM THE ACTING CEO’S DESK

According to the experts, it is still not over yet and it will take a while until the COVID-19 pandemic is over. As citizens, we have a responsibility to adapt to new fundamental ways of living. Yes, our lives have really changed in many ways and it is not going to be business as usual from now onwards until this virus is gone. Although everyone is doing their utmost best to flatten the curve of the...

MANDELA DAY 2020

PEBBLES PROJECT Team Casidra put their hands together by raising funds to support the Pebbles Project as part of its 90 minutes for Nelson Mandela’s 2020 birthday celebration despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Casidra staff members donated education packs so that children at the Pebbles Project ECD centres do not have to share classroom resources. Each pack also included a mask, wet wipes and hand sanitizer. The Pebbles Project extended a word of gratitude to everyone for making donations towards Mandela Day...

MINISTER MEYER VISITS GRAIN FARMERS IN THE SWARTLAND

The Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, and Executive Mayor of the Swartland Municipality, Mr Tjimen van Essen, visited Swartland grain and livestock farmers, Alfreda Mars and Andries van der Poll. Alfreda Mars farms with sheep and grain on her farm, Middelpos 946. According to Mars, the farm’s grain production has been doing well over the past two years. The drought, however, has also impacted her yield. She is supported by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture who with Grain...

MINISTER IVAN MEYER VISITS SUCCESSFUL YOUTH FARMER

The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, visited Booysen’s Tunnel Farming, owned by youth farmer Byron Booysen outside Kraaifontein in Cape Town. Booysen’s Tunnel Farming is slowly establishing itself as a commercial producer and supplier of tomatoes to local markets. Six years ago, Byron decided to follow his dream to own a farm business one day. With the support of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Casidra, his goal is slowly becoming a reality. Booysen’s Tunnel Farming produces tomatoes in 4 two-bay...

ONE HOME, ONE GARDEN – FROM FOOD RELIEF TO FOOD SECURITY

The Western Cape Government's ‘One Home, One Garden’ Campaign is gaining momentum across the Province with a total of 1371 food gardens established over the past two months. 433 Gardens were established in the Metro with 123 of them being in Gugulethu. Other areas that have benefitted include Riversdale, Groot Brak, Thembalethu, Nduli, Bella Vista and DuNoon, amongst others. Commenting on the ‘One Home, One Garden’ Initiative, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, said: “One of my key priorities...

CASIDRA DID IT AGAIN DURING ITS 30 YEARS OF EXISTENCE

Casidra achieved its 30th consecutive unqualified financial report. The Board and the Executive Authority have expressed their appreciations for maintaining this accolade of good track record since the inception of our organisation in 1989. They are all of the same view that this is a testimony of good governance. The Chairperson of the Board, Mr. Ainsley Moos presented the 2018/19 Annual Report to the Executive Authority, Minister Ivan Meyer during an Annual General Meeting which was held at Casidra office...

Casidra Team’s donations towards the Pebbles Project for Mandela Day Celebration

Casidra's Team donated soup pack ingredients to the Pebbles Project as part of the Company's Mandela Day Celebration. On the day, our selected team representatives visited the Pebbles Project centre in Kraaifontein to deliver the ingredients. The team then spent their 67 minutes for Mandela Day doing the packing and sorting of soup packs for the beneficiaries.

The Western Cape Minister of Agriculture visits Casidra

Minister Ivan Meyer visited Casidra on Friday, the 2nd of August 2019 and was he extremely impressed with the work we do in the Agriculture sector. Minister Meyer's strong belief is that people should always admire, respect and love Agriculture. He outlined five priorities for Casidra to work on as follows: Training and Education; Farmer Support Development; Rural Safety; Market Access and Climate Change. #ForTheLoveofAgriculture

The premier and his cabinet met the agriculture sector

Premier Alan Winde, Minister of Agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer and the entire Western Cape cabinet met with representatives from the agricultural sector to discuss the successes and challenges and challenges they face. The meeting forms part of a series of engagements Premier Winde and his cabinet will hold with various sectors and role players in the Province, which will be taking place over the coming months. Premier Winde thanked the sector for its resilience and for continuing to invest in agriculture, in...

NEW SHAREHOLDER REPRESENTATIVE WELCOMED

Casidra’s Board of Directors and Management team extended a warm welcome to the new Minister of Economic Opportunities, Ms Beverly Schäfer, during a meeting held at Casidra’s Head Office on the 22nd of November 2018. During her introduction, Minister Schäfer expressed her appreciation and said that it is a wonderful privilege to be Casidra’s new Executive Authority. She further expressed her excitement to continue working with Casidra as Provincial Government Enterprise and said that one of her key responsibilities is...

World Food Day celebrated in Brandwacht

World Food Day celebrated in Brandwacht South Africa has joined the world in marking World Food Day to highlight the plight of millions of malnourished people in the world. The Western Cape Department of Agriculture and the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries hosted a World Food Day event on 24 October 2018 in Brandwacht. World Food Day is commemorated annually around the world on 16 October in remembrance of founding the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations...

CASIDRA WELCOMES THE NEW CEO: ASHLEY SEYMOUR

Casidra’s Board, Management and Staff have pleasure in welcoming its new Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ashley Seymour effective from 4th of March 2019. Mr Seymour is a Chartered Accountant (South Africa) who spent much of his career in development financing & Impact investing and is a seasoned Executive as well as Non-Executive Board member in both the public and private sectors.  He is a passionate South African, born and mostly raised in the rural parts of the Eastern Cape. He...

CALEDONIA FARMING (PTY) LTD LIVESTOCK FARM

Caledonia Farming is situated outside Hopefield in the Sandveld area and farms with livestock (sheep and cattle) and grain production on a small commercial scale and has three beneficiaries (a mother, Miena and her sons, Carlo and Emile Baron). The project recently received a new bakkie by means of the WCDoA’s CASP funding and the beneficiaries are planning to add rooibos tea to their production in the near future.

JUNIOR LANDCARE PROJECT TEACHES LEARNERS HOW TO SAVE WATER

The WCDoA and Casidra annually implement the Junior LandCare project, which focuses on creating awareness amongst young children in Grades 1 to 6.  This year, Marina Moller Eilers was contracted to do puppet shows for the children in the Eden, West Coast and Central Karoo regions.  The first set of puppet shows were held in the Eden district at the Towerkop Primary School in Ladismith reaching 230 Grade 1 learners and 217 Grades 2 and 3 learners as well as...

JJ LOVE WINE VINEYARD

Johannes Jacobus (JJ) Love, one of 153 farmers in Ebenhaeser, situated about 40 kilometres from Vredendal, farms on 2 hectares of land with a high density wine vineyard. The project is mentored by Namaqua Kelder’s Dirk de Bruyn who also funds some inputs and acts as the project’s marketing channel. Casidra started implementing the project two years ago on behalf of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. Soil preparation, carbon fiber poles, vines and other production inputs were purchased with the funds...

LEARN 2 LIVE VEGETABLE GARDEN PROJECT

LEARN 2 LIVE is a community organisation situated at Wallacedene, which has established a vegetable garden to empower its community. The project was funded by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme for R44 000. Casidra, as the implementing agent, with Cynthia Lebenya as the Project Manager, used the funding to procure the field irrigation system, protective clothing and production inputs. The project currently produces vegetables and has established a medicinal garden. The project provides basic agricultural training to the...

INTEGRI-AGRI (PTY) LTD FREE-RANGE EGG FARMING

Integri-Agri (Pty) Ltd is a free-range egg farm located on the Boschendal Farm in the Stellenbosch area. This farming project was established by Rico Vergotine who oversees all farming operations with other two workers. Integri-Agri’s main objective is to produce the best quality eggs and broiler chickens with no negative impact on the environment. This farm aims to enhance an already existing free-range, pasture-raised operation, producing free-range (organic) eggs for the local supermarkets and restaurants. The project’s application for funding was...